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What is NFC and How Can I Use It?

Posted by Ben Fraley on September 23, 2014 at 4:09 PM

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One of the most touted features of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is its ability to use NFC. But what is it, and how should you use it? 

NFC stands for Near Field Communication. It is an extremely short-range wireless communication standard that is making its way into more and more mobile devices these days. It can be found in many of the most popular smartphones from Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG, and others. You can activate an NFC connection by tapping your smartphone to another NFC-enabled device.

 

Apple Pay and Google Wallet

 

NFC limits the range of communication to only about 4 inches, which makes it great for secure uses like payment. With the iPhone 6, Apple has introduced Apple Pay, which lets users add their credit cards to their phone. This allows users to securely tap their phone to an NFC-enabled payment device to pay. Google has a similar offering for Android phones called Google Wallet that, along with tap-to-pay, allows you to email payment to other Google Wallet users. There are over 200,000 retail stores in the US that support NFC already, and there will be far more soon!

 

Other uses for NFC

 

One of the other more prevalent uses of NFC is the usage of tags. NFC tags are programmable stickers that you can “tag” a surface or an area with to activate a particular function on your smartphone. They can be used for many different things, such as:

  • Tag your nightstand to turn on your phone’s Do Not Disturb and alarm clock on.
  • Place a tag in your car to turn on your Bluetooth connection and open the GPS app.
  • Keep a tag in your wallet with your digital business card to share
  • Tag your desk at the office to put your phone on silent

Do any of you already use NFC? What are some uses that you’ve come up with?

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