Reading barcodes from phone screens is a common issue for all retailers. Toniq has put together a list with some of the reasons a barcode may not be recognised.

  • Your phone is too near or too far away from the scanner

Solution: Adjust the angle and the distance to make sure that your phone screen is 90° to the scanner (facing the scanner directly) about 20 cm (8 inches) away. 

  • The light is too dim for the scanner to recognize the QR code

Solution: Scan the QR code on the phone’s screen where there's enough illumination and adjust your phone screen to maximum brightness. 

  • The scanner lens is dirty and unable to get a clear image of the QR code 

Solution: Wipe the scanner lens with a dry paper towel/tissue.

Whether the scanner is a 1D (laser) or 2D (image) scanner plays a large part. Laser scanners find it very difficult to scan barcodes from glossy, reflective screens such as phones.

If none of the options work or if the scanner is 1D, the only solution may be to replace the scanner with a 2D scanner. We recommend checking with your hardware person if unsure.

1D scanner versus 2D scanner

1D scanners, which are very common because they are inexpensive, can only read traditional “parallel line” barcodes. These scanners shine a light out of the scanner and look for the difference in reflection between the white background and black barcode lines. Highly reflective screens bounce too much light back, and the scanner cannot see enough contrast to find a barcode. 1D scanners usually emit a thin line to read the barcode.

2D scanners use a small camera to take a photo, and then search the image for a barcode. Most 2D scanners can read all types of barcodes, including “QR codes” built in a block or square. When reading a barcode, a square block of light is usually emitted, rather than a thin line.

If your barcode scanner can read this then it is a 2D scanner

If your barcode scanner can only read this, it is a 1D scanner