11

From what I’ve read, I know the iPhone 7 can work as a NFC reader, but I want it to be a NFC Tag. I have a NFC reader (an ID-12 RFID reader) for my house that controls a door. I’d like to be able to put my iPhone up to it and have the NFC reader on my door read my iPhone's Tag and open.

Can an iPhone 7 be made to function an a NFC tag for a regular external NFC/RFID reader?

2
  • 1
    Personally, I'd just glue a disposable NFC tag to the back of the phone.
    – Valorum
    Apr 20 '19 at 21:33
  • So why not use your existing card in Apple Pay, scan in with reader and use its code to open or close the door? I don’t think Apple wallet card info is dynamic and changes from time to time. Jan 24 at 21:19
5

No. iPhone can function only as a NFC reader. It is not possible to use it as a NFC Tag, and read it via some external NFC reader.

NFC is available in iPhone 6/6 Plus/6s/6s Plus/SE and NFC with reader mode is available in iPhone 7 and later.

3
  • Doesn't Apple Pay do card emulation? Perhaps it would even present some kind of ID to other readers also.
    – jpa
    Apr 20 '19 at 18:31
  • @jpa the API (Core NFC) allows only NFC Tag detection and read messages that contain NDEF data. Source: developer.apple.com/documentation/corenfc Apr 20 '19 at 18:46
  • 1
    @jpa Apple Pay/Wallet does support NFC Value Added Services, which is how loyalty cards are implemented. I believe the protocol is fairly complex because it implements encryption to prevent cloning. There is also closed support for NFC campus ID cards, limited to several universities at the moment.
    – user71659
    Apr 21 '19 at 5:37
17

The iPhone is perfectly capable of this, but this is a privilege Apple keeps to themselves.

If you're jailbroken, you can install NFCWriter X and do pretty much everything you've asked for. I haven't personally checked, but I would strongly assume this is the exact same way Apple Pay works as well. So the iPhone is certainly capable of this.

The problem is that apps are not capable of this, because Apple denies them the availability of such an API. The CoreNFC framework only allows reading, and the story has gone so far as that organizations have sought fully third-party access to the iPhone's NFC chip on a legal basis. They were dismissed however, with Apple Pay keeping its uniquely privileged status.

3
  • what's the reason for not opening the HCE capability on iOS? Are there any 3rd party hardware that we can integrate with apps to offer HCE? Sep 27 '19 at 9:28
  • @user1872384 I can only speculate, but I would assume market monopoly. And I'm not really familiar with the NFC market, but from poking around on iOS, I think under current sandboxing rules it should at least be possible to build an HCE dongle and accompanying app - whether that would make it through App Store review is a different question though.
    – Siguza
    Sep 27 '19 at 10:30
  • Yeah, Apple is monetizing access to this feature and selling access to certain hotels, transport locations etc.. I assume it's a private API that might be accessible outside of the app store? Jul 6 at 18:31

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