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7 awesome features powered by iPhone’s NFC chip

Near Field Communication (NFC) might sound like a high-tech buzzword, but it’s a feature that makes your iPhone even more handy. Essentially, NFC is a way for your iPhone to communicate wirelessly with other gadgets when close together. This technology powers a variety of features on your iPhone, from making payments to pairing with other devices. Here’s a look at the many ways your iPhone uses NFC to make your life easier.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is perhaps the most well-known use of NFC on the iPhone. With just a tap, you can pay for your coffee, shopping, or subway fare without fumbling for your wallet. Payment information is stored securely, and transactions are quick and contactless, keeping your financial details safe and your checkout times short.

Keys in Wallet

Gone are the days of carrying a bulky keychain. With NFC, your iPhone can act as a digital key for your home, car, hotel room, office, or even the increasingly prevalent electric scooters seen in big cities. Just hold your iPhone near the lock, and voilà, the door unlocks. It’s a secure and convenient way to access the places important to you without the physical keys​, and compatibility is expanding all the time. Keep track of your virtual keys in the Wallet app.


Bringing two iPhones (or an iPhone and Apple Watch) together will automatically display a contact sharing interface on both devices, putting your full-screen Contact Posters front and center. You’ll sense a vibration and see an organic-looking animation emanate from the top of the screen. This feature is powered by AirDrop and utilizes the NFC sensor to detect the presence of another device. Similarly, you can share files via AirDrop using this method – although note that both users need iOS 17 or above and Bringing Devices Together toggled on under Settings > General > AirDrop.

Tap to Pay

For small business owners, Tap to Pay on iPhone transforms the device into a payment terminal. Accept payments from customers using Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, or other digital wallets. It’s a secure, simple way to accept payments without the need for additional hardware, making it easier than ever to conduct business on the go.

Handoff to HomePod

NFC technology simplifies the way your iPhone communicates with your HomePod, allowing you to effortlessly hand off audio. While listening to music, podcasts, or other audio on your iPhone, you can seamlessly transition the playback to your HomePod simply by bringing your device close to it. Ensure you’re logged into both devices with the same Apple ID, and that both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network and in the same HomeKit home for a smooth experience.

Accessory interactions

When you hold your AirPods near your iPhone and open the lid, you’ll automatically see connection and battery status for the headphones. Similarly, find a mystery AirTag and you can hold it up to your device to see information about its owner. Both of these interactions are powered by NFC.

NFC tags

NFC’s capabilities extend beyond payments and digital keys. iPhone can interact with NFC tags embedded in everything from posters to museum exhibits, giving you more information or taking you to a website with just a tap. NFC-enabled stickers are inexpensive to buy, and with the right apps it’s fairly straightforward to make your own. Our favorite use cases include sharing Wi-Fi codes with a tap and turning your record collection into an interactive wall display.