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Want to know what the weather is like, without actually having to open your eyes? I just wave my phone at an NFC sticker that I've stuck on my bed headboard and I get told what it's like out!

Many smartphones have an RFID / NFC reader built-in. I have an iPhone 11 Pro and I have combined the inbuilt NFC reader with the "Shortcut" App to make things happen when I scan a tag.

There are many limitations to the shortcuts you can use. For example, if you don't have Siri enabled, you can't use any of the clock/stopwatch functions.

However, you can access the Weather app, and then get it to speak the Weather.

NOTE: If you don't have Siri enabled, speak may not work on iPhone shortcuts. To fix this: Under the "Speak" and the text you have written, click the "show more" and chose a different voice.


1) Select the Shortcuts app

iPhone Shortcuts app icon

2) Select "Automation" (bottom middle), "+" (top right) and then "Create Personal Automation"

iPhone Screen - Selecting New Automation

3) Scroll down and select "NFC"

iPhone Screen - Select NFC in New Automation

4) Click "scan", hover the phone over the NFC tag you want to use and name it. Click "Next".

iPhone Screen - Ready to scan for new NFC tag

5) Click "Add Action" and in the "Search for apps and actions" type in "Weather". Select the Weather icon. Select "Get Current Weather". You may have to allow the app to access your location.

6) Click the "+" under the "Get current weather at Current Location". You may need to cancel ("x") the Weather suggestion. In the "Search for apps and actions" type in "Speak". Scroll down to find under "Actions" the "Speak Text" icon. Click on it. It should automatically change to "Speak Weather Conditions".

iPhone screen - Get Weather in Actions

7) If you do not have Siri enabled, under "Show More" change the voice to one that isn't Siri. (It just clicks rather than speaks otherwise).

8) Click Next and de-select "Ask before running" and confirm "Don't Ask". Click done.

9) Scan the NFC tag - and hear the weather!

For more on RF Tags, listen to The Engineering Edge podcast on The everyday tech students launched with NASA:

I am an inventor, engineer, writer and presenter. Other stuff: Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor of Engineering: Creativity and Communication at Brunel University London; Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and have a PhD in bubbles; Judge on BBC Robot Wars.
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