Everything You Need To Know

Can A Picture Or Music Be Stored In A QR Code? - Feb 2017

Technically this is possible but it's not very practical because of the small amount of data a QR Code can store.

Because QR codes support different methods of encoding and because this gives them the ability to store binary data, it is possible for an image or in fact a piece of audio to be encoded as binary within the available space.

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Images and Sounds consume considerably more data than text and a QR Code is limited to storing 3kb of data providing error correction is set to low. Because of this limit, the size of an image would need to be so small it would be impractical. Similarly with audio, it's likely when headers within the file are taken into account that you could encode less than a seconds worth of audio.

If you have a need to present the user with an image or kick off an audio stream when they scan you QR Code, then rather than look to encode that data within the code, you should look to host it somewhere and then have your QR code simply link to the content.

There are other benefits to taking this approach such as being able to alter the content that’s being linked too and not having to redo your QR Codes when it changes. Using this approach would also offer some insight into the number of people that scanned your link (web statistics).

You must also take into account compatibility. QR Codes can be scanned by a wide range of devices and in some instances, those devices may not have a large or colour screen, they may even lack speakers. By linking back to a server of some kind, the server can determine the best format for delivery and tailor the output to offer the best user experience for that particular device.

So in summary to the original question, you can technically store an image or audio in a QR Code but it's very impractical to do so, offers little benefit and there are better alternative methods.


If you're new to QR Codes and want to learn a little more, then take the time to read What's A QR Code

Or scan through our FAQs

If you want something a little more technical, try The Technical Stuff