Michael Hamilton By Michael Hamilton • December 23, 2016

Pet microchip scanner app for iphone or android.

This following content was posted in December of 2016. Here to this day, Septemeber 17, 2020 there is no update and all the following holds true. There are smoke and mirrors youtube videos and entertainment apps you can read about here, but it's all bullshit. 

People often ask me, “Michael, are there any apps to say if a dog is chipped? Is there a pet microchip reader android app? Is there a pet microchip reader app for iPhone? Can I scan my pet’s microchip with my iPhone?” Others suggest that I invent an “app” that can scan a pet for a microchip. 

Unfortunately, no. A smart phone can not and will not ever be able to read a pet's microchip. There are no apps for iphone or android that do this and there never will be. There will never be an iphone, android- google, samsung or otherwise that will ever have that capability.

Microchip scanners are totally separate units that are not part of your phone nor even as their own stand alone devices.

As noted in a recent report prepared for Peeva by Dr. Albert H. Titus- the Professor and Chair at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University at Buffalo, Reasons have to do with size, power, sensitivity, and orientation.


The coil and capacitor are designed (sized) to be sensitive to a particular radio frequency for the application. Then the RF signal must match the tuned frequency of the internal antenna coil, capacitor and chip, otherwise RF signals will not produce a response or an output. In theory the RF source frequency must match the RFID required frequency exactly, although in practice it is not necessary. The unregulated 120 to 150kHz frequency band is designated as the band for animal ID, so all pet RFID tags operate within this frequency range....

Your pet's microchip has no purpose unless it's registered in a database that is actively searched.


Frequency and Range

The frequencies used in the United States are 125kHz, 128kHz, and 134.2 kHz. It is possible to have a signal generator that produces and receives a “broad” spectrum of signals so that one device could work with two different RFID tag types, but a more practical approach would be to have a tunable reader that allows the user to select a channel (frequency) until an output is received from the RFID tag.

Most of the RFID systems used for pet identification use near field communication using either Inductive/ Capacitive coupling. Capacitive/Inductive coupling uses capacitive/inductive effects to provide the coupling between the tag and the reader. When the tag is placed close enough to the reader, the RF time varying signal generated by the reader is picked up and rectified within the tag and used to power the devices within the tag. To modulate data from the tag to the reader, the tag circuitry changes the load and this can be detected by the reader as a result of the mutual coupling.

The internal coiling mechanisms communication/power source components (antenna coil and capacitor) required to work in a cell phone would require an entirely new phone design to not only accommodate for the device, but to also satisfy FCC requirements as they radiate ‘energy’. It would be much too large and clunky (Think Zac Morris or Michael Douglas in the first Wall Street movie.)


Unless, one has an overly insatiable desire to push well beyond the boundaries of convention to the point that even the most pretentious hipsters and normcore alike would think you were clearly trying too hard; you are more than likely not going to let the big clunky inconvenience effect your every day life. With that noted, it’s safe to say Apple, Samsung and and any other cell phone manufacturers are not going to introduce it to the world.

Efficacy relies on power, distance, and orientation.


For the scanners designed to detect or read microchips of all three frequencies which are currently being used in the United States, the sensitivity for 134.2-kHz microchips (which is the ISO standard) was found to be the highest. Sensitivities for microchips with 125- and 128-kHz frequencies were found to be lower.”

Never the less, others insist that there are pet scanner apps, because companies like AVID, Datamars, and HomeAgain have apps that mislead people into believing that their apps can do that kind of thing; however, neither of these companies flat out say that.

Avid, for example, has a “cross platform ” app to use on both Android and Apple operating systems, but all this does is allow users to manage their pet’s microchip records “from the palm of their hand.” which in other words is no different than keeping your pets information in a manilla file folder at your house… or desktop… or in “the cloud”. Why not build an icon and call it an app? makes sense.

You can not scan a pet for a microchip with a phone, but what you can do is register your pet’s microchip… like you can do on your tablet, or desktop or anything else that can access the internet. That means you can manually enter a microchip number you have within your manilla file folder or one you read on a pets dog tag… alongside the owners telephone number. makes sense? no. not really. Why not just call the number?

You can also find the number of pets that are registered with AVID on a yearly basis as well as other important tidbits of information such as whether or not it’s a dog or cat. I don’t know why a pet owner would care to know how many pets are registered with AVID, but in regards to what type of breed it is- unless its a pure breed like say a golden retriever or german shepherd the actual pet breed can’t be properly registered. For example, if your dog is a mutt or ‘designer dog’ like a labrodoodle or puggle (like Peeva), you’re shit out of luck.

‘PetsApp’- from Datamars OMNI MAX like AVID is NOT a reader and offers less features than AVID and the ones it does offer are the exact same. It simply records chip information you manually enter and like AVID it requires you have that information before hand to do so. Again.. this is because your phone is NOT a microchip scanner.

If you read the comments, the first one you will see (at time of writing) says, "I wanted to be able to just use my iPhone 6 without another connection to a device or Bluetooth…Is there a way I can do that on this app or another app?”

The second comment simply says… “don’t get it… this app doesn’t work."

Another app offered by HomeAgain is self described to be the world’s only app featuring up-to-date- lost pet’s info wherever you are. Again you can manually enter your pet's information such as his photo, exact breed, age, area last seen, personality, med info…. into their separate registry.

What purpose do any of these apps possibly serve? Now that you have a 50,000 foot overview of how RFID pet scanners work you’ll realize that your phone does not have RFID pet microchip reading capabilities.



Related content:


Cleaning up the microchip mess

Big Data and Animal Health Care 

Everything you need to know about pet microchips