How to Turn NFC Off on Androids

Secure your Android when you're in public places

Man using android phone

Burak Karademir / Getty Images

Near field communication (NFC) allows devices like smartphones to transfer data with other NFC-enabled technologies by bringing the two devices close together. This makes it easy to share information and opens the device to security vulnerabilities. For this reason, turn off NFC on Android devices when in highly public places where hackers could prey on the vulnerabilities of the phone.

How NFC Is Used

When used for non-malicious purposes, NFC brings additional functionality to a phone. However, there are risks involved when using NFC. Researchers at a Pwn2Own contest in Amsterdam showed how NFC can be exploited to gain control over an Android-based smartphone. Researchers at a Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas demonstrated similar vulnerabilities using different techniques.

NFC uses are common. Many retailers have signs at the checkout that tell customers that payment can be made with their phones through Google Wallet. Smartphones with Android 2.3.3 or newer may be configured to send or receive data through this communications standard.

If you're not sure whether your phone supports NFC transmissions, search a definitive list of NFC phones for your device's model.

Disable NFC on Android

The process to disable NFC on most newer phones is very simple. Like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or another connective tech on your phone, it's as easy as toggling NFC support off.

  1. Open the Settings app.

    Some Android phones have the NFC option in the system tray menu at the top of the screen.

  2. Tap Connected devices.

  3. Turn off the NFC toggle switch.

    Connected devices, NFC toggle in Android Settings
  4. Your device cannot communicate with other NFC devices and isn't vulnerable to attacks over NFC.

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