Post NFC Tags as Keystrokes Built-in Android NFC

This document outlines setup of an Android device with built-in NFC reader for use with SerialMagic Gears to allow NFC tag serial number to be posted to all Android applications that can accept typed data. NFC Gears is designed for use with other applications such as SerialMagic Gears, Grid-In-Hand® Mobile Grid, Order-In-Hand® Mobile Order, and more.

In this example, we’ll show how to use SerialMagic Gears with NFC Gears and the Samsung Nexus S to post NFC CSN (Card Serial Number) into an application running in the browser on the Android device.

Setup NFC Gears

1. Launch SerialMagic Gears and navigate to Settings, then locate the “Check for NFC” option.

SerialMagic Gears settings - Check for NFC (toggled ON)

2. The Check for NFC setting is ON by default, but if it is OFF, tap on it to toggle it ON again.

3. Kill SerialMagic Gears and re-launch it. You will see a prompt to install NFC Gears. Tap on “YES.” Or, alternatively, launch the Google Play Store and search for “NFC Gears.”

Install NFC Gears prompt

4. This will display NFC Gears on the Google Play Store. Tap on “INSTALL” to install it. 

Google Play Store - Install NFC Gears

5. Once installed, tap on “OPEN.”

Google Play Store - open NFC Gears

6. NFC Gears will display a prompt that explains that it runs as a background service. Tap on “SETTINGS.”

NFC Gears prompt - settings

If NFC is currently disabled on your Android device, you will receive a prompt to open settings to enable it. Tap on “OK” to open Android settings. Then toggle NFC ON. If NFC Gears doesn’t launch, find it in your installed apps and launch it again.
NFC is disabled - open settings to enable it prompt

Configure NFC Gears Options (optional)

The NFC Gears’ settings page is displayed in the screenshot below. Here is where you can adjust how NFC data is posted to the cursor location with SerialMagic Keys.

NFC Gears settings page

For example, to change the NFC data format, tap on “NFC data format.”

NFC Gears settings - Change NFC data format

Scanfob® NFC format is the default data format. It will post the NFC data from the built-in NFC reader in the same format as Scanfob® NFC Bluetooth or WiFi reader. If you prefer little-endian format, select “Little-endian NFC format.” Note: To post NFC tag CSN (card serial number) to cursor location of any Android app, SerialMagic Gears must have SerialMagic Keys enabled. To learn how to enable SerialMagic Keys, click here.

NFC Gears In Action

1. Now go to the desired app to post NFC-RFID tag value, and get cursor focus, tap-and-hold and change input method to SerialMagic Keys (or click here to learn about more ways to change the default keyboard). In this example, the Browser app is used on the Mobile List app at

2. With SerialMagic Keys keyboard enabled, and cursor focused to the desired location, read the tag and the tag number will be posted to the cursor location. Note with the first NFC read NFC Gears will provide notification dialog. This dialog may also occur occasionally when the SerialMagic Gears is not properly licensed.

control the NFC tag format posting

3. To read NFC tags, simply put the tag and reader near and the tag value will be posted. In the example below the first two tags were posted in Scanfob® NFC format, the second two are the same tags posted in Android NFC format (little-endian format).

post Android tags numbers in alternate formats to any app that accepts keystrokes