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iPhones now read and write to NFC tags, starting with iOS13.

Starting with iOS13, iPhones 7 and newer can read and write NFC tags. With this new feature, iPhones apps can write NDEF information such as URLs and text.

iPhones also enjoy native tag access to take advantage of features available on different NFC chips. This means that developers can create applications to access functionality beyond the basics offered by the NDEF standard.

iPhones (7 and newer) installed with an earlier OS (iOS12 or older) can only read NFC tags. This is summarized in the table below:

iPhone Model iPhone XR, XS, XS Max iPhone 7, 8, X iPhone 6 and older
OS iOS12 iOS11 or iOS 12 (doesn’t matter)
Writes NFC Tags? NO NO NO
Reads NFC Tags? YES YES NO
NDEF Record Type

  • URI (see below)
No app needed

(a.k.a. Background reading)

App required
  • Text Records
  • Contact Info (vCard)
  • Bluetooth, WiFi Pairing
  • Access to Geolocation
App required App required

Below are the URI messages that can be read .

URL Scheme Example
SMS sms:+14085551212
Telephone tel:+14085551212
FaceTime facetime://
FaceTime Audio facetime-audio://
HomeKit Accessory Setup X-HM://12345

For more information, please refer to the CoreNFC documentation by Apple.

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