A Look Into Why The iPhone 5 Doesn’t Have NFC


When the iPhone 5 was present in the rumour-books throughout August the largest question about the handset was near-field-communication. A handful of followers had faith that Passbook would tag along the feature, while others failed to make sense of the asset. At one period an unknown chip was thought to be NFC-related until Brian Klug from AnAndTech briefly explained why the iPhone 5 would have trouble incorporating the feature.

Brian Chen of NYTimes has recently reiterated similar statements of Klug explaining some of Apple’s various reasons for leaving out NFC on the iPhone 5. The main issue is that the aluminium and glass body of the iPhone causes information transmission issues, according to analyst Will Strauss.

Strauss explains: (via NYTimes)

“N.F.C. employs lower-frequency operation than cellular, requiring a longer antenna,” Mr. Strauss said. “That antenna is often wrapped around the battery in some cellphones, but a metal back shields any radio waves from reaching a nearby data terminal. Only plastic, Kevlar or similar backings will allow the radio connection for mobile payments. Clearly, Apple chose beauty over functionality with its aluminum back.”

Well, for Apple that could have been an easy fix; just revert back to an all-plastic casing. Apparently Apple banks their big-bucks based on their five-star design of their phone. The wireless payment market after all isn’t very large, it’s actually rather smart for them to await the growth because chances are few people would take advantage of the system during the first year.

If you want to know why Apple’s Senior Vice President Phil Schiller said the iPhone 5 doesn’t have NFC, click here to find out.


  • It’s probably also because Apple wants to make sure mobile payment is a legit system before they adopt it. Apple has never been a leader in adopting new tech (e.g. the original iPhone didn’t have 3G) precisely for this reason, and critics who point out their slow adoption rate usually do so out of ignorance.

  • gtasscarlo

    As long as there is no variety on nfc chips for phones. I could do without them, I sure as hell am not gonna use cibc. So NFC right now isn’t a big deal. Plus has anyone heard of cash, it’s a payment form that still can be used.

  • Canada has two different NFC systems in place already. One is PayPass by Mastercard and the other is Paywave by Visa and the terminals only support one and not the other because of contractual and possibly technical reasons. Even if you have a Paypass MC, the terminal might not be working when you go to use it. NFC is also a huge security risk from skimmers. The last thing I want is a phone that I have to watch in addition to my wallet from a skimmer passing by.

  • djepsilon

    I think the only businesses I’ve come across in Canada that use the MC paypass are vending machines and good ‘ol Tim Hortons.

  • iFone

    I currently use my Cineplex Scene and Starbucks barcode apps on my iPhone to get points toward free movies and pay for coffee, respectively. Do they use NFC? No. Thus, the reason why Passbook is a great idea and will help expand mobile payments in ways NFC has not been able to yet

  • xxxJDxxx

    Is it not possible for the NFC signal to transmit out of the glass front of the device?

    Also, is NFC really any more convenient? Pulling out my wallet, swiping my card, and entering my pin is really no more difficult than pulling out my phone, unlocking it, launching the app, then entering a code and swiping.

  • BMO

    NFC is a pretty standard tech…You’d be able to register your phone’s NFC chip with any card manufacturer, and possibly various and use it depending on what credit card you want to use (VISA, MC, etc). In Toronto the PRESTO card uses NFC, and so does the transit card in Montreal. It truly is the way of the future. You’d be able to use your phone to pay for the bus and other services (even at home through your game console such as the new Nintendo Wii which has NFC portals built-into the control pads etc). I’d rather not have to pull out my wallet just to tap or insert the card when i can easily use my cellphone which is much more readily available for me.

  • BMO

    ESSO uses NFC with their paypass.

  • bradg17

    Personally I’d rather keep my wallet and my phone separate, it is a neat feature I’ll admit but other than that not necessary. Also, what happens when you get to the store and realize your phone is dead so you can’t pay? Uh oh, should have brought that credit card. I think money is mobile enough with credit/debit and mobile banking. I can see how others like it, but it’s just not as practical as traditional cash and credit/debut especially since I live in a rural area.

  • Chris

    I do find it strange that before the launch when NFC was still an anticipated feature most of the comments were of excitement. Now that the phone is here without it people just call it unnecessary. It’s ok to want something other than what apple puts out! Why so much loyalty to all of there decisions. I still love the iPhone and I’ve pre ordered the 5 but to make such a reverse of opinion seems odd.

  • moz

    That is Apple fanatism at its best. 🙂