How to Program NFC Tags– Android and iOS

Learning how to program NFC tags is crucial if you’re to enjoy optimal NFC benefits. Luckily, the NFC programming process is pretty simple, and by the end of this article, you’ll be able to do it without much hassle!

But first things first: where do you buy NFC tags, and what are they?

What are NFC Tags?

NFC stands for Near Field Communication. This technology allows two NFC-enabled devices to exchange information when they are close (usually 4 inches apart).

If you want to get the best out of technology, you will need an NFC tag. These tags contain a microchip that stores data. Programming this tag means writing the data on a blank NFC tag.

Are you wondering where you can get the tags? Well, these tags are available in both online and offline stores. You can order it online, and you’ll have it in a few days! Let’s now delve into how to program the tags once you acquire them.

What is NFC Tag Programming?

NFC is one of the most useful features for android and iOS phones. However, you must write on your NFC tags to tap the benefits. So, what exactly is NFC tag programming?

This is an exercise where you write on an NFC tag to perform specific tasks you desire. For example, you can program the tag to share Wi-Fi passwords fast, switch on/off your lights, and identify counterfeit products. 

Additionally, tag programming will enable you to delete data from a tag or update it. This way, you will always have current data on your tags, which makes it highly flexible.

Requirements of NFC Programming – What You Will Need

If you’re to program your NFC tags successfully, there are specific requirements that you must meet. You must have the following:

  • A Blank NFC Tag. This is a chip that will store your data. They are affordable and readily available in online stores.
  • NFC-Compatible Device. Modern Android/iOS devices have incorporated NFC technology. If you are wondering how to check whether your phone is NFC-enabled, you should go to Settings>Wireless and Networks>More. If your phone is enabled, you will find the option. If the option is not there, then your phone is not NFC-enabled.
  • An NFC Programming Application. There are various apps that you can use to write your NFC tags. Most of them are free on Google Play Store. The most common ones include NFC Tools, NFC Writer by NXP, and NFC Writer by Trigger. 

When you have all these requirements, you should be able to write your NFC tag android/iOS within 5 minutes. 

NFC Programming for an Android Device

Programming an NFC tag means writing commands that will enable you to perform various activities using the tag. To achieve this, you should follow the following steps:

Preparation for Writing the NFC Tag

  • Turn On NFC on Your Android Device. To switch on your NFC, you should visit settings>Bluetooth & Connections> Connection Preferences> NFC> Toggle and click ON. In some devices, you may get the NFC settings under the “Network and Sharing” option (the location of NFC may vary from one device to another).
  • Install an NFC Tag Writing Application. After turning on your NFC, you should head to the Google Play Store and install your ideal NFC tag writer app. Some of the most commonly used apps are listed above (for this article, we will use NFC Writer by Trigger).
  • Launch the Trigger App. After the installation is complete, you’ll be prompted to launch it. Press YES. This will open the app, enabling you to continue with tag writing. Click on the positive (+) sign located on the extreme bottom right of your phone’s screen. This action will create a new task, which is the initial stage of writing the NFC tag.

Program the NFC Tag Writer Application (Trigger)

  • Open the Trigger App. On the Trigger text screen, you’ll be prompted to tap on your ideal option. Choose NFC since you want to act on the tag.
  • Configure NFC Task. On this screen, it will just display a text advising on how you can create your task. Click on NEXT.
  • Add Restrictions. When the next screen opens, you will be required to add restrictions to determine when the NFC tag works upon tapping. For example, you can exclude functionality when Bluetooth is off/on or when airplane mode is off/on. Once you choose your restrictions, click on NEXT. 
  • Add an Action. At this stage, you will be required to add the NFC tag action. For example, “if door is closed open, otherwise; close.” You can also write any URL or any other information you need to store on the tag. Once you’re through, click on DONE, and then tap NEXT. Also, you can choose an action from the list displayed. For example, when you select Bluetooth, the tag will switch on/off the Bluetooth when tapped. 
  • Customize Your Actions. On the next screen, you will customize your action, making it easy to personalize the NFC’s activities. You can use the plus (+) sign to add new tasks. Once you’re through, press NEXT. 

Write the Data on Your NFC Tag

At this stage, the actual writing of the NFC tag begins. It is the most critical part, and you must get it right. Follow these steps:

  • Write Your Blank NFC Tag. At this stage, you should ensure that you place the NFC tag near your phone’s NFC location (the location differs from one device to the next, but it mostly around the rear camera location). You can place your tag on a flat surface and place the phone slightly over it. 
  • Complete the Process. Once your actions are written on the NFC tag, you’ll get a message indicating that the NFC programming process was successful. 

When you complete this process, you will perform the specific action by simply tapping on your phone! 

If you choose any other NFC writing application, the procedure remains the same. You should launch the app and follow the prompts. It can either request you to ADD an action or to WRITE. Whichever prompt you get, write the information you need the NFC tag to implement. 

Simple Steps to Erase an NFC Tag

NFC tags are highly flexible. You’ll have the option to write, delete, and re-write information on them. If you want to erase information/commands, you should follow the following steps:

  • Launch your Trigger application and then toggle on the NFC option to enable it.
  • In the top left corner, you’ll find three dots. Click on them—select Other NFC Actions. 
  • Select erase tag on the following screen and place your phone over the tag.

You’ll immediately get a message confirming that you’ve deleted the tag’s data. This function is crucial since it guarantees flexibility. You can use one tag for different tasks over time.

NFC Programming for an iPhone

If you’re wondering how you can automate your iPhone with NFC tags, then follow these simple guidelines.

NFC Tag Writing for iPhone – Requirements

  • An iPhone 7 or newer version 
  • iOS 13 or newer
  • Blank NFC tag 
  • NFC tag writing app

First, you need to install an NFC tag writing app from Apple Store. You can use NFC Tools or NFC writer by Trigger. In this guide, we will use NFC Tools.

  • After the installation, ensure that you open the NFC tool application. You’ll be prompted to select WRITE. Click on it. 
  • On the next screen, you’ll be prompted to create a record. Click on it to enter the data you need to write on your NFC tag. 
  • Add your record. There is a myriad of records you can add depending on your needs. For example, you can add a website’s URL, a command (If the Wi-Fi is off/turn it on, otherwise, turn it off), or any other information you want to store in your NFC tag.
  • Confirm Your Data. Once you confirm that you’ve included every piece of information you need, it’s time to write your NFC tag.
  • Prepare the NFC Tag. Once you confirm, you should place your blank NFC tag on your iPhone’s NFC chip location. You should then click on WRITE. 
  • Process Complete! You’ll get a prompt telling you that writing was successful. 

Once you complete the process, you’ll be able to scan the NFC tag using your NFC-enabled iPhone and execute actions without any struggle.

You can place the NFC tag in an easily accessible location for convenience. For example, a tag for starting your desktop should be placed on your working desk, while switching on/off lights should be placed close to the exit door. 

Additionally, it is essential to note that you will need a blank NFC tag for every activity you want to automate. 

How to Erase NFC Tag using iPhone

If you no longer need to automate an activity, you can erase the information and write different details. This flexibility makes the use of NFC economical and flexible. 

To erase an NFC tag, you will choose ERASE TAG from the main menu. Once you access the tab, you should place the NFC tag in the same location as when writing it. 

Once the tag is in the right location (NFC chip location), press ERASE TAG. You’ll get a prompt informing you that the erasing process was a success. 

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