Do QR Codes Expire? The Curious Case of Temporary vs. Eternal


No, regular (Static) QR codes do not expire. You can use your smartphone camera to scan these codes and get information or do something, like visiting a website. “Static” QR codes stay the same all the time and always take you to the same place, like a website or a specific piece of information.

QR codes, short for Quick Response codes, have become an integral part of our digital landscape, but how long do these enigmatic data squares last?

From product packaging to digital marketing, QR codes are omnipresent. Understanding their lifespan is crucial in a world increasingly reliant on this efficient information-sharing tool.

In this blog, we delve into the intricacies of QR codes, aiming to demystify the enigma surrounding their expiration.



Understanding QR Code Lifespan: How Long Does a QR Code Last?

The lifespan of a QR code depends on several factors, ranging from its physical placement to the persistence of the encoded information.

A QR code itself can last indefinitely, as it’s essentially a visual representation of data.

However, its practical lifespan is influenced by external factors such as the medium it’s printed on and environmental conditions.

If a QR code is exposed to harsh weather, direct sunlight, or physical damage, its readability may be compromised over time.


Factors Influencing QR Code Longevity

1. Encoding Type:

  • Error Correction Level (ECL): Higher ECLS add redundancy to the code, allowing for recovery from damage or distortion. However, they also increase data density, making the code smaller but potentially harder to scan in challenging conditions.
  • Data Format: Different formats like URL, text, or vCard offer varying levels of robustness. Textual data, for example, is more forgiving of missing modules than URLs with embedded parameters.
  • Module Size & Density: Larger modules are more resilient to wear and tear, while denser codes hold more information but might be less scannable at smaller sizes.

2. Storage Medium:

  • Material: QR codes can be printed on various surfaces, each with its own durability. Papers and plastics degrade faster than metal or ceramic, while reflective surfaces can be tricky for scanners.
  • Surface Quality: Uneven surfaces or those with dirt or grime can impede scanning, especially for denser codes.
  • Lamination & Protective Coatings: Laminating or applying protective coatings can significantly enhance QR code longevity by shielding them from scratches, wear, and environmental factors.

3. Environmental Conditions:

  • Temperature & Humidity: Extreme temperatures and humidity can warp or damage the encoding medium, impacting scanability.
  • Sunlight & UV Exposure: Direct sunlight and UV rays can fade or bleach the QR code, compromising its readability.
  • Abrasion & Chemical Exposure: Friction or contact with harsh chemicals can physically damage the code, making it unreadable.



Do QR Codes Expire

The answer, like many things in tech, is a nuanced yes and no. It all depends on the type of QR code you’re dealing with:

Static QR Codes: Built to Last

No, static QR codes do not expire. They are like barcodes and contain embedded information directly within the code.

Think of static QR codes as the “set it and forget it” type. They encode a fixed piece of information, like a website URL, phone number, or text message.

Once created, the data embedded within them remains unchanged, and they will never expire.

You can scan them a year, a decade, or even a century from now, and they’ll still lead you to the intended destination.

This makes static QR codes ideal for:

  • Product Packaging: Linking to a brand website or warranty information.
  • Business Cards: Directing people to your online portfolio or social media profiles.
  • Public Art Installations: Providing additional context or engaging viewers with interactive experiences.

Dynamic QR Codes: Adaptable But Time-Bound

Yes, dynamic QR codes can expire. These are linked to an online service that manages the destination of the scan.

Dynamic QR codes are the chameleons of the QR world. They allow you to update the information linked to the code without having to regenerate a new one.

The creator can set an expiration date for the code, after which it will no longer work. This is useful for temporary promotions, events, or marketing campaigns.

This is incredibly useful for:

  • Marketing Campaigns: Tailor the landing page based on the current offer.
  • Event Registration: Keeping track of attendee numbers and updating the registration form.
  • Temporary Promotions: Offering seasonal specials or adjusting prices on the fly.

However, the convenience of dynamic QR codes comes with a catch: they can expire. The lifespan depends on the service you use to create them, with some offering free trials and others requiring paid subscriptions.

Once the subscription expires, the code may become inactive or redirect to a generic error page.

So, to answer the question definitively:

  • Static QR Codes: Do not expire, making them a reliable and long-lasting option.
  • Dynamic QR Codes: Can expire based on the service and subscription status.




Do Canva QR Codes Expire?

Canva QR codes do not expire in the traditional sense, but there are a few nuances to consider:


Canva generates static QR codes, which are essentially images containing embedded data.

Static QR codes have no inherent expiration date and can be scanned indefinitely as long as the image remains undamaged.


The information encoded in the QR code can become outdated or unavailable over time, even though the code itself is still scannable.

This can happen if:

The linked website or URL becomes inactive or redirects to a different location.

The content behind the link changes or disappears.


While Canva QR codes themselves won’t stop working, it’s important to ensure the linked information remains active and relevant for the intended purpose.

Consider using dynamic QR code generators if you need to update the linked content or track scans over time.

Here are some additional points to remember:

  • Canva provides a free QR code generator within the platform.
  • You can customize the appearance of your QR code with different colors and patterns.
  • Always double-check the linked URL before publishing your design to avoid directing users to broken or outdated content.

I hope this clarifies the situation around Canva QR codes and their “expiration” potential!



Do Adobe QR Codes Expire?

No, Adobe QR codes do not expire! They are static images that contain the encoded information, and as long as the image itself remains intact and scannable, the code will continue to work.

This is a significant advantage compared to some free QR code generators that might offer temporary codes with limited lifespans.

Here’s why Adobe QR codes don’t expire:

Static image: The code is simply a representation of data, like a URL or text, embedded within the black and white squares. It doesn’t have any internal components or dynamic elements that could degrade or expire.

No Internet Connection Required: Once you scan the code, your device interprets the information stored within the image without needing any external connection or additional software.

Adobe’s guarantee: Adobe specifically states that QR codes generated through their tools like Adobe Express do not have an expiration date.

Therefore, feel free to use Adobe QR codes with confidence, knowing they will remain functional for as long as the image is preserved.



Do Google QR Codes Expire?

The expiry of Google QR Codes depends on the type of QR Code.

Static QR codes

These QR codes contain fixed information, like a website URL or plain text.

They do not expire and can be scanned indefinitely.

Most QR codes generated by Google Chrome’s “Share this page” feature are static.

Dynamic QR codes

These QR codes contain dynamic information that can be updated over time.

They can be set to expire after a certain date or a number of scans.

Google does not offer a direct way to create dynamic QR codes, but some third-party QR code generators do.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind:

  • Even if a QR code itself doesn’t expire, the content it links to could be removed or changed.
  • QR codes can be damaged or become unreadable over time.
  • It’s always a good practice to test your QR codes before using them to ensure they work as expected.

Final Words

QR codes, whether static or dynamic, offer a valuable tool for connecting the physical and digital worlds.

Always check the terms of service when creating dynamic QR codes to understand the expiration policy.

If you’re unsure about the type of QR code you’re dealing with, simply scan it! The content itself will often give you a clue.

By understanding their lifespans, you can make informed choices and ensure your codes stay functional and relevant for as long as you need them.