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That New Square-like Box in Your Notification Bar is the NFC Icon

NFC chips are pretty standard these days in smartphones, unless you own a device that begins with a lowercase “i.” As far as we are concerned, NFC is the future of sharing and mobile payments, two things we care deeply about as mobile enthusiasts. For the most part, phones come with NFC disabled until you head into Settings>Wireless & networks and check the box to enable it. This is probably the proper move while the world gets used to the thought of tapping to share information, especially since once enabled, there isn’t a way for you to tell if it remains active or not, unless you head back into settings. Well, until now. 

On at least two phones that I have used over the past couple of months, a new square-like boxy icon has appeared in the notification bar once I enable NFC. On both the LG Optimus G (2:55 mark of this video) and the HTC DROID DNA, this icon has appeared. It makes some sense that a new icon would constantly show that NFC is enabled, similarly to what we see with a data/WiFi connection, airplane mode, or pending alarm.

The interesting thing here, is the fact that the icon was identical on phones from two different manufacturers (LG and HTC). We aren’t sure if this is the new standard NFC icon handed down by some stuffy NFC governing body (Update:  appears to be the official logo), if OEMs are mysteriously trying to work together, or if the carriers are involved. No matter what, it appears to be here for good and we wanted to make sure you were aware of it.

I do wish it was a bit smaller, though.

  • Can’t find this on my Verizon Galaxy Note 2… 🙁

  • “NFC chips are pretty standard these days in smartphones”?!? You’re kidding right? I can count them on one hand!

  • vettedude95

    Does it flash or blink when you are using NFC?

    • LionStone

      No, the icon is static…it merely shows that NFC is enabled.

      • vettedude95


  • feztheforeigner

    Absolutely hate it! Takes up precious room from my notification bar…

  • C-Law

    I am not a fan. It’s not necessary

  • Tyler Casilio

    Its an “N” “F” and “C” all in one the lower left is the F and C

  • DC_Guy

    Ha ha Verizon played a cruel joke on me. I was excited when I noticed that my new Note 2 had Google Wallet pre-installed. Clicked on it and it says “not yet available for your device or mobile network”. Oh well…

  • Joey Funk

    Not on my stock gnex, or N7, so it must be a carrier or manufacturer specific to add it in.

  • NexusMan

    Don’t like it….I leave NFC enabled, and don’t need another omnipresent icon in my notifiction bar.


    That’s a pretty cool looking icon, as far as simple logos go anyway.

  • Craig Pardue

    If your rooted and can’t stand the notification icon…. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2017807

  • For me personally. I don’t care about NFC. It’s kind of a gimmick in my opinion. I have a Razr Maxx HD and it has NFC and I leave mine off. I tried to NFC between 2 Razr HDs I had at one time. Was too much of a burden. I’d rather e-mail for files or pay with a credit card or cash than pull my phone out launch an app. No thanks!

    • Stevedub40

      It’s really helpfull for my wife and I, since we share the same debit cards and it’s nice to be able to both use them at the same time. It’s saved my ass a few times.

      • Bigwavedave25

        Yep. Kind of like when the wife looses her card and borrows yours. Then you need gas or a few groceries on your way home… been there.


      Just to let you know, you don’t have to launch wallet to use it. Wake your phone and touch it to a pay pass terminal and it should launch wallet and ask for your PIN.

    • Jeremy

      Blind to the potential of its future uses. You’ll go real far in life heh.

    • Scott Stanchfield

      Try setting up some NFC tags in your car mount, on a dresser, kitchen counter, on your desk at work… Combine these with an app like Tasker or NFCTaskLauncher and you can trigger a bunch of settings depending on where the phone is. I’m hoping more developers get interested in playing with NFC to find more interesting things to be done with it…

  • Chris Hollenbeck

    Nothing on my Galaxy 3 yet.

    • FortitudineVincimus


      It is not going to just magically show up. It would have to arrive in an OTA update.

  • Chone

    Reminds me of the Nespresso symbol. Now I want some.

  • gadgetryan

    Trying to figure that icon out for a while….after a factory reset I found out!! lol This appears on the NOTE 2 Also!!

  • Dave

    As a result of that icon, I turned off NFC. Not that I used NFC much anyways, if at all.

    • Bigwavedave25

      ha! that’s funny. just did the same.

      • michael arazan

        Considering the only places using NFC is petco, a couple stores at the mall, BP and 7-11, I never use it in St.Louis, except for the free $10 from Gwallet.

  • I really dislike the box / colored background to the logo. It should just be the “N” symbol with no background.

  • antwonw

    Its also on the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE

    • I thought it was on there too, just couldn’t remember. My review pics don’t have it. I think I got annoyed at it and just turned NFC off, heh.

      • antwonw

        You probably didn’t notice cause the icon didn’t come until the update on October 16 (aka the Global Update/2.17.605.2). It wasn’t included until that update.

  • Chris Malkiewicz

    Hate it! Love a clean notification bar!

    • FortitudineVincimus

      root then delete… presto

    • While I like empty notification bar myself, I feel it’s sometimes better knowing that there’s NFC on and risk my phone being open to hacking rather then not knowing at all.

      • Hothfox

        I agree, an icon is a good idea. NFC requires pretty close contact to work, though, so you’d probably know it if you were going to get hacked.

        • Scott Stanchfield

          Also, unless you’ve rooted and tweaked the settings, the phone must be on and unlocked for NFC communication (which likely means it’s in your hand, where you’d likely notice someone holding another device next to yours), and you must have an app installed that understands the incoming request. (The app could be a malicious or trojan app that was downloaded from the play store or a website [if you have “install from unknown sources” enabled]). Yes, an attack _is_ possible, but it takes quite a confluence of events to make it realistic.

  • Pandalero

    Anyone know if keeping NFC enabled uses battery power?

    • TheCheapGamer

      I disabled mine and have not noticed any significant difference.

    • WAldenIV

      It doesn’t use any juice as far as I can tell. It was off for my first month of ownership with a Razr M. It’s been on for the last month and I’ve seen no difference in battery life. I highly recommend picking up some Samsung TecTiles.

      • Daniel Maginnis

        I’ve been wanting to pick up some Sony smart tags. They’re $20 for a set and look much nicer than these cardboard cut outs. My only problem is I couldn’t find them at the sony store and I hate to buy stuff online.


      It’s not on while the screen is off anyway. It’s completely negligible.

    • mgamerz

      I don’t think it does. It puts it in passive mode where the device you tap it to emits the charge (which is how NFC works on things like paypass).

      That doesn’t explain how a phone can tell when you put them next to another one though, so maybe it does.

  • Daniel

    Seems like that is the official logo: