So what is NFC? NFC stands for “no one is using this” – but let Techjaja change that. Most smartphones nowadays come with NFC (near field communication) capabilities but I can bet my dimes that you have never used it ever since you got that phone and it is a few power-users who takes advantage of it, while the casual user is probably, I don’t know, milling around acting all casual-like. Android users can use NFC with no limitations, but for iPhone users the NFC chip in your phone (iPhone 6/6s and above) has been confined to a few functionalities. Here are 7 Things you can do with NFC on your smartphone.

Lets first enable and use NFC

First things first, you must know if your device has support for NFC. If you go to Settings > Wireless & networks and you see NFC listed, then your device can use it. Enable it from the same menu. It should be noted that for an NFC transfer to work, both your device and the sender/receiver’s device must have NFC enabled (well, not so obvious for everyone). In order to use NFC, just bring two NFC-enabled devices at a near distance, or select Android Beam in the Share options when sharing a file. If the devices become separated at some point it will ask you to bring them together again.

1. You can share contacts

We know most people share contacts via WhatsApp, but most never knew that this is also possible via NFC. But did you know that NFC is the simplest way to give a person your digits because you don’t actually have to type any digits? To do this, just navigate to a contact in your address book (it can be your own or somebody else’s), then press your phone to the recipient’s and when your phone says “touch to beam”, tap the display.

When is it useful?
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When you’re too high to type numbers.

2. You can send a photo

WhatsApp or Bluetooth aren’t the only ways to quickly send somebody a lewd picture, you can also use NFC. Open the picture you wish to send in your preferred image viewer, then bring the phones together.

When is it useful?

When you’re next to somebody who wants a picture you have.

3. Send a document

This can be a slightly tricky process. If you try to send a PDF document while viewing it, for example, it will more than likely beam the PDF viewing app, rather than the PDF file itself.

So in this case, you must use Android Beam. Navigate to the file you want to share, tap the three tops (hamburger) icon, tap Share, then select Android Beam. You are now clear to bring the devices together.

When is it useful?

When you want to send your friend some coursework in a pdf file.

NFC share photos

4. Direct someone to your new favorite app

“Yo, that weather app looks great, what is it?” Just let me press my phone on yours and you’ll find out. Yes, with NFC you can direct Androiders straight to the Play Store to pick up your favorite apps or games. As long as you are using the app or game at the time, NFC will direct the recipient to the app’s Google Play page.

When is it useful?

When somebody sees you playing a cool game action or racing game and wants to get in on the action.

5. Send directions

There are many occasions when you are required to explain directions to somebody, but with NFC you don’t have to. Use Google Maps to create some directions, then slap your phone against another. Beautiful.

When is it useful?

Well, it’s not useful when you are directing someone to your location. They would already need to be next to you to complete the transfer…

6. You can launch an app on someone else’s phone

If you are using an app or playing a game that is already installed on someone else device, you can launch it for them. Say you are using Google Photos and your friend wants to check their photos too, but cause they have too many apps they can’t find that app: tap the phones together and beam.

When is it useful?

Okay, the use cases for this are quite limited, it’s more for fun than anything else. Unless a person has like a hundreds of apps and really can’t find the one they need and you can.


7. Make a payment

NFC can also be used to make mobile payments and this is mainly done in the west, however here we have already heard of mobile money payments and transactions via NFC coming soon to most carriers in Africa. Airtel Ghana already has such a solution running.

When is it useful?

When you’re out of hard cash.

Final thoughts

NFC is great for when you’re out of data, out of 3G or LTE data, have no Wi-Fi or carrier signal, or don’t have a cable to do a PC transfer. It’s quick, easy, and bumping two phones together is fun.

Give me your favorite uses for NFC in the comments.