Apple iOS 11 Natively Supports QR Codes

Commentary & Analysis

Apple’s new iOS 11 natively supports QR Codes. This means consumers no longer need to download a QR Code reader, know how to use it, or even know what a QR Code is in order to access content.

By Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Published: October 13, 2017

This morning, I updated the iOS on my iPhone 7 to iOS 11. This means that my phone can now scan QR Codes natively—and so can everyone else with the new iOS. This is great news for adoption of QR Codes.

To access content, iOS 11 users simply open their cameras and hold them over the code. The phone’s camera recognizes the code and asks if they want to open [name of the website/action to which the QR Code points] and the action is taken.  

This is great news for QR Code adoption because consumers no longer have to download a QR Code reader, know how to use it, or even know what QR Codes are in the first place. Marketers simply have to say, “View this code through your camera,” and simply by pointing their cameras at the code, consumers can be taken right to the content.

In addition to accessing websites and videos, Apple’s new native support includes the ability to use QR Codes to let users import contacts, add events to their calendars, launch pre-addressed email, access GPS-driven maps, send text messages, and dial outgoing calls. It also supports callback URLs.  

Another neat and useful capability—one I haven’t heard discussed much—is accessing wifi networks. Customers can scan a QR Code in their hotel room, at the gym, or at the register of their local coffee shop, for example, to gain access to customer wifi.  

By making QR Codes simple, Apple has finally opened the door to much broader adoption and use—not just of QR Codes, but all print-to-mobile technologies. What took so long?

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