Barcode scanners F.A.Q

Can my scanner scan barcodes directly from a cell phone or similar device?

There are many factors to consider when asking whether or not a particular barcode scanner will be able to scan barcodes directly from a cell phone screen. The first point of consideration is whether the scanner is a laser scanner or imager. Laser scanners, without exception, will be unable to scan barcodes from LCDs (LED, OLED, or otherwise) or similar screens. Because on how they work, the beam that the laser scanner sends to the cell phone screen will probably be reflected making the laser scanner useless.

If the scanner in question is an imager, there could still be issues scanning directly from an electronic screen. Imagers work like small, low-resolution cameras; consider what happens when you take a photograph through a window while using the flash on your camera. What happens? The image looks washed out, or the reflection of the flash overwhelms the image, and you are unable to see what is through the window clearly. The same is happening to your barcode scanner: When it sends out its beam of red light, too much of that red light is reflected back at the imager from the screen of your cell phone, and the scanner has difficulty recognizing what is behind the reflected light.

Certain barcode scanners are better than others at scanning from cell phone screens and other electronic devices. Typically, scanners designed to read worn or damaged barcodes are more likely to successfully scan images from even the most reflective screens.

Passworks Android and iOS software scanners

Passworks has developed an Android and an iOS scanner capable of scanning and redeeming passes with 1D or 2D barcodes.

The Android and iOS scanners support the following formats:

  • Aztec
  • PDF417
  • QR Code
  • Code 128

Android Scanner

You can find the Android scanner in the Google play Store.

iOS Scanner

The iOS scanner is in beta; if you are interested in testing the app please contact us