New 2018 iPhones Support Background NFC Tag Reading, No App Required

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    As outlined on Apple's developer site, the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR models allow users to scan NFC tags without an app using a new background tag reading feature.

    Background tag reading is designed to work only when a user's iPhone is in use in order to avoid unintentional tag reading. It also will not work if a device has not been unlocked, a core NFC reader is in session, Apple Pay Wallet is in use, the camera is in use, or Airplane mode is enabled.

    The new background tagging function will allow an iPhone user to scan any NFC tag at a museum, store, or other location without first having to open up an app. Scanning an NFC tag will present a notification on the display, which can be tapped to launch an app.

    Launching an app using this method requires a tap from the user, so it will not allow NFC-based methods to automatically launch apps sans user permission.

    According to Apple, background NFC tag reading is a feature that's limited to the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. It is not supported on iPhone X and earlier models.

    Article Link: New 2018 iPhones Support Background NFC Tag Reading, No App Required
  2. bgro macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2010
    South Florida
  3. tennisproha macrumors 65816

    Jun 24, 2011
    Is there a reason besides greed why this is limited to only the newest nfc-enabled phones?
  4. BootsWalking macrumors 6502a

    Feb 1, 2014
    According to Apple, background NFC tag reading is a feature that's limited to the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. It is not supported on iPhone X and earlier models.

    Let me guess - it's because the software needs the 5 Billion operations/second Machine Learning chip new to these phones and in no way because Apple wants people to spend another $750+ on a phone.
  5. MRSooner macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2010
  6. madKIR macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2010
    It’s a rhetorical question lol
    The same way all the camera “upgrades” are only software based and already available through 3rd party apps and could’ve been easily implemented on the X as well!
  7. I7guy macrumors P6

    Nov 30, 2013
    Looking at Central Park@550 feet
    These might be the phones that work with the as yet unannounced MTA subway payment system.
  8. travis64 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 18, 2008
    So nintendo can use this like street pass now?
  9. Deimo macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2005
    So can I scan the RFID tag from the key fob to the front door of my apartment and no longer have to carry it?
  10. toph2toast macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2011
    So does that mean they will allow you use a 3rd Party app, and launch it manuallly, to read an NFC tag? Their are apps available in the App Store now but don’t work with the iPhone X. I was hoping they were just anticipate this functionality being available with iOS 12.
  11. Nilhum macrumors regular


    Dec 20, 2016
    Welcome to 2013 Android Apple. Not sure why only the latest phones allow it.
  12. ulyssesric, Sep 12, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018

    ulyssesric macrumors regular


    Oct 7, 2006
    Antenna design, transponder design, and activation trigger design.

    NFC tags can be classified into two different categories. Active, and passive.

    Active tags get battery inside and it will broadcast signals, just like these Bluetooth 4 SE beacons. It's easy to understand.

    A passive NFC tag has no battery. It does not proactively transmit signals, and requires your phone to emit signals with specific defined frequency band and protocol. The internal circuit is "powered" by the electromagnetically inducted current and respond to the signal, but altering the antenna impedance of the tag. And the NFC reader scan for the reflected signal from the NFC tag. This is called "back-shattering".

    The Apple Pay NFC is designed to interact with an active reader, not passive tag. So basically it's a simulated NFC tag device, not a reader device. The power transmission and antenna will hugely affect the shape of radio frequency radiation pattern and effective induction current. It need to be redesigned to fit the spec of passive tag scanner, not something that can be altered by software or some magic spells.

    Because it's not a critical function. Basically there isn't any practical scenario in normal users' daily life that can only be done with NFC passive tag but not QR-codes.

    Active NFC may be used in some scenarios like "touch-pairing" to setup peripheral devices. Sounds smart, but it's actually better doing that via Bluetooth. Active NFC modules is no cheaper then Bluetooth, and unlike Bluetooth, the frequency band of NFC is not entirely identical around the world. Which means you'll need to tweak the frequency for different markets. And sometimes this can not be easily done via software.

    The NFC tag business is never mainstream by all means. It's not that cheap to be disposable, and it can not be attached to metal surface (the one that can fit metallic environment is extremely expensive). In industrial applications we would use reinforced tags embedded on road surface or shelves for autonomous navigation; apparently it's not some attractions for normal consumers.

    Simply put: it's only a gimmick. Not very useful one.
  13. B4U macrumors 68000


    Oct 11, 2012
    Apple might as well use a gun to rob everyone's bank account...
  14. jacjustjac macrumors regular


    Feb 12, 2008
    New York, NY
    No of course not. But they’ll make you buy 5 more generations of iPhone thinking that’ll be the one that will...
  15. AdonisSMU macrumors 603

    Oct 23, 2010
    I guess I don't understand why this is useful.
  16. FelixDerKater Contributor


    Apr 12, 2002
    Nirgendwo in Amerika
  17. ArneK macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2015
    Couldn’t a store use this for payment instead of Apple Pay? They generate an RFID tag that sends a transaction ID to the store app that gets matched with an outstanding payment on my phone. Can be confirmed via FaceTime just like Apple Pay. Or won’t that work?
  18. DCIFRTHS macrumors 6502a


    Jan 25, 2008
    I know nothing about the technology, but this would be a great reason for the new functionality - if it's technically possible. I would only thrust it if Apple, or another reputable company made the supporting software.
  19. BvizioN macrumors 601


    Mar 16, 2012
    Manchester, UK
    Android had this since 2013? Wow!!! That is remarkable!! It truly is ;)
  20. retroneo macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
    Type 1 diabetics know what this is for. It's amazing how Abbott is getting a host of iOS APIs that no other developer is allowed the entitlement key for.
  21. shadowbird423 macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2009
    Chapel Hill
    Can you expand on this? You’ve piqued my curiosity.
  22. JamesBrock macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2011
    Why would they need a gun? Everyone is going to empty their bank accounts willingly.
  23. B4U macrumors 68000


    Oct 11, 2012
    I am the perfect example to prove your statement incorrect.
  24. shareef777 macrumors 68020


    Jul 26, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Huh, my X can't do it, but a 5yo POS Android phone can!? Greediest company on the planet.
  25. mijail macrumors 6502a

    Oct 31, 2010
    Probably you mean "back-scattering"?

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