Unleash the full potential of NFC with iOS 13 and NXP®

Tap into new NFC potential with iOS 13 and NXP IC tag solutions - and let us become part of your NFC implementation.

NFC – the technology that powers Apple Pay® and other smart features for iOS apps got a big upgrade with iOS 13. Announced at the WWDC Conference in June, and unveiled with the new iPhone® 11 series on the 10th of September, it’s now released on the 19th of September. Instead of just allowing iPhone to read NFC tags, apps will now be able to write directly to NFC tags and interact with tags through native protocols.

With this upgrade, Apple’s Core NFC framework now supports NFC tag reading and writing across multiple protocols, including NFC NDEF Tags (for end-user focused content), ISO/IEC 7816 combined with ISO/IEC 14443 (e.g. for passports and ID cards), ISO/IEC 15693 (for vicinity tags, e.g. in the supply chain), MIFARE®, and FeliCa™. That means iPhone will work in more places with more types of tags than before. Enhanced iOS 13 NFC capabilities, running on iPhone 7 and up, can be fully leveraged with NXP’s extensive NFC IC tag portfolio.

NXP, the leading provider of NFC IoT technology solutions, welcomes Apple® in creating a world of innovative services and rich experiences, powered by NFC. Hundreds of millions of iPhone users worldwide can benefit from the convenient ‘tap to interact’ functionality, and businesses can benefit from new marketing opportunities, increased operational efficiencies and rising revenues.

Anticipated NFC Scale Up

We at NXP expect this will further accelerate the momentum behind NFC. Adding iOS 13 users into the total smartphone universe means that 2 billion people worldwide who own a smartphone now also have an NFC reader in their hands to interact with the NFC tags and smart cards around them, as part of smart home, smart business and smart city applications.

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NXP Portfolio for NFC Solutions

As the identification industry’s number-one supplier of semiconductor technology, we have assembled a best-in-class portfolio of NFC tag, label, and card ICs. Our products deliver standout performance for passive, connected, and semi-passive sensing solutions, at different levels of security, so it is easy to find the right fit for any application. We also ensure maximum platform interoperability by successful NFC Forum certification of our NFC tagging ICs and reader ICs. Every day, in every part of the world, billions of people rely on NXP to enable smart, secure interactions and transactions.

To simplify system integration and make application development fast and easy, we also offer a set of free, purpose-built software tools coming this fall – have a look at the “Developer Resources” tab for more details. We are deeply embedded in vertical markets and applications, and can build on an extensive partner network to support complete solutions.

For more information, please talk to your NXP representative or contact us at rfid.info@nxp.com.

Apple, Apple Pay and iPhone are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.

With the release of iOS 13, the iPhone’s NFC capabilities are getting much more powerful. Apple’s Core NFC framework now supports not only tag reading but also writing of NDEF formatted tags, as well as direct access to issue native NFC commands for protocols ISO/IEC 7816 combined with ISO/IEC 14443, ISO/IEC 15693, MIFARE, and FeliCa products. For all practical purposes, this is the full range of NFC protocols for NFC tags and cards deployed today.

What’s new on iOS 13?

Here is what Apple is adding to iOS 13 for NFC in its phones:

  • Writing on an NFC tag using NDEF format (a standardized format used to store and exchange on-tag information like URLs, plain text, etc.)
  • The ability to configure a tag encoded with an NDEF format
  • Access to low-level information of the NFC chip, such as UID and historical bytes
  • Support for the protocols ISO/IEC 7816 combined with ISO/IEC 14443, ISO/IEC 15693, MIFARE®, and FeliCa™, handled by direct access and issuing NFC protocol-based commands to the chip
What’s new on iOS 13?

Using NFC Passive Tags with iOS 13

Our extensive NFC passive tag IC portfolio from the NTAG proximity and ICODE vicinity product families is leading the way in IoT connected objects, with secure edge-to-cloud connectivity. NXP products enable advanced product authentication and anti-counterfeiting, help improve supply chain visibility, and augment direct customer engagements.

Users can now read and write to our NFC Forum-compliant and certified NTAG and ICODE tags. iOS 13 supports the use of advanced security mechanisms which allows to format, configure, and authenticate tags with high-level cryptographic commands, such as tag or mutual authentication. Writing of NDEF and native data on the tag also enables new user-generated content in the field, such as adding one’s personal detail or an inspection date onto a tagged product.

Using NTAG Connected Tags with iOS 13

NXP’s NTAG I2C and NTAG 5 families offer next-generation connected tag solutions for embedded devices, enabling easy parameterization or configuration of devices in the field and on the production line. So, any iPhone user in the field can easily perform these tasks.

Using NTAG SmartSensor with iOS 13

iOS 13 supports NDEF writing, so iPhone users can now configure and start/stop NTAG SmartSensor tags. By using bi-directional communication, it is possible to exchange security credentials: One can control the access to logged data, or mutually authenticate tags with cloud servers. NTAG SmartSensor tags enable state-of-the-art condition monitoring and data logging for sensitive applications such as cold chain monitoring with temperature sensors, therapy compliance with smart blisters, or fill level detection with smart packages.

Using MIFARE with iOS 13

iOS 13 supports MIFARE products to enable innovative Smart City use cases for transport ticketing, access control, micropayment, loyalty programs, and more. With the arrival of iOS 13, it is possible to develop apps that can use the feature set of MIFARE® DESFire®, MIFARE Plus® and MIFARE Ultralight® products. As such developers can create new applications like displaying content on a smart card, mobile ticketing or a personalization client for access management cards, just to name a few.

NXP’s MIFARE DESFire and MIFARE Ultralight products can hold NDEF formatted content and are fully compatible with the NFC Forum Tag Type specifications. NDEF formatted content can enable automatic mobile interactions even without having to launch an app. Reading of business cards, redirection to a specific URL, and pointing to content in the AppStore are new ways on how to interact with customers holding a smart card or ticket based on these MIFARE ICs.

Supporting Tools

NXP supports its customers and app developers with a wide variety of tools to facilitate the development of iOS apps that can interact with NFC NDEF tags and MIFARE product-based smart cards:

  • TagInfo: App to show tag details
    • To show NDEF contents, and its low-level protocol information for Type 4 tags
    • Available in September 2019*
  • TagWriter: App to read/write NFC Forum type tags
    • To read/write NDEF tags, erase/format NFC-compliant tags
    • Available in September 2019*
  • NTAG SmartSensor: Software development kit (SDK) with example firmware and source code for iOS13 apps
    • SDK 12.2 will contain sources for a first NDEF-write example app. Release date: September 2019*
    • SDK 12.3 contains sources for all iOS demonstration apps. Release date: November 2019*

*Release date may change due to the App Store release process.

Contact our NFC experts and engage with other app developers in our NFC Community.