Everything You Need To Know

What Is An iQR Code? - Feb 2017

IQR

iQR Codes are similar to QR Codes, in fact it's not easy to tell the difference just by looking at one with the naked eye. But there are some key differences.

iQR Codes are a lot more efficient at encoding data than traditional QR Codes. This has 2 key advantages.

  1. You could take an iQR Code and a QR Code of exactly the same size, and encode a lot more data within the iQR Code (up to 80% more).
  2. If you wanted to encode the exact same information in both the iQR Code and the QR Code, you could use less space by choosing an iQR Code.

iQR Codes also support a smaller minimum size, if for example if you wanted to encode 6 numerical characters, then with a QR Code Version 1 (the smallest you can use), the code will have an 11 x 11 grid of squares (modules). This technically allows you to encode more than 6 numbers into the code but as you don't need to, the additional space is wasted. iQR Codes on the other hand start with 9 x 9 grids which is still enough to encode the 6 digits but takes up less space.

There are differences in the maximum number of modules as well, a QR Code maxes out at a grid of 171 x 171 modules whereby an iQR Code supports up to 422 x 422. This has a big impact on the maximum amount of data that they can stored, up to 40,637 characters with iQR Code, only 7089 with a QR Code.

iQR Rectangle

One very visible difference with iQR Codes, is that they can be printed with rectangles rather than squares. This has some advantages where sometimes a more traditionally shaped long code is more fitting to its destination than a square. It also gives some advantages for directly printing codes onto cylindrical products. The rectangle modules are not impacted so easily when wrapped and the long thin nature of the overall code means it can be printed along the length of the object with less need to wrap.

Switching the code to a rectangular code does reduce its maximum capacity, the largest rectangular iQR Code supports a grid of 43 x 131 modules and a max storage capacity of 1,202 characters.

Error correction is another area where iQR Codes have an advantage. Whereby QR Codes have 4 levels of error correction that max out at being able to restore the code when up to 30% is damaged, an iQR Code introduces new error correction levels which can restore a code that is up to 60% damaged.

iQR Code Error Correction
Level L
7% Damage
Level M
15% Damage
Level Q
25% Damage
Level H
30% Damage
Level S
50% Damage
Level T
60% Damage
This table shows the max amount of each data type that can be stored within Micro QR Codes. If you compare this to the max amounts of data in standard QR Codes there is a substantial difference.

As with QR Codes the higher the level of error correction applied the less actual data can be coded into the code. But the higher level of auto correction does make it easier to incorporate logos and other designs into the code.

Although iQR Codes are standardised and freely available, not as many smartphone apps on the market today can decode them as can decode standard QR Codes. Therefore unless you have very specific needs that only an iQR Code can deliver, it's recommended you stick with standard QR Codes.

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 return to our FAQs

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