NFC Vs AirDrop : Which Is The Way Forward?

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Here is the comparison of NFC Vs AirDrop. Tired of sending emails each time you want to share a photo or a song with your friend? Google has launched Near Field Communication (NFC) in its mobile phones, and Apple now offers Airdrop in a wide range of its products.


These two technologies let you exchange information between different devices in a smooth and easy manner. However, the technicalities of these two features are not the same.

Here is a look at how they work, what their benefits are, what problems each technology could face and which of the two is the way forward.

What is NFC?

Near field communication uses radio communication between Android phones by either tapping or holding them a few inches away from each other. This lets users share moderate amounts of data within seconds. Additionally, phone owners can gather information from NFC tags by using their mobile devices as scanners.


This low-power, short-range technology can be found in the Samsung Nexus, where NFC uses Bluetooth to connect a pair of devices. The instant they are paired, Bluetooth is automatically disabled. This feature is called the Android Beam and has also been used in phones made by Blackberry, Nokia and Sony.

What is AirDrop?

Apple’s AirDrop is another wireless data sharing technology, which works between Apple devices. Initially introduced in the Mac OS X Lion, this service has now been extended to Apple handheldsthat run on iOS7 like theiPad, iPhone andiPod Touch.


AirDrop moves data through Apple’s iCloud and establishes a Wi-Fi-Direct connection between devices. The advantage of this method of data sharing is thatit works off Wi-Fibut does not require a Wi-Fi internet connection to work.People don’t even need to be connected to the same network to use it.

NFC Vs AirDrop

Now that the introductions have been made, let’s look at the different features promised by each technology.

Virtual Wallet

Google Wallet is a payment system that can replace your credit cards, loyalty cards and gift vouchers. Google has partnered with Mastercard, Citibank, Samsung and others to make this virtual wallet a reality. It uses NFC to ensure that quick and convenient payments are made by simply bumping the phone to a payment terminal.

This technology helps identify the shopper’s bank account and the amount is deducted through an app in the smartphone. Nokia, HTC, Blackberry, Motorola, Samsung and LG are all arming their phones with this instant payment technology! Mark Hung, an analyst for Gartner, had predicted that in 2012 the growth in NFC handsets would exceed 100 million. In 2013, this is going to rise even higher.

As for Apple, it is yet to implement this wireless mobile payment system. CEO Tim Cook has recently said that there are 575 million iTunes accounts, most of which are linked to credit cards.

Apple is said to have filed for a patent in June 2012, which is probably for its iWallet. It is being speculated that theiWallet would be integrated into iTunes accounts, because iTunes has more accounts linked to credit cards than any other store on the internet. At present, however, a shopkeeper can airdrop a discount coupon into your Passbook app!


Social networking sites, like Facebook and Foursquare are letting users tap their smartphones on an NFC tag. For example, Nokia phones allow their users to check-in on social sites through this method.

Additionally, you won’t need to run an app on your phone to become friends with someone on Facebook. Instead, you would simply bump phones with your new acquaintance and you will be added on each other’s friends-list.

AirDrop allows users to share photos and videos even without a wireless network. So if you are attending your friend’s wedding in an exotic but remote location, you and other guests can all exchange photos and videos through your Apple devices.


Android users can use NFC to pair their phones, which would then allow more than one player to join a game. Smartphones can even connect to speakers via NFC. Angry Birds maker, Rovio Entertainment Company is using Nokia NFC phones to allow gamers to scan NFC tags on their merchandize. This would unlock new levels of the game when users tap their phones on an Angry Birds toy that they have just purchased.

Apple allows multi-player gaming via AirDrop. Next time you are on a train with a bunch of strangers, you may all pair your devices and play interactive games throughout the journey.


Soon you can walk into a store and tap an NFC code that is on a product. You will instantly receive information about it on your phone. Retailers may keep track of your shopping footprint so that they know what interests you.

Apple app developers will soon offer customers in-app freebies if they airdrop a trial version of an app into their friend’s iDevice. This same method can be used by other businesses as well.


NFC and AirDrop both come with a whole range of benefits. However, there are a few concerns attached to each technology.

Though many security measures have been taken for NFC payments, research has revealed that third parties could access certain card information stored on your Google Wallet. Customers are worried at the possibility of there being a leak in banking information.

As for Apple, it states that AirDrop is fully encrypted. However, phishing attacks are possible if someone masquerades as a contact from the other side of a very crowded room.


AirDrop comes pre-installed on iOS 7. Since it operates only on Apple devices, the user interface is identical. However, NFC operates on Android phones which are manufactured by different companies. Thus, the interface varies and the experience for all users in not the same.

Unlike NFC devices which need to be physically bumped with each other, AirDrop requires no touching. This means that it can also transfer data from one device to many others, whereas NFC devices are restricted to transferring data one-to-one.

AirDropcan be used absolutely anywhere because it does not require a network and works across all iDevices. Since 550 million devices now run on iOS 6, users shifting to iOS 7 would result in a huge user-base for AirDrop.

As of now, AirDrop seems more polished and practical. Keeping in mind that Apple will probably start iWallet soon, AirDrop is certainly the way forward. So what you think between NFC Vs AirDrop, which is the best technology so far?


Vishal Gaikar

Article by Vishal

Vishal Gaikar is a professional blogger from Pune, India. If you like this post, you can follow him on Twitter.

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