iPhone iOS 12, a new era for NFC

With the release of the latest iPhone X series and iOS 12, NFC (Near Field Communication) connectivity is about to take the world by storm.

Since 2010, Google has enabled smart phones using their Android platform to connect to NFC tags. Providing the phone contains the necessary hardware, the operating system allowed the user to easily interact with the link or information programmed on the tag with a swipe of their phone. This meant that a multitude of industries were able to connect with their customers via their phones using this technology including transit ticketing, payment platforms, tourism and interactive advertising just to name a few.

Unfortunately, not all smart phone operating systems adopted this technology together which meant that NFC was limited to only a portion of the smart phone market.

Android, Windows, Blackberry and a number of other platforms embraced NFC from the start, but Apple held off a little longer before including the technology into their phones. In 2014 Apple introduced Core NFC with the iPhone 6 range but was only limited to connecting to the newly released Apple Pay platform.

Since the introduction of iPhone 7, 8 and X, NFC interaction was possible but reliant on a third-party app in order to connect to an NFC tag. This solved the problem of NFC connectivity, but the need for an app to be downloaded prior to use proved to be a clunky solution. Now the latest operating system update, iOS 12, heralds a new age for iPhone NFC connectivity. With the release of iPhone XR, XS and XS Max, running iOS 12, users are able to connect to NFC tags without the use of an app.

The Background Tag Reading feature in the new iPhone X range greatly simplifies the NFC experience for the user. Rather than requiring an app to connect, the iPhones will now automatically scan for and read data from the NFC tag when bought into close proximity. The screen then displays a pop-up notification alerting the user that a tag has been read. The user then taps the notification to reveal the information stored in the tag. If the iPhone is locked, the system will prompt the user to unlock the phone before making the data available.

The Android operating system works much in the same way without the notification alert, of course the phone needs to first be unlocked and NFC settings set to ‘on’.

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