A Few Ways I’m using NFC Tags Lately

With iOS 13 came the ability to natively trigger actions via NFC tags using Shortcuts. This seems cool, and it is, but figuring out what to use them for is another story. I knew they’d be handy but handy for what?

It took browsing a bunch of examples from other people online before I knew what to use my own for, so I figured I’d share a few of mine today.

For brushing my teeth

Call me insane, but I now own a Bluetooth toothbrush. Was it worth it? Probably not, but I enjoy the feedback I get from it. It turns out even as an adult, I occasionally do brush too fast or too harshly. The catch is because it’s Bluetooth, it only works if the app is open. (Note to anyone buying smart devices, always pick one that supports Wifi over Bluetooth so you don’t need to worry about opening an app every time). I’m ashamed to admit that remembering to brush my teeth twice a day is sometimes hard enough. Remembering to open an app beforehand, is just one more thing to remember.

Insert NFC tag.

I have a white NFC sticker stuck to the light switch in my bathroom. Because the switch plate is white, it’s nearly undetectable unless you know it’s there, but tap my phone to it and my toothbrush app opens automatically. It’s easy, and I dare say almost a little fun to do.

For turning the light I forgot to turn off from bed

There’s nothing worse than climbing into bed only to realize you left a light on. What’s worse is when the light is in another room. Rather than screaming “Alexa, turn off the light”…

Insert NFC tag.

Once again, I have a white NFC sticker stuck to my headboard. My bed is also white, so it blends in. The shortcut it triggers does a few things by launching a menu, but one of the most useful things it does is allow me to turn off the lights in the living room without getting back out of bed. One of the other useful items on the menu is for turning our white noise machine on or off.

For tracking my hydration

This one actually makes me smile a bit every time I use it because it feels a little bit like magic. I have a coaster on my desk at work. Little does anyone know, it’s got superpowers.

If you didn’t guess… Insert NFC tag.

Unlike the others, this isn’t a sticker. It’s just a plastic NFC chip sitting under the coaster. Whenever I finish a drink, I can tap my phone to the coaster, and via the NFC chip, I’m prompted with a shortcut to select my drink type and an amount to log with Waterminder. The shortcut is actually faster than logging water with the app itself or even the widget I have on my phone because I can simply type rather than scroll to select an amount.

I have a few other NFC stickers around such as the one on the light switch by my front door to turn all the smart lights in the house on or off, but I do have a few other ideas brewing, such as putting one on our back door frame to turn on our patio lights. I also recently purchased a set of black NFC stickers, which I intend to use in my car to launch directions and/or open Castro/Spotify. Last but not least I plan to put one of the NFC chips into one of the arms of our couch (don’t worry, they have removable covers) to trigger things like turning on our tv, fireplace, and lights from the sofa.

If you have creative uses for NFC tags, I’d love to hear them.

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