New NFC functions on the way in iOS 11

Apple Pay

When iOS 11 launches later this year, iPhone owners can enjoy more options when it comes to near-field communication (NFC). NFC is already used on the iPhone for contactless payment with Apple Pay. Apple has opened up the system to developers with the release of Core NFC, which will allow apps to detect and read NFC tags.

The WISeKey CapSeal NFC smart tag has already been announced with iOS 11 support. The technology makes it possible to authenticate an expensive bottle of wine, for example, by reading the data in the cap. The NFC tag can then detect whether a bottle has been opened or not. Radio-Frequency IDentification (RFID) tags can be used for a variety of purposes, and attached to almost any object.

iOS developers can use Core NFC to read type 1 through 5 tags, which store data in the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF). Watch OS 4 even makes it possible to connect the Apple Watch via NFC for applications beyond Apple Pay. One example would be transferring heart rate data to Apple Watch from a piece of gym equipment during a workout.

When iOS 11 is released later this fall, the iPhone 7 and later will be supported by Core NFC. Although NFC and Apple Pay are available on the iPhone 6 and later, older devices will not gain support for third-party NFC applications.