Near-Field Communication, or NFC, is an incredibly useful technology that gets ignored far too often. While it can be used for advanced automation of things on your Android phone, it can also be used for equally simplistic stuff, like easily sharing your home Wi-Fi data with friends.
What You’ll Need
NFC, as we’ve discussed before, allows you to tap your phone to an NFC-enabled object—like a pastic “tag”—and have it perform a certain action on your phone. This is what allows you to pay for your groceries with Android Pay, and perform other similar tasks. But by buying some NFC tags online, you can customize them to perform nearly any action you want.
Before we get into the specifics of this trick, let’s first talk about what you’ll need to get started. First, you’ll need a compatible phone. Basically nearly all modern Android phones should have NFC capabilities, but you can jump into Settings > More (under the “Wireless & networks” section)—if “NFC” is an option here, then your phone has it. If not, well, it doesn’t. Easy enough.
Next, you’ll need to get some NFC tags. If you all you ever plan on doing is adding simple things like Wi-Fi, then almost any model of NFC tag will work—just search Amazon for “NFC tags” and they’ll probably work. If you want to eventually used NFC tags to do more advanced things, then you’ll want to get more modern tags that have higher capacity—these are known as “NTAG216” chips. If you don’t know what to buy, just buy these—if you’re having a hard time finding them, NTAG213 is also a good choice.
Once you have your tags in hand, you’ll need to install an app on your phone to interface with these tags—most need to be erased before they can be re-written. I generally use NFC Tools to do this, as it’s easy to use and does essentially everything you could want it to do.
Step One: Erase Your NFC Tag
Okay, now that you have everything you need, fire up NFC Tools. There will be a quick tutorial the first time you run it—read it, skip it…do whatever you want. We’re only using it for one thing: erasing your new tag. With NFC Tools open, navigate to the “Other” tab, then select the “Erase tag” option. It will tell you to “approach an NFC tag.”
This can be the tricky part: depending on your device, the NFC chip will vary in location, so you may have to move the tag around on the back of your device a little bit. It will give an audible notification once you’ve found the right spot, and it should only take a split second to erase the tag. Once it’s finished, the app will let you know.
Step Two: Write the Wi-Fi Data to Your NFC Tag
Now that you have a blank tag to work with, jump back into the Settings menu, then into Wi-Fi. A lot of NFC tricks require a separate app, but if you want to write Wi-Fi data, the functionality is built right into Android.
In this menu, long-press on the network that you want to write its data to the NFC tag. A handful of options will show up, but you want “Write to NFC tag.” Tap it.
The next menu will ask you to input the network’s password. Go ahead and enter that, then tap the “Write” option.
A screen will appear that shows the device it looking for the tag. Tap the tag on the same spot you did earlier to erase it, and within seconds the phone will let you know that writing the network was a success.
And that’s that. The next time someone comes over that needs to log in to your network, have them tap their Android phone to the tag. The phone should ask if they want to connect—all they have to do is tap “Connect.” Bam.