How To Scan A Qr Code Using Your Android Or Ios Device - And What The Heck Is A Qr Code

You most likely have seen QR codes, but it is also likely that you never used them.

QR codes gain popularity world-wide and are used more often by companies to make certain information easily accessible, or to provide access to certain products by simply scanning the code.

These codes are very inconspicuous, which is why many people know how a QR code looks, but never actually use them.

If you want to learn about QR codes and how you can use them, this guide is written for you.

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How To Scan A QR Code Using Your Android Or iOS Device - And What The Heck Is A QR Code

How To Scan A QR Code Using Your Android Or iOS Device - And What The Heck Is A QR Code authorMarc

What are QR Codes?

A QR code is a machine-readable code of black and white squares that can be scanned using a digital device to provide information embedded inside the code. In simple words, it is similar to a barcode, which also contains some kind of information inside it.


To unlock that information, you scan the code using your phone or any other digital device.


The type of information inside the QR code can include video content, text, or access to a particular product.


What is the Difference between a QR Code and a Barcode?

While QR codes may seem very similar to a barcode, the main difference between a QR code and the barcode is the amount of data that QR code can hold. Modern QR codes can hold 406 bytes of data, which is much more than a simple barcode as the later only contains text, numbers, and symbols.


QR codes are square-shaped because they are specifically designed for mobile phones. In contrast, barcodes are horizontal that can only be scanned with a barcode reader.


How QR Codes are used?

There are a variety of uses for QR codes. Perhaps, the most common example of the power of QR codes is visible in Asian countries where millions of people use their social media accounts to scan and buy products at retail stores.


Web application such as Weibo allows Chinese customers to upload cash to their social accounts to use in retail stores. Once the cash is added to the social account, the person can buy products at retail stores using Weibo QR code scanners.


The social application also allows customers to use QR codes to scan digital products found in online stores. Instead of giving their credit card numbers online, the customer can scan the in-built QR code beside the product, which allows them to buy it instantly.


In North America, Amazon is also experimenting with similar technology as Amazon Go stores are brick-and-mortar physical stores that allow people to scan QR codes to buy physical products.


QR Codes Explained

A QR code is a type of storage device that contains information inside it. To access that information, you will need to scan the QR code. If the information is a text, anyone scanning the QR code can get access to the text. Similarly, if it's a video, anyone can access the video by scanning the QR code.


However, if the person who made the QR code only wants certain people to access the video inside the code, the developer has the ability to restrict others. It means that only specific individuals who have the right to access the QR code can watch the video.


The same principle governs the shopping and buying patterns. For instance, if you sell a digital game on your website, and you want only those individuals who have enough cash in their digital wallets to buy the game, then you will create a QR code to give access to people who have enough cash.


How do you create a QR Code?

If you're thinking that creating a QR code is difficult, you're wrong. In fact, anyone can create a QR code for their convenience. Creating a QR code is just as easy as scanning a code.


The easiest method to create a QR code is to use an online application. There are a number of websites that provide tools to easily generate a code. Based on your specifications, you can tell the system what type of information you want to provide.

You can also tell the system how you want to use it and who should access the code.

Free QR generators allow you to experiment with different colors and put your own logo on the bar code. The subscription-based tools allow even more in-depth customizations.


What types of QR can you make?

Using a simple QR code creator, you can create and customize a lot of things. Here are just a few basic examples:


  • Contact Info: You can create a virtual business card allowing others to scan the code and automatically store your content information on their mobile phones. The virtual card can contain such information as your name, contact number, and business address.
  • SMS Message: If you want to show someone how to send a nice SMS message to get prospective business from a company, you can create QR code with an embedded SMS code. Once the user scans it, a nice SMS message is auto-generated with the pre-filled address of the recipient.
  • Email: Just like the SMS message, you can create a scannable QR code that will auto-populate fields such as the message; the subject line; and the recipient's address.
  • Phone Call: A QR code can be generated to initiate a phone call to a specific number. Instead of writing the phone number to a phone, the user can scan the QR code to automatically add the phone number and start the conversation.
  • Text Message: Similar to SMS Message, a QR code containing specific text can be created easily. You can also tell the system to accept scans from certain devices, only.
  • Location Coordinates: If you are aware of the geo-coordinates, you know how difficult it can be to type those coordinates. Instead, a simple QR code can not only send exact location coordinates when scanned, but it will also open Google Maps allowing the user to view the location.
  • Calendar Event: For event managers and exhibition centers, QR codes can be a godsend as they allow potential participants to automatically get schedules and a reminder of the events. You just need to scan the QR to access all the information regarding future events. The code can be built to deliver new and updated information to each participant, whenever it's available.
  • Wi-Fi Network: These days, there are so many public networks that it can often get difficult for travelers to get access to each Wi-Fi network on the airport, train station, or a public place. Network administrators can build scannable QR code that can allow instant access to the Wi-Fi without searching for parameters. It also works at restaurants, as you don't need to ask for the password to access the native Wi-Fi.
  • Social Media Profile: Various influential bloggers and celebrities have started using QR codes in their profile, which helps website visitor get more detailed information. It can also be used to subscribe or follow the person.
  • App Store: Once you are in an App store, it often gets difficult to install multiple applications on the list, particularly if you are downloading music files. QR scanners can help automate the process.
  • Dynamic QR Codes: Dynamic QR codes are generated once or for a specific time period. They are mostly used to test customer's response. For instance, the developer can evaluate statistics such as customer profile; model of the device, and time it took to complete a specific action.


For the convenience of programmers, the data inside these dynamic QR codes can be edited according to their requirement. The advanced features also include redirection abilities so that the user is redirected to the correct application path depending on individual requirements.


How to Scan a QR Code on Android?

Follow these steps to install and start enjoying the QR code on Android:


1. Open the Playstore on your Android to gain access to a number of QR scanning applications.


2. Type "QR reader" on the search bar in the Playstore to get a list of QR applications.


You will be shown a list of QR readers that you can install. It also helps to review the ratings to ensure that you're downloading a good QR reader that doesn't have technical glitches.


3. Tap on the individual QR application to download the application.


A pop-up will appear asking you to allow the app to gather information about your device and other basic information. You should allow the app to get information from your device as an app on Android Store doesn't collect or store any personal data.


4. Once you press the "accept" button allowing the app to access basic data, the QR app will start to download on your mobile device.


Depending on how your device is configured, the download bar will not show on the screen. It may take one or two minutes to download. After the installation is completed, you will see an icon on the app drawer of your mobile.


5. Opening the QR application will show a screen that will look like a standard camera screen. There is no fancy home screen or decorative markers.


6. To scan a particular QR code that you want to scan, just line up the QR code in the camera frame so that the QR code is within the square bracket of the camera shot.


It's similar to taking a photo from your camera, except that you don't have to press any buttons. Within seconds, your mobile QR scanner will scan the QR code opening whatever the code is intended for. Depending on the app, sometimes you also hear a beeping sound once the code is successfully scanned.


7. After the scan, you will get access to the video, text, audio or other desired actions.


How to Scan a QR Code on Apple iOS Device?

If you own an iPad or an iPhone, you may already have an in-built QR code on your device. Apple phone usually comes integrated with QR scanning abilities. The QR scanner is built in the camera, which means you can just point your camera to a QR code to scan it.


This function is available on iOS 11+ devices. There is every reason to think that the function will also be available on the new upgraded iOS 12 version.

Follow these simple steps to scan a QR code on Apple phones:


1. Open the camera app on your Apple phone.


2. Point the camera to QR code ensuring that the entire QR code is visible on the camera screen.


3. There is no need for you to press the shutter button because the camera app will automatically read the QR code activating it within seconds.


4. Depending on the QR code, you may get a notification. Just tap on the notification to access the QR code.


If your iPhone or iPad does not have an in-built QR code or if you're not satisfied with its functions, there are lots of QR readers on the Apple Store. Just download any good QR app to use as per your requirements.


Why should you use a QR Code?

Since QR code is a relatively new concept, there is a lot of discussion on why should we use a QR code if things can be done manually.


As per our understanding, the main reason for such a debate is a relative shortage of companies in North America and Europe who used the medium to market themselves. On the other hand, in Eastern economies such as China and Japan, almost every big name uses QR code making it easier for consumers to take full advantage of these codes.


As suggested earlier, the worth of a QR code also depends on how the company uses it to engage its audience. For instance, Amazon Go stores provide convenience to consumers by helping them experience a cashier-less experience so they don't have to wait in line with their shopping carts. These Amazon Go stores are the first major initiative by a large retailer to introduce the concept of QR codes.


Starbucks is another example of an American company using QR codes to its advantage. In 2017, nearly one-third of payments at Starbuck stores were made by scanning QR codes.


Similarly, a number of restaurants have started using QR code in their menu. Every item on the menu has a QR code, which makes it easier for customers to order their menu without waiting for the waiter to pick up the orders. This is a very attractive option for small restaurants in downtown areas where customers have to stand in lines to order their food during a busy lunchtime.


Imagine, if you could just scan the QR code to give your order while standing in the queue. As soon as it's your turn, you are ready to take the order. In fact, some of the high-tech universities have also started experimenting with the technology by partnering with food trucks outside their campus. Using the app, students are able to pre-order their menu instead of waiting in front of the food truck.


These examples clearly show that consumers can benefit from QR codes in a number of different ways. As brands continue to integrate QR code in their business strategy, its positive impact will grow.