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NFC stands for near field communication, and it uses radio waves to send data over small distances. chromastones + chromaportals use NFC chips to store information that you can immediately access by scanning with your smartphone. Most smartphones are capable of reading NFC chips without downloading any special apps. 

Do I have to download an app?

No! One benefit of NFC is that there is no need to download any application to read an NFC chip, as long as your phone has an NFC reader. All iPhones released since 2018 and the majority of Android phones have an NFC reader.

Can my phone read NFC?

If you’ve bought a new phone in the last five years, it’s very likely it can read + write NFC tags! All iPhones released since 2018 have this functionality (models XR, XS, and 11 onwards). Most mid-range + flagship Android models incorporate an NFC reader since as early as 2014.

Use our interactive guide to check if your device has NFC!

What can I do with an NFC chip?

When used for personal use, NFC chips can be programmed to work as physical shortcuts to just about anything you can do on your smartphone! It’s like having a magic wand that can make phone calls, set the mood with music or smart lights, log notes, and much more.

If you want to share an experience with other people, you should stick with sharing a web link. There’s lots you can do: open directions, share your contact info, stream videos or songs.

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Do I need to charge my chromastone or chroma portal?

Nope! We use passive NFC technology which does not require charging or batteries. Basically, the device is dormant until scanned by an NFC reader. It’s the reader, not the NFC, that provides the tiny amount of power needed to read the data stored on the chip.

You don’t have to worry about draining your phone’s battery either. The exchange uses extremely little power, much less than Bluetooth, wifi, or GPS. In fact, the power draw is so low that some phones can even scan NFC chips after they’ve run out of battery! This isn’t relevant for chromastones + chromaportals, since their whole point is to serve as shortcuts for actions on your smartphone, but it demonstrates how little energy is needed to make this technology work.

Can I reprogram my NFC chip to do something different?

It depends! All genuine chromastones are reprogrammable, as are most NFC chips that you might buy online. However, it’s possible to set up an NFC to prevent reprogramming or use password protection, so you may not be able to change the function of every NFC device. That can be a good thing: we use these features to secure the chromaportals we produce for event signage, totems, or digital gifts, ensuring they always do what they’re designed to.