Apple hides tiny QR codes on iPhone screens, says reporttext_fields
Apple hides microscopic QR codes on the screens of its iPhones, according to a recently released report. The codes are engraved on the iPhone’s glass at different stages of manufacturing to help Apple track and reduce defects, it said.
According to the report, Apple has been putting microscopic codes on the iPhone since 2020 to help the company control its production costs and “save hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Numerous QR codes are printed on the internal components of the iPhone, easily visible when the device is opened, although it's not recommended. These codes help Apple find out more details about the origin of these components.
One of the codes is reportedly, the size of a grain of sand and can only be seen with the help of special equipment while the other is on the inside of the display along the bezel.
Apple spent millions of dollars developing the barcode process and installing laser scanning equipment at Lens Technology and Biel Crystal, two manufacturers that make the iPhone's cover glass, says the report.
The report explains that developing this type of barcode was quite difficult for Apple. The first units had the code laser-etched into the glass, but this ended up weakening the screen.
In drop tests, the cracks in the glass almost always came from where the QR code was placed. The engineers had to create new techniques using microscopic lenses with ring lights.
Apple has a precise count of every piece of glass produced by Lens and Biel, and an exact read on how much material is wasted due to defects.
According to the report, when the barcodes were first implemented, Apple found that as many as three out of 10 pieces of cover glass were thrown away due to manufacturing errors, and with pressure from Apple, the suppliers have been able to cut that down to one in 10.
Since the company pays for production, lowering error rates has saved it hundreds of millions of dollars.