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printed October 23, 2017
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iOS 11 to Let Developers Access the iPhone 7's NFC Radio

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Jun 5, 2017, 5:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Apple is about to let iPhone owners use their handsets' NFC radios for more than just Apple Pay. Apple today introduced the CoreNFC API, which will permit the iPhone's NFC radio to detect NFC tags and read the information contained therein. Though several iPhone models include NFC radios (6, 6 Plus 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus), functionality is restricted to Apple Pay. The new API gives developers access to the NFC radio so their own apps "can read tags to give users more information about their physical environment and the real-world objects in it. For example, your app might give users information about products they find in a store or exhibits they visit in a museum." Based on the documentation published on Apple's developer web site, only the iPhone 7 and Phone 7 Plus will gain the ability to interact with external NFC tags. Android devices have long been able to use NFC radios and tags for varying purposes. The CoreNFC API is part of iOS 11, which dictates that the expanded NFC functionality for the iPhone 7/7 Plus won't arrive until later this year when Apple releases the final version of iOS 11.

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