Use iPhone NFC tags to add automation to already installed apps

July 14, 2021

iPhone NFC tags work best with payment applications but apart from Apple Pay, you can use it to deliver the tag data to other apps for adding automations. For example, if you have copied your NFC-enabled gym pass to your smartphone simply tap it against the card reading machine to unlock the entry doors and play Apple Music automatically at the start of a workout session. All you must have is an iPhone that support background tag reading.

How to use iPhone NFC tags with apps that allow background tag reading?

Beginning with iPhone XR, iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, Apple had introduced a built-in feature to scan NFC tags. However, many users were not aware about it. Following its discovery, people started appreciating its utility in adding automations, Here’s how you can use iPhone NFC tags to open the relevant app and pass the information from the NFC tag to it.

  1. Choose the Shortcut app.
  2. Tap the Automation icon.
  3. Hit the Create Personal Automation tab.
  4. Go to NFC option.
  5. Scan your NFC tag.
  6. Add actions.
  7. Tap Next button.
  8. Enable Automation.

The good part with the later models of iPhone (iPhone XR, iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max onwards) is that you don’t need to download any app or enable NFC Reader mode in it to scan the NFC tags in the background.

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What are NFC tags?

The Near Field Communications tags are the items that favour nearby (within 4cm) contactless connectivity between two or more electronic devices. It enables consumers to perform multiple actions like completing contactless transactions, accessing digital content, and more.

How to use iPhone NFC tags to add app automations?

Tap the Shortcut app icon on the Home Screen to launch the app. If you don’t have the app installed, download it from the App Store.

Shortcuts Automation Icon
Shortcuts Automation Icon

Choose the Automation icon at the bottom of the app screen.

Create Personal Automation
Create Personal Automation

When directed to a new screen, select the Create Personal Automation tab.

Read NFC Tag
Read NFC Tag

Scroll down to the NFC entry. Tap the Scan option next to NFC tag and gently tap your iPhone against the NFC-compatible Gym pass to copy it to your Smartphone.

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Add actions Name
Add actions Name

Now, add an action for the automation and give it a name.

This will automatically lead to a prompt coming on the display to open the relevant app and pass the information from the NFC tag to it.

Play Music
Play Music

Choose Play Music by navigating to Media if you want to play Apple Music automatically at the start of a workout session.

Ask Before Running
Ask Before Running

You can also activate the Do Not Disturb Mode by selecting the entry from Scripting under Actions header. Once done, hit the Next button to proceed further. You should find the ‘Ask Before Running’ prompt appearing under the New Automation screen. Disable this, as we want to run the automation without having to confirm it.

Hereafter, whenever the automation is triggered, it will perform actions on your behalf without asking first.

Hope it makes sense!

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About the Author

Hemant Saxena
(317 Articles Published)

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