One of the most overlooked features on our phones is clearly the NFC. For those of you who don’t know this technology, NFC means “Near Field Communication”. It’s mainly used for contactless payments, such as Android Pay or Apple Pay. NFC technology is also used for other things, such as “Android Beam”, which allows to transfer files. Or for the connection of some headphones to your phone. But it’s frustrating, especially if you’re like me, and you like to customize, automate, optimize, your high-tech stuff. And that’s why today we will test an app called NFC Tools, that will allow us to program NFC tags. This video is produced in partnership with Julien, who develops NFC Tools alone, as an indie dev. He’s a nice guy with whom I have talked.
He’s been working on his project for several years, and clearly, he does a great job. So, NFC Tools is an app that has 4 main screens. The first is “READ”, which allow you to learn more about an NFC tag. The second is “WRITE”, which allow you to save information, such as a phone number, an address, etc … An important note here, everything you will do in this tab will work on any NFC phones, without having to install the app. There is the “OTHER” tab which allow you to, mainly, copy, erase or lock a tag. And finally the last tab called “TASKS”, which allows to perform actions automatically However, this tab will only work if you have NFC Tasks app installed. For this video, we will focus only on “WRITE” and “TASKS” tabs, to show you some of the possibilities of the app. Let’s take our first tag, on that one, we’ll record the address of my YouTube channel. So we go in “WRITE”, “Add a record”, “URL”, enter the address of my channel, write the info on the tag, and … that’s all. Now, we stick the tag where we want, we move the phone closer, and my YouTube channel appears. And a cool trick is, as I said before, is that the person doesn’t need to have the app installed.
NFC just needs to be activated on its Android. Second tag! And this time, a more common case: sharing his wifi with guests. You just need to go again in “Add a record”, “Wi-Fi network”, and to fill parameters. For most of you, you will put, “WPA / WPA2 Personal”, for encryption “AES / TKIP”, and for “SSID”, this is your Wi-Fi name. Then for the password, well… it’s your password. You press ok, you write the info on the tag, and if you have a guest that arrives at your place. He just needs to activate his NFC, get his phone close to the tag and it connects automatically. A little tip that I’ve discovered by making the video, you can make it simpler by going into the Wi-Fi settings of your phone keep pressing the Wi-Fi network you want to share, and choose write on the NFC tag. You tap the tag and it does the same thing, in a simpler way. Third tag, and this time we will go to create tasks. We’ll start with something quite simple, put your phone in silent mode when you tap the tag. For example, it is quite practical on your bedside table, just before sleeping. We go to “Add a task”, “Configuration”, “Profile”, “Silence”, we validate and we write on the tag NFC. And now you just tap the tag with your phone to switch in this mode. And finally, we will take the previous example by making it a little more interesting. The objective is: if it is between 9pm and 1am, in other words, in the evening. Then I want to switch the phone in silent mode, activate an alarm for 7am and put the brightness to minimum. Otherwise, if you are not in this time range, so usually in the morning, when you waking up. Then I turn off the silent mode, and I reset the brightness to a normal level. To do this, we add a time condition, specifying from 9pm until 1am. And we include the tasks that will be underneath. Now, we will add the profile in silent mode, the alarm at 7 o’clock and set the brightness to 0. We add an else block, and just below, we add the tasks, profile but this time in normal mode. Then the brightness to 100, we add the end block to finish the condition and that’s it So in short, we have the first hourly condition that executes the tasks : silence mode, alarm and brightness to 0, if it’s between 9pm and 1am. Otherwise, the normal profile and brightness at 100 tasks are executed. Now, we will see what it gives in real life, to show you a small demo. Well, it’s 9:32pm, the brightness is increased, and we are in normal mode. And I will pass the tag on the phone, the NFC tag on which I wrote the algorithm. As you can see, the brightness drops to 0, as it was in the evening, we are in silent mode and the alarm is activated for 7am. But now, it’s 11:59am, I have a little bit lowered the brightness, and it’s in mute mode. I tap the tag and this time it makes me switch to ring mode, the brightness is increased to 100, and … voila. In short, we have just seen a tiny part of the possibilities of the app. Now you have to imagine actions to make your life easier. For example, you can use a tag in your kitchen that launches a timer for your pasta. A tag in your car that activates your Bluetooth, etc … it’s really really cool. Also the ergonomics of the app is very nice, so on this point, I’ve no complaints. Well after that, there are still some inconvenience, including the fact that for an NFC tag to work, your screen needs to be turned on. It’s an Android security. There are some tasks that don’t work if you are not rooted. And for the tasks, you need NFC Tasks installed on your device, otherwise it won’t work. Fortunately, by tapping the tag, the developer redirect automatically to the Play Store if the person doesn’t have the app installed. And finally, on long algorithms, it’s a shame that there is not a full screen mode. Because sometimes we need to scroll to see all conditions, and it’s not quite practical. Before the end of the video, I have a few points to clarify. First of all, I put you in the description some links on Amazon, for good and cheap NFC tags. For you to start to have fun with NFC. Then the free version of the app is without ads and already allows you to do a lot. Personally, I still advise the pro version, because it costs only 3$. It unlocks everything and allows the dev to be thanked for his job. Also the NFC Tools app is compatible with Tasker, for those who want to go further to the automation. And finally on my Twitter, and my FaceBook, we will soon organize a contest, to win some tags and codes for the Pro version of the app. So don’t hesitate to follow me. Thank you for watching this video, if you liked it, don’t hesitate to like the video, and tell me what you think in the comments. I make it clear that all the links, whether for the app or for the NFC tags, are in the description below. You can follow me on social networks, watch my previous videos or subscribe by clicking on the small thumbnails or the logo that appeared. See you the next time.