How to use NFC Tag Reader on iPhone

How to use NFC Tag Reader on iPhone

How about instantly paying or connecting to Wi-Fi with a tap of your iPhone? Today, we’ll learn how to use an NFC tag reader on your iPhone. The NFC support unlocks many possibilities, from instant information retrieval to swift interactions with everyday objects. Let’s unveil the magic of NFC Tag reading on iPhone.

What is NFC Tag Reader?

NFC stands for Near Field Communication. It is a wireless communication technology that uses radio frequencies for short-distance interactions and transfers. Although it establishes a wireless communication link, it’s completely secure between the devices.

Using magnetic field induction, passive devices like smartphones and cards can transmit information to active readers or other NFC-enabled devices. Recently, this technology has become popular in different domains due to its easy setup, convenience, improved user experience, and secure encryption techniques.

For instance, NFC tags are used for mobile payments, digital ticketing, access control systems, and data sharing between compatible devices to reduce friction. Now you understand the function, let’s see how to turn on and use the NFC tag reader on your iPhone. Note that you need an iPhone 7 or later running iOS 13 or later.

How to enable NFC tag reader on iPhone

  1. Launch Settings → Go to Control Centre.
  2. Select NFC Tag Reader from the listed features.
    Now, a one-tap NFC reader will be added to your Control Centre.
  3. Go to the home page of your iPhone → Open Control Centre.
  4. Tap the NFC Tag Reader icon.
  5. Place your iPhone near the NFC Tag to get started.

Note: This feature is limited to some areas of the world. Hence, if you cannot locate the NFC Tag Reader option in Control Centre settings, don’t fret. The latest iPhones can read NFC Tags regardless of the dedicated feature. Simply place your device near the Tag, and it should work swiftly.

How to create a Shortcuts automation via NFC Tag Reader on iPhone

  1. Go to the Shortcuts app on your iPhone.
  2. Access the Automation menu and choose New Automation.
  3. Now select NFC as a Personal Automation.

    Tap Automation, New Automation, NFC in Shortcuts
  4. Now, set the conditions under which this action will occur.
  5. Select either of the following:
    • Run After Confirmation: The action will initiate only if you allow it manually.
    • Run Immediately: Once your device and Tag are in range, the task will activate.
    • Notify When Run: Toggle on this feature if you wish to get prompted for the action.
  6. Once you’re all set, tap Scan.
  7. Place the NFC Tag close to the device’s proximity.

    Set the condition, tap scan in Shortcuts
  8. When connected, name the Tag as you desire.
  9. Hit OK to save your preference.
  10. Choose Next to proceed.

    Name the NFC Tag, Tap OK, Next in Shortcuts
  11. Now, assign an action to the Tag from the categories.
    According to the name I assigned my Tag, I have opted to launch the Music app.

    Select the action for NFC Tag in Shortcuts

Since you’ve enabled NFC on your iPhone, bringing your device near the written tag will invoke the respective action.

Benefits of setting up NFC Tag on iPhone

Now that you have acquired the relevant knowledge to set up your personal NFC Tag let’s unveil a few benefits it entails.

  • NFC allows for seamless and secure communication between two devices close to each other, like an AirTag.
  • It simplifies sharing data between devices, eliminating the need for manual input or scanning of QR codes.
  • They can automate various tasks by triggering pre-set actions on a device when tapped upon – such as changing settings, launching specific applications, or even controlling IoT devices.

These are just headers that define the capabilities of an NFC Tag Reader. You can do many more cool things with an NFC Tag on your iPhone.

Overall, setting up NFC for personal use facilitates seamless interactions with various technological platforms while offering convenience, efficiency, and enhanced productivity.


Are there any privacy concerns with NFC tag reading?

When you read an NFC tag, only the data stored on the tag is accessed, and no personal data is exchanged. However, exercise caution when scanning unknown tags containing malicious content or links.

What kind of NFC tags can I read with my iPhone?

Your iPhone can read NFC tags that adhere to the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) standards. Most commonly available NFC tags fall under this category.

Make your way into the future!

And there you have it, the fascinating universe of NFC tag reading at your fingertips. Your iPhone’s NFC capability opens doors to a realm where digital and physical seamlessly merge. From effortlessly accessing information to automating tasks, the power of NFC is now yours to wield. So go ahead, explore, and innovate with this technology.

Thank you for reading. Please take a moment to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  1. I can’t see the option in setting on iPhone 11 but see it on iPhone 8. I read somewhere that it only works on first tap. Is that the case?

    1. Hi, there is nothing to worry and what you are witnessing is perfectly fine. On iPhone 7 upto iPhone X, you can add the NFC Tag Reader button in the Control Center. But iPhone XS, XR, and later (like your iPhone 11) support background tag reading. This means that you do not need to trigger the NFC reader manually. It works automatically on these newer iPhone models when you bring the device close to an NFC tag. If interested, I would recommend you spend 2 minutes on seeing this Apple Developer page. It is informative and enjoyable.

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