Apple extends NFC features on iOS13

Apple extends NFC features on iOS13

Again in June every year, Apple continues to announce changes from their software.
As we know since Apple supported NFC on iPhone, they have gradually added features to it but are very quiet : D over the past few years, and support the development of NFC and Connected Things in general. Apple started supporting NFC payments for Apple Pay and expanded the feature a bit to support reading NFC tags without a 3rd application.
NFC on iPhone before has some limitations:

  • Only support reading NFC tags, not recording.
  • Only support the reading of NDEF format (NFC forum format)
  • No access to ID of NFC chip (NFC UID)
  • An application needs to use NFC tags on iPhone models before XS and XR
  • NFC card reader feature only from iPhone 7 later
  • Do not allow access to specific NFC chip protocols, can not directly use application protocol commands (APDU).
  • There is no access to other NFC modes such as peer card simulation (p2p) or tag simulation (tag emulation)
  • Do not access special features of NFC chip such as: lock, mirroring, counter, authentication, …

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These restrictions have a negative impact on the use of NFC with the iPhone, which has inhibited the development of Connected Things in general.

  • Asking users to download another third-party application is also contrary to the premise of Connected Things (which touches a third-party application), making it more difficult to use.
  • Or not having access to UID will make it harder and more expensive to implement a security card to prevent counterfeiting.
  • Or the inability to interact, ticket, identity system (these systems tend to not use NDEF).
  • Basically, by limiting the NFC functionality to newer iPhone models, some significant consumers don't have access to technology.

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As soon as Apple began adding NFC functionality to the iPhone, the NFC and Connected Things markets saw rapid growth at the same time.
Apple is expanding the NFC feature even more with iOS 13. In the speech at WWDC, the two people displayed exchanged music files via NFC by touching their phones. The funny thing is that Google and Samsung have performed many years ago with Android Beam, and have been dropped recently, and Apple is playing again. :).

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In addition, WWDC's checkin information used NFC for tickets on the iPhone, while in the previous years they used barcodes. This shows that Apple is committed to using NFC across their product ecosystem as basic technology : D (what they previously thought was unnecessary when other phone companies have used NFC as a basic feature for years).
This iOS13 has the following features added by Apple

  • Added support to write a message in NDEF format. This is quite interesting because end users usually do not write anything on their card. This is done with the NFC NDEFtag protocol, which seems to be the general protocol for handling all NDEF functions on different types of cards.
  • The ability to permanently lock encrypted NFC tags with NDEF newsletters. processed with writeLock () function.
  • Direct access to NFC commands for Felica protocols (NFC protocol is commonly used in Japan), ISO 15693 (SLI-X), ISO 7816 (Type 2, NTAG), and Mifare (Ultralight, Plus, DESFire) ). For all practical purposes, this is almost the entire protocol for NFC tags being deployed at this time. This allows direct access to NFC chips with more advanced functions.
  • Currently the NFC UID chip can be accessed, although a bit confusing. If you only read NDEF, you can use the NFC NDEFtag protocol, but if you want the UID you must use a specific protocol (ie with the programmer, you must add a step to determine the type of card and select the appropriate protocol well suited ). Note that they (Apple) call this a specific hardware identifier of the tag.
  • All special NFC features have been activated (like mirroring, counters, authentication). Once again the processing is through direct ordering to the NFC chip based on the same protocol as above.
  • Additional improvements for Apple Pay for NFC, as we can know is the new Apple (Apple Card) card, and the NFC tag in the box ("NFC in the box" as NFC tags used in some external services. like renting a bike).
  • The ability to launch shortcuts via NFC tags, or shortcuts is also a new feature of iOS and not a separate application. This is quite attractive because it is the iPhone platform without installing the 3rd NFC application to read the card. This is an upgrade for older iPhone models.
  • Additional support for NFC pairing (p2p) In demos, they transfer movies and music 2 times from the phone. It sounds familiar : D … it's like Android Beam.

Summarize a little for you about the unsupported things

  • Some NFC modes such as host card emulation (HCE) are not supported yet, this is not surprising because it will allow applications to create payment-related services and be able to compete with Apple Pay. : p (you don't dream)
  • No direct access to NFC security, maybe this never happened.

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In addition, we do not know which features will be available on any device, because traditionally, the good features will often be cut off on older phones. For example iPhone 6, 7, 8 are still too many users.
Moreover, the feature is a native feature, which needs a third party to do it. The more NFC features, the easier it will be for consumers and promote development in general. But generally it will be very promising for the NFC and Connected Things market.

Source: Apple WWDC, Twitter, Gototags


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