How to scan a QR Code on an Android Device or iPhone

QR codes may now be found on anything from candy wrappers to billboards. Scanning these modern-day barcodes with your smartphone allows you to browse a web page, download an app, send a text message, and perform a variety of other things. Many restaurants and bars are even replacing their menus with QR codes, and some establishments now allow you to pay with a QR code without touching anything. Here’s how to scan a QR code with your iPhone or Android phone, as well as what to do if you can’t.

How to Scan a QR Code with Your iPhone

To scan a QR code on your iPhone, simply use the Camera app and point your device at the QR code. Once the QR code is inside the box on your screen, tap the pop-up banner or the yellow QR code indicator in the bottom-right corner.

  • On your iPhone, launch the Camera app. Swiping left from the lock screen will immediately launch the camera app. Alternatively, you can swipe down from the center of your home screen and type “Camera” into the top-right search bar.
Alternatively, you can swipe down from the center of your home screen and type "Camera" into the top-right search bar
Alternatively, you can swipe down from the center of your home screen and type “Camera” into the top-right search bar
  • Then, using your iPhone, scan the QR code. You don’t have to occupy the entire screen, but make sure you can see the QR code in all four corners of the app. When you scan the QR icon successfully, a pop-up banner appears above it, and a yellow QR code icon appears in the bottom right corner.
  • Finally, in the bottom-right corner of the app, tap the pop-up banner or the QR icon. This will immediately redirect you to the website, open the app, or conduct another action, so make sure you understand what the banner does before you press on it.
Finally, in the bottom-right corner of the app, tap the pop-up banner or the QR icon
Finally, in the bottom-right corner of the app, tap the pop-up banner or the QR icon

If you don’t see the banner or QR icon, check sure the Scan QR Codes feature is turned on. To do so, go to Settings > Camera and tap the slider next to Scan QR Codes. When it turns green, you know it’s turned on.

To do so, go to Settings > Camera and tap the slider next to Scan QR Codes. When it turns green, you know it's turned on
To do so, go to Settings > Camera and tap the slider next to Scan QR Codes. When it turns green, you know it’s turned on

If you still don’t see the pop-up banner or QR code indicator, photograph it and open it in the Photos app. Then, in the bottom-right corner, tap the Live Text symbol, which looks like three lines in a box. Finally, tap the QR code to bring up the pop-up banner.

Then, in the bottom-right corner, tap the Live Text symbol, which looks like three lines in a box
Then, in the bottom-right corner, tap the Live Text symbol, which looks like three lines in a box

Scan a QR Code with an Android Phone

You can scan a QR code on Android 8 or later by opening the camera app, pointing your phone at the QR code, then touching the pop-up banner. If you don’t see the pop-up banner, you can scan the QR icon with the Google Lens app instead.

  • Launch the Camera app on your Android device. Swiping up from the bottom of your screen will bring up the camera app. Alternatively, you can enter “Camera” into the search box on your home screen.
Swiping up from the bottom of your screen will bring up the camera app
Swiping up from the bottom of your screen will bring up the camera app
  • Then, using your Android phone, scan the QR icon. Ensure that the QR code is visible in all four corners of the viewfinder. A pop-up banner should show if you are running Android 8 or later.
  • Finally, click on the pop-up banner. This will immediately redirect you to the website, open the app, or conduct another action, so make sure you understand what the banner does before you press on it.
This will immediately redirect you to the website, open the app, or conduct another action, so make sure you understand what the banner does before you press on it
This will immediately redirect you to the website, open the app, or conduct another action, so make sure you understand what the banner does before you press on it

If the banner does not appear, you can use Google Lens instead. On your screen, you might notice the Lens icon (which looks like a circle inside a broken box). Alternatively, you may need to hit Modes (or More) in the bottom-right corner of the app and then Lens. Then, to scan the QR icon, place it between the white lines and tap the magnifying glass icon.

On your screen, you might notice the Lens icon (which looks like a circle inside a broken box)
On your screen, you might notice the Lens icon (which looks like a circle inside a broken box)

On some phones, you can also access Lens by tapping and holding the QR code on your screen until you see a multi-colored spinning wheel. Then, when the pop-up banner displays above the QR code, tap it.

On some phones, you can also access Lens by tapping and holding the QR code on your screen until you see a multi-colored spinning wheel. Then, when the pop-up banner displays above the QR code, tap it.
On some phones, you can also access Lens by tapping and holding the QR icon on your screen until you see a multi-colored spinning wheel. Then, when the pop-up banner displays above the QR icon, tap it.

If Google Lens does not appear in your camera app, you may need to enable it in your settings. You may check your camera settings in the app or in your Android’s general settings. Then check the box for Google Lens suggestions.

If Google Lens does not appear in your camera app, you may need to enable it in your settings. You may check your camera settings in the app or in your Android's general settings
If Google Lens does not appear in your camera app, you may need to enable it in your settings. You may check your camera settings in the app or in your Android’s general settings

The Google Lens app is also available for download through the Google Play Store. To scan the QR code, move it to the middle of the viewfinder and hit the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your screen.

The Google Lens app is also available for download through the Google Play Store
The Google Lens app is also available for download through the Google Play Store

Your phone may not be compatible with the app if you are running Android 7 or earlier, however you may already have the Google Lens feature on your Android device. To find out, tap the bottom of your device’s Home button (or the line at the bottom of your screen) until the Google Assistant appears. Then, either tap the Google Lens icon or pick the microphone icons, and say “open Google Lens.”

Your phone may not be compatible with the app if you are running Android 7 or earlier, however you may already have the Google Lens feature on your Android device
Your phone may not be compatible with the app if you are running Android 7 or earlier, however you may already have the Google Lens feature on your Android device

If all else fails, snap a picture or screenshot of the QR icon, open the Google Photos app, and hit the Google Lens icon beneath that image.

If all else fails, snap a picture or screenshot of the QR code, open the Google Photos app, and hit the Google Lens icon beneath that image.
If all else fails, snap a picture or screenshot of the QR code, open the Google Photos app, and hit the Google Lens icon beneath that image.

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