what they are and seven original uses you can give it.
A few years ago mobile phones with NFC were relatively rare, but today it is normal for high-end models and most mid-range terminals to mount it. This technology, in addition to allowing us to pay with the telephone, also serves to take advantage of the NFC tags.
And what are these labels? Some small and simple “smart stickers” that allow us to perform actions quickly. In this text we are going to get to know them better and, by the way, we will see some original use cases that can help us automate certain things.
NFC tags are really very simple “devices”. Basically they are labels (they can be white or of various colors) with a NFC chip inside. This chip can be written and read using the NFC of our smartphone to, above all, automate actions quickly and easily. For example, we can use an NFC tag so that when the phone is brought closer it becomes silent or connects to a specific WiFi network.
There are several types of NFC chips, but most often they are NTAG or ICODE, especially NTAG. Each chip has a certain amount of memory, which is generally measured in bytes. The higher the number of bytes, the more data you can store or, rather, you can store heavier data, since storing plain text is not the same as storing a small file.
If we talk about mobiles, the most normal thing is to find NTAG210, NTAG213 and NTAG215 chips. The most important differences are the available memory (48, 144 and 540 bytes, respectively), which means that they can store more characters. The more memory, the more characters and more information.
For example, an NTAG213 chip can store a 132 character URL or 130 character text, while an NTAG215 chip can store 492 character URL or 490 character text. These tags have a read and write resistance of 100,000 cycles and retain data for 10 years, as contemplated in the ISO 14443-A standard.
Normally, NTAG tags are compatible with all smartphones that have NFC, and that’s an important nuance: It is useless to have an NFC tag if we do not have a mobile with an NFC chip. It’s like having a car without a key. That is why it is convenient to make sure that our smartphone or tablet is compatible before buying NFC tags. On the other hand, it should be remembered that NFC tags do not work if we place them on a metal surface, unless they are manufactured for such purposes.
Unless otherwise noted, NFC tags do not work on metal surfaces
When we buy NFC tags we buy them blank, that is, without information (although sometimes they have to be formatted). To use them we have to download a dedicated app that allows us to write and read them. There are many alternatives, but the best known is NFC Tools, which is available on iOS and Android and is completely free. You just have to download it, bring the phone close to the NFC tag and write the action you want. The app is very easy to use.
Once we have written the NFC tag, we just have to leave it where we are going to use it. Normally they usually have an adhesive on the back, so we can stick it on a table or in the car so that, when you bring the mobile closer, the action is executed quickly.
Now that we know what NFC tags are and what we need to be able to take advantage of them, let’s review some original use cases. In that sense, it should be remembered that NFC tags are not for single use, but they can be erased. That way, if we have a label configured to do this or that thing and we want to reuse it, we can simply delete it and rewrite it.
- Direct links to your social profiles– You can have an NFC tag that opens the URL of your Instagram, TikTok or Twitter profile so that anyone can quickly follow you.
- Automatic connection to a WiFi networkIf you do not want to repeat your WiFi password to everyone who enters the house, you can put an NFC tag on the living room door or near the router so that your friends can scan it and connect automatically.
- Your playlists to study always at hand: you can put an NFC tag on your desktop with a link to the Spotify playlist that you wear to study so that when you bring the mobile closer it is activated automatically. It is applicable to any environment.
- Direct path to a site: you can set the location of a friend’s house so that when you zoom in on your mobile, Google Maps automatically starts navigation.
- Run a Tasker automation: if you handle with Tasker, you can configure an NFC tag so that when you bring the mobile closer it runs the routine.
- Activate “do not disturb” mode: ideal for going to sleep. By setting this action, the phone will go into “do not disturb” mode automatically when passed over the label.
- Turn on the computer: If you have the Pro version of NFC Tools and the Wake-on LAN function activated on the computer, you can turn on the PC by placing the mobile on the label.