iOS 11 will Unlock iPhone’s NFC Chip for Expanded Compatibility

iOS 11 will “open” iPhone’s NFC chip a bit and it will be no longer limited only to Apple Pay. Here’s how you can use this upcoming feature.

Apple Unlocks iPhone’s NFC Chip

Apple does not allow 3rd-party apps or devices to access the NFC chip, although it is possible to do so. This is about to change with the release of iOS 11 firmware.

At the WWDC 2017, Apple introduced Core NFC, a framework that allows iPhone to detect NFC tags and read messages that contain NDEF data.

ios 11 nfc

Third-party developers can now access the NFC chip under a given set of conditions. As expected, Apple will not allow you to write or program an NFC tag, a feature which is already available on many Android smartphones.

iPhone will remain limited to reading an NFC tag. You will be able to read information about the product containing the RFID chip. All you need to is approach the tag with your iPhone, that’s it.

This limited access does have a minor downside – the only supported format is NDEF (NFC Data Exchange Format). The list of qualifying devices is quite short and currently, only 2 devices will be compatible.

Compatibility 

  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 plus
  • iPhone 8 (upcoming)

WISeKey Announces Support for Core NFC

WISeKey is one of the first companies that are working with Apple’s Core NFC framework. They manufacture Capseal tags found in wines, cosmetics, and other high-end luxury products for tracking and protection purposes.

iPhone users can scan these tags with their smartphones and electronically transfer information about the product.

wisekey ios 11

Here are a few use cases –

  • Access the nutritional value of items in departmental stores.
  • Read the data belonging to a bottle of wine.
  • Access important data about a painting in a museum or exhibition.

WISeKey is known for its security and it makes use of the VaultIC154 secure element. It offers the same level of protection as electronic passports do.

Will iOS 11 allow me to scan my Credit Card?

The answer is no, of course. Apple’s systems are known for their enterprise-grade security so they will never fully unlock the NFC chip.

If you already have Apple Pay in your country, there’s no good reason why you would be scanning your credit card.

If you are not an Apple Pay user, you can use NFCWriter Cydia tweak by developer Elias Limneos. However, to use this you must have a jailbroken device running iOS 10-10.2

apple pay nfc

NFCWriter will fully unlock your NFC chip. This will allow you to perform actions that will never be available on the stock iOS operating system.

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