Scan QR code on iPhone: Here is how it works

With the iPhone camera, you can take photos and read and decode QR codes. Several apps are available for this purpose. We’ll show you what you need and how Scan QR code on iPhone.

Scan QR code iPhone

There are features on your smartphone that you use every day. Whether it’s Wi-Fi, mobile data, or Bluetooth, there are some features you simply can’t get around in your daily usage. 

For example, this is true for Bluetooth, which had a rather shadowy existence on many smartphones in the beginning. A similar fate has befallen the QR scanner. However, QR codes have been around for quite a while. It took a relatively long time to integrate a corresponding reader into the function catalog of smartphones.

In the meantime, the feature enjoys great popularity and has a permanent place in your cell phone. On iPhones, the function has even been integrated into the camera app. Scanning QR codes is, therefore very easy.

QR code scanning is easy with the camera app

Nowadays, scanning QR codes is child’s play. All you need is the camera app on your iPhone. However, this was not always the case: if you wanted to scan QR codes on your iPhone, you had to go to the App Store and look for a corresponding application not so long ago.

From the apps offered there, you first had to choose one, install it, and open it so that you could then use it to read a QR code. Unfortunately, decipher or decode the codes without an external application. Fortunately, these times are over.

Nowadays, if you want to scan one or more QR codes, all you need is an application already on your iOS device: The camera. With the help of the camera app, it is possible in just a few steps to read the small pixelated squares – called “QR Codes” or “Quick Response Codes” – and call up the corresponding website, app, or function to which the code links.

How to scan QR code on your iOS device

We will show you how to make use of the function below:

  • First, open the camera app on your iPhone 8, X, or XR.
  • Now hold your phone in front of the QR code you want to scan by holding the main camera five to ten centimeters directly in front of the code.
  • Your device will then try to locate the code, marking it with small yellow corners that appear on display.
  • If it successfully recognized the code, a message appears at the top of the screen with the corresponding reference to the code.

In most cases, this is an external website. Sometimes, applications on your device or in the App Store can be the target of the link. In some cases, it can also be a specific function in the menu of your iPhone.

To know what the QR code links to, simply tap the message at the top of the screen to get there. As a result, you will automatically exit the camera app and go to the destination of the reference.

Scan QR code from photo album iPhone

There are many apps that allow you to easily read QR codes from images:

Google Photos

Google Photos is not a pre-installed on Apple iPhone. If not, you can still simply download the app:

If you’re using Google Photos and want to scan a QR code from any image, simply open the photo in the app and tap the Google Lens option at the bottom. This Google Photos built-in feature will do the rest and then provide you with the code’s data in seconds.

Besides sharing and copying the code content, you also often get other features, such as opening links directly. Google Photos not only lets you manage your photos in the cloud, but it can also be used to easily scan QR codes.

‎Google Photos
‎Google Photos
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free+

QR Code Reader

The QR Code Reader app is probably one of the most used apps that allow you to scan various types of codes. Besides scanning codes, this app also allows you to create QR codes yourself with the QR code generator. When you open the app, you can simply select the “Scan Image” option from the burger menu on the bottom left.

After you select an image, the app will start scanning. You will then not only get the content of the code, but you can also share it right away or copy it to the clipboard. It is especially useful that you can open the link in your default browser with just a tap on the appropriate button for links to websites.

‎QR Code Reader ·
‎QR Code Reader ·
Developer: TinyLab
Price: Free+

Qrafter for iPhone

Qrafter is an iOS app that can scan a QR code from a photo. This is easily done by tapping “Scan from a photo” in the app. The app also allows you to move and scale an image if you enable the option beforehand. This makes for a faster response time for the app, as it doesn’t have to scan the entire image for the code.

Then select the image you want from your gallery, and the app will spit out the information hidden in the QR code. You can then copy the information to your clipboard, send it via text message or email, etc.

The app is smart enough to give you additional options if the QR code contains more information than just plain text. For example, if you scan a QR code with a YouTube URL, you can have the video opened and watched right in the YouTube app.

‎Qrafter: QR Code Reader
‎Qrafter: QR Code Reader
Developer: Kerem Erkan
Price: Free+

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Problem scanning QR code on iPhone?

As a rule, scanning QR codes do not pose any difficulties. You have to open the camera app and hold your device in front of the corresponding code. If this should not succeed once, this can have different reasons.

In principle, you can solve the problem quickly. In the following, we will describe the three most common causes of complications when scanning QR codes and what you can do about them.

Dirty camera lens

It may sound trivial at first glance, but it is not uncommon for a dirty camera to be to blame for not reading a QR code properly. If it cannot decipher a code right away, you should first check whether the main camera of your iPhone is contaminated with dirt or dust.

This is quite normal and happens, especially if you regularly keep your phone in your pocket. This is because small particles can spread on the surface of the camera glass this way. If this is the case, or if the lens of your device is dirty, take a small microfiber cloth and carefully clean the camera with it.

Such cloth is available on the Internet for less than five euros. In any case, make sure that you use a microfiber cloth. Otherwise, this can lead to scratches on the camera. Once you have cleaned the lens with the cloth, you should be able to scan the code again without any problems.

Distance between device and QR Code

If the camera cannot read your QR Code properly even after cleaning the camera lens, this may be due to the distance between the camera and the code. Make sure that you keep a distance of about five to ten centimeters.

If the camera is too close to the code, it will not be able to focus on it sufficiently, and the code to be read out will remain out of focus for the camera lens. If, on the other hand, you hold your iPhone too far away from the code, the camera may have difficulty distinguishing the code from all the other objects in the image or locating it.

Camera does not focus correctly on the QR code

If you find that you are having difficulty scanning QR Codes, it may also be due to an incorrect focus. Your camera app or your iPhone’s camera has a built-in auto focus. This means that when you want to use your device to photograph or film a particular subject, your camera will automatically focus on the area in the image that you (probably) want to be in the center of the image.

However, this does not always work without problems. Either your iPhone focuses on the wrong area, or other objects in the picture make it difficult for the camera to focus on the point you want in the picture. Fortunately, you can reset the focus.

All you have to do is tap your finger on the spot in the image (in this case, the QR code) that you want to be in focus. Once you have done this, you should be able to scan the QR code on iPhone without any interference.

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