Reading NFC tags with iOS 14

Total time: 3 Minutes

Apple is implementing an NFC reading function in iOS 14, and the new mobile operating system is expected to be released in autumn 2020. Here we describe all the new NFC features in iOS 14.

Especially for iPhone owners of the models iPhone 7 to iPhone Xs this function is a welcome innovation, because no external app is needed to read common tag types.

In the following we will explain which tag types are readable with iOS without an external app and what you need to keep in mind.

NFC reader in iOS 14 Control Center

We find the NFC reading function in the control centre, thus there where, among other things, the brightness / volume and for example the WLAN can be switched on and off.

The symbol looks like a WLAN symbol on the side. If this symbol is not visible in the Control Center, the control element can be added via SettingsControl Center.

  • 1. NFC reader in iOS 14 Control Center
  • 2. NFC reader in iOS 14 Control Center

Supported NFC tag types

You can now read an NFC tag by tapping on the NFC symbol. Simply hold the NFC tag against the top back of the iPhone.

The following tag types can be read with iOS 14 without an external app:

  • URL
  • phone number
  • E-Mail
  • SMS
  • FaceTime
  • Shortcut

Note on tag type "shortcut":

The shortcut to be read must also be on the same iPhone. That means it must be created with the app Shortcuts and written to an NFC tag with the NFC21 Tools app. How this works is explained in this manual using a simple example.

If the NFC tag has been written with a shortcut on another iPhone, the tag is not readable. NFC tags are therefore not suitable for passing shortcuts.

  • 1. Supported NFC tag types
  • 2. Supported NFC tag types

Unsupported NFC tag types

For reading other NFC tag types an external app is still required, for example NFC21 Reader.

The following tag types cannot be read directly in iOS:

  • Text
  • Adress / position
  • Contakt
  • WLAN
  • Bluetooth and other datatypes

Unsupported NFC tag types

Execute NFC tags

To execute the content of the NFC tag, simply tap on the notification. The command does not need to be executed immediately. If, for example, an NFC tag with a URL has been read, but the website is not to be visited until a later date, this is no problem. The notification still appears in the message centre and can be selected there later.

However, once the notification has been selected and executed, it is not possible to trace back afterwards which NFC tag was read with which content.

If an overview of already read NFC tags is required, we recommend our app NFC21 Tools.

  • 1. Execute NFC tags
  • 2. Execute NFC tags

Describe NFC tags

With iOS 14 the reading of some common data types is supported directly by the operating system.

To write an NFC tag, an NFC writer app is still required. We recommend our App NFC21 Tools.

Describe NFC tags

With iOS 14, there are welcome innovations in terms of the NFC function. The access of the NFC reader in the control center will make reading NFC tags even easier and faster in the future.

In this How2 we explain how to write NFC tags with the iPhone.

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