10 Ways To Use NFC Tags

NFC tag on Chromebook

For the past couple of weeks, I have been using NFC tags (sent to me by MobileFun) as part of my daily life. Since buying my Samsung Galaxy Note II, I’ve been trying to take advantage of all the little perks that come with having a top of the range phone, and NFC is certainly one of them. To begin with, I felt like I was really forcing myself to use them and I wasn’t using them to their full potential, however over the past few days I have noticed that they have considerably shortened the amount of time I waste tweaking things on my phone, leaving me free to do more in my day instead of navigating menus.

NFC What?

I’ll try to refrain from copy and pasting Wikipedia definitions, but I will say that NFC stands for ‘Near Field Communications’. What does that mean? Well, probably a lot of things, but in this case it means you can wave your mobile device in front of one of these little tag stickers, and make it do whatever you command.

8 Ways To Use NFC Tags

  1. Music: Personally, I very rarely leave the house without headphones in my ears. Whether it’s a 2 minute walk to the end of the road or a long trip full of public transport, you can be pretty sure I’ll be listening to music. Having an NFC tag by the door means that I can quickly swipe my phone as I leave, and it starts playing music. You can even select it to play a certain song, playlist or album with any specific music app too.
  2. Profiles: There are many different settings and uses to sound profiles on mobile phones, most of which I don’t take advantage of. However, while I have it on full notification and ringtone volume while outside of the house, vibrate is more than enough when I’m in the house. NFC tags can quickly toggle between sound profiles, meaning you don’t have to trudge through the menus like you usually would.
  3. Wi-Fi: Looking back through the battery use of my phone, most it is spent using Wi-Fi. What makes this so annoying is that I am very rarely home, but having forgot to turn the setting off, it sits there trying to find connections, draining the party. Having an NFC tag in some convenient places, mostly by the front door, means that I can make sure I have turned Wi-Fi off before I leave the house. (Just remember to turn it back on as you come home, otherwise you’ll eat your data accidentally!)
  4. Alarm Clock: This is probably one of the biggest uses I got out of the NFC tags I was using all week. Basically, by having one by your bedside, you can swipe it as you go to sleep, and it will activate a previously set alarm clock. Certainly saves quite a bit of time.
  5. Checking In: You can set the phone to announce your location on Google+, Twitter of Facebook by using a single swipe. Of course, there isn’t a lot of use for the individual user. However, more and more businesses are starting to use this, so that people can tell their friends where they’re eating or shopping.
  6. Marketing: This has been slightly covered in the point above, but there are so many ways companies can market their products through the use of NFC tags. You might have seen that there are now the occasional NFC symbols on bus stop adverts or on posters at the cinema. Just like an bar code that doesn’t require a dedicated application or camera, these can be used to open up web pages, play videos or even enter you into competitions.
  7. Sending files: You can transfer media from one phone to another, provided both devices have NFC and it is enabled. It’s a lot faster than the olden days of bluetooth sharing, and frankly, it looks so much cooler.
  8. Social Networking:  If you’re an avid sharer on social networks, NFC tags can definitely save you a lot of time. You can have it set to immediately bring up a new tweet/status window the second you swipe your phone over it, so if there is one location where you always share content, then this could work great for you. Not for me, but there are definitely some.
  9. Launching Any App: With an NFC tag, you can launch literally any application you have on your phone, be it a utility, social network app or game. I don’t have a specific location where I use an app all the time, however it could be useful at work if you want to quickly swipe to open a calendar or note taking app.
  10. All of the Above: By now it’s hopefully clear that you can use NFC tags to carry out just about any function on your phone. What’s even better, is that most phones and NFC tags can handle multiple operations at once, meaning you can set it to toggle Wi-Fi, play a game, send a tweet and set an alarm all at the same time.

I have certainly enjoyed the last couple of weeks of using NFC tags, and what makes me really excited is the potential that these little tags possess. At the moment, they can really only be used to shorten the amount of time we spend doing tasks we could already accomplish, but it’s clear that in the future these will really catch on, and hopefully will give us opportunities to use our phones in ways that we couldn’t before.

Rob Boyle

Hi there! I'm Rob, writer of most articles around here. I run this website as a way to give my opinions on and alert others to recent events in the world of technology.

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  • Landon Tetreault

    How do you get a tag to play a certain song? I want to do this with Rdio but the only thing i can do is get it to open the app. any suggestions?

    • I haven’t try this, buy it worth giving a shot. you can try tasker app on android to open a particular app and then add song to it. I will try to do it, and if successful will revert back to you.