Reasons Why QR Code is Not Working - Common Problems & How to Fix

Ilaha Mammadova

May 21, 2024

8 min read

QR code doesn't work

QR codes do not work due to physical medium issues, encoded data issues, and problems with the link destination. Encoded data issues are technical problems that prevent QR codes from functioning properly. Physical medium issues are problems related to factors that affect the visibility of the QR code, as well as physical and scanner-related factors that hinder its readability. The problems related to the link destination are issues that fail to retrieve information after scanning the QR code.

The main reason for a QR code not working on Android phones is often related to the phone not being updated to the latest version of Android. The QR code not working on the iPhone is due to the iPhone not being updated, not being properly aligned with the camera, or the lenses not being cleaned. Quick solutions and fixes for common QR code problems are checking the size, excessive design, content, price plan, scanner, QR code quality, and environmental conditions.

It is necessary to choose the right generator during QR code creation, pay attention to the design process of the QR code, and consider how it is printed during usage for QR codes to function properly and be scanned correctly. The QR code doesn’t work without any inconsistency. Additionally, attention must be paid to the scanning device during the scanning process because, in some cases, even if everything is okay with the QR code, it is not scanned by the scanner and is an invalid QR code.

Why is the QR Code NOT Working?

QR codes don't work for various reasons, such as broken links, placement issues, and color contrast. The factors are categorized into 3 main categories.

  1. Encoded data issues
  2. Physical medium issues
  3. Link destination issues


1. Encoded Data Issues

Encoded data issues are technical problems that prevent QR codes from functioning properly. The 4 encoded data issues are listed below.


Expired QR code

There is a possibility that the QR code has expired if a QR code is scanned and doesn't work. QR codes are used for a certain period after payment, and when the payment period or free trial ends, the QR code expires, especially with dynamic QR codes. The expired QR code doesn’t work when scanned. Renewing the QR code's payment and upgrading the trial plan makes the invalid QR code a functional QR code again.


More content

More content

Placing too much information inside a static QR code is not recommended when creating QR codes. QR codes are not scanned when they contain too much information, resulting in the inability to be scanned.


Error correction

QR codes are generated with a certain error correction level when creating QR codes; therefore, if any damage occurs, the QR code will still read. The QR code doesn’t work if the QR code is slightly damaged and there is either no error correction or the level is too low.


Scanner

Some older scanners have difficulty reading QR codes. It means that the scanner is not reading the QR code, which prevents the use of the QR code. QR code still doesn't work if everything is in order with it.


2. Physical Medium Issues

Physical medium issues are problems related to factors that affect the visibility of the QR code and physical and scanner-related factors that hinder its readability. The 6 physical medium issues are listed below.


Print Quality

High print quality is important for the QR code to be scanned. The scanner does not scan the QR code, and the QR code doesn’t work if the print quality is not good. Therefore, attention must be paid to print quality when printing QR codes. Using PNG and SVG formats for high-quality printing is ideal.


SizeSize

Attention must be paid to QR code size because if it is too small or too large while using the code, it does not work. For example, it is a problem if the QR code is smaller than 2x2 cm (0.8x0.8 in), and there is a chance the QR code doesn’t work. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the minimum size.


Lighting

It is important to pay attention to the lighting when scanning the QR code because if there is a problem with the lighting, the phone camera or QR code scanner does not scan, and the QR code doesn’t work. Choosing proper lighting, cleaning the phone camera, and trying to scan again is necessary.


Blurriness

Blurriness

Sometimes, QR codes are blurry, which prevents them from being scanned and thus hinders functionality. Therefore, it is important to download them in the correct format to avoid blurry images. For example, SVG and EPS formats are ideal for the larger-size use of QR codes.


Color contrastColor contrast

Color contrast is necessary when customizing QR codes to be scanned. The QR code must be dark, but the background must be lighter. Colors must be chosen to allow the QR code to be read. The color of the material on which the QR code is printed must match the QR code's color. Otherwise, the scanner does not read the QR code, and it does not work. Excessive design on the QR code creates confusion and hinders readability in addition to colors.


Placement

Attention must be paid to the distance when placing the QR code. Using small QR codes makes them not work because people do not scan them in such areas. QR codes are ineffective if printed in distant areas where people do not easily scan them. Therefore, choosing areas and distances that allow people to scan them is necessary.


The problems related to the link destination are issues that fail to retrieve information after scanning the QR code. The 2 problems related to the link destination are listed below.


Deleted Content

The QR code does not work if the information contained within it is deleted after a certain period and is no longer functional. The user does not see anything, such as the information being deleted; the QR code only directs the user to the existing information.


Non-functioning Website

The QR code does not direct the user to that site, and the user perceives that the QR code is not working if the website linked within the QR code is no longer functional. The user does not receive information if the website is inactive when scanning the QR code because the site is not redirected. The issue is not related to the technical functioning of the QR code but rather to the non-functionality of the website.

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Why is the QR Code not Working on Android?

The main reason for a QR code not working on Android phones is often related to the phone not being updated to the latest version of Android. The problem of being unable to scan is usually resolved after updating to the newest version. Checking for access to QR code scanning on the phone is generally necessary if it does not work. It's important to try again after doing it from the Settings section. Exiting and re-entering the camera app or cleaning the camera lenses must be done if scanning doesn't work. Some older Android phones are unable to scan QR codes. Knowing it beforehand and then attempting to scan it with other devices is necessary. Internet access is often required during QR code scanning. Check the internet if a QR code doesn't lead to information, which is essential. Generally, it's due to the following factors if an Android phone isn't scanning QR codes.

  • Android version
  • QR code scan access
  • Cleaning the camera lenses
  • Low-quality print QR code
  • Lack of scanning capability on the phone
  • Internet connectivity

Why is the QR Code not Working on iPhone?

The QR code not working on the iPhone is due to the iPhone not being updated, not being properly aligned with the camera, or the lenses not being cleaned. Some functions do not work properly on the phone if the phone is not updated with the latest iOS update. Restarting the phone or camera when the QR code is not scanned is necessary. Sometimes, the phone camera lens is dirty, and the QR code is not scanned. Cleaning and trying again is necessary in that case. Generally, the iPhone's inability to scan QR codes is influenced by external factors, such as the quality of the QR code, positioning, and lighting. Another reason for not scanning is the lack of internet connectivity on the iPhone. Below are factors explaining why the QR code is not being scanned on the iPhone:

  • Improper camera alignment
  • Lighting
  • iOS version update
  • Dirty camera lenses
  • Damaged code
  • Low print quality
  • Internet connectivity

Quick Solutions and Fixes for Common QR Code Problems

Quick solutions and fixes for common QR code problems include checking size, excessive design, content, price plan, scanner, QR code quality, and environmental conditions. Below are 7 solutions to fix common QR code problems.

  1. Pay attention to size. QR codes must be at least 2x2 cm (0.8x0.8 in) in size to ensure it is appropriately scanned if the QR code is printed. Some scanners do not read QR codes smaller than it, making QR code usage infeasible. Therefore, QR codes must be printed at the minimum size.
  2. Avoid excessive design complexity. A complex design with many colors and large logos creates a cluttered QR code that scanners do not read correctly. It leads to the QR code not working. Therefore, QR codes must be made as simply as feasible, with a background light and a darker QR code to ensure readability.
  3. Place existing content. The QR code does not redirect to the information when scanned if the information placed inside it is no longer working. The QR code only directs to existing information and a website. Therefore, it is necessary to place functional website content and check it after some time.
  4. Check payment. It is due to the QR code's free trial period ending or the payment deadline being reached without payment. The QR code stopped working at that time. Therefore, it is essential to check the payment status if the QR code is not working.
  5. Change the scanner. The device has a problem if the QR code is not being scanned. The camera lenses must be cleaned, the device must be turned off and on again, or another device must be used to scan.
  6. Check QR code print quality. The scanner does not scan the QR code if the QR code is not of good print quality. Therefore, paying attention to the print format and blur of the QR code is essential to ensure quality and easy scanning.
  7. Consider environmental conditions. The QR code is not scanned if it is placed too far from the normal scanning distance or if the lighting conditions are not correct. Therefore, the QR code must be placed at an appropriate distance for scanning, and the lighting conditions on the QR code must be checked to ensure scanning is feasible.

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Content Manager

Ilaha Mammadova

As an experienced content manager, Ilaha specializes in crafting SEO-friendly content that blends creativity and strategy. With a passion for delivering high-quality, engaging content, Ilaha focuses on innovative ideas to help brands elevate their digital presence. Her dedication to excellence ensures that every piece ranks well and resonates with the target audience, making a lasting impact. In her free time, she enjoys singing a song and capturing moments through photography, adding an extra touch of creativity to everything she does.

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