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Can iPhone Scan RFID Tag?

With the latest iOS 14 operating system, you can read NFC tags natively with the in-built reader. iPhones can read RFID because there is an RFID dongle that is compatible with iOS devices. iPhones can scan RFID tags because they are NFC enabled. So, how does this work?

NFC-enabled phones only read NFC and passive high-frequency RFID (HF RFID). However, these must be read at an extremely close range. For a longer range, you must use an external reader for handling them with mobile devices. NFC tag scanning is only available on the iPhone 7 model and newer models. iPhone XS, XR, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, 13, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max, and Mini support native NFC tag reading. The above iPhones will scan a wide variety of NFC tags including NFC Forum Type 2 tags.

For the above iPhone models, the iPhone must be running on iOS 11 operating software or later and the NFC tag must be pre-encoded with a web link. Therefore, the phone will not respond at all if the NFC tag is not encoded. With an appropriate app, iPhones operating on iOS 13 software can also write to NFC tags.

With an iPhone 7, 8, or X model reading NFC tags will depend on your version of the operating system. If you have the latest iOS 14 operating system, you can read NFC tags natively with the in-built reader. Open the Control Centre, turn on NFC scan mode, and hold the top edge of the phone over the tag to scan. iPhone 7, 8, and X cannot read NFC tags natively if they are operating with iOS 13 or earlier software. An additional app is required for these iPhones to read NFC tags. Any other model from iPhone 6 unfortunately, you don’t have the technical ability to read NFC tags.

Within the main memory space, iPhones can read NFC tags properly encoded messages. The iPhone (7, 8, X, Xs, Xr, 11, 12, and 13) can also read the tag’s UID (unique ID), encode tags, and perform additional tag functions only with the latest operating system iOS 13 as well as the newest operating system iOS15.

When scanning an NFC tag, you hold the top area of your phone over an NFC tag within a few centimeters. Afterward, you’ll see the contents of the tag and you’re able to launch if desired. If you scan tags regularly, you’ll need to change the NFC settings to ‘Auto Scan on App Launch’ which will automatically scan an NFC tag without you needing to tell the App that you’re about to scan. The other option ‘Auto Launch Tag Actions’ means that the App will automatically carry out an action associated with the tag’s contents. Therefore, if the tag contained a URL or web address, then the auto launch will open a browser on your phone and display that without you taking any action.


You can scan multiple RFID tags in a single pass using any iPhone model from iPhone 7.

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