TNW Conference 2025 is moving to NDSM, Amsterdam 🎟 Secure your 2-for-1 tickets now!

This article was published on August 19, 2020

Instagram rolls out proper QR codes to let you follow accounts quickly

Instagram rolls out proper QR codes to let you follow accounts quickly

It was just last month that WhatsApp officially introduced the ability to add contacts via a QR code, and now Instagram is taking a leaf out of its sister app’s book. The company today began to widely roll out QR codes in its app, after trialing the feature last year in Japan, according to The Verge.

Aside from WhatsApp, it follows similar moves from apps like Messenger and Snapchat, which originated the concept. Truth be told, this isn’t the first time Instagram has attempted the ‘scan-and-add’ model either. In 2018, the company launched a feature called ‘Nametags‘ which worked much the same as scanning a QR code.

The crucial difference, however, is that Instagram’s new QR codes can be scanned by any camera app which supports generic QR codes. This includes the stock camera on iPhones and Pixels, for instange.

That removes a lot of the hassle of the Nametags, which could only be accessed via several taps on the Instagram app itself; likely too much of a barrier for entry if you just want to quickly scan a QR code at, say, your local taco truck.

The feature appears to be aimed primarily at businesses. As pointed out by The Verge, some restaurants have been embracing QR codes as a way to allow customers to access menus on their phone, rather than passing along a grubby physical menu that’s been touched by god knows how many people.

It’s not hard to imagine a business also leaving an Instagram QR code somewhere prominent to compel customers into a quick follow. The company even lets you save and share the image so businesses can print it out right from the app.

The create your own QR code, simply go to your profile, tap the hamburger menu, and select ‘QR Code.’ It might still say ‘Nametag’ instead, but the switch should happen any time now. To scan a QR code or Nametag, simply go to your phone’s camera app and point it at the QR code; or for a more integrated experience, open Instagram’s Story camera and point it at the figure.

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Also tagged with