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Does Apple Watch Have NFC Chip? (Answered)

Apple has been a dominant force in the smartwatch industry, with almost 30% market share as of 2021.

The watches in its iconic Apple Watch series lineup are capable of doing a lot of things: they can make calls, send texts, track position, monitor the heart rate, and so on.

But does Apple Watch have NFC? If yes, what are the limitations?

In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about NFC on Apple Watch, its capabilities, and how you can use it.

Does Apple Watch Have NFC?

The Apple Watch does have an integrated NFC chip, but its capabilities are limited to Apple Pay and Apple Wallet. You cannot use the NFC chip for other purposes, such as reading NFC tags or sharing data with other NFC-enabled devices.

We all know well about Apple’s policy for universal compatibility. The company has a reputation for making its devices exclusive, be it iPhone, Apple Watch, or Macbook.

Unsurprisingly, Apple has the NFC chip on iWatch locked down by some software gimmickry to prevent interaction with unauthorized devices or services.

Which Apple Watch is NFC-enabled?

All watches from the Apple Watch Series 1 to the latest Apple Watch Series 8 have NFC chips. Yes, that includes the Apple Watch SE, SE 2, and the latest Apple Watch Ultra.

How do we know?

The NFC-backed contactless payment feature on Apple Watch (aka Apple Pay) has been available since the launch of the first Apple Watch.

If you are interested, we have a detailed guide on NFC Smartwatches.

How does Apple Watch NFC work?

The Apple Watch NFC is restricted to Apple Pay and opening smart locks. The system works in a pretty simple and straightforward way.

When you want to use your Apple Watch to make a payment, you just need to double-click the side button and hold the watch close to the NFC reader.

The reader will communicate with the Watch and process the payment after you enter the passcode.

The Apple Pay feature on the Apple Watch copies details of supported credit or debit card and pass it over using an NFC antenna.

How do I turn on NFC on my Apple Watch?

There is no need to turn on the NFC on Apple Watch as it turns off and on automatically.

As soon as you double-click the side button and hold the watch close to the NFC reader, the Watch will automatically turn on its NFC chip to initiate communication.

Similarly, the NFC chip will be turned off as soon as the Watch is moved away from the reader.

However, if your question pertains to setting up the Apple Pay feature on the Apple Watch, then follow these steps.

Navigate to Watch App (on your paired iPhone)–>My Watch–> Wallet and Apple Pay–> Tap Add Card–> Verification.

As soon as you are done with the verification process, you will be notified on your Apple Watch.

Can I unlock door with Apple Watch NFC?

You can unlock doors with Apple Watch NFC feature but only the ones that have compatible smart locks. To make it simple for you, Apple Watch can unlock HomeKit-compatible smart locks.

To name a few, Schlage Encode Plus, August Home Smartlock pro, Yale Assure Lock SL.

Can Apple Watch read NFC tag?

The Apple Watch cannot read NFC tags. Though it has the hardware required to read NFC tags, the company has not enabled the feature on iWatch yet.

You cannot scan NFC tags with the iWatch to fetch information related to products, locations, or other data.

As I was sifting through this forum as a part of my research, I discovered why this is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Scanning NFC tags draw a lot of battery juice, and battery performance is the Achilles heel of the Apple watch. There is no way, Apple is going to compromise on Battery life for one feature.

Interestingly, the latest iPhones can read NFC tags and don’t require any third-party app.

Final Words:

To sum up, Apple Watch is NFC-enabled, but not without certain limitations. You can use your Watch to make payments or unlock HomeKit-compatible smart locks.

The company has not enabled the feature to read NFC tags even though the Watch has the hardware required to do so.