15 Reasons Your QR Code is Not Working and How to Fix Them

Update:  July 09, 2024
15 Reasons Your QR Code is Not Working and How to Fix Them

A QR code not working or does not open upon scanning can be due to several reasons. One of the many reasons is that the QR code is blurry.

They look plain and easy to make, but you can fail to make them functional if you don’t follow the simple QR code do’s and don'ts.

Do you know the reasons why your QR code doesn't work? 

Generally, there are 15 reasons why your QR code is not scanning or working.

You need to avoid these mistakes so you can generate a QR code that functions and is easy to scan. Read on to know the common QR code mistakes and how to fix each one of them.

15 reasons why your QR code is not working

Before you start thinking about how to make successful QR code campaigns for your business, you must have an idea of how to properly create a QR code using an online QR code generator.

Is the QR code not scanning? Low scans? There are various reasons as to why it happens.

Here are the reasons why your QR code won't scan or why your QR codes don't work:

Inverted QR code colors are a NO-NO

QR code not working

The number one rule in creating custom QR codes: avoid inverted QR code colors.

QR code scanners are set to detect QR codes with a darker contrast to the background.

Otherwise, it would be difficult to scan your QR code.

You may devise a great design, but it simply doesn’t work.

It's best to use the right QR code color combination to ensure a scanner easily reads and decodes your QR code. This makes it easier for the scanner to access the stored information.

Solution: Edit your QR code design.

With QR TIGER, you can redo your QR code design to fix design-related issues of your QR code. To do this, go to your dashboard and click the QR code you want to edit. Click Settings > Edit QR design > Save.

Take note that you can only do this if you're using a dynamic QR code. If it's static, we recommend you create a new one and follow the guidelines to color it correctly.

The QR code doesn’t have enough contrast

QR code color

Is the QR code not scanning? Avoid blending or mixing similar light or dark colors; otherwise, it will take forever to scan it, or never.

For example, light colors, such as yellow or pastel colors, are not good for scanning, so it is best to use darker colors and white backgrounds.

You can be creative with your custom QR code design by playing with the color QR code scheme. However, don’t compromise its fast-reading capacity by not creating enough contrast.

An advanced custom QR code generator enables you to make your QR code more unique. You can even add a unique logo to make it look more professional and credible.

Just remember: the QR code color should be dark and set against a light-colored backdrop.

Solution: Adjust QR code contrast using QR TIGER's Edit QR design feature.

The QR code is blurry

QR code not workingBlurry QR codes can be hard to scan. They may cause errors and scanning issues. This is one of the major reasons why your QR code is not working.
Your QR code should be sharp in quality so it's easier to detect the code’s borders that carry its content.
To create high-quality custom QR codes, it's best to download them in PNG or SVG format. These two image formats guarantee excellent print quality.
Solution: Generate your QR code design in PNG or SVG and adjust the resolution.

Pixelated QR code

QR code quality

Have you ever noticed that some QR codes are stretched and more pixelated than others?

First, you need to know what type of QR code you want to use. You can choose between static and Dynamic QR codes.

A static QR code is a type of QR code generated by a free QR code generator that stores data in the code’s pattern.

The more data you store, the more crowded the dots get, shrinking the code in the corner that carries its information.

Your QR code will be hard to detect and read when this happens.

If you have more information to embed, it's best to use dynamic QR codes. A dynamic QR code does not explicitly store the data right away in the code.

It contains a short URL stored in the QR code generator online that redirects the end-users to the destination information once scanned. This makes the dots less dense-looking, making scanning the QR code much easier.

The codes need to be readable, and size is important for more points of view.

Solution: Use dynamic QR codes for clearer and non-pixelated QR codes.

Consider the right size of the QR code

The size of the QR codes will depend on where you place them. It varies depending on your advertising environment and medium.

It is advisable to display or print small-sized codes, like QR codes in construction equipment, business cards, hardware chips, small product packaging, etc., at least 2×2 cm (0.8×0.8 inch).

Of course, when you print them on billboards, say, 20 meters (65 feet) from where a passerby would be scanning, they would probably need to be about 2 meters (6.5 feet) across.

If you are unsure about the size of your QR code, print it in bigger sizes to be safe and always test it.

Strategic placement of your QR code

QR codes can’t serve their purpose if they go unnoticed.

Correctly position your QR codes so your target audience can easily see them.

Always place your QR code in the right position, location, or area, and make sure it is not overlooked!

Make it eye-level so your scanners’ eyes will go straight to the QR code.

Also, remember to add a call to action to your QR code frame.

You entered the wrong data

Always check the data or URL you entered data.

Sometimes, your URL has little typos that break your QR code, or it may be linked to a website that no longer exists.

Check for broken links as well.

When generating your Squarespace QR code, WordPress QR code, and other website-redirection QR code campaigns, execute a test scan before deploying them.

Scan and re-scan your QR code campaigns before deploying them live is always safer.

Expired QR code

Static QR codes are generally free to create, but some QR code generators do not provide unlimited QR code scans, and they will expire.

With QR TIGER, you can enjoy unlimited scans of your QR codes, valid for a lifetime.

On the other hand, if you generate your QR code in a dynamic, always renew your subscription before it expires.

Dynamic QR code requires a paid subscription as it is an advanced type of QR code with added features such as editing and tracking, which are not made available in static.

Invalid QR code or the URL where the QR code links to is deleted or no longer exists

If the page the QR code links to no longer exists, it directs you to a 404 error page, making the QR code invalid and must be deleted by the user.

Broken links can cause a significant problem especially if you're using the QR codes on recurring marketing campaigns. 

Solution: Generate a dynamic QR code to immediately replace the embedded link and fix the scanning problem.

The QR code is over-customized

Customization surely adds to your branding, but overdoing it results in an invalid QR code, undetectable by QR code readers.

Do not change the QR code data pattern extensively.

It will make them unrecognizable.

Making simple customizations with your QR code, like blending the right colors and adding unique edges, frames, and images, is enough to make them eye-catching without looking scattered and all over the place.

There is an axiom that goes, “Less is more.”

Consider the distance from where you are scanning the QR code

If the QR code is in a closer range, maintain a slight distance to allow the scanner to detect the codes.

If you are scanning the QR code from afar, for example, on a billboard, get close enough to the QR code so that it can be scanned (it must be within a reasonable distance range).

The QR code campaign has been disabled for some reason

Another reason the QR code is not working is it might have been disabled for some reason, such as the campaign is over or turned off by the user.

For example, if the QR code is for a limited-time sale or seasonal campaign, say for Christmas, the creator can set it to deactivate automatically at a particular time or date.

Of course, if you scan one in February when the campaign has already ended, you'll be redirected to an alternate landing page with a message indicating the deactivation.

The scan limit of the QR code has been reached

Even if the subscription for a dynamic QR code has not yet ended, if the QR code has been scanned more than 500 times, which is its scan limit, it stops working.

If you're eager to use and reuse your dynamic QR codes for a longer period of time, we recommend upgrading to a more advanced plan so that the scans are no longer limited.

Your smartphone does not support QR code scanning

Here's another factor you need to consider when you can't access the QR code: your smartphone does not have the capability to scan it.

When QR codes work fine when others scan them and you can't, it might be because of the device you're using to scan them.

But this problem doesn't come without a solution. You can always download a highly rated and trusted third-party QR code scanner app instead.

This provides your smartphone the capability to scan QR codes accurately even when your device doesn't have a native or high-quality QR scanner.

The camera lens is dirty

If it's not about the QR code's appearance, activation period, the scanner, or the scanning method that is the problem, what else could be the root problem for QR codes not working?

The answer: it could be that your camera lens is dirty due to fingerprints, preventing it from recognizing the QR code in the first place.

Always clean your lens (use a gentle microfiber cloth to avoid scratching it) before scanning any QR code.

So why are QR codes not working? Let’s sum it up

  • The QR codes are inverted in colors
  • The codes do not have enough contrast
  • It is pixelated
  • The QR code is blurry
  • Printed the wrong size
  • Poor or wrong placement
  • This leads to a broken link
  • Is expired
  • Invalid QR code
  • Over-stylize
  • The QR code campaign has been disabled
  • Scans are limited
  • The smartphone does not support QR code scanning
  • Dirty camera lens

QR code pro-tips

Apply the best QR code practices

Following the best QR code practices is the key to maximizing your QR codes and QR code-powered campaigns.

Thanks to QR TIGER's newly-added feature: Edit QR code design.

You can now change, update, or modify your existing QR code design or QR code template. This is very useful in cases where you generated your QR but need to make adjustments in case there are scanning errors due to the design.

Always do a QR code test

The most effective way to do even before deploying your QR code, is that always do a test.

Try scanning your QR codes in different operating systems to see if there are any problems scanning your QR and fix them before distributing or printing them.

And most importantly, always remember the 10 reasons why your QR code is not working.


Why is my QR code not working on my iPhone?

Invalid QR codes can’t be scanned in your iOS devices due to the following reasons:

The OS version of the device is not iOS 11 or above. QR scanning is not enabled in the camera app.

To scan a QR code in your iPhone, enter your settings and activate permission for QR code scanning.

Scanning is supported in iOS devices from iOS 11 and above.

If the iPhone device is older, you can try to update it. You can also opt for third-party apps to scan QR codes.

Why is my QR code not displaying when scanned?

As mentioned above, several factors might explain why a QR code is not working or displaying when scanned. Always be mindful of the abovementioned guidelines to avoid a non-functional QR code.

What QR code generator should you use to start your QR code campaign?

You can generate your static QR code for free at QR TIGER, and it will never expire.

Furthermore, you will also have unlimited scans of your QR code.

You do not need a subscription to create one. You can generate as many QR codes as and customize as much as you want.

This gives users a well-absorbed experience without interruption and worries about the QR code expiring.

Why is my LinkTree QR code not working?

Normally, scanning a LinkTree QR code is similar to scanning it with the camera app in photo mode by pointing it toward the QR code to detect the code.

If you have a problem scanning and reading your LinkTree profile QR code, try to uninstall and reinstall the app again.

What is the recommended QR code reader to scan QR codes?

There are many QR code readers that you can download in the Google Play store, and these three are the most recommended at high rates.

  • Barcode
  • Kaspersky’s scanner

Why is the Facebook QR code not working?

Check the URL of your QR code. You might have entered the wrong link.

Before deploying your Facebook Page QR code, run a test scan to ensure the code is running.

The QR Code campaign has been disabled for some reason. Why?

A QR code campaign is disabled for various reasons: poor implementation, deletion of QR code, and fewer engagements.

Poor QR code implementation won’t get you anywhere and will hurt your conversion rates.

The QR code might not have gained any traction due to poor implementation and deletion of the QR code.

However, a professional and trusted QR code generator alerts users if the QR code has been invalid or deactivated.

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