Smartphones undergo revolutionary changes every now and then. In the competitive market, manufacturers are trying hard to come up with innovative features to stand out from the rest. Take foldable display, under-screen fingerprint scanner, camera setup with multiple sensors for examples.

Let’s turn pages back to 2005! A phone got NFC support first in the history that year. For starters, Near-field Communication aka NFC is a set of protocols that enable two electronic devices, to establish communication by bringing them within 4 cm distance.


Based on Radio Frequency Identification, it gained momentum by the time Android smartphones became a thing. Not only does NFC help you transfer data between two handsets, but it also can communicate with small chipped tags to automate the tasks you often find boring.

For example, you can program a chip in a way that when you place your phone on the top, it can activate the silent mode. And, in case you don’t want to share your WiFi credentials with anyone, a pre-programmed smart chip on the wall can assist your friends to establish the connection.

nfc tags

Guess what! NFC chip automation is unavailable for iDevices that hit the market before iPhone XR/XS. Meaning, you need to open an app to scan the tag if you have an iPhone 7 (or other old models). For the same reason, it becomes impossible for you to use Shortcuts (Workflow).

Don’t worry! I have got a jailbreak tweak for you to enable NFC Shortcuts automation on older iPhones with iOS 13. So yeah, earlier versions of the platform don’t work well with the tweak. Dubbed as NFCUnblock, it helps you create Shortcuts for NFC chips.

NFCUnblock – Unblock NFC Shortcuts Automation for iOS 13! (iPhone 7 or newer device required)
Updated: download the updated v0.0.2 version if the background tags reading not working properly on your device. Now the packages had been split into two packages in the zip file, please install them both.
Hi everyone!
Introducing NFCUnblock, the open source tweak that unblocks the NFC automation in iOS 13 Shortcuts app for old iPhones, with support of background NFC reading! Download deb files here to install manually, you can find the source code here (NOT Cydia source repo).

You can install the prebuilt .deb using Filza or you could build it yourself using theos. Many thanks to @arandomdev for his great projects NFCShortcuts & NFCBackground for iOS 12. He inspired me, and yes, after several work I managed to unlock the Shortcuts’ builtin NFC automation feature!

This tweak works on iOS 13 only, I have only tested on my iPhone 7 Plus (don’t know why it shouldn’t work on 8 or later), let me know if it works for you. It can detects NFC tags in background, however, your phone should be awake.

unblocknfc nfc inline

Do you have an iPhone 6 or lower? Chances are you can’t get this tweak to work as the developer confirmed it in the release note. Stay tuned to this story if you want to know if/when other devices find a spot in the support list.

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Rahul Krishnan
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Rahul Krishnan, a wordsmith from Kerala, India is always in lookout for his next article idea. He is a fanatic reader. And, the rumour is that his mom has recently hidden his debit card so that he won't buy books anymore. She doesn't know he has a spare one.

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