Germany says Apple must let other payment services use iPhone’s NFC

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Apple Pay Terminal
Apple Pay won't be the only service Germans see here soon.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A new German law forces Apple to allow other mobile payment services to use NFC on iPhone.

Apple has allowed only Apple Pay to take advantage of the technology until now. But Germany has decided that it won’t stand for that anymore — despite Apple’s concerns.

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.

iOS 13’s NFC triggers bring Shortcuts to the real world

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With NFC shortcuts in iOS 13, this speaker could become a trigger to play your favorite podcast.
This speaker could become a trigger to play your favorite podcast.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iOS 13 Shortcuts app brings plenty of radical changes — automatic scheduled and location-based shortcuts, for example — but one super-neat new feature will make a world of difference. Now, if you have a compatible iPhone, you can combine NFC tags with Shortcuts. That is, you can run any shortcut just by tapping your iPhone onto an NFC sticker.

Seriously. Pretty wild, right? You could tap your iPhone onto a sticker atop a speaker in your kitchen, and it would start playing the radio, for instance. Let’s check out how NFC shortcuts will work.

Apple Card’s colorful packaging revealed ahead of launch

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Apple Card packaging
Here’s how Apple Card will be presented to consumers.
Photo: Ben Geskin

New photos reveal how Apple Card will be presented to consumers when it starts reaching early adopters this summer.

It’s the first time we’ve seen the titanium Card’s fancy packaging since it was announced back in March. It is said to be in beta testing with Apple employees ahead of its launch.

Apple will open up iPhone’s NFC tech for Brexit app

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Square Terminal could help more businesses accept Apple Pay.
NFC tech hasn't previously been opened up to developers.
Photo: Square

Apple has reportedly agreed to open up its NFC capabilities on the iPhone for a U.K. government app. This Brexit app will help EU citizens apply for residency in the U.K. after it leaves the European Union.

The EU Exit app allows users to scan the chip inside their passports with their smartphone’s NFC reader. While this has been possible to do on Android phones, Apple has not previously allowed developer access to its NFC reading tech.

U.K. passport plan might spark Apple’s next big fight

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Square Terminal could help more businesses accept Apple Pay.
The UK government wants Apple to open up its NFC chip reader to developers.
Photo: Square

The UK government wants Apple to open up developer access to the NFC chips inside iPhones. The reason is because it plans to launch a new app designed to help EU citizens apply for residency in the U.K. after it leaves the European Union.

However, as part of the app, the government wants to let users scan the chip inside their passports with their smartphone’s NFC reader. Unfortunately, while this is possible to do on Android, Apple does not allow developer access in this way. And the British government wants that to change.

Square Terminal could increase Apple Pay availability

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Square Terminal could help more businesses accept Apple Pay.
Square Terminal could help more businesses accept Apple Pay.
Photo: Square

Square got its start by letting businesses take credit cards with just an iPhone or Android, and the company now offers multiple payment methods. Today it launched Square Terminal which accepts credit cards and Apple Pay, and can even print  receipts.

This could help spread the availability of Apple Pay, as this new point-of-sale card reader is intended to replace older, simpler ones that can’t accept the iPhone’s payment system.

Dead batteries won’t kill NFC on iPhone XS and XR

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iPhone 6 with a dead battery
A dead battery used to be a big problem. It's slightly less of an issue with the iPhone XS.
Photo: Apple

It’s irritating when your iPhone runs out of battery. But it can actually be life threatening if you depend on your phone’s NFC feature to get into your dorm room or onto a train. 

That’s why the iPhone XS and the other 2018 models still offer some NFC transactions even when down to the power reserve.