QR codes have become an integral part of our daily lives, seamlessly linking the physical and digital worlds. However, there's been some confusion surrounding the longevity of these enigmatic codes. Are they eternal gateways to information or ticking time bombs with expiration dates?
QR Codes were invented in 1994 in Japan but it seems the commercial success of QR codes is only recent. You can easily find a QR code on billboards, magazines, restaurants and hotels, offices, shipment packages, ID cards, etc.
QR, short for Quick Response, codes are two-dimensional barcode images, also known as matrix barcodes, which can be encoded with large amounts of text, numbers, and even an image or a PDF document.
QR Codes, as advanced over barcodes, can store data vertically and horizontally and can store about 7k or more characters. It can easily be scanned using a smartphone and can be customized with logos and colors.
Types of QR codes
QR codes are generally of two types: static QR codes and dynamic QR codes.
1. Static QR code is a traditional form of QR code. Once they are generated, the data they contain remains unchanged. It means that specific data (URL or text) will always lead to a particular text or display that information. They are most suitable for conditions where the data doesn’t need to be updated, like product labels or personal business cards.
2. Dynamic QR codes offer more flexibility in storing data. They allow the updating of information even after the code has been generated and printed. It is done by encoding data (a short URL) that directs you to the desired content, which can be updated as needed. This makes dynamic QR codes perfect to use in various applications like marketing campaigns, events, and feedback systems.
Does the static QR code expire?
A static QR code is unscannable due to physical interference. If the pattern or alignments of the code are disrupted due to damage, scratching, or external disruptions, Sometimes, even though the QR code’s structure remains unchanged, content or destination can be changed or become inaccessible over time.
For example, if a static QR code takes the user to a website’s landing page and later that website is deactivated by its owner, the QR code will still function, but the website will be unreachable.
Does a dynamic QR code expire?
One can update Dynamic QR codes with newer information even after the QR codes has been generated and printed.
Here is what you need to know:
1. A dynamic QR code doesn’t have a set expiration date. It functions continuously as long as the system supporting its redirection remains active.
2. Some QR code generation platforms offer services where the QR code “expires” after a certain number of scans.
3. Dynamic QR codes generally come with a cost and are typically part of a subscription-based service.
How can you reactivate an expired QR code?
When a QR code appears non-functional or gives the impression of being “expired”, the solution depends on whether the QR code is static or dynamic. Here’s a how-to approach to reactivation based on the type of QR code:
Static QR codes are designed to remain unchanged once created. If a static QR code has “expired”, the only solution to this problem is to generate a completely new static QR code. You cannot edit a static QR code, as the name suggests.
Dynamic QR codes allow changes to the content link even after they are generated. If the QR code doesn’t work due to several factors like expiration settings, subscription status, or alterations in the linked content,
Steps to reactivate an expired dynamic QR code:
1. First, access the platform or services where you’ve created the dynamic QR code.
2. Some QR codes “expire” after a certain number of scans. You can adjust the settings of expiry by updating the number of scans or setting a time duration of expiry.
3. Check that the linked content (URL or information) is up-to-date and relevant.
4. Dynamic QR codes are subscription-based services. If your code has become non-functional, check your subscription first; if it has lapsed, then renew it.
5. If you are still facing some issues, reach out to our service provider’s support team for assistance.
To conclude, QR codes are a way we interact with digital content, a bridge between the physical and online worlds. This makes them a versatile asset in various applications. QR codes do not have any expiration date. However, the relevance and usefulness of a QR code depend on the content it stores. URLs, event details, promotional offers, and other linked information may have expiration dates, rendering a QR code ineffective when the associated data becomes inaccessible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1) What are the different tips to avoid QR code downtime?
1. Monitor the linked content within a time frame.
2. Always ensure domain registration is up-to-date.
3. Avoid short-lived promotions.
4. Stay updated with subscription-based services.
5. Stay informed about new best practices or the latest trends and advancements.
Q2) Do QR codes stop working?
QR codes don’t expire and can be scanned multiple times. Several factors can affect their functionality. Physical interferences, like dirt, wear, and tear, can make them unscannable. If the content of the QR code becomes inaccessible, the QR code will not function as intended.
Q3) Can one reuse a QR code for different information?
QR codes are generated to represent some specific information. If one wants to convey different information. So, it's advisable to generate a new QR code to store different information.