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Square Reader Troubleshooting

Before setting up your Square Reader, make sure you have a compatible device with the latest version of the Square app.

My Square Reader keeps disconnecting

Your Square Reader may have entered sleep mode

To conserve battery, your Square Reader will automatically enter sleep mode if it hasn’t taken a payment for two hours. The message Press Button on Reader - Learn More will appear in an orange banner.

To wake up your Square Reader, press the button on your Square Reader once and wait a few seconds for it to reconnect. You should see 1-4 green lights flash depending on your reader’s battery level.

Close and reopen the Square app on your device

Restarting the app will allow it to refresh.

Square Reader Range

Your Square Reader must be within three metres of your device. Any further than three metres may mean your Bluetooth connection is out of range and could disconnect.

Check that your Square Reader has adequate battery

Low battery may increase disconnections between your device and Square Reader.

Press the button on your Square Reader once to see the battery level. If you see a blinking red light, that means your Square Reader battery is low and should be charged immediately. If your Square Reader is in a dock, plug the dock’s power cord into a power outlet.

Restart your phone, tablet, or other electronic device

You can also first try briefly putting your device into Airplane mode.

Reset your Square Reader

Hold down the power button on your Square Reader for approximately 20 seconds until you see red lights stop flashing.

Check your Internet connection

Your Square Reader requires a strong and secure Internet connection to take card payments successfully.

Turn on Bluetooth from your device settings

For iOS devices, this can be found in Settings > Bluetooth. Try turning Bluetooth off and back on.

For Android devices, navigate to Settings > Connections > toggle on Bluetooth.

Bluetooth will automatically turn off when your Square Reader is in a dock connected to a Square Stand by USB cable. Disconnect the USB cable from the Square Stand or dock and then attempt to pair.

Move your Square Reader away from common sources of Bluetooth interference

This includes common household items such as microwave ovens, cordless phones, fluorescent lights, or using your Square Reader on a metal table.

Clear your Bluetooth cache if you have an Android device.

See Apple’s article on Bluetooth interference for additional information.

My Square Reader won’t pair with my device

Pairing your Square Reader for the first time

Before you attempt to connect your Square Reader, make sure that your Square Reader is ready to be connected.

  1. Turn on Bluetooth in your device settings.
  2. If you’re using an iPhone or iPad on iOS 14 or higher, make sure Bluetooth permissions for the Square app are enabled. To do so, on your device, head to Settings > Privacy > Bluetooth and enable permissions for the Square app.
  3. Fully charge your Square Reader.
  4. Check that your device is connected to a secure Internet connection.
  5. Force shutdown your Square Reader:
    • Plug in the Square Reader for at least 20 minutes to be sure it’s charged.
    • Use a small object like a bobby pin, pen cap, or paper clip to firmly press and hold the button on the Square Reader for 20 seconds or after the 4 lights stop blinking red.
    • After 20 seconds, release the button and wait 10 seconds.
    • Press the button again to turn the Square Reader on and observe any lights on the Square Reader.

If the Square Reader lights turn green, you’re all set. If the lights don’t turn on, please try again and make sure to firmly press and hold the Square Reader’s button for a full 20 seconds.

Once your Square Reader is ready to be paired, open the Square POS app:

  1. Tap ≡ More from the navigation bar at the bottom of your screen.
  2. Tap Settings > Hardware > Square Reader.
  3. Tap Connect a Reader.

Verify that your Square Reader can go into pairing mode. To put the Square Reader into pairing mode, press the Square Reader’s power button for 3-10 seconds until you see 4 orange blinking lights. Immediately release the power button when you see the 4 orange lights. If you see red lights, you’ve held the button too long and need to try again.

Check out our Troubleshoot your Square Reader YouTube video for additional help.

Pairing your Square Reader with a new device

If you are attempting to pair your Square Reader with a new device or switching the Square Reader to a different device, you must first forget the connection to the previous device. To do so, head to the Square app on the device previously connected your Square Reader and follow the steps outlined above.

My Square Reader won’t accept card payments

If you are having trouble accepting EMV or tap transactions:

  1. Ensure that your Square Reader is fully charged and that you have a strong Wi-Fi or data connection.
  2. If the Square Reader and device are more than three metres apart, move your Square Reader and device closer when in use.
  3. Verify that your Square Reader is connected:
    • Tap ≡ More from the navigation bar at the bottom of your screen.
    • Tap Settings > Hardware > Square Readers.
    • Check that the four numbers in your settings match your Square Reader’s serial number.
  4. Make sure you press charge in the Square app. You should see a single green light on the Square Reader before you ask your customer to make the payment.
  5. Check that the chip on your customer’s card is facing up.
  6. Keep your customer’s card in the Square Reader until prompted to remove the card.
  7. Confirm that your customer’s card has a chip, meaning it’s EMV-enabled.

My Square Reader won’t charge

The tips below usually fix most charging issues customers encounter with the reader:

  • Make sure the Square Reader is firmly plugged into the USB accessory hub of your Square Stand or into a grounded AC outlet.
  • Try plugging the power adaptor into a different outlet.
  • Force shutdown your reader:
  • Plug in the Square Reader for at least 20 minutes to be sure it’s charged.
  • Use a small object like a bobby pin, pen cap, or paper clip to firmly press and hold the button on the reader for 20 seconds or after the 4 lights stop blinking red.
  • After 20 seconds, release the button and wait 10 seconds.
  • Press the button again to turn the Square Reader on and observe any lights on the reader.

If the Square Reader lights don’t turn on, try again and make sure to firmly press and hold the Square Reader’s button for a full 20 seconds.

Reset Square Reader

If you continue to have trouble with your Square Reader after trying the above steps or if your Square Reader is still connected to another device, you can reset your Square Reader:

  1. Charge your Square Reader for at least 20 minutes.

  2. While the Square Reader is charging, use a small object like a bobby pin, pen cap, or paper clip to firmly press and hold the button on the Square Reader for 20 seconds.

    • After 20 seconds, release the button and wait 10 seconds.

    • Press the button again to turn the Square Reader on and observe any lights on the Square Reader.

If the lights on the Square Reader turn on, you’re all set. If the lights don’t turn on, please try again. Make sure to firmly press and hold the Square Reader's button for a full 20 seconds.

Charging and Powering Your Square Devices Safely

Square cables and wall chargers are tested thoroughly and adhere to government standards. To keep you safe and your devices working properly, we recommend you follow these guidelines:

  • Always charge your Square products with the included cable and certified USB charging sources.

  • Store your devices and cables in a safe place away from moisture, extreme temperatures, and debris as these can cause fire, electric shock, injury, or damage to your Square product.

  • Always charge your devices in a dry environment away from all sources of moisture.

  • Inspect your cables and devices for any damage or debris that could interfere with the proper performance of your Square products. If you see any debris or damage to a cable or any connectors, discontinue use and contact Square Support for a replacement.

  • Make sure all connections are fully engaged before charging your device.

  • Always plug and unplug your cables and chargers by holding onto the end of the cable.

  • Keep the connectors free of foreign objects and debris.

  • Always charge your device in a well-ventilated area.

  • If your Square Reader gets wet, immediately power off the device, holding down the power button for at least fifteen seconds. Remove moisture by allowing Square Reader to dry out with the card slot facing down.

Protect Your Square Reader

  • Get the most life out of your Square Reader by avoiding damage to the hardware. Certain attachments and environments can cause damage to Square Reader over time and shorten the lifespan of your device. To protect your Square Reader from everyday wear and tear, we recommend using the compatible cases, mounted, and charging dock featured in Square Shop. These cases fit a variety of mobile phones and tablets. Keep your Square Reader charged and in place for quick, seamless countertop transactions by attaching it to the Dock for Square Reader.

  • Avoid using Square Reader in wet environments, and avoid getting water or liquid in the card slot. Taking insert payments with wet payment cards can also cause water damage. 

  • Do not use strong magnets, hook-and-loop fasteners (like Velcro), adhesive, or mounting hardware not tested by Square to frequently mount and unmount Square Reader. The use of third-party accessories not tested by Square to secure Square Reader to surfaces can add tension or pressure to the device, which can cause damage.

  • Move Square Reader away from sources of Bluetooth interference, such as near microwave ovens, cordless phones, fluorescent lights or on a metal table.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why doesn’t the Square Reader connect wirelessly with my iPad 2?

The Square Reader connects wirelessly with the iPad 3 or higher. If you have an iPad 2 with a Square Stand, you can connect the reader directly to the Square Stand’s USB accessory hub.

The USB accessory hub on my Square Stand is full. Can I use a splitter to connect my Square Reader?

We don’t officially support splitters or third-party USB hubs, but you can connect the reader wirelessly to your iPad via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

Can I use the Square Reader in Offline Mode?

No, Offline Mode with Square Reader is not currently available in Australia. If you own a Square Terminal, learn how to process card payments with Offline Mode.

Why does my Square Reader disconnect when I turn on Airplane Mode?

Airplane Mode disables Bluetooth on your device. Which causes your Square Reader will disconnect. Once you go into Airplane Mode, connect your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth back on to use your Square Reader.

Why does my app say “Account Ineligible” when connecting my Square Reader?

Square hardware can only be used in the country where it was originally purchased. If you see Account Ineligible, your Square Reader may have been purchased in a different country or your Square account may not be activated for card processing.

Can I attach my Square Reader to my mobile phone or tablet?

Yes. We offer several compatible phone and tablet cases that hold both your device and your Square Reader. Visit Square Shop to learn more.

Can I stabilise my Square Reader on my countertop?

Yes. We offer a compatible Dock for Square Reader that will charge your Square Reader while you take payments. You can purchase the Dock for Square Reader via Square Shop.

Learn more about: Square Hardware

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