Fun With NFC: Automating Actions On Your Android Device With NFC Tags [How-To]
NFC (Near Field Communication) may have taken its sweet time to become a common feature in Android phones, but it is finally here. Nearly every Android device released in the last year has NFC as a standard feature. It is much more useful than you think and it is made to be.
NFC is generally associated with transferring files between Android devices and for making payments at any shop by just a simple tap or bump of your phone, at least in the United States. However, with the help of NFC tags, you can automate a lot of tasks that you do daily on your phone.
Here is how you can have some fun with NFC tags and your NFC equipped Android device.
Before you start automating tasks with NFC, you will need to get your hands on some NFC tags. These tags are pretty cheap; a bunch of them can be purchased for as little as $4.99. They come in various shapes and sizes, including stickers and key chains that make them more useful. NFC tags can be purchased from here or here. You can also purchase TecTiles NFC tags sold by Samsung from your local retail stores, but keep in mind that they are overpriced and offer no extra benefits.
Once the NFC tags have arrived, head over to the Play Store and download NFC Task Launcher. The app will allow you to write directly to the NFC tags that you have purchased.
1. The purchased tags are pre-formatted before they are shipped to you. Even then, just to be on the safe side, we will erase the tag before writing a task to it. To erase a tag, start NFC Task Launcher, tap the 3-dots button on the top-right and then select the Erase tag option. Now, touch the NFC tag at the back of your device. If detected, you will hear a beep and NFC Task Launcher will display a Tag written successfully message.
2. By default, NFC Task Launcher comes with a bunch of example tasks that you can simply customise a bit and directly write to an NFC tag. The example tasks are more than enough for a novice user to get started with NFC. For example, you can select the Car task under Location Profiles and then specify which application you want to open, and whether you want to turn Bluetooth On/Off or toggle it.
3. You can even create a Switch Task that will automatically switch off Bluetooth and close the specified app when you again touch the NFC tag with your phone. To create a Switch Task, swipe to the right from the Task 1 screen. Tap the Add a Task button, and select the +New Task option. Assign the tag a name, and then specify the action you want to do by using the Add actions option.
Once you have customised the task according to your liking, tap the Save & Write option at the top-right. Now, touch the empty NFC tag at the back of your phone. Once NFC Tag Launcher has written the task you will hear a beep sound and get a Tag written successfully message. Do not select the Make tag read-only option before you write a task to the tag. Doing so will make the NFC tag read-only which means you cannot erase it sometime in the future and write another task to it.
The NFC tag will only trigger the tasks on Android phones that have the NFC Task Launcher app pre-installed. If the app is not installed, the tag will simply be detected under the My Tags application.
There are a lot of other example tasks in NFC Task Launcher that you can customize to your liking. You can even create your own tasks from the My Tasks tab of the app and even write a Tasker task that can automate a lot of stuffs for you.