Set alarms, turn off mobile data and more!
A lot of mobile devices now include NFC (Near Field Communication) as standard, but most people don’t really know what to do with it.
Android 4.3 and upwards can make use of Android Beam to share files, apps and web content between devices, but there’s a whole other bunch of useful things that NFC can accomplish.
To make it truly useful, you’re going to have to shell out a few pounds on some NFC tags. These are little electromagnetic coils, and come in the form of stickers, lanyard charms and keyrings. They can actually hold around 130 Bytes of data, so could potentially store your contact details and act as a business card.
In this guide, we’re just interested in using the unique serial numbers of the NFC tags to make an Android device do different things using an app called NFC ReTag FREE.
There is a “Pro” version of the app, which does away with ads and adds some additional features, but I’ve found the free version to be adequate for my needs.
To add a tag to the library, just open the app and then hold an NFC tag against the reader on your phone, and the app will recognise the tag. Once this is done you can name the tag and then add some functions that will take place whenever the device comes into contact with the tag.
There’s a whole variety of functions that can occur, including turning WiFi and Bluetooth on and off, joining a specific network or pairing a device, turning the ring volume up and down, adding an alarm or countdown timer, and many more.
You can add multiple functions to a single tag, which makes it a great way to quickly setup your device for specific situations. As an example, I’ve stuck a tag to the side table next to my bed which turns off Bluetooth, sets the ringer volume to 0 and sets an alarm for 07:00 the next morning:
I have another tag stuck to the dashboard in my car which turns the volume back up, turns off mobile data and WiFi, and turns Bluetooth back on.
This works great for me, but you may want to work in an entirely different manner. That being said, the app is flexible enough to allow you to use your device in pretty much any way you’d like.