Using NFC tags in the car

NFC tag stickers

I've found a very handy use for NFC tags. When I'm in my car I like to steam music from my phone to the car's stereo system using Bluetooth. Also it is handy to enable the Samsung "Driving mode" so I get a bit more information read out to me, e.g. if the phones beeps and it is a text message the phone will tell me who the message is from so I can decide whether I should park up and read it. Ideally I don't want WiFi on to cut power consumption. When I get out of the car I want to switch off Bluetooth (to save power), switch off Driving Mode and switch on Wifi. This all involves changing several settings on the phone everytime I get in and out of my car. Fortunately NFC tags can make this much easier.

NFC Task Launcher is a superb little app that has made having NFC capability on my phone genuinely useful. NFC or Near Field Communication is a technology that allows your phone to pass information to another device right next to it or to read a small amount of information embedded in an "NFC tag" a little sticker with a small chip inside. These tags do not need power. I have put an NFC tag into my car and used this to trigger the reconfiguration of my phone rather than having to set everything up manually.

Screenshot of NFC Task Launcher app showing task run when in car, disables WiFi, enables bluetooth and enables driving mode

NFC Task Launcher can program a tag to run a task (a macro of functions) when a phone is swiped over it. A lot is possible, you can get it to open apps, to tweet, to "check in" on social media sites, but in this case I have just used it to switch on and off what I need to use on the phone. Handily, the app allows you to set up two tasks per tag, which can run alternately every time the tag is swiped. So the first tag runs everything I need when I get in the car, the second is run when I swipe the tag again just before I get out.

Running the task switches on the Bluetooth, so once that is on it starts the process of connecting to the car's media system automatically. It is very convenient, saving me from having to mess about with my phone when I get in or out of the car. Now I can just swipe it again the tag and away I go.

What uses have you found for NFC tags? I still have most of the packet left, so I'm interested in hearing ideas!


I'm doing something similar in the car, I also have one stuck to my desk where I put my phone when I get home which switches my home automation system to home mode and turns my amplifier on etc.

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