QR code: how it works

QR code: how it works

You were quietly browsing the internet when you came across a QR code: an apparently meaningless image made up of black squares and white spaces, which should be framed with the smartphone camera. It seems obvious to me that you do not know what it is and now you would like some more information about it. Did I guess? Perfect, then know that you’ve come to the right place at the right time!

In the following lines, in fact, I will explain everything you need to know about mysterious QR codes and I’ll explain how to make the most of this tool. To begin with, I’ll explain what a QR code is and why it was created, then I’ll show you in detail how it works, how to create one, and how to use it for your needs. Even if now it seems useless to you, following my explanations and my advice you will realize how much this little image can make simple things otherwise long, and really save you a lot of time.

I sparked your curiosity and now more than ever do you absolutely want to enter the world of QR codes? Perfect, then all you have to do is get comfortable, take some time and continue reading my guide on how a QR code works. Having said that, I just have to wish you a good read!

What is a QR code

QR code
QR code: how it works ©aranzulla

To start, I’ll explain what is a QR code (which you can also find in the Italian form QR code): stands for Quick Response Code translated into Italian as “Quick response code”, and it’s a special code that contains text strings. In practice, it is a square made up of black and white squares arranged differently, depending on the information it contains.

It is therefore a code meant to be quickly read and interpreted by a device’s camera and contain more information than a device could hold a barcode.

If you are wondering what is a QR code for, I’ll give you some examples. Imagine you have a business card with all the personal information of the one who gave it to you. If you wanted to save everything on your mobile, it would certainly take some time, but with a QR code, you can simply frame it with the camera to save the contact information on your smartphone.

At this point, if I have convinced you of the usefulness of this technology, you are surely wondering how a QR code works. Am I right? In this case, know that all you have to do is open the app or website suitable for managing QR codes, so that you can easily scan it with your device’s camera and be able, therefore, to interpret the information contained within it, which could be a simple text, a link, a contact, GPS coordinates or even a simple calendar event.

In short, you can well understand that a QR code can be an incredible tool! All you have to do, therefore, is to continue reading this tutorial of mine, in which I will explain which tools to use so that you can scan a QR code or create one.

How to use a QR code

Now that you understand what a QR code is and how it works, let’s see in detail how to use a QR code (and therefore also how to generate one if you need it). All you need to do is read all the solutions that I will provide you in the following paragraphs.

Native solutions

QR code: how it works ©aranzulla

Some smartphones or tablets are equipped with native functionality for scanning QR codes and, therefore, you do not need to install any third-party app to read this code. Obviously, I’m talking about the decryption of the content of a QR code only: this means that, if you want to create one, you must necessarily use a third-party service.

Back to the main topic, smartphone and tablet camera apps can easily interpret QR codes. An example is the camera app default of iOS And iPadOS: all you have to do is open this app, frame the QR code, and read, through the appropriate notification that is shown on the screen, the content of the aforementioned code.

If you have a smartphone or tablet instead of Android, the situation is different as each manufacturer of these devices equipped with the operating system of the green robot applies its own customization in the features included “as standard”. An example is the HUAWEI smartphone that, through functionality, Nearthey can scan any type of information, including QR codes.

To use it, swipe from top to bottom starting from the center of the display and then tap on the square icon with a line in the center that you find in the search bar. At this point, the device’s camera will start: make sure the section is active Code scan below and frame the QR code to get the information.

QRbot (Android / iOS / iPadOS)

QR code: how it works ©aranzulla

If your smartphone or tablet is not equipped with native functionality for scanning QR codes or you are also looking for a solution to generate these codes, you can rely on the app QRbot. This is a free tool, but you can purchase a Pro version for the cost of 3.99 euros (on Android) or 10.99 euros (on iOS / iPadOS) to remove advertising.

To download the app QRbotreach the Play Store (also available in alternative stores) and press the button Install. On iOS / iPad instead, reach theApp Store and tap the button Get. Then unlock the download via Face ID, Touch ID, or Apple ID password.

Once the installation of QRbot is complete, open the app by touching its icon and, if necessary, press the button Allow to approve access to the camera. Tap the tab Scan come on Androidpress the button Scan with the camera to frame the QR code with the camera, otherwise press the button File scan to import a QR code from the device memory.

On iPhone And iPad the operation is simpler as the app is already preset to scan via camera and, if necessary, by pressing on the appropriate picture icon, you can import the QR codes saved on your Apple device. After scanning the code, you will be shown its content to view it and possibly interact (for example if it is a link, you can tap on it and open it with your browser).

If you want to create a QR code instead, go to the tab Create (on Android) or My Codes> Create Code (on iOS / iPadOS). Once this is done, choose one of the options on the screen, so that you can create a QR code based on the content it will contain. For example, you can choose a Website to link to a URL after crawling or Wifito stores the access data of a Wi-Fi network to be shared.

When you are done, press the confirm button at the top to generate the QR code. Among the features available there is the possibility of obtaining the QR code in image format and then saving it on the device or sharing it on other apps and external services.

WebQR (online)

QR code: how it works ©aranzulla

Do you have a PC with a webcam or do you need to read a QR code on a downloaded image? Perfect, I have the solution for you. The advice I can give you is to use the site WebQR. Connect to its main page using any browser modern and, if necessary, presses the button Allow to allow the site to use the webcam.

If you have to read a QR code that you have for example on a sheet, you simply have to bring the sheet close to the webcam in order to frame it correctly. Wait a few seconds for the data to be read, which you can find in the box below.

Do you need to read a QR code contained in an image saved on your PC? No problem. Still from the WebQR site, click on camera icon that you find on the right. Then press the button Choose File and select the image on which the image with the QR code is saved. Immediately after you will see the stored data appear, again in the box below.

If you want to create a QR code containing a URL or a text message, click on the wording Create and use the appropriate box to type in the requested data. Then press the button Create to get the QR code. To save it, right-click on the generated code and press on the item Save image as (or other similar wording, depending on the browser you are using).

UnitagQR (online)

QR code: how it works ©aranzulla

UnitagQR is a website that allows you to generate many types of QR codes. Even though it is in English, it is very simple to use and has a very intuitive interface, which you will have no problem understanding even if you know little about computers. The first thing you need to do is connect to the main page of the site and use the buttons you find there.

Thanks to the buttons placed in the box QR code Type, you can decide the type of information to be stored in the generated code. For example, to create a QR code that contains a website, you need to click on the tab Web & Social Networks and enter the site address in the appropriate box.

Pressing on the tab Other Types you can select other types of data to embed, such as messages, contacts, access data of a Wi-Fi network, etc. Then enter the required information in the boxes that appear on the screen and that’s it.

Under the square CustomizationInstead, there are options to customize the QR code. Keep in mind that a QR code that is too personalized may not be read well by all cameras. In any case, the choice to do it or not is up to you and I’ll explain how to proceed anyway.

Then click on the link Templates to use one of the predefined templates and choose the one you prefer. You can customize your QR code even more by pressing on the items Colors (for colors), Look (for the appearance), Logo (for the small logo to insert in the middle), Eyes (for the shape of the squares), and finally Options to access some additional options.

As you customize your QR code, you will see a preview at the top: when you are satisfied with the work obtained, click on the button Download the QR code to download the image to your computer, smartphone, or tablet and use it where you see fit.

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