The easiest way to use libnfc with the Adafruit NFC Breakout is via UART, since it's well-supported by libnfc out of the box.  Unfortunately the UART port on the Pi is already dedicated to other purposes, and needs to be freed up for libnfc.

The following steps (based on a clean Raspbian install via noobs) should free UART up for us:

Step One: Run raspi-conf

From the command prompt enter the following command:

$ sudo raspi-config

Step Two: Disable Serial Console

From the main menu, select option 7 (Serial), then select 'No' to disable shell and kernel messages via UART.

Step Three: Enable UART

On the latest Jessie Raspbian, you may also need to enable the UART for user usage! Edit config.txt with
sudo nano /boot/config.txt

and remove the line


if it exists. And add at the end of the file


 Save the file

Lastly: Reset

From the command prompt enter the following commands to reboot your Raspberry Pi board, freeing UART up in the process:

$ sudo reboot

This guide was first published on Jul 29, 2012. It was last updated on Jul 29, 2012.

This page (Freeing UART on the Pi) was last updated on Dec 03, 2021.

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