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nfc

Here at Easitag we’re pretty enamoured with NFC technology and how it can be utilised. We’re seeing a huge upsurge in commercial applications and ideas being implemented around NFC technology along with everyday punters using it more and more.

Each year we find the interest in this technology growing more and more, and no doubt that’s why we get asked by lots of different businesses a range of interesting and useful questions about NFC tags and NFC. So instead of just sharing our answers with people over the phone, we’ve decided to compile the ultimate list of questions and answers about NFC.

Can NFC tags be reprogrammed?

Most definitely. NFC tags can be reprogrammed, but only if they’re left ‘open’. Many NFC writing programs (like our App NFC Easiwayv Tools for example) enables anyone who downloads the App to program their NFC labels. Depending on the App you download to program your NFC tags you should be given an option to make it ‘read only’ – this means that once programmed it’s ‘set’ and can’t be written over again.

If you program your NFC tag and leave it open, you can re-program it as much as you like.

NOTE: If you’re a business using NFC in smart posters or labels it’s imperative that you have your labels set to ‘read only’ otherwise anyone with a smartphone and the appropriate App can rewrite your NFC tags to point to something different.

Where are NFC tags used?

Well there’s certainly a lot of different areas that NFC labels and tags are being used and the industries and applications people are using them for grows every year! Here’s a (by no means) exhaustive list of areas people are using NFC labels:-

  • In the home
  • In the car
  • At the office
  • Tap payments
  • Business cards
  • Smart posters for advertising
  • Promotional advertising
  • Events
  • Tourist destinations
  • Tap and go travel cards
  • Payments from your phone
  • Dog tags
  • Interactive advertising
  • Interactive product labels
  • Museums (interactive displays)
  • Art galleries (additional info about the art)
  • Driving Application downloads
  • Video and audio downloads

As you can see there are lots of different areas that NFC labels and tags can be used and the usefulness of these tags just grows year in year out.

Where is NFC on the iPhone?

It’s no secret that the iPhone is the most popular handheld device on the planet so we get lots of people asking where they can find NFC on their iPhone. Here’s a rundown of the different models of iPhone and if they have NFC available and where to find it.

iPhone 5 
Sorry you’re out of luck as the iPhone 5 doesn’t have NFC enabled in it. If you go to check out the technical specifications for the iPhone 5 you can see there’s no mention of NFC.

iPhone 6
Whilst the iPhone 6 technically has NFC enabled in it, unfortunately it’s only available for the use of the Apple Pay service (Apple’s mobile wallet).

iPhone 7
Things get a little better with each iteration of the iPhone. The iPhone 7 not only has NFC but you can read NFC labels however, you will need to download an App to do this as it doesn’t support reading NFC tags natively.

iPhone 8 and X
Good news Apple lovers – NFC is enabled in the latest versions of their iPhone products however you will still need to download an App to read NFC labels.

If you’re interested in being able to read NFC labels on an iPhone we suggest checking out this useful article.

How To Read NFC Tags With An iPhone

Which NFC tags should I buy?

This question always strikes us as a little interesting as it’s kind of like asking ‘which food should I buy?’ and the answer to that question always comes back to what you’re trying to achieve. Are you cooking a roast dinner or making a salad? With ‘food’ the outcome is going to determine the ingredients and the same goes for NFC labels and tags.

As there’s a huge range of different uses for NFC labels, it’s almost impossible to suggest a particular NFC tag for you or your business. Do you require labels that stick? Do you want your logo printed on them? Do you want the tag integrated into promotional material or posters, etc? The answers to these questions will always change the product suggestion.

If you’re not sure what NFC tags to buy, we suggest heading over to our NFC Store and checking out the labels there and if you’re still not sure, give us a call on 1800 077 375.

Which phones have NFC?

Rather than outline a huge list of phones that have NFC capability, we suggest going and checking out this NFC compatible phone list as it’s updated daily.

Which is better – NFC or Bluetooth?

Oh, the endless debate of which is better! It’s kind of like asking what’s better – IOS or Android, beer or wine, cookies or cake, Star Wars or Star Trek!

There’s really no definitive answer as to which one is ‘better’ as they both do slightly different things. Take a look at the infographic below to give you an idea of the differences between NFC and Bluetooth.

nfc infographic

 

Will NFC work through a case?

Yes, if the case is made out of plastic, wood or silicon.

No, if the case is made out of metal or has a metal section where the NFC antenna is located.

 

Will NFC drain the battery on my phone?

Simply having NFC ‘turned on’ on your phone typically will drain very little battery power (less than 1%) but using it to read tags, etc will drain the battery to a certain extent. This will depend on how many times you’re using NFC to tap your phone against a label and the amount of data that needs to be transmitted.

If you’re concerned about battery life, like anything on your phone – if you’re not using it, turn it off.

Will NFC replace credit cards?

This is a great question. In the short term we can certainly see a transition happening towards payments made from devices through the NFC platform. Things like Google Wallet and Apple Pay already enable us to do this.

Looking into the future we’re pretty certain there’s going to be newer, better, faster and more reliable technology that we can’t even conceive of yet that will replace credit cards. In 20 years time (perhaps even less) we’re pretty sure we will be looking back at credit cards like we do to records or cassette tapes today.

What does NFC stand for?

Near Field Communication.

 

Who makes NFC technology?

Technically there’s no one company that makes NFC technology, just like there’s one company that makes say software, websites, TV or radio. It’s a technology (technically it’s a set of communication protocols) that’s utilised by many different companies. Some companies that make phones add it to their devices, other companies may produce and sell labels and others still might offer marketing services based around NFC technology.

There are some associations and organisations that represent NFC like the GSMA, Stolpan and NFC Forum.

Are NFC and RFID the same?

Good news! We’ve already answered this question in depth in our article What's the difference between and NFC and RFID tag?.

Are NFC tags illegal?

No. But just like knives aren’t illegal, they can be used to do illegal things. If you’re thinking about doing anything illegal with NFC tags our advice is not to.

How does NFC work?

I bet you were wondering when we would get to that question and the good news is that again, we’ve gone into depth about this in our article How does NFC actually work? All your questions answered.

Can NFC read RFID?

This will really depend on the NFC reader you have. There are some Android phones that can read both NFC and RFID but as a general rule if you’re talking phones, most don’t read RFID and will need to be jailbroken or heavily modified to read RFID.

If you start getting into commercial applications, there are many solutions that read both RFID and NFC.

Can NFC go through metal?

As a general rule the answer to this is no. It does depend on the thickness of the metal and the type of metal used and where the tag is placed, but as a general rule if an NFC tag is placed behind a metal surface, it won’t be able to be read.

Can NFC work without internet?

Yes, NFC doesn’t require you to be connected to the internet to be able to be read. The data transmission happens between the tag and the device. If however the tag links someone to a website or app, they would need access to the internet to be able to access this information.

Can NFC be used to send text messages?

This all depends on what you mean by this question. NFC technology can’t actually ‘send’ a text message as that’s done via cellular network but NFC can be utilised to create text message. If you would like to find out how to use NFC to create and send text messages check out our article How to send text messages using NFC tags.

So there you have it, that’s all the questions we could think of that we’ve been asked about NFC labels over the past few years. If there’s something we haven’t covered or there’s a question you would like to ask us about NFC labels, stickers or tags, please feel free to call us anytime on 1800 077 375.