Trading an NFC Sticker for a New Phone Case

Weeks back, I wrote about how I’ve tossed traditional business cards in favor of an NFC-based card. I also mentioned how I picked up some NTAG 215 stickers, and slapped one on the back of my phone case. I’ve actually got 2 different “business card” pages I use – one for business use (the card I keep in my wallet and wave around at business functions) and a personal one for non-business situations (linked from the sticker).

Each page provides a different vCard, be it work or personal. Unfortunately, I found that over the couple of months that I had the sticker in-place first the top coating peeled off, then the black color started to wear off. Less than 2 months and it looks terrible. So, I set off for another solution.

Enter the Nomad iPhone 13 Pro case. It’s got an NXP-branded NFC chip embedded in the bottom. They refer to this as their Digital Business Card. They decided on using Popl for their solution. As I wrote previously, I’m not really interested in inserting a 3rd party between me and the person I’m sharing my info with.

So what to do? I’ve seen folks do stuff like cut the embedded NFC chip out and replace it with a sticker, but I wasn’t really interested in that, as I could have done that with my old case.

Of course, the NFC chip in the case is password-protected with the URL set to Popl’s service. Fortunately, I learned from a Reddit post I turned up that it’s relatively easy to get the password. You see, the password is kept in hexadecimal format in their Android app’s APK file, unencrypted. I’m not going to share it here. Weirdly, I found that I was unable to unlock the onboard NFC chip using any iPhone NFC apps. So, one of my Android-using friends loaded up the NXP TagWriter app on his phone and let me borrow the phone for about 10 minutes. First I changed the password on the chip, then changed out the URL for my own.

I’m happy to report that the tag remains usable, points to the right place too!