Getting started with NFC tags | What the Tech?

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (WHAT THE TECH?) — A previous What the Tech showed you how NFC tags can help with so many aspects of your lives just by scanning them with your smartphone. But how do you set them up?

NFC tags are plastic discs or tags that can start timers, play music, send notifications, and more just by tapping your phone on them. 

To get started, you’ll need the discs of course. Some pacts of 50 can be bought for just $15.  

Here’s how to get them to do what you want them to do:

On iPhones, use the Shortcuts app. There are starter shortcuts and a gallery of ideas. 

For this example, we’ll choose “Share Home ETA,” that will send a message to family members when leaving work. You can use that shortcut with Siri. 

To program the NFC tag, choose Automate and scroll down to “NFC.” You’ll program the tag by tapping it with your phone. It’ll then ask what you want it to do, and you’ll need to find the “Send ETA” shortcut you just set up.

That’s it. Whenever you tap the NFC tag, it triggers the shortcut to send my ETA to my family.

You can add a string of commands. For example, one turns on the lights in an office and shuffles a music playlist. You can tap it at the door when you get home, and those things are set in motion.

For Android devices, we suggest using an app called “NFC Tools.” 

But can the tags really make some tasks easier? 

They can, but for complicated tasks it can be complicated and maddening to get the discs to do what you want them to do. It’s probably easier to ask Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant to do them for us. 

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