How to check if NFC works

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Aina Martin
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How to tell if NFC works: Android

The first thing to do for understand if the NFC chip works on Android consists in activating the aforementioned connectivity. To do this, first check the data sheet of the device and verify that it is actually equipped with an NFC chip (you can do a simple search on Google to find all the specifications of the device).

After this first preliminary check, open the Settings of Android, by tapping on thegear resident on the Home screen or in the drawer, then go to the sections Connected devices> Connection preferences> NFC and move from OFF a ON the switch at the top of the next panel.



The path to follow may however vary, depending on the version of Android installed on the smartphone or tablet: on Xiaomi smartphones, for example, it is necessary to open the menu Settings> Connection and sharing> NFC; on Samsung smartphones, however, the path to follow is Connections> NFC, while on Huawei smartphones you have to go to Settings> Device Connection> NFC.

If the aforementioned menu items are absent, it is unlikely that your device is enabled to use NFC technology; however, for further verification, open the Android drawer and use the search bar to locate the word NFC: by doing so, you will have the possibility to check for the presence of the option to enable the aforementioned technology within all Android menus.

Once NFC connectivity is activated on the device, verifying its operation is child's play: if, for example, you have a NFC tag, all you have to do is put it in contact with the device reader (usually placed on the back of the same) and wait for Android to notify you that it has acquired a new NFC tag and, at the same time, show you its content. If you don't have an NFC tag, you can buy it for a few euros online.



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Alternatively, you can take advantage of a third-party app called NFC Tools, available for free both on the Play Store and on alternative markets for devices not equipped with Google services. The application is free for reading (and writing) NFC tags, but some advanced features, such as saving tags and editing an existing tag, can be unlocked by purchasing the paid version (costs € 3,49) .

To get NFC Tools, open the reference store of your device, use the search function to locate the app and, when you have found it, tap on the button Install, in order to download it immediately on the device.

After downloading the app, open it and make a few swipes to the left, to skip the welcome tutorial; if you are asked, granted NFC Tools to access the NFC reader, responding affirmatively to the warning shown on the screen.

At this point, the game is practically done: to read the content of an NFC tag, all you have to do is bring it to the phone and wait for the app to recognize it and show you the content (it should take a few seconds). By tapping on any of the available fields, you will be offered options for using the stored information: for example, by tapping on the field containing a web address, you can immediately start browsing through the browser of your choice.

If you do not have an NFC tag, you can also check the operation of the appropriate chip using a second Bluetooth device, equipped with support forquick pairing via NFC: in this case, all you have to do is set the Bluetooth device to pairing mode, bring it to the smartphone / tablet of your interest and wait for the pairing request to appear, a sign that the NFC chip is working correctly.



Another way to verify the operation of NFC is to configure a payment method that supports the contactless mode via the smartphone and use it in one of the authorized shops: in this regard, I refer you to reading my guides on how to pay with Google Pay and how to use Samsung Pay, in which I have given you precise instructions on what to do.

I recommend, at least for the first time, to always have your credit card or cash available: if the NFC chip does not work, you may find yourself unable to pay with your phone!

How to check if NFC works: iPhone

Su iPhoneHowever, things are a little different: all phones equipped with Face ID e touch ID, except for the iPhone 5s, they support NFC connectivity, which is activated only when it is to be used and it turns off automatically: for this reason, at least at the time of writing this guide, there is no option called “NFC” in the iOS menus. However, the methods of use of the aforementioned technology may be different, depending on the terminal in use.

In detail, all the "iPhone by" allow you to use NFC as a payment system, while only iPhone 7 and later they can read and write NFC tags. Also, iPhone XS / XR and later support the reading NFC tags in the background, thus being able to read data from an NFC tag simply by approaching the device, without the aid of third-party apps (instead necessary for iPhone X and previous models).


Finally, it should be emphasized that iPhone does not support direct transmission of files via NFC (an option that has also become obsolete for the Google operating system, due to the poor transfer speed) nor fast pairing with compatible devices.


Having clarified this aspect, if you have an NFC tag available and an iPhone that allows "direct" reading (XS, XR and later models), you just have to bring it closer to the tag and wait for iOS to show you its content . You can find NFC tags online for just a few euros.

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If, on the other hand, you have an iPhone X or previous model, you must necessarily use a third-party app, able to read the content of the tag; in this regard, I would like to advise you NFC Tools, the same application I told you about in the chapter dedicated to Android. Also in this case, it is possible to read and write on NFC tags for free; to unlock advanced functions (saving tags, importing from QR code, editing an existing tag, and so on), it is necessary to purchase the Pro version of the app, which costs € 3,49.

To download NFC Tools, open theApp Store, use the button Search to locate the app in it and, when you have found it, press the button Ottieni / Installa and authenticated with Face ID, Touch ID or Apple ID password, to finalize the installation.

When the download is complete, start NFC Tools, authorizes access the NFC system, if necessary, then tap the button Reading and bring the NFC tag close to the phone (or vice versa), precisely to the front of the same: within a few moments, the content of the tag should be displayed on the screen.

If nothing happens, or if an error occurs while reading, activate the compatibility mode of the app, suitable for slightly more "dated" terminals (such as the iPhone 8 Plus, for example, on which I personally verified this eventuality): to do this, tap on the symbol ofgear located in the upper left corner of the application and tap the button Compatibility.

Finally, return to the main screen of the app, tap the button Reading and bring the iPhone and the NFC tag close together: at this point, you shouldn't have any problems reading the data.

If you have an NFC-enabled Bluetooth device, you cannot pair it with the iPhone, but you can check the operation of the NFC chip installed on the latter by carrying out the same procedure as seen above: therefore set the Bluetooth device in pairing mode, launch the NFC Tools app on your smartphone, tap the button Reading and put the devices in contact with each other. With a bit of luck, NFC Tools should be able to identify the Bluetooth type “tag”.

If you do not have an NFC tag or a compatible Bluetooth headset available, or if your phone is not compatible with direct data reading (but only with contactless payment), then you just have to test the operation of the NFC chip on board. iPhone by configuring the payment system Apple Pay and using it at one of the authorized shops: I explained how to do it in my tutorial dedicated to the subject.

The recommendation is always the same: keep your credit card or cash with you, at least the first time you use Apple Pay. If the NFC chip does not work, you may not be able to pay the amount due!

How to check if NFC works

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