Apple NFC: No support for tags or pairing?

Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
NO TAGS? Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sport NFC hardware but iOS 8 may not support tag reading or writing

An examination of the preview version of iOS 8 shows that there is currently no support in the operating system for NFC tag reading/writing and pairing, according to tag specialist RapidNFC.

“As of the current software release, there isn’t any support for general access to the NFC controller,” RapidNFC’s Phil Coote told NFC World+ after examining the Gold Master version of iOS that was released to developers yesterday. “Clearly, this is a little odd because it might mean that pairing is not supported. However, being able, for example, to read and encode NFC tags is not an option at the moment.”

NFC World+ asked Apple yesterday for confirmation that the new iPhones will support open NFC but has yet to receive a reply.

The inclusion of NFC in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch is a landmark event for the NFC industry, with phones from all the world’s major manufacturers now supporting the technology.

It had been assumed that with Apple’s adoption of NFC advertisers, marketers, makers of consumer electronics and more would all now be able to use the technology as the default bridge between real world items and the online world. If users and developers cannot use the iPhone’s NFC features for anything other than Apple Pay, however, this could mean that the iPhone continues to lack essential functionality that comes as standard in competing devices.

But the situation may change. “The barrier now would appear to be a software one rather than hardware,” Coote concludes, “so it’s a step in the right direction.”

• If any readers have concrete information on if, when and how Apple will add support for NFC tag reading and peer-to-peer mode, please contact our editorial team or add a comment below.