Those funny QR codes make a comeback (with a social media twist). 

This fall, This fall, Apple snuck an unexpected update into its newly released iOS 11: a native QR code reader. (Remember QR codes from the ‘00s, when they were supposed to be the next big thing?) Now, all you have to do is point your iPhone camera at a code, and it’s automatically activated. Use a QR code to log into wifi networks (no more typing out passwords), make a purchase with PayPal and even send pre-populated Tweets and texts.

On a separate front, major networks like Snapchat, Facebook and even Spotify are increasingly pushing their own proprietary code technology. Scan a Facebook Messenger Code, for instance, and a bot or customer service agent automatically pops up on your phone.

To QR Code or Not to QR Code

We discussed QR codes back in 2011 but many people still didn’t quite know what to do with them. Utilizing a QR code used to require downloading a special app (or QR code scanner). Since Apple has integrated the native QR code reader into the camera software, this eliminates many extra steps. The only thing missing now is educating people that their phones have this capability, and a brand’s creative use of QR codes.

QR codes are still one of the easiest ways to bridge the real world and the online one. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing them everywhere in 2018. Especially now that 700 million iPhone users have a scanner in their pockets.