12 Reasons why your QR code is not working

Last updated:   July 05, 2022

There are couple of reasons why a QR code does not function or scan properly. These codes are designed to be scanned by smartphone devices.

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

And generally, there are 11 reasons why your QR code is not functioning or working. 

To generate a QR code that functions and easy to scan, you need to avoid these mistakes. 

Related: How do QR Codes Work? The Beginner's Ultimate Guide!

12 reasons why your QR code is not working

1. Inverted QR code colors are a NO-NO

If there's one thing you should keep in mind when making your QR code is that- always make sure that your foreground color is darker than the background color.

This is the number one rule a QR code user should abide by.  

QR code scanners easily and 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 come up with a great design, but it simply doesn't work. 

qr code not working

2. The QR code doesn't have enough contrast 

why qr codes don
It is important to use colors that create enough contrast between the background and the foreground color of your QR code for the scanner to interpret the code quickly.

Do away from 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 and pastel colors are not good for scanning, so, it is best to use darker colors and white background.

You can add creativity with your QR code colors and experiment with it as long as you don't compromise its fast-reading capacity by not creating enough contrast. 

An advanced QR code generator enables you to customize your QR code more than just produce it in a monochromatic color. 

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

Related: How Do I Create a Free QR Code?

3. The QR code is blurry

invalid qr code

Blurry QR codes are hard to scan. So always make sure your QR code image is of high-quality and has a high-resolution in both screen and printed format, whether in a big or small size file. 

Your QR code should have a sharp image to detect the code's borders that carry its content easily. 

4. Pixelated QR code 

qr code not displayingRegulate the amount of content in your QR code. So how do you do that?  Have you ever noticed that some QR Codes are stretched and more pixelated than the others?

You need to know first what type of QR code you want to use: Static or Dynamic—static QR code stores data in the code's graphics.

The more data you put, the crowded the dots get shrinking the code in the corner that carries its information. When this happens, your QR code will be hard to read and detect.

If you have more information to embed, switch to the Dynamic QR code. 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; thus, it avoids overcrowding your codes. 

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

Related: Why Dynamic QR codes are better to use than static QR codes!

5. Consider the right size of the QR Code 

undefinedThe size of the QR code will depend on where you place them. It will vary in your advertising environment.  

It is advisable that when displaying or printing your QR Code in close proximity like in posters, product packaging, magazines, etc., it should be at least 2x2 cm (0.8x0.8 inch). 

But of course, when you print them on billboards, say, for example, 20 meters (65 feet) from where a passer-by would be scanning, it would probably need to be about 2 meters (6.5 feet) across. 

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

Related: What should be the right size of your QR code?

6. Strategic placement of your QR code

undefinedQR codes do not serve their purpose if they are unnoticed. Correctly position your QR codes where it can easily be seen by your target audience. 

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

Make it eye-level so your scanners' eyes will go straight to the QR code. Also, never forget to add a call-to-action and frame into your QR code.

Related: How to use QR code frames for better customer engagement

7. You entered the wrong 

Always check the data or URL you entered data. Sometimes there are little typos in your URL that break your QR code, or maybe it is linked to a website that no longer exists. Check for broken links as well. 

8. Expired QR code

If you generate your QR code in static, which is free to create, most QR code generators do not provide unlimited scans of the QR code, and they will expire.

However, QRTIGER provides unlimited scans of your QR code, and it is valid for a lifetime. 

On the other hand, if you generate your QR code in dynamic, be sure always to 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 is not made available in static. 

Related: What is the Difference Between Static QR Code and a Dynamic QR Code?

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

The QR code is invalid and might be deleted by the user or the page it links to no longer exists, and that redirects you to a 404 error page. 

10. The QR code is over-customize

Customization surely adds to your personal branding, but overdoing it makes the 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, adding unique edges, frames, image is enough to make them eye-catchy without looking scattered and too all over the place. 

There is an axiom that goes "less is more." 

11. 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 in a billboard, be sure to to get closer enough to the QR code where it can be scanned (must be within a reasonable distance range). 

Related: Custom design QR code generator for free and you can even track who scanned your QR code

12. The QR code campaign has been disabled for some reason

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

So why QR codes are not working? Let' 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
  • Leads to a broken link
  • Is expired
  • Invalid QR code
  • Over-stylize
  • The QR code campaign has been disabled

Related: QR code types: 15 primary QR solutions and their functions


Why is my QR Code not working on iPhone?

The QR code  might not 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 QR code in your iPhone, go to 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 an older version, you can try to update it. You can also opt for third-party apps to scan QR codes.  

Related: How to scan QR codes with an Android phone?

Why is my QR code not displaying when scanned? 

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

What QR code generator should you use to get started with your QR code campaign?

You can generate your static QR code for free in QRTiger, 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 much as QR codes and customize as much as you want. This allows users to have a well-absorbed experience without interruption and worry about the QR code expiring. 

Related: Best QR Code Generator and How to Look for One?

Why is my Snapchat QR code not working?

Normally, to scan a QR code using Snapchat is similar to scanning it with the camera app in a photo mode by pointing it towards the QR code to detect the code. 

If you have a problem scanning QR codes using Snapchat, 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 Google Playstore, and these three are the most recommended with high rates. 

  • Barcode
  • QRTiger 
  • Kaspersky's scanner

Related: 10 best QR code scanner apps for Android and iPhone 

Why is the Facebook QR code not working?

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

Related: Facebook QR code generator

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.

That being said, wrongful usage of QR codes won't get any traction and leads to poor conversion rates. 

The QR code might not have gained any traction due to poor implementation, deletion of QR code. However, a professional and trusted QR code generator alerts users if the QR code has been invalid or deactivated. 

QR Code Pro-Tip: 

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's 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. 

brands using qr codes