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What is NFC and How to Use it

NFC is getting recognition thanks to its several useful applications. However, not many people know about this technology, what it is, and how it functions.

The technology is called Near-Field Communication, or NFC, and it is a method for your device to engage with something at a close distance. It functions within an area of approximately four centimeters (1.5-inch) and allows wireless connections between two devices.

This enables two-way communication, with both devices engaged being able to send a receive information. The NFC connection does not depend on usual networks, such as Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE, and so on, and it is free to use.

Even though you might have never heard of NFC, you’ve probably used it before, especially if you live in the U.K. or Europe. Are you familiar with the three curved lines on the credit or debit card that enable you to make contactless payments? That is NFC.

While it is just now becoming popular in the U.S., NFC has been used for several years in other parts of the world; and it has also been included in most Android mobile devices.

How do I Know if my Android Device has NFC?

Simply head over to ‘Settings,’ then to ‘More’ or ‘Connected Devices’ or ‘Network & Internet’ to see if there is a NFC functionality there. Most Android smartphones that pack the feature also have a small NFC logo on their backside as well.

How Does NFC Work on Android?

NFC sends or receives data through radio waves. It is a determined standard of wireless communication, so if mobile devices stay with NFC protocols, they will be able to engage with each other.

The technology differs from Bluetooth, simply because it operates via electromagnetic induction. This means that there can be a passive element, such as a sticker or poster, needing no power source, but which can transmit data when an active element, such as your mobile phone, comes into contact with it.

As an NFC-active device, a mobile device is able to transmit and receive data via this technology. It contains three modes, namely the reader or writer, meant for reading tags in NFC posters, the card emulation mode, which is created for making payments, and the peer-to-peer service, meant for file transfers.

What You Should Know About NFC & How to Use it

Not all smartphones have an NFC chip implemented, but they are becoming more common now. NFC chips are not placed in the same area for all tools; therefore, when engaging with other devices, some exploratory movements might be needed between them. Finally, cross-compatibility between devices is not universal at all, more so when it comes to particular file types.

In order to use the technology, you need to enable it on both devices. Then, all you have to do is select the file you want to transfer and put the devices back to back. You don’t even have to choose a ‘Send via’ option; simply place the devices together and tap on the ‘Touch to beam’ variant when the notification appears.

NFC can be used for multiple purposes, including sending a phone number, pictures, documents, directions, launch an app on someone else’s phone, make a payment, and connect with NFC tags.

Is NFC safe?

The NFC technology takes place over the air (OTA), and there is no actual protection against what is known as ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks. However, because of the close distance needed for NFC to function, these weaknesses are not an issue at all. Moreover, if you use Google Play, you can rest assured that your data is never transmitted.


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