How to scan a QR Code with an iPhone

Prior to iOS 11, if you wanted to scan a QR Code with your Apple iPhone, then you needed an App. With the release of iOS 11, iPhone and iPad users can now read QR Codes directly from the Camera App. In technical speak, this is called 'native' support. Which means that with iOS 11, QR Code scanning is available straight out of the box.

While it's quite straightforward, this is a step by step guide on how to scan your first QR code.

Open the Camera App

Open your camera app either from the icon or using any of your usual shortcut methods. Note that if the camera is opened without unlocking the iPhone or iPad, then you will need to unlock (password, fingerprint, etc) before you can open any webpage the QR Code may link to.

Open iPhone Camera App For QR Code ScanningLeszek Kobusinski / Shutterstock.com

Focus the camera on the QR Code

Now you need to focus your camera on the QR Code. Remember that you might be quite close to the QR Code and the camera is at the top of the device. You need to hold it steady for a very short period of time for the iPhone software to recognise that you are scanning a QR Code.

Focus iPhone On QR Code

Tap the notification bar

Almost immediately, a notification bar will appear the top of the screen with the message, 'QR CODE DETECTED'. If the QR Code connects through to a website, then you'll see a message similar to 'Open "kixtag.com" link. Just tapping on this link will open the website automatically. It's as simple as that.

Click On Pop-Up Launch Notification

Are there different QR Codes ?

Yes. There are QR codes with slightly different technical specifications, different functions and sometimes different designs.

Techical differences
We won't get too technical here but QR codes are very clever. They can actually be partially damaged with small sections missing and they can still function. This is due to something called error correction. QR codes can be created with different levels of error correction which can increase the 'strength' of them against damage. The downside is that the number of little squares or dots need to increase. This means that the dots can become smaller for a given size of QR code.

Design differences
QR codes work best if they have very high contrast between the dots and the background. They also work better if the dots/squares are well defined and no part of the QR Code is damaged, altered or missing. In short, black square dots on a white background with no modifications. However, as mentioned above, QR codes have error correction built-in which means that some sections can be changed and they can still work. So you might see some with a logo or image on them. They might be different colours or have rounded corners or dots instead of square. They are all still QR Codes and all function fundamentally the same but just look different.

Function differences
Most QR Codes work best if they link to a website as the result is the same on all devices and phones. However, QR Codes can also be encoded/created to do other things such as store addresses, telephone numbers and so on. The iPhone QR code scan notification bar will tell you what the phone would like to do. You can then choose whether to continue or cancel.

Android QR Code readers

For Android phones there's a wide selection of free and easy to use Apps. Google are planning to integrate QR Scan directly into the Chrome web browser but unfortunately, this isn't available right now. Apple have decided to take the lead with QR code technology.

Can NFC Tags be scanned on the iPhone ?

To scan an NFC tag with an iPhone running iOS 11, you need to download an App. It's not currently native.

Are Kixtag QR Codes different ?

Kixtag QR Codes use the same technology so they can be read with iPhones, Android phones, Windows phones, Blackberrys and any other QR code scanning device. Kixtag qr codes link through to Kixtag connection hub pages.

The use of QR codes is free of any license but the term 'QR Code' is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated. Where you use the phrase 'QR Code', you are required to display the phrase 'QR Code is registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED' somewhere near. This is not required if you only use the QR Code image itself so get your own QR Code and print it everywhere !