NFC is an acronym for Near Field Communication, and its abbreviation tells pretty much everything about it. As long as two NFC-enabled devices are near each other, they are eligible to carry out NFC-powered communication.
It should spark your mind with questions like what sort of communication does NFC empower? How close should the devices be? And above all, does your phone support NFC operations? Well, it is to answer all these questions, we have made this guide, where you’ll not only learn about ‘what is NFC on my phone?’ but also how does the technology work?
NFC was launched back in 2006 when Nokia launched its much-anticipated Nokia 6131 flip phone that had the world go crazy to feel the might of the device in their hands. Since then, the NFC technology kept progressing, phones by phones, chips by chips, and gadgets by gadgets.
To this day, you could barely spot a device not equipped with NFC, as it is due to this technology, the world is going cash, card, and touchless with making transactions, purchases, and data sharing. It doesn’t end here; there is a lot more capability NFC holds.
What is NFC on My Phone?
As we already discussed, NFC is basically Near Field Communication, where two devices have to be in close proximity to share data or carry out cash and cardless transactions. NFC is not limited to smartphones only, almost all the tablets, feature phones, and smart residential and commercial gadgets unpack with NFC, and support all respective operations.
Now you may take NFC as RFID a bit because it is natural, and also the former is a bi-product of radio-frequency identification (RFID). However, there is a difference between the two, and that is their operational distance. While RFID can read, receive, and make transactions at more than 100 feet, NFC necessitates a maximum operational distance of 4 inches.
If you bring two NFC-enabled devices within a distance of 4 inches, you can easily share the data like videos, images, audio, etc., and make cardless payments, e.g., Apple, Samsung, and Google Pay. It is the operational range of NFC that its success today has overtaken the might of credit cards.
NFC is secure, efficient, and effective. Just swipe your phone over the NFC reader, and you will be able to buy yourself a satisfactory deal of lunch from your nearest store or carry out numerous transactions alike. However, in some cases, the two NFC-enable devices might even have to touch each other to execute the action, just to prevent accidental happenings.
How Does NFC Work?
The answer to this question varies from smartphone to smartphone and device to device. For instance, some smartphones ask you to enable NFC manually from their Settings app, and some can initiate the data-sharing as soon as their backs touch the back of another NFC-enabled smartphone.
There is one more category, which, once brought in the circle of 4 inches, automatically starts communicating between the smartphones, and executes the process. Once you have determined if your smartphone is NFC-enabled, you’ll be able to identify to which of these categories your smartphone belongs, and avail of the NFC benefits.
Speaking of NFC-enabled smartphones, here is what devices support the Near Field Communication.
What Devices Support NFC?
The android devices have been supporting NFC since 2010 when Google launched the Nexus S, one of the best Nexus-series smartphones. Good old days! Also, any Android device running Android 4.0 or later is capable of functioning using Android beam, an NFC-powered operation, which Google replaced with Nearby Sharing with the launch of Android 10.
However, if your smartphone supports Nearby Sharing or Android beam, it means it supports NFC, which allows you to use Google Pay to make cash and cardless transactions. However, you may want to use Samsung Pay, if you own a Samsung device. This eligibility criterion was for the Android devices, here’s if iPhones support the NFC or not.
Well, until 2014, Apple was quite resistant to not equipping its iPhones with NFC, i.e., before it launched iPhone 6. But, turning everyone’s heads, the iPhone 6 launch amazed us all, as it featured NFC support and that with full potential, unlike iPhone to iPhone Bluetooth connectivity.
Since then, every iPhone features NFC support, and lets you share data and make transactions without having to pay heed to your credit or debit card. For the full and updated list of NFC-supported devices, you can visit NFC world, where you may find all the phones that support NFC to this day.
What Does NFC Help You With?
Almost everything there is, you will find NFC helping you with it. From sharing the data between two devices to making transactions to automating the entire home, NFC can help you with every aspect of your new and digital life.
Here’s a glimpse into everything digital that NFC helps you do diligently:
Make Transactions via Smartphones
Of all the things NFC helps you do diligently, making transactions using your smartphone is the most prominent. It eliminates the need to carry cash or even your cards with you. Whenever you feel like purchasing anything, be it a cup of coffee, or the latest flagship from Apple, you can just opt for an NFC transaction, and scan the tag using your smartphone to complete the transaction.
As we mentioned earlier, you can use applications like Google, Samsung Pay for Android and Apple Pay for iPhones. NFC actually adds ease to your digital life and gets you over the hurdles of dropping or abruptly looking for the money that you did or did not slide into your pocket while leaving the house. The same goes for cards.
Share On-Screen and Stored Data
The second big thing about NFC is its ability to transfer whatever content is on your screen with the other NFC-enabled device. Not only that, but you can also transfer the content like images, videos, audio, texts, webpages, and so on… For that, you will need to use Android Beam on the devices running Android 9.0 or earlier, and you can do so by touching the backs of both the NFC-enabled devices and accepting the prompts on both of them.
However, for the devices running Android 10 and later, you will not find Android Beam in them; instead, Nearby Sharing, which Google introduced as a direct competitor to Apple AirDrop, uses Bluetooth and WiFi rather than the NFC tags on the back of devices. Now if you are wondering why you should choose NFC over Bluetooth, we’d say the answer is simple, Bluetooth only shares the stored or downloaded files, and not whatever is there on your screen.
Share Content Across Screen-less Gadgets and Devices
If you think NFC is limited to smartphones and tablets only, you are gravely mistaken. There are speakers, cameras, many electronic devices, and gadgets that are NFC-powered, and connect with your smartphone for a swift transfer of photos, videos, and music. You only have to hover over them with your smartphone or read the tag, and they will be connected to your smartphone.
In short, with NFC, you can pair to the devices, accessories, and gadgets that don’t feature a screen like smartphones and get over with sharing the content.
Get the Most of Nintendo Consoles
Not many gaming consoles support NFC, except for Nintendo Switch and 3DS, you may make use of NFC with Nintendo’s toy lineup called Amiibo, where connecting the toys with Nintendo offers you added benefits, points, figures, and bonuses. But that’s for now exclusive to Nintendo switches, and possibly with some PlayStation games.
Read More: Sony PlayStation 5 Review
Single-Tap Automation of Your Home
There are many home automation gadgets from multiple manufacturers that offer the support of NFC, through which you can set them all up on your smartphone, and control their operations with the few tap.
You can set them up on both Android and iOS devices, and as you set them up, all their settings, from their configuration to their modification to their operational activities will be available for you to tweak and adjust accordingly.
Get Access to Public Transit
Last on this list, but not out there, NFC passes allow people in different countries to access the subways, metros, and public transport. Also, with the ability of NFC readers to charge you through Google, Apple, and Samsung Pay, you don’t even have to carry the card around, but that’s limited to some countries, and not across the globe.
Why Would You Want NFC On Your Phone?
This question holds a subjective answer. If you are fed up with managing cash on the go and want to go digital with the transactions, then you may need NFC. Also, if you mostly find yourself sharing data between the devices, and often see that NFC tag, wondering about putting it to use someday, the day is today. You can easily carry out both the actions, i.e., transactions and data sharing, only that you need to have an NFC-enabled smartphone.
It may also help you manage your home appliances, and digital and electronic gadgets that support NFC, just a quick tap and touch on the NFC tag, and you will have full control over them. That’s not all, there can be hundreds of reasons you would want to have NFC on your phone.
When Should You Use NFC on Your Phone?
First of all, you need to determine the use of NFC, which is to make contactless payments and share the data. Now whenever you find the need to carry out respective actions, you should use NFC on your phone. But, you will first have to set up Google or Apple Pay on your smartphone to make transactions, and for sharing there is nothing much to do, just connect.
Should You Keep NFC ON or OFF?
Unlike Bluetooth, NFC is efficient, it doesn’t drain your battery. The reason? It is a short operational distance, which is about 4 inches. You will be able to share the data and make transactions only if your device is within the 4-inches or lesser distance from the other NFC-enabled device.
It is absolutely opposite to Bluetooth, which could span over two to three living rooms, and obviously will consume more battery. So, it won’t matter if you keep the NFC on, but recommended is to keep it off only to prevent accidental pairings and battery drainage.
These are some of the things that NFC can help you with; apart from that, it would be no surprise to see in the near future the possibility of injecting humans with NFC chips, as doing so won’t even necessitate smartphones, just bring your wrist near the reader and that’s it, you have completed the transaction or granted the access.