​Apple locks iPhone 6 NFC to Apple Pay

While Apple has just hitched its wagon to NFC technology, new reports indicate the technology will only be available for use with Apple Pay.

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Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
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  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly
2 min read

Apple Pay uses NFC for contactless payments. James Martin/CNET

After months of speculation, Apple finally came good on rumours of NFC functionality at last week's launch of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch. However, the NFC capability on the new devices is set to be locked down for use only with Apple Pay mobile payments.

While NFC has been present in Android smartphones for some time -- Samsung, Sony, and Nokia have all rolled the technology into their flagship device launches -- Apple is a new arrival in the realm of near field communications.

At last week's Apple event, the company announced Apple Pay -- a new mobile payments service that utilises NFC technology in conjunction with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner for secure payments that can be made from the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch.

Apple also announced a number of retailers that would accept Apple Pay for mobile payments at launch.

However, Cult of Mac reports that NFC will be locked to the Apple Pay platform, meaning the technology will not be available for other uses.

An Apple spokesperson confirmed the lock down of the technology, saying developers would be restricted from utilising its NFC chip functionality for at least a year. Apple declined to comment on whether NFC capability would remain off limits beyond that period.

NFC can be used for a wide range of tasks, including pairing a smartphone to speakers for audio playback and sharing contact information between devices, while NFC tags open up the world of customisable automation to anyone with an NFC-enabled device. However, this latest word from Apple seems to indicate that after the long wait, Apple fans may not have all the NFC functionality they desired.