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Today all smartphones are equipped with NFC technology. Whether you realize it or not, your phone is probably currently using NFC. But don’t worry – NFC consumes minimal battery and processing power while offering a number of benefits that improve the functionality of your device.

Although it is often used in payments and data transfer applications between peers, NFC has many more applications that can make your life easier. Read on to find out what is NFC and how you can get the most out of it.

What is NFC on my phone?

NFC means near-field communication and allows phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices to easily share data with other NFC-equipped devices. It evolved from radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. RFID stands behind those security scanning cards that bring you to the office every day or, after all, contactless payment cards.

NFC is very similar to RFID, but NFC is limited to communication within about 4 inches, which is why you need to keep your phone so close to a contactless reader if you use Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

What Is NFC

Most people think that a small radius of NFC is a big security advantage and this is one of the reasons why NFC has established itself as a safe alternative to credit cards. But technology can be used for more than just buying coffee at Starbucks. NFC can also transfer data, such as videos, contact information, and photos, between two NFC-enabled devices.

How does NFC work?

Unlike Bluetooth, NFC does not require any manual pairing or device discovery to transfer data. The NFC connection starts automatically when another NFC device enters a predefined 4-inch range. When they are within range, both devices communicate immediately and send calls to the user. Below are some of the main ways we already use NFC between devices.

Mobile payments

As we gradually move into the cashless world, mobile payments have become a popular transactional method. With the help of the bank and biometric technology built into most modern smartphones, mobile payment is secure and convenient.

If you place your smartphone at a distance of 4 inches from the contactless reader in the store, your digital wallet or booklet will be displayed and you will be asked to confirm the payment.

What Is NFC

With Apple Pay, this means placing your finger on the Home button, which has the Touch ID feature or pressing the power button twice to scan your face with Face ID. It also works with Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Which devices have NFC?

The list of devices equipped with NFC is growing every day. To keep track of which devices are using NFC technology, NFC World maintains an up-to-date list of NFC-enabled phones. Many Android devices have NFC and every iPhone from the iPhone 6 has this feature.

  • Every iPhone from iPhone 6 onwards

Apple has long restricted NFC-equipped devices to purchases. However, the latest iPhone models, including the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 Mini, also support NFC tags via the Launch Center Pro app. Version 3 of the app includes NFC triggers for iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max for actions via custom NFC stickers. iPhone 7 and later can use NFC scanning in the app.

Launch Center Pro for iPad has been removed, and the iOS version now supports both iPhone and iPad. For a complete breakdown of all Apple NFC-enabled devices and their limitations regarding Apple Pay, see this Apple Support page.

  • Any device with Android 4.0 and later

If your device is running Android 4.4 or later, you can use Google Pay. If you have a Samsung device, you can also use Samsung Pay. Android phones running Android 4.4 to Android 9.0 can also use Android Beam to exchange messages or files. You can share a lot of information with others, such as YouTube videos, contact information, specific websites, and more.

To start Android Beam, go to phone settings. For Samsung Galaxy S10, scroll to Settings> Connections> NFC and Payment. From there, select NFC, then scroll and tap Android Beam. When using the beam function, it is best to place the phone close to another device with an NFC chip. A notification will appear asking you to confirm whether you want to connect to the detected device

What else can NFC do?

NFC is capable of so many tap-and-go features – digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay cover only a small part of its capabilities. Music lovers can quickly connect their devices to the speakers via NFC, and you can also log in to your work computer by pressing the phone, unlocking the car door, or monitoring your health and fitness statistics.

This technology is in the process of overhauling public transport – on some buses, you can scan an NFC-enabled smartphone or use it as a metro ticket in some places. You can add money to a bus or subway ticket directly through the app, always making sure you have funds on your card. This technology can support loyalty cards and student ID cards.

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