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Set Up the Square Reader

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There are two generations of Square Reader: Square Reader (1st and 2nd generation) Both generations have the same setup process. To learn about the differences between the generations of readers, view our guide on how to identify your Square Reader.

You can purchase a Square Reader directly from the Square Shop, or pick one up from one of our retail partners.

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

Square Reader (1st generation)

The location of the power button, chip card reader slot, and LED lights on the Square reader.

Square Reader (2nd generation)

For a full overview on setting up your Square Reader, watch this video:

1. Check the Battery of Your Square Reader

For an accurate battery reading, unplug your reader from any power source.

Firmly press the button on the reader. Green lights indicate that you’re charged and ready to go. If you see a single red light, charge up immediately. Once your reader is on, you don’t need to worry about turning it off. It’ll automatically go into a low power state after two hours of inactivity. To wake it up from the low power state, firmly press and release the power button on the reader.

2. Charge Your Square Reader

Connect one end of the accompanying USB cable to your reader and the other end to a USB port like a cell phone charger, computer or car charger.

It will take around two hours for a reader with a low battery to charge completely.

3. Wirelessly Connect Your Square Reader

The new reader connects wirelessly with Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE). Be sure you have the latest version of the Square app on your device.

To connect your reader:

  1. Press and release the button on your reader to turn it on.

  2. Go to your device settings and make sure Bluetooth is turned on.

  3. Open the Square app and tap More from the navigation bar at the bottom of your screen.

  4. Tap Settings°> Hardware°> Card Readers°> Connect a Reader.

  5. Put your reader into pairing mode by pressing the reader’s button for three to five seconds. Remove your finger as soon as you see orange flashing lights. If you see red flashing lights, you’ve held the button too long and you’ll need to try again.

  6. In the app, a pairing confirmation will appear. Make sure to tap Pair to complete the pairing process.

    1. On Android devices, quickly tap Pair and Pair & connect each time you are prompted until the connection is successful. If the connection fails, start the pairing process over and make sure to accept all Pair and Pair & connect prompts within five seconds.

Note: Due to extended security measures, some Android devices will require multiple confirmations during the pairing process. We apologize for any inconvenience and are actively working with Android to help make this process easier.

When connected, you will see the reader listed as Ready in the Square app.

Any necessary firmware updates will be automatically installed once the reader has been connected. The wireless connection can be lost if the reader and device are more than three metres (10 ft.) apart.

Note: Processing payments in Offline Mode is currently unavailable with the Square Reader.

Keep in mind, if you are reconnecting a reader that was previously paired to a different device, you may need to forget your reader from the device it was previously paired with. For more information on reconnecting a reader, check out our troubleshooting article.

Now that you’re set up, learn more about accepting chip card and contactless payments.

Square Reader (1st generation) Connectivity

This Square Reader will go into a low power state if it hasn’t taken a payment for a while, and will remain connected to your device for up to eight hours. Any interaction with the reader through Point of Sale will wake it up from this low power state as long as the reader is within three metres of the device. The reader will power off completely after eight hours of inactivity. After this point, you will need to press the button on the reader to reconnect.

Square Reader (2nd generation) Connectivity

Stay Connected is a feature built into this Square Reader. This feature aims to maintain connectivity, improve reliability, help save battery and eliminate the need to press the power button to re-pair the reader after a period of inactivity

Square Reader (2nd generation) will go into a low power state if it hasn’t taken a payment for a while and will remain connected to your device for up to 30 days. Any interaction with the reader through the previously paired Point of Sale will wake it up as long as the reader is within three metres of the device. The reader will power off completely after 30 days of inactivity. After this point, you will need to press the button on the reader to reconnect. 

Note: Stay Connected only works if the Square Reader(s) have been paired to the device already. If the reader has never been paired to the device, you’ll need to go through the initial pairing process.

Not sure which Square Reader you have? Learn how to identify your Square Reader.

Protect Your 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 device:

  • Avoid using Square Reader in wet environments and avoid getting water or liquid in the card insert slot. Taking chip & PIN card payments with wet credit or debit 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. 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 or fluorescent lights. Do not place on a metal table.

To protect your Square Reader from everyday wear and tear, we recommend using the compatible cases and docks featured in Square Shop. These cases fit a variety of mobile phones and tablets.

Keep your Square Reader in place for quick and seamless countertop transactions by attaching it to a compatible dock. Before placing an order, make sure your reader and dock are compatible. Learn more about identifying the differences between Square Reader (1st and 2nd generation).

What do the lights mean?

Connecting your reader

Lights Pairing Status
Four orange lights flashing Reader is in pairing mode
Four green lights Reader has successfully paired
Four red lights Reader failed to pair

Accepting a payment

Lights Payment Status
One green light Reader is ready to take a payment
Moving green lights Reader is processing a payment
Four green lights Payment was accepted
Four red lights Payment was declined

Checking your battery

Lights Charge
Four green lights Battery is 100% charged
Three green lights Battery is 75% charged
Two green lights Battery is 50% charged
One solid red light Battery is 25% charged
One blinking red light Battery is low – charge immediately

Connect the Square Reader and Square Stand

If you’re using a Square Stand with the reader, setup is quick and simple. Just plug the included USB cable or Dock for Square Reader to the USB hardware hub on the Square Stand.

You can connect your reader wirelessly if there are no free USB ports on your Stand’s hardware hub.

Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions and review these reader troubleshooting tips if you run into any issues.

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