Mobile Phones Android What Is Near-Field Communication (NFC)? And how can it help you print from a mobile device? By William Harrel Writer William Harrel is a former Lifewire writer and a computer technology editor, writer, author, and instructor with over 30 years' experience. our editorial process Facebook Twitter William Harrel Updated August 12, 2019 Samsung Android Switching from iOS Tweet Share Email Near-field communication (NFC) is a protocol found on many mobile devices. It enables two-way communication between smartphones, tablets, laptops, and printers within close proximity to each other. This technology is useful for a variety of purposes. For example, tap two Samsung smartphones together to exchange a song, contact information, or a spreadsheet. NFC can also be used to pay for a store purchase by waving the phone near a device at the checkout counter, or to send documents to a printer to print. NFC and Printers With NFC, you can use your printer to print directly from your mobile device without either device being part of a wired or wireless network. Most major printer makers (such as HP, Brother, Canon, and Epson) have implemented NFC on many printers. Most NFC-ready machines have an NFC mark on them for touch-to-print and scanning operations. Canon has included NFC in some of its recent digital cameras. Photos can be printed directly from the camera to the printer with either a close proximity wave or by holding the camera close to the printer and pressing a button on the camera screen. The action works similarly for smartphones and tablets. Canon added NFC to some of its new high-end printers, such as the Pixma MG7520 All-in-One, and also included NFC in its Pixma Printing Solutions app. Epson deployed NFC in several of its all-in-one printers, such as the WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One. Brother included NFC in some of its high-end models, such as the MFC-J5620DW wide-format model. How NFC Works for Printing The initiating NFC device (such as a smartphone) sends a request for a connection or a tag. In turn, the receiving device (such as a printer) sends an NFC tag. After the two devices authenticate in this way, they exchange data (such as a smartphone sending a document to the printer for printing). These actions are completed with no drivers required.