| Cult of Mac

EU may soon force Apple to open iPhone NFC to other payment services

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Apple Pay heads south of the border, down Mexico way
iPhone users might soon be able to use tap-to-pay with non-Apple payment systems. In the EU, anyway.
Photo: Apple

The European Union reportedly plans to accuse Apple of violating the law by limiting access to the iPhone’s NFC capabilities to the company’s own payment system. The goal is to give rival systems like PayPal access to the iPhone’s convenient tap-to-pay function.

Apple claims the limitation is there to protect users’ financial information. The EU calls it anticompetitive.

iPhone could accept NFC credit card payments without additional hardware

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iPhone credit card payments
Worrying news for companies like Square.
Mockup: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple is working to give iPhone the ability to accept contactless credit card payments over NFC without the need for additional hardware “in the coming months,” according to a new report.

You currently need a third-party credit card reader, like those made by Square, to use iPhone as a payment terminal. However, since iPhone 6 made it debut in 2014, Apple’s smartphone has been packing the NFC technology that’s needed.

Add a one-tap AirPods connect button to your Home screen or Dock

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airpods connect
This sticker is just one way to speed up AirPods connections.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you own multiple iOS devices, then AirPods are supremely convenient. As soon as you connect them to one device, they automatically pair (and remain paired) to all your other devices. So, if you have a Mac, an iPhone, an iPad, and an Apple Watch, then all you have to do is tap connect on whichever device you want to use.

The problem is that the connect button is hidden, and a pain to reach. You have to swipe to open Control Center, then tap the AirPlay icon, then tap your AirPods in the list. And then wait a few seconds to see if it worked. Admittedly, this is a small inconvenience, but we can make it better. How about adding a button to your iPhone Home screen or Mac Dock that connects the AirPods with one tap?

CarKey feature buried in iOS beta might let iPhones replace car keys

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A Tesla Watch app concept.
A concept design for an Apple Watch app designed to communicate with a Tesla.
Photo: Eleks Labs

Apple reportedly added code to iPhone and Apple Watch to let these devices function as car keys, giving users one less thing to constantly carry around.

The company began work on such a feature years ago, and supposedly how has finally reached the point where it’s building the feature into iOS and watchOS.

Check out iOS 13’s amazing NFC-triggered Shortcuts

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nfc shortcuts
These little NFC tags are discreet enough to stick anywhere.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Shortcuts has gotten so many amazing new tricks in iOS 13 that it’s going to take a while for us to cover them all. So, how about starting with the new NFC automations? This lets you tap your sleeping iPhone onto an NFC sticker or tag, and your iPhone will run a shortcut. This is pretty amazing, because you can walk around you home (or office), and just tap your iPhone onto objects to perform tasks: open apps, set timers, play music, dim the lights — in fact, you can do anything a regular shortcut can do.

Here are two great examples of using NFC shortcuts in iOS 13.

iOS 13 will read NFC tags in ID cards and passports in Germany

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German-ID-card-NFC
It’s already possible if you use Android.
Photo: Bundesministerium des Innern, für Bau und Heimat

iPhone users will be able to scan German ID cards, passports, and more when iOS 13 rolls out this fall, according to local authorities.

The functionality will allow digital versions of those documents to be carried on an iOS device so that they are always accessible. Recent reports have confirmed users in Japan will be able to do the same with national ID cards.