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Apple iPhone Xr NFC

Apple iPhone Xr NFC. Image : Apple

Does the Apple iPhone Xr have NFC ?

Yes. This phone normally has NFC functionality.

How do you turn on NFC on the Apple iPhone Xr ?

The NFC function is always on. There's no on/off setting.

Can the iPhone Xr scan NFC Tags ?

Yes. The iPhone XS, XS Max and XR are the first generation of iPhones to support native NFC tag reading. This means that the iPhone XS does not need an additional NFC App to be installed 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 on the iPhone Xr.

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

With iOS 11, the iPhone Xr'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 Xr can now 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 Xr 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 Xr, 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 iPhone Xr and future generations of the iPhone.

Can the iPhone Xr write/encode NFC tags ?

Yes, providing the latest iOS 13 is installed.

With iOS 13, Apple have added the functionality required to both encode and lock NFC tags. Prior to iOS 13, the iPhone Xr 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 tutorial on youtube.

Which NFC tags can be used with the Apple iPhone Xr ?

The iPhone Xr 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 Xr 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 line the iPhone Xr up.

Where is the NFC antenna on the iPhone Xr ?

The NFC antenna on the iPhone Xr is located on the top edge.

NFC Tags For The Apple iPhone Xr

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.

NFC Chip Compatible
NTAG210µYes
NTAG210Yes
NTAG213Yes
NTAG215Yes
NTAG216Yes
NTAG424 DNAYes
NTAG413 DNAYes
MIFARE Ultralight® EV1Yes
ICODE SLIXYes

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.

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