The iPhone has NFC and we explain what it is for — 2022

NFC is practically an essential requirement in any mid-range mobile onwards. Although not many utilities were seen in the past, now it is a technology that we do not stop using in our day to day to make payments on compatible dataphones or to use specific NFC stickers. The iPhone, how could it be otherwise, also has an NFC chip that has been opening up over the years.

About NFC on Apple iPhones

Let's get to know what this NFC chip is, what exactly it means and where it is located inside the iPhone. In this way you will be able to get to know it a little more before knowing what real utility it can bring you on a day-to-day basis.

What exactly is NFC?

NFC as such stands for Near Field Communication, which in Spanish would be something like near field communication. For practical purposes, it is a chip that provides devices with a short range wireless communication. Generally, a team with this chip alone is useless, but if we find two that have it, they will be able to communicate with each other.

Although perhaps the comparison is not the most correct at a technical level, we could say that it is a system that works in a Bluetooth-like . Of course, in this case you will need the two computers that carry this chip to be close enough for communication to exist. There is different types of NFC , being able to have these equipments directly integrated inside the devices or externally through labels or credit cards.

Precisely the latter can help you to see its functionalities and is that one of them is that of be able to make payments by card, as long as the dataphone used is also equipped with NFC technology. In any case, there are many functions that can be carried out and are even configurable. For example, when you pass an NFC-enabled mobile phone over a tag that also has it, you can turn on a light or carry out any other previously configured process.

Where is this chip physically located?

Apple opted to include these chips from iPhone 6 onwards , placing it at the top of the equipment with the aim of facilitating its use on a day-to-day basis. Without a doubt, it is much easier to make a payment by putting the upper part of the equipment in front of the dataphone or to read a compatible label in this way. But unfortunately, at the beginning, the NFC of the iPhone was very limited since it could only be used to make payments through Apple Pay. In those where this possibility did not exist, NFC was useless.

As the generations passed, Apple realized that it had to open itself a little more to the world and it already allowed us to scan different tags that we find in our day to day. At first, a specific application was needed to do this reading, but now this is no longer the case since you simply have to bring the iPhone close to a tag to, for example, trigger a series of actions. Although there is still a lot to do since there are still some limitations as a result of the company's efforts to remain totally hermetic. For example, if we want to pair some headphones that include the NFC chip, we can't just bring the iPhone closer.

Features and limitations

We now come to what, at least in our opinion, is the most important part of this post. It is nothing other than knowing the way in which this connectivity is found in the iPhone, seeing how it can be used and what the future has. No less important is knowing that it has two fundamental limitations that condition it a lot at certain times.

What can be done with it?

As we have been mentioning throughout the post, Apple has been releasing the NFC of its iPhone. Now it is possible, for example, to make payments in establishments that have a compatible dataphone without too many problems. This is the result of a negotiation of the company with the different banking entities where Spain has been very benefited. It is true that after the presentation of Apple Pay we had to wait several years for it to land in our country, but there are already many national banks that have signed agreements with Apple to make use of this technology. But obviously they still have a lot to do, since unfortunately in many Latin American countries this is not the case. In the future we hope that they will continue to expand.


But in addition to using Apple Pay, they are also starting to integrate into Wallet the transport cards , thanks to the 'express card' function. With this function introduced from iOS 13 you can access the bus or the metro without having to take the voucher out of our wallet, since you will simply pass the mobile through the NFC reader. In addition, to facilitate payments through NFC from Apple as of iOS 14, the possibility of making payments in any establishment without having to have its application installed was introduced.

Over time, the NFC on the iPhone is getting richer. For example it can be used for open a car door as long as it is compatible, just as if you were paying through Apple Pay at a terminal. This allows you to practically go out on the street without having to carry keys with you, since only with the iPhone you or someone you authorize can drive perfectly.

The future of this technology with labels

Little by little they are becoming famous NFC labels or 'tags' . These allow us to make automations with 'Shortcuts' by bringing the mobile closer to one of these labels that are really very cheap. For example, if you have a label in the kitchen, you can make the coffee machine automatically turn on when you pass the mobile, but obviously if you have the house with home automation items. Even the fact of having an NFC tag in a car, for example, can cause some part of it to open when you bring the mobile closer.

NFC iPhone

They can also be match accessories very specific in a very simple way such as the HomePod. In this way we can continue listening to a song that we play on our mobile on the HomePod simply by bringing it closer. Obviously there is still a long way to go, and we hope that NFC will continue to establish itself in our daily lives as an essential technology beyond making contactless payments.

Automations can also be paired to NFC tags that are compatible. If you create a specific routine when you pass the mobile in front of the label, you can make all the lights in the house turn on or simply change some aspect of the mobile configuration such as WiFi and mobile data.

Limitations that iOS puts

The first big drawback that we find to NFC on the iPhone is related to the very nature of this connectivity and is distance that is needed to make it work, which is about 20 centimeters. In this aspect we see how Bluetooth technology works more widely, although obviously they do not have the same functions and perhaps it is not so much a disadvantage.

Where we do already find important and specific limitations of iOS is in the ability to allow third parties to use it. And it is that Apple limits permissions of these types of technologies in their third-party applications. This has two types of readings, the first being a good way to protect devices and make them more secure without NFC causing privacy or security issues. On the other hand, this can also be read as something negative because Apple does not offer the possibility of using it more widely at our own risk.

NFC failures on the iPhone

The NFC chip, just like any other internal component of an iPhone, can present significant issues that need to be considered. But the truth is that it is not always easy to detect this type of failure since NFC is not used on a daily basis. That is why you will always notice when you are using it in a dataphone or in any other device that is compatible, such as in public transport.

Most common problems

The first symptoms that can be found indicating that the NFC chip is failing is when it is not recognized by compatible devices . When you are trying to pay at a terminal and you try to pass the iPhone but it does not detect it at the moment or requires several attempts, it is undoubtedly one of the first symptoms. It is important to make sure of this by doing the tests on different teams that make up the NFC.


Another point that already indicates that the chip fails completely is that it cannot be recognized by any dataphone or NFC tag. This is already a clear indication that it is not the other element that is failing, but rather that it is already more than evident that the iPhone is presenting some kind of internal problem with respect to this technology, surely having its origin in the hardware, but without being able to discard the software.

Beyond this, there are no other known bugs that could be caused by the NFC chip. There may be an exception that throws strange errors such as the iPhone not being able to turn on or something similar, but it would be something extremely exceptional and despite this, it could really have its origin in some other internal problem of the device.

How to fix errors

The only solution that can be given to this problem is the operating system restore. In the end, the operation of the NFC chip is quite simple and works through synchronization with the operating system that allows you to manage all the data of the linked cards or NFC stickers. That is why when reinstalling the operating system, in many cases, the problems that are occurring with the NFC are solved.

In the event that this does not happen, you must go to Apple technical support to perform the diagnosis and make the corresponding repair of this part of the hardware. The fact that its replacement is certainly complex, what Apple normally does is offer a refurbished iPhone and fully functional. Of course, this has a cost that you will have to pay if the device is out of warranty or if it is detected that the fault is caused by misuse, while if it is a factory defect or similar it would be covered and you would not have to pay the cost. of the new iPhone.