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(13 Fixes) NFC Not Working iPhone [Updated 2023]

NFC Not Working IPhone

Days ago, at a store check-out…

I noticed a lady holding up the line.

She’s trying to pay. But the NFC on her iPhone isn’t working.

So my tech support instinct kicked in.

And I offered to help.

Within seconds, I got it to work.

How did I do it?

Continue reading to discover:

  • The proper way to scan using your iPhone’s NFC.
  • 13 effective ways to get NFC to work on your iPhone.
  • 5 of the best 3rd party NFC reader apps on the App Store.
  • And a lot more…

Why is my iPhone NFC not working?

Your iPhone NFC isn’t working because it’s off. To switch it on, tap Settings and go to General. Then select NFC and toggle it on. Moreover, see to it that the Airplane mode is off. And that your phone’s camera isn’t in use. Also, if you’re using a 3rd party NFC reader, ensure that it’s up to date. 

NFC not working iPhone: 13 fixes

#1: Check if NFC on your iPhone is on

Paying via Apple Pay is the most common instance where iPhone owners use NFC.

So perhaps this is what you’re trying to do right now. And somehow, you couldn’t get it to work.

Well, sometimes, a complex problem only requires a simple solution.

In this case, just do a quick check if your iPhone’s NFC is on.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. From your iPhone’s home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Scroll down and select General.
  3. Look for NFC and tap it.
  4. Toggle it on.

Note: NFC’s actually on by default. 

But sometimes, a glitch in iOS can randomly change your phone’s settings. 

It’s also possible that someone borrowed your phone. And accidentally switched NFC off.

So ensuring it’s on should always be the first thing to do if it isn’t working.

#2: Ensure that you’re scanning the correct way

Take a guess where you can find the NFC antenna on your iPhone.

I’ll give you a moment to think.

If you said inside the phone’s top edge, you’re absolutely correct.

But the truth is, some aren’t aware of that.

And I can understand the confusion. In most Android phones, the NFC antenna’s location is somewhere in the back middle portion.

That’s why if the NFC isn’t working on Samsung or other Android devices… 

Some resort to tapping the back repeatedly against the payment terminal.

“Why is it important to know the NFC antenna’s location?”

So you can scan properly.

And because of the antenna’s location on iPhones…

The proper way to scan is to hold your phone like a TV remote. And point it at the payment terminal or whatever it is you’re trying to scan.

You don’t even need to tap your phone against an object.

In fact, Apple explicitly discourages that on their developer page.

Just point the top edge of your iPhone to the object you’re scanning. 

And as long as it’s within 4 inches, it’ll scan properly. 

#3: Unlock your iPhone

Another common reason why NFC isn’t working is the iPhone’s locked.

NFC won’t work unless you unlock your iPhone.

Apple designed NFC to ensure it doesn’t accidentally scan or read NFC tags. Mainly as a protection to the users.

That’s why it’ll only work when the iPhone’s currently in use.

#4: Reset your iPhone’s connection

Do you know what’s great about NFC?

It doesn’t require cellular data or a WiFi connection. The built-in NFC antenna inside your iPhone is enough to scan.

However, it won’t work if your phone’s on Airplane mode. 

This is because that mode cuts off all of your phone’s connections., including NFC.

So make sure it’s off.

But you can also use the Airplane mode to reset your iPhone’s connection.

And it’s another way to resolve a glitching NFC.

Just follow these steps below:

  1. Swipe down from the top right part of your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Airplane mode icon to turn it on.
  3. Wait for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Tap the Airplane mode again to switch it off.

And then try to scan again using your iPhone’s NFC.

#5: Close apps that may interrupt NFC

There are certain apps that’ll also prevent NFC from working.

One of those is your iPhone’s native camera app. 

Plus any 3rd party iPhone apps that use your phone’s camera.

So if you’re trying to use the NFC, make sure to close all camera-related apps.

The Apple Pay Wallet app’s another one.

Obviously, you’d need it when trying to pay via NFC.

However, if you’re trying to do other things with your phone’s NFC, such as:

  • Reading NFC card tags.
  • Controlling your smart home devices.
  • Pairing your iPhone with a Bluetooth speaker.

Then ensure that you close the Apple Pay Wallet app first.

#6: Restart your iPhone

When in doubt, restart.

Even if your iPhone’s NFC is fine, there may be other issues with your iOS. And restarting your phone’s one of the quickest ways to fix software glitches.

There are 2 ways you can do that. Through the side buttons and the Settings menu.

Restart your iPhone using the side buttons

  1. Press and hold the Volume Down and the right-side button.
  2. Drag the power slider to the right to switch off your iPhone.
  3. Wait for 30 seconds up to a minute.
  4. Press and hold the right-side button to switch on your phone.

Restart using the Settings menu

  1. Tap the Settings icon.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll all the way to the button and tap Shut Down.
  4. Slide to power off.
  5. Wait for about half a minute to a minute.
  6. Turn on your phone by clicking and holding the right-side button.

#7: Remove your iPhone’s case

Now usually, NFC will work even if your iPhone has a case.

But if it’s not working, even when you’re scanning the right way…

It’ll help to remove the case temporarily. 

It can slightly boost your iPhone’s NFC signal. So at least try doing it.

#8: Use a 3rd party NFC reader app

iPhones don’t actually need an app for NFC to work.

However, many users have had trouble using NFC. And they found that installing 3rd party apps was an effective workaround.

Some of the most popular NFC reader apps include:

You may download any of them from the App Store for free.

Here’s a quick way to install an NFC reader app:

  1. From the iPhone’s home page, launch the App Store.
  2. On the search bar, type in the name of the NFC app that you like.
  3. Tap the Search button.
  4. Click the Get button beside the NFC app.

If you’d like to see how an NFC app works, watch this video:

#9: Update your NFC reader app

So I just discussed downloading a 3rd party NFC reader app.

But if you’re already using one, and it currently isn’t working…

Then you need to check if it has the latest updates. 

Updating an app on an iPhone’s really easy.

This is how:

  1. Open the App Store.
  2. Using the search bar, look for the NFC app you need to update.
  3. If you see the Update button, tap it.

#10: Install updates for your iOS

Install Updates For Your IOS

Aside from updating your NFC reader app, you should also check for iOS updates.

A bug in iOS may be what’s preventing NFC from working. And updates normally resolve issues like that.

This is how to check for iOS updates manually:

  1. Launch the Settings menu.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Software Update.
  4. If you find available updates click Download and Install.

In addition, you may also opt to receive automatic updates. Under Software Update, just turn on the Automatic Updates option.

#11: Charge your iPhone

It’s rarely the case. But there’ve been reports where the NFC would stop working if an iPhone’s battery is low on charge.

So if your phone’s battery is already less than 20%, try to charge it first.

You don’t even need a full charge. Just get your battery to around 50%.

If you’re using a 20W, it should only take a half hour to reach that.

And then try using your iPhone’s NFC again.

#12: Perform a factory reset on your iPhone

Now, if you’ve done all the troubleshooting suggestions… 

And your NFC’s still not working…

As a last resort, you may consider doing a factory reset.

Here are the steps:

  1. Select Settings.
  2. Go to General.
  3. Tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  4. Select Reset.
  5. Enter your Apple ID password or phone passcode to confirm.

Once you’ve confirmed, your iPhone will begin the reset process. 

It’ll take several minutes before completion. So ensure that you keep your phone on.

Warning: A factory reset erases all your phone’s data. So, back up your photos on the cloud or an external drive. Also note down important account passwords. 

#13: Take your iPhone to an Apple service center

It’s also possible that your NFC issue is hardware-related. 

There’s likely a defect in the NFC antenna.

You may visit an Apple store to discuss the problem with one of their representatives.

Moreover, you may check out Apple’s website to find an authorized service provider in your area.