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Apple iPhone 12 Pro NFC

Image of Apple iPhone 12 Pro
Apple iPhone 12 Pro NFC. Image : Apple

Does the Apple iPhone 12 Pro have NFC ?

Yes. This phone normally has NFC functionality.

Can the iPhone 12 Pro scan NFC Tags ?

Yes. The iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 mini are the third generation of iPhones to support native NFC tag reading. The earlier generations, the XS, XS Max, XR, 11 and 11 Pro were the first iPhones to be able to read NFC tags and the iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 mini continue this functionality. This means that the iPhone 12 Pro does not need an additional NFC App to be installed or opened to read NFC tags. This has been called 'background tag scanning' and means that a simple tap/scan of an NFC tag will automatically trigger NFC tag reading.

To find out how to scan tags, read our tutorial on how to read NFC tags with an iPhone 12.

With iOS 11, the iPhone 12 Pro's reading ability is limited to just the main memory section of the tag which is commonly referred to as the 'NDEF' memory space. For example, the phone can read the URL/web address stored on an NFC tag. It cannot read from other memory locations on the tag such as the tag's UID (unique ID). It also cannot interact with the tag to access other features such as reading the tag scan counter.

However, with the latest release of iOS 13, Apple changed this and added most of the missing functionality. With iOS 13, the iPhone 12 Pro can read the UID of the tags and interact using more advanced methods. Essentially, the functionality is now the same with the latest iOS 13 on the iPhone 12 Pro as it is with Android phones.

Note that the additional functionality added with iOS 13 also applies to previous generations of the iPhone. However, unlike the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 7, 8 and X don't have background tag scanning and still require an App to scan NFC tags. Seritag understand that this requirement is not likely to change and 'native' tag scanning will only be available on the XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, 12, 12 Pro and future generations of the iPhone.

Note that your NFC tags need to be encoded with data, such as a web address (URL), before they will scan. The iPhone will not normally respond to tags without encoding.

Not sure what an NFC tag is ? Read our article on What is an NFC Tag.

Can the iPhone 12 Pro write and encode NFC tags ?

Yes, providing the latest iOS 14 (or iOS 13) is installed.

With iOS 14, Apple have added the functionality required to both write and lock NFC tags. Prior to iOS 13, the iPhone 12 Pro could only read NFC tags.

Seritag have put together a quick step by step tutorial on encoding NFC tags with an iPhone. You can also watch our 90 second encoding NFC tags with an iPhone 12 tutorial on youtube.

Which NFC tags can be used with the Apple iPhone 12 Pro ?

The iPhone 12 Pro can read all standard NFC chips including the popular NTAG series and iCode SLIX tags. As with Android, Seritag recommended avoiding the larger memory NTAG216 chips.

The iPhone 12 Pro has a relatively small and focused NFC antenna. As a result, many users have commented that scan performance with some of the smaller NFC tags is not great. Conversely, the use of very large tags (credit card size for example) can result in very poor or failed performance. Seritag recommend the use of standard 20-40mm tags for the most reliable and consistent performance. However, also bear in mind positioning of the tags. Avoid placing too much material and distance between the tag and the user. Try and ensure that the hotspot is clearly indicated so the user can position the iPhone 12 Pro correctly to read the tag.

Where is the NFC antenna on the iPhone 12 Pro ?

The NFC antenna on the iPhone 12 Pro is located on the top edge.

image showing location of NFC hotspot on an iphone 12
iPhone iPhone 12 Pro NFC Hotspot

NFC Tags For The Apple iPhone 12 Pro

The table below illustrates the available NFC tags and their compatibility with your phone. As phone specifications can change without notice and also vary from region to region, we strongly advise testing tags before any purchase.

Manufacturer NFC Chip Compatible
NXPNTAG216 (Not Recommended)Yes
NXPMIFARE Ultralight® EV1Yes
STST25TN01K (TN01K)Yes
STST25TN512 (TN512)Yes

Note for iPhone users: The ICODE SLIX and ICODE SLIX2 tags need to have already been encoded (have NDEF data) before some iPhone Apps will be able to encode them. We suggest using the NFC Tools app with these chips for encoding or ask Seritag to encode something onto the tags without locking.

How much memory do I need ?

Depending on what information you need to store on your NFC tags, you will have different memory requirements. NFC Tags have a very limited memory so getting a tag that will store everything you need is important. Seritag have put together some information on how much memory you will need in your NFC Tag.

NFC & QR Code Management
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