5 Fun and Practical Ways to use NFC on Your Android

NFC can do much more than make mobile payments

NFC (near field communication) may not sound very exciting, but it's actually a convenient and fun feature that makes sharing content between smartphones easy, and can even help you move towards a truly digital home. True to its name, NFC works at short distances, no more than 4 inches or so. NFC was added to Android phones in 2010, so chances are you and your friends and family have it. You can use it phone-to-phone, with compatible contactless payment systems, and with programmable NFC tags, which can be purchased in bulk on the cheap. NFC tags Here are six ways to use NFC, from sharing pictures to mobile payments to home automation.

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Share content with Android Beam

Android Beam
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Hanging out with fellow Androids? Share pictures, videos, web pages, contact information, and other bits of data simply by tapping the back of your phones together. Think of the convenience of sharing a travel photo just after it's snapped or sharing contact information at a networking event without having to search for a pen. Instant gratification.

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Set up your new smartphone using Tap & Go

Next time you upgrade your Android smartphone, try out Tap & Go, a new feature offered in Android Lollipop, that you'll find during the set-up process. Tap & Go transfers your apps and Google accounts directly from your old phone to the new phone, so you don't have to reinstall everything. (I've tried this and it's awesome!) Tip: if you accidentally skip this step in setup, you can restore your smartphone to factory settings and start over. 

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Make payments using Google Wallet, Mastercard Paypass and More

Contactless payment
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Store your credit cards on Google Wallet and swipe your smartphone at the register. Google Wallet can be used nearly everywhere that Mastercard is accepted since the two companies have partnered. Visa also offers contactless payment through its payWave service. Have you tried this yet?

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Share your Wi-Fi Network

When you have guests over, do you have to write out your lengthy, hard-to-remember WiFi password? That's tedious. Why not use an NFC tag to share it instead? NFC tags can be programmed to do certain actions when swiped, including logging into your WiFi network. This is more secure since your guests don't actually know the password and it's darn convenient to boot. Your guests will have to install an NFC reader app on their smartphones, but that can be downloaded for free.

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NFC Tags

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What else can NFC tags do? You can program them for simple actions like activating wireless tethering, launching apps depending your location, dimming your phone's screen at bedtime, turning off notifications, or setting alarms and timers, for example. Depending on your technical knowledge, you can also program complicated processes such as booting up your PC. Programming NFC tags is easier than you might think, though you'll need to download an app to do so; many are available in the Google Play Store. You can even embed an NFC tag on your business cards so new contacts can save your info in a snap. As they say, you are limited only by your imagination.

Just The Tip of the Iceberg

Of course, there's so much more you can do with NFC, especially when you get comfortable programming NFC tags. You can place them all over your house, in your car, at work, and even on your keychain. Program your phone to adapt to whatever environment you're in. Imagine the possibilities.