Optiscan is one of the fastest QR code scanners and generators available on the iPhone App Store. It can be used to scan almost any QR code, plus share contacts, url links and text based messages with other people.

Latest release: Optiscan 2.2

Released October 10, 2012

What’s new in 2.2:

  • iOS6 tweaks and fixes
  • iPhone 5 optimisation
  • Bug fixes
  • Support for codes with ECI and FNC1


Previous releases:

Optiscan 2.1.1

Released August 28, 2012

  • Bug fixes


Optiscan 2.1

Released July 11, 2012

  • Bug fixes


Optiscan 2.0

Released Feb 1, 2012

  • No more tap to scan! Optiscan now launches straight into scan mode for ease of use.
  • Icon and UI redesign. We thought it could do with a sprucing up, so we tweaked the look to be more up-to-date and utilitarian. What do you think?
  • Enhanced scanning engine. With every release of Optiscan we tweak the scanning software more and more to cope with the plethora of designer codes and locations. After testing, we scan more QR Codes than any other app!
  • Scan from clipboard.“I can’t scan from my mobile browser!”, we heard you cry. Well now you can!
  • QR Codes for Events. We wanted to include this last time, but we just weren’t happy enough with the way they where dealt with. Now we are!

We hope you enjoy using this version of Optiscan. Show us what you’ve done with it and we’ll pass it on!


Optiscan 1.9.3

Released Oct 13, 2011

  • WiFi login details (create and scan) ** Unique to Optiscan! **
  • SMS
  • Telephone number
  • Email (including CC and BCC fields!)
  • Location (your current location, and any other location – including from Contacts!)

More great features coming soon in Optiscan 2.0!


QR code basics

What is a QR code?

A QR code is a square matrix code designed by the Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. QR is short for Quick Response as these codes were designed to be decoded rapidly. QR codes are easy to recognise as they always have a bordered square in three of the four corners.

QR code structure example

Who uses QR codes?

Although QR codes have been in use throughout Asia for a number of years, they are still fairly new to the rest of the world. They are, however, rapidly becoming more popular for marketing and personal use. Advertising, estate agent boards, business cards, promotions – they’re all starting to use QRs! The most high profile recent QRs have been for TV series True Blood, TIME magazine and Kellog’s’ cereals.

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How do I use Optiscan to scan a QR code?

  1. When Optiscan starts up, touch the screen to start scanning.
  2. Hold the phone still while the QR code is decoded – you don’t need to press the camera button! If the QR code is very dense you may need to hold it still for a bit longer.
  3. The phone will automatically click and show results as soon as it finds the QR code.
  4. If you are having problems scanning a code, see the tips section below.

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How do I create a QR code using Optiscan?

You can create a QR code using the Share tab. The following types of data are supported:


Select Contact from the list, then choose a name from your contacts list. After selecting, you can decide which information to include in the QR code (for example you may not want to send home phone numbers). Press OK and you will see the QR code image.


Select URL from the list and type or paste in your URL. Once entered press Done and the QR code will be shown. There is no need to type http:// in front of the URL.


Select Note from the list and enter the text you wish to use. Press OK to be shown your QR code.

Alternatively, to create a MECARD use this format (no line breaks):

MECARD:N:Appleseed,Johnny; NOTE:Nurseryman; TEL:0123456789; EMAIL:jappleseed@yoururl.com; URL:http://www.yoururl.com;;

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Tips for using Optiscan

  1. Check the distance between camera lens and code. The iPhone camera has a specific focal range – make sure the code is in it!
  2. Hold the iPhone as still as you can. Too much motion blur can affect decoding.
  3. Avoid reflections and poor light. In bright light, reflections on the code or the camera lens can affect the decoding. Poor light can mean the code cannot be seen properly.
  4. Make sure the whole code is on screen! No scanner can scan a code if the corner modules are missing. See the structure image above for reference.
  5. Make sure it’s a QR code! There are a number of different 2D code types and we only resolve QR codes. You can see other types on the barcode wiki page
  6. When creating codes, try to keep in mind how big you want to use the code. Large amounts of data will make a dense code that can be difficult to read at small sizes. Take advantage of url shortening sites.

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How do I see a QR code that I’ve previously shared or scanned?

If you select an item in the History or Saved tab, you will see a menu option called Show Barcode. Selecting this will display the QR code on screen.

How do I decode this QR code I found on a bottle / drinks can?

There are two main problems with QR codes on drinks cans – the curvature and the reflection. Try holding the phone very still for a few seconds, making sure that you are in an area of good light with no reflections on the can. Move the camera a little further away from the QR code than usual to compensate for the curvature of the can.

What is the purpose of the Encoding option?

The QR code standard doesn’t specify an encoding, so Optiscan tries to find the best one possible from the decoded information. If it doesn’t look correct, try using the Encoding option at the bottom of the decoded info menu. If this still doesn’t work, then please report the issue.

How can I scan a QR code with an old model iPod Touch?

Although the older models of iPod Touch don’t have a camera, they can still be used to decode QRs you see when web browsing. Save the QR code to your Photos and, when you start Optiscan, swipe the screen to access. Choose the saved QR code from your photos and it will be decoded.

What about Kaywa / Scanlife / AT&T / MS Tag / JAGTAG / Bokode / etc. codes?

These are proprietary code formats that require specific scanners in order to be read and also require licences. We prefer to keep to the more widely used and open source QR code format.

What about Data Matrix, Aztec, EZCode, and other 1D and 2D codes?

There are many possible formats we could support but QR codes are the most widely used format for links and messages. If there is sufficient demand for other open 1D and 2D formats, we will be happy to add support.

Why doesn’t *this* QR code work? It’s a clear picture, and should decode fine!

Sometimes a QR code can look perfectly fine and yet still not scan. frustrating! Usually though, it’s down to one of the reasons listed above in the Tips for using Optiscan section. If these tips don’t help you, then you should take a picture of the QR code with the camera and email us so we can help. If you know what software was used to generate the QR code, please include the details.

How do I report problems?

There are two ways to report problems to us. The Report Issue menu item, shown after you have decoded a QR code will auto generate an email with the code attached. If the code is not scanning at all, hit the camera button on the scanning screen and you should see either a Report Issue or Send Feedback option, dependant on the image content. Alternatively you can send an email or leave a comment for us on the blog.

Will you be updating Optiscan further?

Absolutely! We are currently working on version 2.0, which will incorporate several requested features and have great ideas lined up for the release after that! We will always try to support and upgrade all our products.

I don’t have Optiscan yet, how can I buy a copy?

Optiscan is available on the App Store right now.

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