NFC tags not recognized

Hello,

Noob here. Purchased a V3 hub, some sensors, smart plugs and some NFC tags. I purchased these NFC tags.

Wanting to use these in some automatons but just in trying to get these recognized/register with my phone - it doesn’t work? e.g. using the built in NFC reader from control center, nothing happens when placed next to phone.

Are these tags of the wrong type or do they need to be written to first (which I don’t want to do/not my intention) are not encoded etc…? I’m using IOS 14.1 and an 8Plus.

Thanks!

That doesn’t have anything to do with smartthings and you won’t be able to use them in smartthings automations.

Depending on the model of your iPhone, you may be able to use them in iOS “Shortcuts.“ And that let you use them in HomeKit. But none of that get you smartthings integration.

What’s the model of your iPhone?

Option 11 in the Following blog article describes how you can use NFC tags with your iPhone and shortcuts. However, as @ogiewon notes below, some of the options are only available for iPhone X or newer. :thinking:

Also, I find that a lot of people don’t know where to touch the phone to the tag. They’ll try to touch it to the back of the tag where you would put a mag charger. It’s very likely that your phone will not read it in that position. The tag has to go along the edge of the top of the iphone.

The following video is really good for showing you this exact physical process as well as how to set up an automation in shortcuts.

The detection zone is only about an inch and a half deep starting at the top of the phone. Also, the phone has to be awake in order to read the NFC chip, although the screen can be locked.

Again, none of this has anything to do with smartthings, though. These are HomeKit automations, not smartthings automations. But you might have devices which work with both platforms, such as Lutron Caseta switches or a Phillips hue bridge or Meross plug in pocketsockets. :sunglasses:

And if you are not able to follow the steps in that video, it may be that your model iPhone is not new enough to support that feature. :disappointed_relieved:

Thanks @JDRoberts

Appreciate the info. I’ve seen all info you referenced and have spent HOURS trying to fig this out which is suppose to take like 5seconds, lol.

I know its not really a ST issue, but I fig this would be a place to start since its in the ballpark of smart house stuff and I have no where else to go :grinning: The smart plug I’m using is ST compatible so this NFC thing is part of the system so to speak.

I’m using an 8Plus, and literally all one should have to do is pull up the NFC reader/icon on iphone, set iphone next to tag and it’ll be recognized. Not happening here. I purchased these directly from a blog link on the exact thing I’m trying to do. I don’t know enough about tags so maybe a bought “blank” ones or something , dunno. Frustrating though. All part of the experience I guess.

I’ll keep digging or get some different ones.

Thanks!

1 Like

Is the smart plug also HomeKit compatible? Because the NFC-triggered automation you will be creating would be through HomeKit, not smartthings.

Yep it is (Meross MSS110). The NFC thing isn’t a huge deal, just thought there are some applications it could be useful and its so inexpensive - as opposed to say a motion sensor, you just plop your phone down on office desk (NFC tag) and lights/scene comes on. Or just flip on the 'ol light switch :smile:

I kinda realized the homekit thing and was actually going to go that route (e.g do most in homekit). However, the more I researched on hub vs no hub etc… it sounded like ST was a good way to go long term as opposed to everything wifi. Dunno. Again this is all new to me and have been doing a lot of research, but as with any “hobby” there are a million resources, a million opinions etc… its a bit overwhelming. Wish there was a good resource to outline all this.

I’m into Hi-end audio and understand when noobs post on those forums how they feel staring out :smile:

The one thing from my research is that I don’t want 100 different apps controlling everything, I really just want one place to start and add to that eco system. Although I’ve already had to download the Meross app, create an account…I really don’t want to keep doing that, but not sure that’s avoidable.

ST seems like a good way, or at least that’s the impression I get - or at least it was, as it seems since ST changed things up it created some problems.

Anyway, I’m going a bit OT, but I really appreciate the assistance.

If you’re running iOS 14.1, you don’t need a third-party app, you can do it all with Shortcuts. So just watch that video and you should be able to follow it step-by-step. But again, it might need a newer iPhone. :thinking:

But you still can’t do that all in one app, because the smartthings app does not support NFC triggers.

1 Like

Understood. Thanks

My ref to third party apps > it looks like when using many of the smart devices you need the manufactures app to “register” the device on your network and then pass that “authentication” onto ST, homekit etc… Like I had to do with my Meross, which is ST compatible but yet I had to download app, create an acct to set it up on wifi and then go into ST to add it. Seems like a pita (e.g. if I have 10 diff products, I have 10 diff apps/accounts). Unless of course your are using all Samsung devices with a ST hub (which btw seems like most every device is sold out). Maybe this is more of a situation if one is using a homkit enviro, dunno

My last comment on NFC > in all the vids explaining the use of these, none of them say anything about the need to write data, format etc…prior for them to work. You buy one, scan it on your phone and its “registered” to then use in certain automation. That’s not what I’m seeing and maybe its the item I bought thus my OP question.

If you are using Android, you can use Tasker and SharpTools to control SmartThings devices. Also, if you have a raspberry pi or something that can run all the time, try Homebridge (v2 works great). It brings all your ST devices into Apple’s Homekit land.

2 Likes

Just an FYI - These are the NFC Tags that I have successfully been using with my iPhone 11.

As @JDRoberts has mentioned, the phone and the NFC Tag need to be in very close proximity for it to be read or written successfully.

I have been able to use these tags, without writing anything to them, as triggers for iOS Shortcuts.

2 Likes

Thanks, good to know they “should” work out of the box without having to do anything to them it would seem.

Although the item you linked appear to be exactly the same (spec) as the ones I purchased (other than looks), they should work with my iphone. Maybe its something to do with ios 14.1, dunno

1 Like

Another vid that explores options for integration with ST:

1 Like

That is a great vid and is the one I originally referenced to purchase the tags (the link in his vid). In ios14.1 the NFC “app/scanner” is always on, and is not in shortcuts > automation anymore (e.g. “add NFC automation” category).

To scan a tag, you access it from control center (swipe up on home screen) and then select the NFC. It just doesn’t recognize these on my phone. Weird

That was true prior to iOS 14, but the need for 3rd party apps has now gone away if you just want to read one or trigger a HomeKit automation.

It now works as @ogiewon described. :sunglasses:

The NFC reader in the control center In iOS 14.1 is for an already encoded tag, not the blank ones you buy from Amazon. Here’s a very short video about that.

Because the blank ones you buy on Amazon don’t have anything written on them yet, nothing happens when you just scan them with the tag reader in the control center.

To use the blank ones you bought to trigger an automation, you should follow the steps in the Video I previously gave you or at the beginning of the video that @bry posted. Then once shortcuts knows what to do, swiping that same tag again will trigger that automation.

1 Like

So, I just ran a quick test with a blank NFC tag and one that I have written an Amiibo to. In both cases, my old iPhone 7, running iOS 14, cannot ‘see’ either of these tags using the new iOS 14 NFC tag reader from the control center. The NFC tag must need to have something very specific written to it in order for it to be acted upon by the NFC feature of iOS 14.

My iPhone 11 behaves exactly the same for both tags (although there is no NFC app for Control Center on these newer phones.) However, the iOS Shortcut I have set up to run when it ‘sees’ the blank NFC tag ran as expected.

Hope this helps.

1 Like

In the video that @bry linked to, the guy says you have to have “an iPhone ten or newer” for the control center NFC reader to work. By which I assume he means iPhone X.

I think what he means is that iPhone X and newer will automagically read an NFC tag WITHOUT needing the Control Center App, and run your Shortcut. The older iPhones must have a user run the Control Center NFC Reader app manually…

I just compared my iPhone 7 and iPhone 11 Shortcuts App’s ‘Automations’ section. As you can see below, the older iPhones cannot use NFC as a trigger for a Shortcut. Only the newer phones have this feature.

Here are the options under the Shortcuts -> Automations menu on an iPhone 7

And here are the options under the Shortcuts -> Automations menu on an iPhone 11 (note the extra NFC trigger option)

2 Likes

OK, it looks like there are multiple issues in the situation described in the OP’s first post.

  1. iPhones older than an iPhone X , Specifically iPhone 7 and 8, can read NFC tags that have already been encoded with a URL, but they don’t do so in the background.

You used to need a 3rd party app to do this, but with iOS 14 there is now a NFC tag reader that can be added to the control center. So you put your phone’s top edge close to the NFC tag, Swipe up to open the control center, tap the scanner icon, and then you can read an NFC tag which is already encoded. At that point, your phone will go to the URL that is included on the NFC tag.

  1. The control center scanner can’t do anything with a blank tag, which are the ones you buy from Amazon. So with a phone older than X You have to get a third-party app to write a URL onto the tag before the control center scanner will work.

NXP Tagwriter is a popular free app for this and mentioned in several of the videos discussed up thread.

  1. if your iPhone is X or newer, you will be able to use an NFC tag to trigger a shortcut automation for HomeKit. (Not for smartthings, smartthings doesn’t have NFC tag triggering regardless of the hardware you are using.) this method is also discussed upthread. However, it appears that NFC triggering requires both iOS 14 and a phone which is at least iPhone X or newer. So this option is not going to be available for the iPhone 7 or 8.

  2. If your phone is iPhone X or newer and you have iOS 14, you will not need a third-party app just to create HomeKit automations that are triggered by an NFC tag. Follow the instructions in the videos given Upthread.

  3. for an iPhone 8, the only way that I found to trigger an automation is to use a webhook. You will take your blank tag that you bought from Amazon And use a third-party app to write a webhook URL onto that tag.

Then when you want to trigger it, tap the top edge of your awake phone and I think that URL will get called. It’s possible you might need to manually open the control center and scan it, I wasn’t clear on that detail.

  1. if you’ve never used webhooks or don’t know much about them, the easiest way is to use the webhooks channel on Ifttt.

And the good news is that that will in fact give you smartthings integration! :tada:

But you can’t do that with an iPhone 8 without writing to the blank tag that you bought from Amazon. And you can’t write to the blank tag that you bought from Amazon with an iPhone 8 without using a third-party app.

If you want to use the blank tags that you bought from Amazon without having to write to them or use a third-party app then you have to have an iPhone X or newer.

That’s why you’re seeing so many different instructions on the Internet: this functionality has changed very significantly over the past three years both with changes in the hardware for the various iPhone models and with changes in iOS and HomeKit.

IOS 14 Can only take you so far on an iPhone 8, and it’s not as far as you hoped.

@ogiewon

2 Likes

Awesome! I had started composing a response with several of the points you addressed, so thank you for a much better detailed response than I had started, as well as everyone adding their thoughts, really appreciated

It’s much clearer know and much of this revolves around getting a NFC tag recognized by an (older) iphone device so its “registered” to use in some sort of automation or whatever. That being said, the only grey area is “encoding” and what’s on these blank tags that newer iphones are able recognize that older gen iphones cannot:

  1. When encoding a (blank) tag with a “web link” is that really just a place holder to get something on the tag so it isn’t blank (which only appears to be an issue with iphone 7+ 8 or earlier with ios14 )? Since I really wouldn’t want my tag to launch a web link per se. IOW just write anything to a blank tag so it will be recognized on iphone 7+8 when using the NFC reader?

  2. Do tags come with “data” on them so as to avoid this issue with earlier gen iphones?

  3. upgrade to new iphone i guess is in order :wink: