Can Mobile Phones Read RFID Tags?

Yes, mobile phones can read RFID tags.

RFID tags come in different types. One of those types is NFC or Near-Field Communication. Mobile smart phones can read NFC tags. For example the iPhone 13 has an NFC reader.

NFC in iPhone 13

For all other types of RFID tags you need an external RFID reader.

NFC-enabled phones can only read NFC tags at close range, typically a few centimeters. For longer range or any other type of RFID tags, you have to use a reader like the one below.

Let’s take a look at different types of RFID tags in the table below

RFID Tag FrequencyMax Range
120–150 kHz10 cm
13.56 MHz1 m
433 MHz100 m
865-868 MHz (EU)
902-928 MHz (USA)
12 m
2450-5800 MHz2 m
3.1 – 10 GHz200 m

Depending on your application you can use any one of the above RFID tags. For instance if you want to be able to read an RFID tag up to 200 meters it has to be an ultra wide band tag. These tags operate at higher frequencies between 3.1 GHz and 10 GHz.

Is Apple Airtag a type of RFID?

Apple Airtag is a Bluetooth device and is not RFID.

While the Airtag operates in the same frequency range as microwave RFID, the range of an Airtag is greater. Airtags can communicate over a maximum range of 30 feet. RFID tags at the same frequency can communicate over a shorter range at 6.5 feet.

Does AirTag work in an RFID blocking wallet?

An RFID wallet does not block signals from AirTags. In fact some RFID wallet users have reported that even the precision finding feature works when an AirTag is placed in an RFID wallet.

Is Bluetooth the same as RFID?

Bluetooth is not the same as RFID. Bluetooth is used for communication between devices – for example a mouse and a laptop. RFID is used to transmit information between a tag and an RFID reader

Can NFC reader read RFID?

Yes many NFC readers can read RFID. For example the Sywan reader can read and write both NFC at 13.56 MHz as well as RFID at 125 kHz.

Is NFC or RFID better?

RFID covers a wide frequency range from 120 kHz to 10 GHz and range from 4 inches to 700 feet. NFC operates at a narrow frequency range of 13.56 MHz and has a range of 4 inches. RFID is therefore more versatile and better than NFC.

What are the differences between RFID and NFC?

Below are the differences between NFC and RFID in tabular form

Range4 inch – 700 feet4 inch
Frequency125 kHz to 10 GHz13.56 MHz
Data rate4 Mb/s 424 kbit/s
Cost$0.05 to $100+$0.10

What is the cost difference between NFC vs RFID?

NFC tags cost $0.10 while the cost of RFID tags can vary from $0.05 to over $100


In this post we have discussed Mobile Phones and RFID – specifically, NFC technology. NFC is a specific type of RFID. Over time, as different types of RFID gain traction, we anticipate that cellphones will include tech to read various types of RFID tags.