Librem 5 NFC Support

I was wondering if anyone knows if NFC will be a feature on these phones? It won’t be a deal-breaker for me; I’ve been so impressed with the laptop they made that I have faith in the quality of the phone they will give us. It would be a nice feature to have, though.

1 Like

1 Like

Todd recently mentioned in the matrix channel that they are thinking/elaborating about adding NFC. But no promises at the moment.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing that. I currently use an iPhone, so I may as well not have NFC capabilities anyway. Either way, I’m somehow still more excited about getting the Librem 5 in April than I was about getting my first iPhone.

Hm. does it make sense to add tracking technology to a privacy oriented phone?

Tracking technology like GPS? :slight_smile:

It’s a handy feature for mobile payments, and it would save me from having to buy another Yubikey.

NFC Support would be something that would need another killswitch (in my case I really don’t want my phone to have the possibility to interact with my bank account (except using the browser to manage it)), I think that by now the hardware specifications of the phone are engraved in the stone and if you really want NFC on a Librem phone you might have to wait the next version/revision to propose that.


In most cases, it is very easy to disconnect the NFC antenna from the back of a smartphone. No need for a physical switch for permanent disconnection.

Although it is unlikely that NFC will be implemented, the specifications are far from being fixed at this time:

Will the phone have NFC technology?

Most likely not. We want to have a metal case and that is already a challenge with the three other antenna systems that we have to support: Cellular, WiFi/BT and GNSS (GPS…). NFC Antennas, likewise wireless charging, are pretty large. Last but not least they add another radio emitter which can cause additional EMC issues.

1 Like

We are 2 months away from the estimated start of shipping so I would be quite surprised if by now the specification would not be fixed.

Well I would still prefer a physical switch, that way I can have it disabled 99% of the time but I can enable it when I want to mess around with my Switch or RPi projects.

Read the FAQ.
2 weeks ago it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised if they announced an extra delay:

1 Like

GPS is not tracking technology.

GPS is a bunch of clocks running around the world shouting out their local time.
You can only receive that signal.

If you mean GPS trackers… then those are GPS receivers + GSM phone attached to it.
You don’t have the power to send to those satelitted @ around 200-400Km distance.
(unless you have a dish antenna on your phone).

1 Like

Is NFC more a security or privacy concern? As NFC works only on close distance, the attacks are limited to near surroundings. If you are scared about being tracked, than using a bank card is equally painful. And if you do not want someone to silently connect your NFC e.g. drive-by attack, you could turn it off…

So again, what NFC security/privacy problems are still known 2019?

Maybe when initial plans (in the USA) where not so NFC aware, it should be noted, that today, con tactless payments are becoming overly more common. In china it’s almost unavoidable. So I do think not having NFC is a big short comming.

As for QI (wireless charging) I guess it is underestimated how useful that would be in terms of warranty and support. By not having to plugin the phone via the USB-C port, the wear and tear on the connector is enormously limited. Actually, having a rubber cap in the port can actually be done almost full time (I currently actually have a magnetic USB adapter in to serve as a dust stop), increasing the longevity of the phone.

With the quite high price of the device, this two radio technologies are some (big?) misses.

As for the metal case and more antenna’s issue, yeah, that is sadly true of course. On my current phone (note2) there where pads on the back of the phone (under the plastic cover). I had to buy both after market, the NFC antenna was part of the cover, the QI antenna is a sticker ontop of the battery. It did cause my battery cover to buckle a few times and had to be replaced, but these are cheap (1 - 2 euro’s with NFC antenna) so it’s an acceptable pain.

Why I won’t question the choice for a metal cover, won’t this add uneeded weight? A metal frame, with a plastic cover would probably be cheaper and equally rugged?

1 Like

I really thought and hoped for high quality plastic back.
Metal back always weakens the signal strength.

Yeah, i don’t even know a manufacturer that does this. So while cool on paper; I think it’ll be super hard to manufacturer. Apple tried something similar, but with a glass backing, probably due to the antenna’s. And this was the iphon4 i think?

the iphone 3gs was half plastic, half magnesium if I remember correctly.

so this will probably be an engineering challange delaying the product significantly.

Another benefit of a plastic case is that people can 3D print the case, which might happen if Purism starts releasing the Gerber files in 3-5 years. Plastic is less recyclable, but it has a lower environmental footprint than metal and metal can be hard to recycle if the case contains mixed materials.

1 Like

The best back cover I’ve seen was on LG V10
Basically rough rubber piece :slight_smile:
Moto X Pure also had rubbery back

Send your cover off to these guys .

And see if they can make you a same thickness carbon fiber rear cover. I might . Carbon fiber linux phone :sunglasses:


you can actually 3D print carbon fiber using a ruby nozzle [0].

Disclaimer, i used to work for Ultimaker


Mozo offers Qi Wireless charging and NFC . I hope Purism can team up with Mozo as the brand could offer many versatile products that would be synergetic to the L5 regarding wireless charging, NFC, stylish and protective cases