QR codes have been around for years, but they were underused in the time when they required a separate app to be installed in order to use them. Now, just about every phone, including Google’s Pixel lineup, has a QR scanner built-in, but according to a recent report, Google’s phones have been misreading some codes.

German publication Heise reported last week that Google Pixel phones misread some QR codes through both the built-in Camera app as well as Google Lens.

The issue appears to have happened in one of three ways, with some codes having “false dots” in the URL, removing a character from the end of a URL, or moving a digit in the “www” section of a URL to its own section. In any of those cases, the link would probably not work as intended. This occurer regardless of the browser the phone was using.

Most of these issues appear to have been edge cases, though, with the issue converting links such as “https://www.fooco.at/hello” to “https://www.foo.co.at/hello” or “https://foonet.uk/verysecure” to “https://foo.net.uk/verysecure.” Some domain extensions such as “.cat” or “.int” would also be converted to “.ca” or “.in.”

The issue affects Google Pixel phones, but also some OnePlus devices on Android 11 and Android 12. With Pixel phones, the issue was present across all models, but only with Android 12 installed.

Thankfully, Google has already issued a fix for these problems. The company put out a server-side fix for Lens, which fixed issues with domains. A Google Camera update was also released to the Play Store over the weekend to patch up the same problem.

Unfortunately, it seems problems with QR codes may not be fully complete just yet. Another part of the issue that this report brought out was in regards to QR codes for Calendars, which Google Pixel devices would translate incorrectly and often push back the date as far as a month, as well as ignoring time zone data in some cases. If a certain entry didn’t have a matching date in the following month, it would move by 31 days (January 31 would become March 3). So far, it appears Calendar issues have not yet been fixed.

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Ben Schoon

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