Certainly, the addition of NFC functionality into Android has been behind a plethora of useful features in recent years, from mobile payments to beaming files between devices. Unfortunately, for some users who updated their Nexus devices to KitKat, the NFC service which powers all these cool features dies repeatedly, and renders any functions tied to it useless. The good news is, Google has apparently found the root cause of the problem and has marked it to be fixed in a future release.



Some users are reporting that, with NFC turned on, trying to make a connection to another device or turning the screen off results in Android's NFC service force closing. This has been confirmed to affect all Nexus devices which have an official KitKat build:

  • Nexus 4
  • Nexus 5
  • Nexus 7 (2012 and 2013, both WiFi and Cellular)
  • Nexus 10

It has also been confirmed on the following builds:

  • 4.4/KRT16S
  • 4.4.1/KOT49E
  • 4.4.2/KOT49H

Workaround (Kind Of)

Though there is no good permanent workaround, there is one that will at least allow you to beam something if need-be. Users have reported success by toggling airplane mode on the affected device. This will allow one connection before the NFC service will start its endless crash loop again.


Thankfully, this isn't a bug that seems to be affecting a lot of people. That said, affected users really have no other option at this stage but to wait for Google to fix it. The best case scenario would be that the issue turns out to be a quick fix for someone on the Android team and gets out in the next official Nexus OTA.

Thanks, Denham!

Shawn De Cesari
Shawn is a web developer by day and XDA's resident archivist for Nexus and Google Play Edition device OTA updates by night. When not immersing himself in code or Android, he can be found hunting down antique signs, taking road trips, listening to music, or playing video games. His daily drivers are a Nexus 6 and an iPhone 6 Plus.
  • Derek Traini

    With all of these bugs that could be fixed, I am getting anxious for an Android update. Any guesses on when it'll come out?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

      We're just about due. Generally there's a Nexus OTA every 2-3 months on average. KOT49H happened in early December, so yeah...any time now.

      • Derek Traini

        Great, thanks!

      • The Motto

        So what your saying is.. THAT 4.5 IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!?!?!?!?!?!?!? OMG!! (starts hitting the 'Check now' button)..

        • Scott

          Easy there turbo.

        • Zech Zimmerman

          4.5/5.0 won't be released until July (per history) on what I'd assume will be the third generation Nexus 7. This update that we are expecting would be 4.4.3.

        • Vardan Nazaretyan

          What he is saying is that 4.4.3 might be just around the corner.

  • Bluewall

    God damn it thank you !
    Thought I was bad at using NFC.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    All the more reason for Google to release Android 4.5

    And also make Google Now Launcher stock, put Remote Control as the system app, and replace Dalvik with ART

    • Zech Zimmerman

      Google Now launcher will probably never be stock on AOSP (because of licensing) or Nexus 4/7s/10 (because its a major UX change)... I expect ART either in July with 4.5/5.0 or possibly in November with whatever version of Android ships then.

  • Whyzor

    Thanks to AP for finding bugs again for Google. How did this get past testing? Did nobody at Google even touch NFC feature on any of the Nexus devices before the code was approved for release? The bug tracker says it was found by someone in Nov 2013, almost 4 months later did they find a solution. Fixing bugs may not be as glamorous as working on the next great feature, but this is a bit disturbing.

    • Zech Zimmerman

      Its a bug that affects a limited number of users. I have used the NFC on a Nexus 4, 5, and both 7s all running KitKat and never encountered a problem. The Android team has a finite amount of time and a schedule to keep, they have to prioritize and they decided that 4 months was an acceptable delay for a solution.

  • Lucas

    NFC has been occasionally dying on me on my Moto X since the 4.4.2 update. The option to turn it back on stops working, and fails in an odd, silent way when selected. I've found that switching between Dalvik and ART either 1 or 2 times solves the problem.

  • Nick

    With all the bug reports going on, I haven't encountered any. I don't use Skype so I don't experience the camera bug but never had issues with NFC

  • Android Developer

    how come the nexus has so many bugs being found and reported?
    is it that google adds them on purpose so that they could show other companies how important it is to update their devices?

    • https://sites.google.com/site/livingroomhush/ Alessandro L

      No, it's just that nexus devices are for beta testers.
      And devs too.

      • Android Developer

        no, that's no longer the case.
        Nexus devices are supposed to be the base, clean devices that google wishes that others will follow in some way, especially in terms of speed, updates, hardware and price.

        that's how I see it, at least.

        • https://sites.google.com/site/livingroomhush/ Alessandro L

          Sorry, I almost forgot: beta testers, devs and followers.

          • Android Developer

            what followers?
            I'm sure there are many people who bought it for its low price (low compared to the specs), and are not in the groups of people you've mentioned.

          • https://sites.google.com/site/livingroomhush/ Alessandro L

            They're unconscious beta testers, a sub-category of beta testers.

      • Zech Zimmerman

        Nexus devices aren't just for devs... Keep in mind that every Nexus phone since the Nexus S has been available through carriers with the current Nexus 5 being sold by T-Mobile and Sprint.

        • https://sites.google.com/site/livingroomhush/ Alessandro L

          Just miss when I said they're just for devs.

          • Zech Zimmerman

            Not sure what you're saying but my point is that they aren't just marketed as dev devices. If they were they'd only be available through Google and not through carriers, not to mention Google wouldn't have spent a crap ton on advertising. Also they aren't beta devices considering that KitKat was available on several devices within a month. If they were beta devices I'd expect them to have Android versions before OEMs were given the source, which is not the case.

            Every device, OS, and app will have bugs found. If it seems that Nexus devices have more it's probably because the people who generally buy them know what to expect and are aware of how to report issues. To be clear you don't have to be a dev to know this. I'm not an Android dev neither am I a beta tester. I buy Nexus because they are solid, fast, and beautiful devices.

  • jules

    In Google Discussion Group topics there is a ridiculous amount of people having the bug screen rotation stops working. All Nexus devices on stock (before Nexus 5 at least) since JB and still in KK. Sometimes very short, but often for a long time. Very irritating bug. Forced to use 3rd party rotating app to rotate screen when that again occurs from time to time.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Share a few links please, and we'll see about Bug Watching it.

  • http://jhender.com/ Jh

    Hope the release comes out soon. Seems like tons of bugfixes incoming. =)

  • Roh_Mish

    Somewhat off-topic but after I updated to 4.4, NFC does not works from my phone to laptop. I used NFC before to send webpage links from phone to laptop hut now after I touch (touch to been), it gets stucked on bring devices together agin message.
    PA 4.1Beta.

  • DrMacinyasha

    A more long-term fix I ended up having to do was call the Google Play Hardware Support Team. I spoke with a representative and just told her about the bug, gave the AOSP Issue Tracker issue number, and said I had already tried flashing the stock Nexus images and that coworkers/friends with the same hardware version were not having the issue.

    Two weeks later and I had my replacement Nexus 7 shipped to my door, and shipped my old Nexus 7 with the "broken" NFC back the next day, all at no cost since it was under warranty from Google Play still.

    You can find your local Google Play Hardware Support Team phone number here: https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/3053039

  • Martijn Coenen

    This article has pulled the original bug report totally out of context. It only affects 2013 N7 devices, and only then a very limited amount of those.