Reading MetaData With The iPhone Camera

I haven’t posted for a while. So I thought I would just give a brief report of something I’m working on.

There are many cases where you might wish to read bar codes, QR codes, or what have you for your iPhone app. It turns out to be pretty easy to setup. I’ve got code that reads metadata and sends it to the debugger as plain text. My next step is to display the data in a new view and, hopefully, also draw the code that produced the data.

I don’t yet know if the generation of codes is built into iOS. If it isn’t, I won’t bother for now. Right now I’m interested in being able to read the data. Still, it is possible for you to create a custom QR code right now. Just go to this site:

They have a lot of interesting stuff there. You can generate a free QR code without having to sign in or anything. It’s pretty cool.

So what metadata can the iPhone read? Well, as of iOS 8, it can read the following list of metadata as printed out by println() into the debugger:

  • face
  • org.iso.Aztec
  • org.iso.Code128
  • org.iso.Code39
  • org.iso.Code39Mod43
  • com.intermec.Code93
  • org.iso.DataMatrix
  • org.gs1.EAN-13
  • org.gs1.EAN-8
  • org.ansi.Interleaved2of5
  • org.gs1.ITF14
  • org.iso.PDF417
  • org.iso.QRCode
  • org.gs1.UPC-E


It’s probably quite obvious from the list where the face recognition comes from. The rest of the list is a surprising variety of codes that can, among other things, read bar codes on food products, ISBN codes on books, shipping labels, and so on.

Not a bad deal.

As for the QR code I generated? Well, it contains the URL to my website, naturally!

QR Code
QR Code


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David S

David Steuber

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