Introducing Core NFC With Apple

by Faye Pooley on October 11, 2019

Not too long ago, Apple announced changes to their software products with iOS 13. As ever, there was a lot going on, but the one that interested us the most was the introduction of core NFC. 

Apple haven’t always been fully on board with NFC. The functionality has been there, but has mostly been contained to features such as Apple Pay. Over the last few years, however, each iOS update over recent years has seen Apple being to increase and expand NFC functionality. 

We’ve put together a comparison of NFC before the update and now, so you can see exactly how iOS 13 has changed. 

NFC before iOS 13:
Previously there were several restrictions when it came to NCF on the iPhone. 

  • Only support for reading NFC tags, not writing. And, the ability to read was only available on iphone 7 models and newer. This means people with earlier models had to download an app in order to read NFC tags. 
  • No access to other NFC modes; peer-peer and tag emulation. 
  • No access to NFC chip UID, making it difficult to implement a secure tag to be used for anti-counterfeiting. 
  • All of which limits consumers ability to fully engage with NFC technology. 

NFC with iOS 13
The new positive response from Apple towards NFC is likely due to how their competitors Google and Samsung have embraced NFC from the beginning. Here is what we know Apple is adding to NFC capabilities with iOS 13.

  • Full NFC support for iPhone 7 models and newer. 
  • Native NFC tag reading, eliminating the need for an additional app.
  • Support for writing NDEF messages. 
  • Ability to permanently lock an NFC tag, that has been encoded with an NDEF message. 
  • Direct access to issue NFC commands for the protocols, giving far more advanced functionality. 
  • Access to the NFC chip UID.
  • Additional enhancements to Apple Pay, such as the new Apple Card which will include an NFC tag.
  • Ability to launch a shortcut via an NFC tag.

It is also worth noting that the attendee credentials to WWDC this year used NFC for tickets, rather than the barcode used in previous years. This shows Apple’s commitment to incorporating and using NFC technology across their products. Overall, we’re starting to see Apple finally get on board with the true extent of NFC, which should help to enable the market to significantly grow. 

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