What Is NFC Tag Reader on iPhone & How to Use It?

Want to know if your iPhone has an NFC tag reader or how to use the NFC tag reader on your iPhone for payments and scanning data? Here’s all you need to know.
NFC Tag Reader on iPhone

Ever noticed a feature called NFC tag reader on iPhone? An NFC chip enables this feature. The NFC chip functions almost in the same manner as the Bluetooth technology. Both require devices sending or receiving data to be in proximity.

However, unlike Bluetooth, which only allows wireless data transmission, the NFC chip enables users to read data on objects. For information about how the iPhone NFC tag reader works, read below.

What Is NFC Tag Reader on iPhone?

NFC is an acronym that stands for Near-Field Communication. It is simply a set of communication protocols facilitating data transmission between different electronic devices. However, for this to occur, the field of communication between devices must not exceed 1.5 inches or 4 centimeters.

The NFC tag reader on iPhone allows your device also to read information placed on electronic tags and perform actions such as:

  • Making payments
  • Activating locks
  • Tracking inventory etc.

NFC Tag Reader Supported iPhones

Not all iPhones come with the NFC tag reader. To know if your iPhone has one, check the list below:

  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone SE (2020)
  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
  • iPhone XS and XS Max
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.
  • iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 Mini
  • iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max, and 13 Mini

How to Use NFC Tag Reader in iPhone

After using the list above to confirm whether your iPhone model has an NFC tag reader, you can try accessing it. For iPhone models 11, 11 Pro (Max), SE (Second Generation), XR, and XS (Max), come with a feature called Background Tag Reading. This feature ensures you do not have to start the tag reader before reading data. Instead, the only action you need is to switch on the device screen, and it searches for signals.

However, for iPhone models 7 to X, the NFC tag reader should be within the Control Center of your iPhone by default. If it’s not, take the following steps to add/enable an NFC tag reader on iPhone and use it:

Step 1: Select the “Settings” app on the iPhone.

Step 2: Tap on “Control Center.”

Step 3: Under the “More Controls” group, tap on the green “+” on the left side of “NFC Tag Reader.”

choose NFC tag reader on iPhone

Step 4: Swipe up on your screen to launch the Control Center.

Step 5: Tap the “NFC tag reader” icon, which looks like live waves.

Step 6: Place your device close to a tag, which should read the data on it.

use NFC tag reader on iPhone

How to Create a Shortcut Automation via NFC Tag Reader

You can do a lot with the NFC tag reader on iPhone. One such operation is automating actions using the iPhone shortcut app and the NFC tag reader. However, shortcut automation using the NFC tag reader doesn’t work on all iPhones. The only iPhones that support this function include:

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max

Here’s what you should do to create your iPhone NFC tag reader-enabled shortcut:

Step 1: Launch the “Shortcuts” app on your device.

Step 2: Tap on “Automation,” located at the base of the screen.

Step 3: Tap “Create Personal Automation.”

create shortcut on iPhone

Step 4: Scroll down the options displayed and tap on “NFC” to be the trigger for your new automation.

Step 5: Tap on “Scan,” then hold your device over an NFC sticker.

Step 6: Name the tag, then tap “Next,” located at the top-right of the screen.

Step 7: Tap “Add Action” to assign an action to the scanned sticker.

Create iPhone NFC tag reader-enabled shortcut

Step 8: Choose any action from one of the suggestions or categories available.

Step 9: Tap “Done” to confirm your selection.

Congratulations, you have just created shortcut automation using the NFC tag reader on your iPhone.

How to Use an NFC Tag Reader App

What if you don’t have any iPhones that support creating shortcut automation via an NFC tag reader? How do you enjoy this function? Luckily,  you can use an NFC tag reader app. Check the steps below to learn how to use the app on your device:

Step 1: Visit the Apple App Store.

Step 2: Tap on “Search” and input a query for the iPhone NFC reader.

Step 3: Select a preferred app and download it.

Use an NFC Tag Reader App on iPhone

Step 4: Install the app and follow the on-screen instructions to use it.


This section will answer some frequently asked questions about using the NFC tag reader on the iPhone.

  • 1. Can I use an NFC tag reader on iPhone 6?

Although the Apple iPhone 6 has an NFC chip, its functions are limited. iPhone 6 users cannot utilize the NFC feature for scanning or encoding tags. The NFC feature on iPhone 6 only allows for making payments.

  • 2. Why is NFC tag reader iPhone not showing?

The NFC tag reader function is enabled if you are using iOS 14 or a higher version. As such,  you should see the NFC button in the Control Center. If it is not showing, it means that you are using a lower iOS version and need to add the button manually. Check the process of how to enable nfc on iphone above.

  • 3. Why can’t I create shortcut automation via an NFC tag reader on my device?

Not every iPhone can create shortcut automation using the NFC tag reader. We have shown you a list of devices that support this function above. If your device doesn’t fall into this bracket, you should download the NFC tag reader app for iPhone.


That’s it for how to use the iPhone NFC reader. Do you have any questions? Kindly drop them in the comments section below.

Meta description: Want to know how to use the iPhone NFC reader? This article covers everything you need to know about using the NFC tag reader iPhone.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply