10 Uses of NFC on Android and iPhone

Written by Ahmad Tsalis

NFC, or Near Field Communication, is a common feature in many smartphones. Like Bluetooth, Infrared, and WiFi, NFC helps connect devices over short distances. But what makes NFC unique are its varied uses. In this article, we will explore how NFC can be helpful in daily life.

First, ensure you know how to turn on NFC on your phone to use these functions.

1. Sending Data

NFC Huawei

One basic use of NFC is sending data. Initially, NFC was mainly used for sharing contact information, like phone numbers. Instead of typing out numbers and saving them, just bring two NFC-equipped phones close together.

With a simple touch, a phone number transfers from one phone to the other. NFC isn't just for contacts, though. You can also send photos, website links, documents, and locations to other phones or laptops.

But remember, NFC isn't the fastest way to transfer data, so it's best for smaller files. On Android, this used to be done with Android Beam. However, since Android 10, this function has been replaced by Nearby Share, similar to Apple's AirDrop.

2. Checking and Topping Up Electronic Money Balances


NFC has become more popular with the rise of cashless payments, like for toll roads. Drivers often need an electronic money (e-money) card for these payments.

Most ATMs let you check and recharge these e-money cards, but you can also do this with an NFC-enabled phone. This means you can manage your e-money card anytime and anywhere.

3. Making Payments

Samsung pay - Visa

Shopping at a mall is easier when you use a debit card. It saves you the hassle of withdrawing cash from an ATM to match your shopping budget. But using your smartphone for payments is even more convenient.

This is possible with NFC technology. Just tap your smartphone on the NFC payment receiver at the checkout, and your purchase is complete. Some phone brands offer specific payment apps, like Samsung Pay for Samsung phones and Apple Pay for iPhones. These apps can also link to your digital wallet account.

4. Access Card Emulation

Akses NFC

Modern hotels and apartments often use access cards instead of traditional keys. These cards are used to unlock doors and operate elevators. With an NFC-enabled smartphone, you can transfer this access card's data to your phone.

This process is known as emulation. It allows you to use your phone to open doors and use elevators in hotels and apartments. This feature is why some phone makers describe their devices as having multifunctional NFC capabilities.

5. WiFi Network Authentication

wifi porter tenonedesign

Usually, when you connect to a new WiFi network with your phone, you have to enter a password. This is a standard security measure to keep the network secure.

But in some public places like hotels, a device called a WiFi porter is used to simplify this process. This device stores the WiFi password, and NFC-enabled phones can read it. Just bring your phone close to the WiFi Porter, and it will connect to the WiFi network automatically.

6. Giving App Recommendations

Koneksi HP

When you're with friends, you often talk about different topics, like some new and cool apps. Or maybe it's a new popular app or one that helps with productivity.

Usually, you'd ask for the app's name to download it. But NFC simplifies this. Instead of searching in the Google Play Store or Apple Store, your phone can go directly to the app's download page. This is how NFC can recommend apps to other devices.

7. Running Applications on Other Cell Phones

HUAWEI MateBook 14s

NFC doesn't just recommend apps; it can also run apps installed on another phone. This works if both phones have the same app. This feature is used by technology companies to link different devices, like phones and laptops.

Huawei, for example, uses NFC to connect laptops and smartphones. You can not only run phone apps on your laptop but also open and copy data, as well as answer messages and make calls.

8. Check In


Check-in is a basic NFC function. As the name implies, it's for letting others know you're at a specific place. This is useful in many situations, like checking into a hotel or at various public locations.

9. Wireless Charger

Fast Wireless Charging 2.0

Wireless charging doesn't mean electricity is sent through the air. Instead, power transfers between two close objects, a process called induction charging. In this method, the back of a phone is fitted with a special device that sends electricity to the battery.

In 2020, the NFC Forum introduced a new idea for wireless charging using NFC. Experts say NFC active devices can power passive ones, like NFC tags, but the power amount is still small. In the future, we might see phones that can be wirelessly charged via NFC.

10. Ordering Food and Other Functions

Keyboard Bluetooth

NFC is used in a unique way in Australia. There, moviegoers can use NFC to order food. You just open a food ordering app, pick your meal, and touch your phone to the arm of your seat.

Soon, your food is delivered right to you. NFC also helps connect phones to other devices, like keyboards, speakers, headphones, and alarms. For example, in 2012, a Japanese company called Elecom made an NFC keyboard for Android devices.

So, these are the 10 NFC functions available on smartphones today. Which of these have you used the most? If you know other uses for NFC, feel free to share them in the comments!

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