What does the N symbol on your phone mean and why is it worth activating?

What does the N symbol on your phone mean and why is it worth activating?

Does your phone display an N at the top near the time? This logo is important in several situations. Here's what you need to know about it to get the most out of it.

You may have already noticed: the upper area of ​​your smartphone's screen contains several icons and signals, all of which are intended to inform you of the status of the device and especially the activation of certain functions. So, in addition to the time and the type of mobile network (4G or 5G) with the signal strength (the famous bars that indicate the quality of the mobile network), you can also know if the Wi-Fi network is activated through the button with the wave icon, as well as the Bluetooth status, with the B icon, to use headphones or a wireless speaker, for example.

But this area, called the “status area”, also sometimes displays elements that might interest you because you have no idea what they do. This is the case of the N logo that sometimes appears next to the clock and the mobile network. This N corresponds to NFC: when it is displayed, it means that the NFC function of your smartphone is activated.

NFC is a short-range wireless communication technology (it is designed for proximity communication, hence its full name, Near Field Communication). Its main use is related to mobile payments and transportation tickets: every time you bring your phone close to a payment terminal or ticket controller, you are using NFC technology. If the N letter does not appear in the status box, the option may be disabled for you. But be careful, some modern mobile phones do not display this symbol, even when NFC is activated.

Having NFC permanently activated has no significant impact on your smartphone's battery life because the function consumes very little power. It also doesn't pose any risks: nobody will debit your bank account by holding a device close to your phone. So you can leave NFC active all the time. Making contactless payments or validating a transport ticket will be much more convenient and faster.

However, if you don't want to leave it permanently, you can easily activate and deactivate it according to your needs. Here's how to do it.

Go to your phone’s Settings. Open the Connectivity and sharing or Connected devices section (the name may change depending on the brand and model). If you don’t like digging through settings, just type NFC in the search box at the top of Settings, and you’ll find the option much faster. Once you find it, just toggle the switch next to NFC to turn the feature on or off. You can also enable or disable it from Quick Settings, the buttons that appear when you pull down the notification area. If you don’t have NFC there, add it from Options, by tapping the pencil icon or the gear icon.

Finally, note that the N icon is only for Android smartphones. All Apple iPhones have been equipped with NFC since the iPhone 7, but they don’t display any logo to indicate the status of this function. NFC is enabled by default in iOS, but you can disable it if you wish by going to Settings.

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