What Happens When You Scan a QR Code on Your Phone: Unveiling the Magic of QR Codes

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Unlocking a world of information is as easy as scanning a QR code on your phone! You’ll find these Quick Response codes in advertising, marketing, and business everywhere. You can access websites, coupons, event details and more with a simple scan. The camera app on most phones already includes a QR reader that analyses the unique pattern of the code made up of black squares, dots, and lines.
But what happens next?

  • The QR code gets decoded, and the information triggers an action on your phone.
  • If an URL is embedded in the code, you’ll see the URL appear immediately. Simply click the URL to access the website.
  • The default browser on your phone usually opens to take you to the website. However, some codes may trigger app downloads or open in-app links.
  • Besides providing website links, QR codes are great for sharing contact information, Wi-Fi access, and initiating payments through mobile wallets.
  • QR codes are the perfect solution to connect quickly and efficiently with content. No more manual searches, just a quick scan!

    QR Scanner inside your phone camera

    QR codes have gained immense popularity in recent times, and almost everyone has encountered this barcode-like matrix printed in various places, from billboards to product packages. If you have a smartphone, you can quickly scan the QR code using an application or feature known as a QR scanner.

    Interestingly, your phone’s camera acts as a QR scanner that can read codes and extract information from them. Once you position your camera lens over the QR code, the scanner reads the matrix, captures the image and decodes it for further processing.

    Decoding the QR Code

    As briefly mentioned earlier, the camera on your phone scans the QR code taking a picture of it, and then the code is decoded within seconds by the QR reader feature built into the phone’s software. The matrix on the QR code contains patterned squares and dots, which essentially communicate information in the form of binary data.

    The QR scanner feature essentially deciphers these patterns of data bits to extract the information encoded within the matrix. After decoding the matrix, the QR scanner passes the extracted data to your phone’s operating system for further processing.

    Triggering actions inside your phone

    The extracted data directly influences the features of your phone and triggers specific actions within the phone’s software, such as opening a web address, creating a message, setting an appointment on your calendar, and more. Some examples of actions triggered by QR codes include

    – Dial a phone number
    – Add an event to your calendar
    – Open a website
    – Launch an App
    – Start a video
    – Connect to a Wi-Fi network

    URL in the QR Code

    One of the most popular uses of QR codes is to share URLs linking to specific online content such as websites, videos, or documents. URLs come in various forms, and some sites can generate QR codes that contain much of the URL’s data.

    Typically, if QR encodes an URL, your phone immediately detects this and the browser on your phone opens, showing you the webpage associated with that URL. The decoded data is passed to your browser, which in turn retrieves the webpage linked to the QR code.

    Opening the URL

    After the QR scanner decodes the data within the matrix, and realizes that the data is an URL, you are prompted to open the URL. You can decide whether you wish to access the webpage via your phone’s native browser or use an external browser like Chrome or Mozilla, depending on your preference.

    Default browser on your phone

    Every smartphone has a default browser, normally pre-installed when you buy the phone. The browser software built into your phone’s operating system receives the URL’s data from the QR scanner and opens the default browser on your phone to display the contents of the URL.

    Accessing the website

    After the QR scanner has decoded the QR code, and you have followed the prompts to open the URL, your phone’s default web browser launches and loads the associated website. At this point, you are free to use the website from your phone, as you would normally use it when browsing on your computer.

    In summary, QR codes provide a quick and efficient way to communicate information to users. Using your phone’s QR scanner feature, you can easily decode this information and trigger specific actions within your phone’s software. Whether it’s connecting to Wi-Fi networks, opening webpages, or saving calendar events, the functionality offered by QR codes makes them an essential tool for any technology user.


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