How to setup a iOS home automation task using an NFC tag and the iOS shortcuts app

If you have an iOS 13, or later, device with an NFC reader, you can use it to automated tasks around your home.

Why, you might ask. Well it won’t be for everyone, but for others it can help automate tasks. Example uses are?

  • Set your lights for the night.
    Could be useful if you have children, and want to set a nightlight on the landing.
  • Check if all your doors and windows are closed.
  • Turn everything off.
  • Set you alarm.

Now as I said, it’s not for everyone, but for some, it will be quicker, as you just need to tap you phone on the NFC tag, instead of opening the Home app and controlling your devices separately.

How to setup the NFC automation

Before we start, make sure you have some NFC tags. I went for these NFC stickers, as they blend in quite nicely, and are easy to stick to pretty much anything.

For this example, we’ll create an automation to set the landing lights to be a nightlight, and also to turn off all the lights downstairs.

  1. Open the ‘Shortcuts’ app.
    If you don’t have it, install it from the app store.
  2. Select the ‘Automation’ tab.
  3. Select the ‘+’ icon to add a new automation.
  4. Select ‘Create Personal Automation’.
  5. Select ‘NFC’.
  6. Select ‘Scan’ next to ‘NFC Tag’.
  7. Hold your phone (near the camera area) over the NFC tag.
  8. Give your tag a name and select ‘OK’.
  9. Select ‘Next’.
  10. Select ‘Add Action’.
  11. Search for ‘Control <<Your Home Name>>, and select it.

    << your home name>> should be replaced with the name of your homekit home.
  12. Tap ‘Scenes and Accessories’.
  13. If you have a scene already setup to do this, select it. For this tutorial though, we’ll select everything individually.
    Scenes are handy, if you intend to do the same automation with multiple NFC tags.
  14. Check all the devices you want to control.
  15. Select ‘Next’.
  16. Now select the state you want the devices to be in. If you press and hold on them, you can control the brightness, colours etc.
    For now, we’ll set all to off, apart from landing.
  17. Landing will be set to ON, and 2% brightness.
  18. Select ‘Done’.
  19. Select ‘+’ to add another action.
  20. Search for ‘Show notification and select it.
  21. Tap the ‘Hello World’ message on the notification and change the message to ‘Nightlight active’ and select ‘Done’.
  22. Select ‘+’ to add another action.
  23. Search for ‘Vibrate device’ and select it.
    I like the vibration, as an extra confirmation.
  24. Select ‘Next’ (your setup should look similar to the below).
  25. Unselect ‘Ask Before Running’ and when prompted, select ‘Don’t Ask’.
  26. Select ‘Done’.

When you run your shortcut, but tapping your phone on the NFC tag, you should get the below messages on your phone:


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