If you’ve been using smartphones for a while, you may know about QR codes, the random assortment of black squares in a white background that is used to efficiently store key data like a website address, product labels, digital tickets, login authorization, account information for making payments, and more. Although its popularity wore off since it first started appearing a decade ago, QR codes are now back in action as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us into contactless interactions.
QR codes are now everywhere; restaurants, gas stations, and shops all are now using QR codes to make sure everything you do is on your phone so that you keep yourself uncontaminated from things that would otherwise be touched by so many others.
Most Android phones come with a dedicated Google Lens app that can scan QR codes and display the embedded information instantly but how would you do that on an iPhone? In this post, we’ll teach you three ways you can scan a QR code directly on your iPhone without needing to rely on a third-party app.
Prerequisite: Enable QR code scanning on iOS
The ability to scan QR codes is enabled by default on all iPhones from iOS 11. But before you proceed to follow any of the methods below, it’s important that you make sure the feature is enabled on your iPhone. You can enable QR code scanning on your iPhone by opening the Settings app and tapping on the ‘Camera’ section.
On the next screen, enable the ‘Scan QR Codes’ toggle.
This should turn on the feature so that you can scan and extract information from a QR code using any of the methods below.
Method #1: Using the Camera app
The easiest way to scan a QR code on iOS is using the inbuilt Camera app that you usually use to capture pictures on your iPhone. Before you go ahead and use the app to scan a QR code, make sure the QR code is visible to your camera’s viewfinder. This method wouldn’t work if you have a QR code image saved to your phone’s library. If you have a digital copy of a QR code, transfer it to another device like a computer or phone and open the image on that device to scan it using your iPhone.
When the QR code you want to scan is visible in front of you, open the Camera app on your iPhone.
Once the Camera app loads up, point the lens toward the QR code that you need to scan. When doing so, make sure that the entire QR code is visible inside the camera’s viewfinder.
The Camera app will now look for any data in the QR code and when it finds one, you’ll see a notification at the top showing the kind of QR code it is and the information it stores. You can tap on this notification to see more info.
For example, if the QR code has a URL address stored in it, tapping on the notification will load the address inside Safari.
You can also preview the info saved on the QR code by swiping downwards on the notification and then taking action with the options presented to you.
Since the Camera app is something we regularly use, this is the easiest method to scan QR codes on your iPhone.
Method #2: Using Control Centre
There’s also a built-in dedicated QR code scanner on iOS that can be accessed from the Control Center. To use this, however, you will need to add the Code Scanner shortcut to the Control Center. In case you have not, you can add the Code Scanner shortcut by first opening the Settings app.
Inside Settings, tap on ‘Control Centre’.
Check if you can see the Code Scanner shortcut under ‘Included Controls’ on the next screen. If not, scroll down and you should find the Code Scanner shortcut under ‘More Controls’. When you find it, tap on the ‘+’ icon on the left side of the Code Scanner icon.
When you do that, the Code Scanner shortcut will move to the ‘Included Controls’ section.
You’re now ready to use this shortcut inside iOS to scan QR codes.
Note: You won’t need to perform the above steps when you have enabled the Code Scanner shortcut once.
For this, launch the Control Centre on your iPhone by following these steps:
- On iPhones without Home Button: Swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen.
- On iPhones with a Home Button: Swipe up from the bottom edge of any screen.
When the Control Centre appears, you should see the Code Scanner shortcut (a button that resembles a QR code) inside this screen. Tap on this shortcut.
On the next screen, you will see a square box and a torch icon at the bottom. To get all the info from the code, point your camera towards the QR code and make sure it stays within the constraints of the square box.
Code Scanner will now scan your viewfinder and detect a code itself when it finds one. Unlike the earlier method where you are needed to tap on a notification, the Code Scanner shortcut will directly open the action that’s relevant to the QR code that you scanned.
For instance, scanning a QR code to a URL will open the webpage automatically within Safari. This way, you’re not required to take action or decide what to do with a QR code when you spot one.
Method #3: Using the Wallet app
Besides the two methods mentioned above, iPhones also offer the ability to scan QR codes using the Wallet app. Apple lets you store various information in the form of “passes” through the Wallet app. These passes may include your credit, debit, or prepaid card info, shopping cards, boarding passes for a flight, movie tickets, rewards, student IDs, coupons, and any other digital piece of info.
Although some of these “passes” will be QR codes, the Wallet app won’t be able to extract info from any QR codes; so keep this option as a last resort when scanning QR codes on your iPhone.
To scan QR codes using this method, open the Wallet app on iOS.
Now, and tap on the ‘Get’ button.
This will pop up a menu from the bottom of the screen. Here, select the ‘Scan Code’ option.
The Wallet app will load the Camera on your iPhone and you can scan the code from the viewfinder and add a pass that can be saved onto the Wallet app.
That’s all you need to know about scanning QR codes on an iPhone.