How NFC technology works on Android

Here are the peculiarities of NFC technology, the differences with Bluetooth, how it works on Android devices and what you need to do to enable it.

NFC technology is becoming increasingly popular, although many users don't seem to realize it. But what exactly is it all about? How do you enable NFC on Android? Here is an article by Libero Tecnologia to understand in detail what NFC technology is and why it will accompany us in the future.

What is NFC

NFC stands for Near Field Communication. Each of us has certainly had contact with NFC, perhaps not directly, but by witnessing a live payment at a commercial establishment, with the buyer who paid his debt by placing his phone on the seller's device.

This is exactly the strength of Near Field Communication: to allow the two-way transmission of data without any contact between the two devices involved. NFC is based on the principles of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, related to authentication through radio waves, and was first patented by Charles Walton, in 1983.

What is the functioning of NFC?

To understand how to enable NFC on your Android device, it is first necessary to understand in detail how this technology works. At the base of its use there must be the presence of an NFC Chip, which usually on the latest generation of Android phones is inserted inside the SIM or MicroSD.

Passing through the settings of the phone is then necessary to enable NFC to have it. For example, if you are using an Android device, follow this path: Settings > Connected Devices > NFC. Once NFC is activated, the device will automatically contact all other devices that have installed and can use this technology. The example of a payment terminal in a store is certainly the most fitting and immediate.

What does NFC do?

As we can see, NFC is yet another revolutionary technology that is quickly entering our lives. But how is it decisive today and where will it be in the future? Basically, NFC is a technology that allows us to easily and quickly exchange certain information, without having to connect devices to any cables or the like. Near Field Communication is already used in many stores and commercial distributors to speed up the payment service.

The process is very simple: if for example you have an Android device you will be able to download Android Pay (alternatively another digital payment service, such as Google Pay), enter and save the details of the most used payment systems (credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards) and then use your smartphone to pay in stores equipped with contactless payment. Not only that, NFC can also be used to exchange multimedia files (photos, audio, video), the position on Maps or a phone contact.

Bluetooth and NFC: what are the differences?

Those who are reading these lines and are approaching NFC technology for the first time will undoubtedly be thinking about the enormous basic similarities between NFC and Bluetooth. The functioning system is very similar, of course, but there are substantial differences between the two technologies.

First of all, Bluetooth is not as fast as NFC. To activate Bluetooth usually requires a few seconds and an ad-hoc configuration, although quite fast. NFC on the other hand does not require any configuration and is immediate in activation. Another important difference is the range: the Bluetooth range is much wider, and can reach up to several meters. NFC, instead, has been conceived for a maximum distance of 10 cm.

Can we define NFC as "safe"?

It is clear that the idea of a technology based on the mere approach of two devices, without wires and without contact, can lead to think of security problems. But the reality is very different: the operation only at a very short distance (maximum 10 cm) removes any risk of external interference (that instead can be more plausible with Bluetooth).

Also the risks of malware and phishing attacks are quite remote. It would have to be a targeted attack by cyber criminals. Relatively unlikely eventuality. In any case, the advice of Libero Tecnologia is to use the NFC technology and don't forget to download a valid antivirus on your smartphone.