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How iOS 13 unleashes the potential of NFC

  An iPhone XR with NFC tags above.
Josh Hendrickson

NFC was long held back by Apple because it was not supported ̵

1; only Android. As both major smartphone platforms soon support NFC, the technology can unleash its full potential. From keyless locks to digital IDs, the future is here.

Why is NFC important and why?

  Three NFC tags on a piece of paper.
Josh Hendrickson

Apple Pay has always used NFC contactless payments. If you've ever paid for something with your iPhone or Apple Watch, you've used NFC.

NFC stands for Near Field Communications and is a set of standards that allow devices to communicate over radio waves when they are located nearby. The focus is on the near range, since the devices must have a minimum distance of 4 inches.

NFC allows you to perform a variety of tasks, be it sharing data, paying mobile, or reading and writing tags.

NFC is not a new technology by any means, but we have never seen extensive support. In addition to Blackberry and Windows Phone, Android phones have long been offered NFC support. However, the introduction of NFC does not guarantee the success of a mobile platform.

For all mobile devices with NFC, however, there was a significant outlier: iPhones. While the Android phone came out with NFC hardware (the Nexus S) in 2010, it took until 2014 to see an iPhone with NFC hardware (the iPhone 6). And at the beginning it was limited to pure payment processing.

This has changed over time, and with iOS 13, the NFC potential is unlocked for an iPhone that goes back to the iPhone 7. App developers can read and write NFC tags, read split passports and ID cards, unlock NFC-enabled doors, and more.

RELATED: What is NFC (Near Field Communication) and what can I do? Do you use it for?

Use Your iPhone to Unlock Doors

One of the promises of NFC is the convenience for your life. With extended support in iOS 13, you could not only leave your wallet at home, but also possibly your house keys.

Some hotels, such as Starwood, already have a similar feature based on Bluetooth and your phone or Apple Watch Unlock your room, but the technology might as well use NFC (and this is the case in many hotels) , More and more businesses are using NFC cards to provide access to offices or even protected areas of a workstation. Instead of thinking about having your badge tied to your belt with a badge holder, pull out your phone and swing it over the sensor.

You can also unlock some smart locks with NFC. If you have an NFC lock installed at home, you may forget another key that you carry around with you. Some apartment complexes also move to NFC key fobs, and if you have the option, it is more convenient to carry just one phone.

Digital ID Cards for Your Phone

  The ReadID app shows a digitized passport to iPhone.
Josh Hendrickson

With iOS 13, iPhones can scan NFC encrypted IDs and save their details. With suitable apps, you can then save a digital copy of your ID on your iPhone and retrieve it as needed.

If you've ever used the Wallet app on the iPhone, you'll know why this is powerful and what to do to get excited. Currently you can digitize and save credit cards, debit cards and even some bonus cards in the Wallet app. But you still had to take your wallet or wallet because you needed your ID. Then why not take the physical cards and use them?

But if you can also save your ID on a smartphone, you can leave the wallet safe at home and have less to carry.

We have to wait for ID cards to obtain and support both NFC chips and digitization, but companies like RealID are already working on supporting iOS 13 with its pass-digitization service.

But EU citizens in the UK will benefit even earlier Release of iOS 13. The UK government has developed an EU exit app that will allow residents to scan their passports and submit applications to the UK after Brexit is complete. Apple did not support the use of NFC to scan the pass before. The only option was Android, even if it meant lending a friend, as the UK suggested. Apple will now support the feature, and an iOS app to end the EU is in the works.

Tagged transactions let the apps fall.

  A man looking at an iPhone with a bird scooter.

If you want to hire a scooter or a bike from Lime or Bird now, you must first download an app. This is not always possible when the data cap is low or the app exceeds the download limit for mobile phones. A business can choose to support Apple Pay. For this, however, a payment terminal is required, for. For example, a tipp and payment card machine that you can find in stores.

With iOS 13, companies can strategically place NFC stickers (for example, on the scooter) and use them to arrange for payment rather than downloading an app. Overall, the process should be faster because you do not have to set up an account or wait for an app installation. The change is likely to benefit businesses as well, as the ability to opt-out of an app download is likely to lead to impulse buying. The more obstacles a company can eliminate, the more likely you are to try a new service, even if this happens only once.

Your iPhone may already be a transit pass

Transport stations have slowly switched to contactless payment and check-in. Combined with Apple Pay, you can easily pre-pay for your trips and search all control areas as needed. You can already do this in New York, Portland, Japan, Beijing and Shanghai.

Combined with the above-mentioned digital ID and door unlock features, you can leave home, get on the subway, and unlock your office without the need for a wallet or keys. If the subway is too crowded, an app will make getting in a taxi or renting a scooter ever easier.

Shortcuts speed up automation

 Shortcuts App on iPhone

Siri Shortcuts lets you automate sequences of actions; For example, the screen is dimmed, and the trouble-free setting or sending an SMS to three friends you are home after a long journey.

You need to talk to your iPhone or trigger from an app. In iOS 13, you can create shortcuts that fire when you tap an NFC tag with your phone.

Imagine for a moment that you have two tags in your car. You can set a tag to open your favorite map app so you do not have to search for it in your folders. The other day could also open the card app and enter your home address. These ideas may sound minor, but are practical, especially if you are exhausted after a long day of travel.

You can also attach an NFC tag to your laptop, which will cause your iPhone to activate a hotspot as you type, and thus skip the tedious task of browsing the hotspot settings.

These scenarios are not just theoretical. We used NFC tags and Android phones to achieve the same goals.

The two main smartphone platforms now support NFC.

  An iPhone XR and a Samsung S8 with NFC tags on top.
Josh Hendrickson [19659003] NFC is used in many scenarios that Apple has not yet explicitly promised, but could support. Hotels and businesses have long used NFC chips and key rings to provide access to rooms or offices. Instead, they can take out another card or tag and add a digital copy to your smartphone, so you'll have to forget something less when you leave the door. Instead of pushing your card or tag to a reader, pull out your phone and scan it.

Other platforms like Android and Windows Phone have long been committed to NFC and its features, and we can search them for other potential features. Windows Phones used NFC to pair and share contact information and other data such as photos. Instead of making a complicated Bluetooth connection over two phones, you have selected a photo or photos and then selected shipping via NFC. Once you've tapped the phones together, they hooked up and took care of the rest. Android has similar sharing features called Android Beam and NFC.

This feature also applies to business cards. Instead of having dozens of business cards with you, you can create a digital map of your contact information and share it via NFC. This is a two-sided benefit, as you not only need to carry (and buy) less, but also know that your contact information has been moved to the phone and not to someone else's trash. Likewise, you can save tickets for events on your phone and use them via NFC. The venue would only need one NFC reader.

With NFC Wi-Fi sharing can also be made painless. By saving the relevant details in an NFC tag, your guests can connect to your network simply by tapping. You do not have to go through multiple SSID names or write down your password. Any place where public Wi-Fi is available, such as hotels and restaurants, can also share WiFi details on an NFC tag in central locations.

Some password managers, such as Dashlane, can add credit card information (if available) to your phone by tapping the card's NFC code. The information is retrieved and securely stored in the password manager to speed up the payment process. The feature is currently available for Android only, but may change with iOS 13.

In a sense, what the iPhone is doing now is something other platforms have been trying for a long time. But this is probably a case where everyone wins. Without all the major platforms on board, governments and businesses lacked the incentive to take full advantage of NFC. Just as Apple has finally got QI for wireless charging into its phone, the wireless charger market has reached a new level that everyone appreciates. The increased support of NFC may bring it to a point where everyone is committed to it, and so everyone wins.

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