All about NFC in your phone

NFC technology is a function that helps smartphone owners in everyday life. Given the speed of distribution, the question arises: what is NFC in a phone, and how to use it.

Population of contactless payments using the phone, which are carried out through the activation of NFC sensors.

What is NFC in the phone and what is it for

What is NFC in a Smartphone? NFC is a contactless communication technology, it helps to exchange data at close range. For the first time, NFC technology was launched in 2006, but at that time there were no conditions for using the function, so the popularity came later, after 5 years.

Phones that support contactless payments are actively sold, and the use of NFC technology has expanded: the owner of the smartphone pays for purchases by touching the terminal, receives information from NFC sensors, buys tickets, plays multimedia files and transfers information from one device to another.

The NFC function is provided by a pre-built sensor that receives information by sending and receiving a radio signal at a frequency of 13.56 MHz. The chip is embedded by the smartphone manufacturer at the factory, NFC cannot be “downloaded” to the phone by installing software.

The phone’s NFC support makes it easier for the user to perform daily tasks, and for additional benefits, the smartphone owner must understand how to use this function and how to know if the phone has NFC.

How to find out if your phone has NFC, and how to turn it on

Despite the widespread adoption of wireless technology, not all phones have the NFC chip. You can find out about the availability of a function in your phone in several ways:

  • some smartphone manufacturers place a small NFC icon on the back panel or battery if the cover is removed manually.
  • the instructions for the product indicate a list of smartphone functions, indicated as Near Field Communication or NFC, they write there what NFC means in the phone and how to turn it on;
  • in the phone settings, in the “Network connections” item or on the quick access panel, there should be a button to enable the function. Some manufacturers put a quick guide directly into the phone.

If none of the points is fulfilled, it means that the NFC function is not available in the phone and it is impossible to use this advantage. After purchasing a new phone that supports contactless technology, the owner must check for NFC in the smartphone.

On Android

NFC on an Android phone is enabled in the settings. The name of the menu items depends on the smartphone model and the operating system, you can enable the function in two ways: through the settings in the menu and using the quick access buttons.

In settings:

  • in the main menu the button “Settings” or “Parameters”;
  • item “Wireless connections and networks” or “Connections”;
  • enable the NFC function.

Shortcut button:

  • pull down the “curtain” with notifications at the top of the screen, open the quick access panel;
  • press the NFC button.

The function does not consume device memory and does not use battery resources.


From the owner of iPhones, additional steps to enable or disable the NFC function are not required. It works by default on iPhones from iPhone 6 and up. For work, the user simply brings the smartphone to the device, which itself reads the necessary information.

How to use

Owners of devices with Android OS can count on the following application of NFC:

  • transferring data from one device to another: files, links to web pages and applications;
  • reading and creating NFC tags;
  • payment for purchases by touching the payment terminal;
  • withdrawing cash from the card at ATMs.

IPhones severely limit the work of NFC: in iPhone 6, 6s, 7, this chip works only for paying for purchases by touch. The following models can no longer only pay for goods, but also read tags, the rest is not yet available.

For information exchange

Devices that support NFC can participate in data transfer via NFC. The minimum Android version on both devices is 4.0. To transfer information, the desired file or link is opened, the devices are brought to each other so that the NFC chips are located side by side. After connecting, a beep may sound, and the user taps the screen so that the information is transmitted to the second device.

In this way, you can transfer information: contacts, passwords or keys, GPS coordinates or routes, multimedia. But it should be borne in mind that the NFC transmission speed is 400 Mbps and it will take a long time to transfer large files.

For labels

NFC tags are a tool that makes everyday activities easier. Using labels, the user can:

  • launch and activate an alarm clock, calendar and other application on a smartphone;
  • read information from a preprogrammed label.

A special application is installed on the smartphone to read some of the tags. Transportation apps provide trip counts, travel passes, and other information, while store apps display product details.

To read NFC tags, the smartphone is equipped with an NFC chip at the factory. There are no restrictions for Android, and iOS only allows this on iPhone 8 and above.

Android phones can not only read information from tags, but also program. To do this, the user installs a special program on the phone, purchases an NFC tag in the store and programs the sensor to perform the desired action.

For payment

Pay by touch is a common payment method in stores. In this case, a smartphone is used instead of a card, as a means of payment.

For payment, the following conditions must be met:

  • enabled NFC function;
  • payment application: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, or banking programs;
  • card connected in this application.

How to use NFC on your phone to pay:

  • the cashier checks the amount at the terminal;
  • the customer selects a card and puts the phone to the reader;
  • money is debited from the card automatically.

It is important for the client that the application used for payment is reliably protected from outside interference. Some programs require the introduction of security passwords and a fingerprint before payment. These measures help to avoid unauthorized debiting of funds

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Igor Smith/ author of the article
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