Near-field communication (NFC) will receive a major upgrade when Apple releases iOS 13 this fall. While only iPhone apps were previously able to read NFC tags, the upgrade will allow apps to write directly to blank tags, as well as interact with tags through native protocols.
Once iOS 13 is available on iPhone models 7 and up, users can read a variety of contactless smart cards and tags, including NFC-enabled passports and other government IDs. In fact, the Japanese government is planning to add support for NFC tag-reading to the country’s national ID (the Individual Number Card), while the U.K.’s NFC passport-reader app will work on the iPhone after the updates.
“This announcement means that ReadID will also work on iPhones, using the embedded internal NFC capability,” the company said, according to reports. “Needless to say, we are very excited about this. We’re convinced this will have a major impact on the online use cases, such as mobile onboarding for banks, especially for countries with a high iPhone penetration.”
In addition, iOS apps will be able to write to NFC tags, and place a lock so it can’t be written to again if needed. The core NFC framework will also support tag-reading and -writing beyond the NFC NDEF Tag to include Mifare, FeliCa, ISO 7816 and ISO 15693.
Last month, Apple revealed that it is teaming up with partners, such as Bird scooters and the Bonobos clothing store, for a new function, which will offer special NFC tags that can trigger purchases with Apple Pay without the need for a special app. iPhones will be able to read the tag that is specially encoded to display an interface for an Apple Pay purchase when someone holds a device near it. This does not require any third-party apps or additional setups.
With Bird, for instance, customers must currently download the company’s app and find a nearby scooter before scanning a quick-response (QR) code. However, with the new implementation, customers can simply tap their phones and begin their trips.