RFID reader for iPad

At our gaming club we have an iPad (2019) that register all members. I have built a Filemaker Solution that works as it should; The member enters her member number and presss return.
We also have an RFID key tag solution to our entrance, so members can enter the club witout the need of a physical key.
Now I’d like a solution where the members press her RFID droplet against the iPad/Reader instead of typing the member number.


  • What do I need for hardware to solve this? Recommendations from working solutions would be great (otherwise I can google it).
  • Does the iPad have a built in RFID reader? Or is the built in NFC reader/sender something else?

I have fulll experience with how the digits from the RFID tag works and the database solution, I built a similar solution with a Mac a while ago. I just want to know the best hardware solution for the iPad.

Andreas :cowboy_hat_face:

@OogieM might be able to offer some insight with this.

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Problems you’ll have

iPad is so totally locked down that you need FCC approved readers to talk to it. I’ve been dealing with livestock EID tags and they typically run $400-$2000 for a reader that will talk to an iOS device.

As you know RFID tags come in many different flavors and types. The Priority 1 board from Australia handles all the livestock tags but I don’t know how it works on other tags. It does NOT, for example, handle the RFID chips that are implanted in pets. You need the specs of the type of RFID that you have on the key tags to determine what readers you can attach.

All the readers I know of connect to the device via bluetooth.

As an alternative you might consider whether there is a datamatrix code on the keytags. You can buy a simple datamatrix code reader for about $35 off Amazon and then have it send the data via bluetooth if you have a reading program on the iPad. We’re doing that on Android as part of AnimalTrakker and LambTracker.

This is the one we are using to read data matrix codes on tissue sampling punches from Allflex.
BaaCode scanner

The BaaCode service that talks to it is a modification of the Android library zxinglib that my husband modified for our needs. I can give you access to the source code we have in AnimalTrakker that does this (it’s still hidden because it’s not yet ready for prime time) but will be open source released under an Apache license. Just let me know and I’ll add you to the list of folks that can see the code.

LambTracker is out already. Has a lot of junk in the zxing lib that we removed later.
Code is on GitLab LambTracker code