In lack of information - Google didn't help me - does anyone know about possible new capabilities regarding NFC functionality on iPhone with iOS12?
There were several rumours that iOS12 will have a larger scope for using NFC on iPhone than just Apple Pay.
Background: I'm interested using the iPhone for unlocking our company's door than using those lousy rfid tags. But my interest is not limited on this scenario.

  • 1
    The first thing that comes to mind is that NFC is not compatible with most of the installed RFID access control (prox) readers. To get this compatibility with your phone, it will likely require an upgrade of your infrastructure.
    – Allan
    Jan 18, 2019 at 20:02
  • @Allan this is actually a very interesting point, thanks for sharing. I need to check on this and report it back here.
    – pallox
    Jan 23, 2019 at 16:26

2 Answers 2


Basically two new NFC features were released - however they are only available on select newer phones, so there's not really any change if you have an older phone.

The new features are available on iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR.

Feature 1: Express Card

This makes it possible for the phone to work as a NFC card for stuff like student cards, entry cards, transportation tickets - when the battery is dead! The idea is that even when the phone is shut down due to lack of battery, the phone can still be used as a valid NFC card for approx. 5 hours.

The feature is only available for (few) select cards that are stored in the Wallet.

Feature 2: Background Tag Reading

The phone is now always "listening" for NFC tags. You can read a tag without unlocking your phone, and it will show a small notification that you can activate to go into the app that is registered to handle that type of NFC tag.

Previously you had to open the app first, and then read the tag.

  • Thanks for your info! So you can confirm that those features are not supported by devices lower than iPhone XS? And if available: Could you please add your sources? Thanks buddy!
    – pallox
    Jan 23, 2019 at 16:52
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    Can confirm ofcourse... just check the keynote video of the iPhone XS introduction. Also check the specs pages on Apple.com.
    – jksoegaard
    Jan 23, 2019 at 19:14

CoreNFC framework has been introduced in iOS 11 for detection of NFC tags and reading NDEF info. See Apple dev documentation for more information.


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    This is from iOS 11 - the question was about what was new in iOS 12.
    – jksoegaard
    Jan 18, 2019 at 17:03
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    This: codeworkshop.net/objc-diff/sdkdiffs/ios/12.0/CoreNFC.html The OP referred to NFC scope beyond ApplePay so I assumed that OP did not know about the expanded scope introduced in iOS 11. My fault.
    – Gummibando
    Jan 18, 2019 at 18:52
  • Not all changes are reflected in SDK diffs. But yeah, maybe he didn’t know - but then it’s a different question altogether!
    – jksoegaard
    Jan 18, 2019 at 21:04
  • @Gummibando I exaggerated a bit here for more drama in the question. Thanks for your contribution anyway so that the question get's even more character of a wiki article.
    – pallox
    Jan 23, 2019 at 16:29

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