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Animated QR Codes Go Viral, Here’s How to Make One

QR code scanned with a smartphone
Antonio Gravante/Shutterstock.com

Quick Response (QR) codes are everywhere these days. You’ll find these two-dimensional barcodes in restaurants for the menu, and everyone probably remembers that Coinbase QR code Super Bowl commercial. Most people have used a QR code at some point, but have you ever seen an animated QR code?

We’re all familiar with flat, printed QR codes, but they can still work if the image moves in a GIF or is animated. We recently saw a great example of this from a popular YouTuber who tweeted a QR code GIF that quickly went viral.

Below you’ll find a QR code that essentially Rick rolls you, with an animated GIF of the internet-famous Rick Astley Never Gonna Give You Up music video. Of course, like any other QR code, scanning the moving QR code takes you to its destination, which is the YouTube video. It’s amazing, and I love it.


Most people didn’t know this was possible, myself included. Users all over Twitter instantly loved it, with some calling it magic, saying how rad it is, and others noticed it’s just a clever trick. All the crucial elements stay still, allowing the QR code to scan even though it moves.

Without getting too technical, rather than the entire QR code being the information a QR scanning app would find, only part of the image is important. Each larger pixel has smaller 3×3 pixels. Some of them move while others store the YouTube link data. Thus, the QR code still works even though things are moving.

How to Make an Animated QR Code?

Did you know you can make QR codes in all types of unique ways? For example, you can add color instead of only black and white. You can add a moving GIF, colored images, or even add a small animated logo over the top of a regular black and white QR code. The options are almost endless.

You can quickly create and customize your own animated QR codes with sites like QR4, made by software engineer Jeroen Steeman. Or, try it with apps including Visualead or Acme Codes. You essentially choose the logo, colors, animation speeds, and more, and hit create.

The QR4 site we just mentioned is a free service and gives you basic options to create unique codes, but the others may require you to sign up.

So, now that you know these exist, go ahead and try making your own. And if animated QR codes are too fancy and you want to try something easier, create a QR code of your home Wi-Fi password to share with visiting friends and family.

via BleepingComputer

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »