QR codes have become an integral part of digital life in the 21st century, thanks to their ability to store diverse types of information. From paying bills to getting discounts at a new restaurant, everything can be sent and received using QR codes.
Although QR codes are not new, they have seen increased usage in the past few years with the proliferation of smartphones. Now, everyone who owns an Android-based smartphone can read the information behind any QR code within seconds.
However, like many features on Android phones, scanning QR codes can vary with different versions and brands. For some phones, you may further require a third-party app to scan QR codes, although, for the most part, this is not the case.
Read on to know more about the different ways to scan QR codes in an Android phone and how different versions use this functionality.
With every version of Android, technical advancements have taken significant leaps. Every new version strives to be more user-friendly than the previous one. It is no wonder that in-built QR code scanners in different versions of Android should also follow the same trajectory.
Let’s see how Android phones have improved on QR code scanning for the various versions.
Version 8: Android 8 saw a massive evolution through the Google Lens app and the Google Screen Search options. Just a few simple taps and the information behind a QR code would be right there on your screen.
Versions 7 and Lower: Well, except for the light bulb moment of Android 6 that saw the innovative “Now on Tap” discussed above, none of the other lower versions of Android could read QR codes without a third-party app.
Even though seemingly all Android phones have the same functionality, some details can vary with differences in brands. For instance, Samsung Galaxy uses an in-built app called Bixby Vision to scan QR codes, while Google Pixel gets the job done through a Google camera.
There may also be some variations in the way in which the home screen has to be held down or the Google Assistant page comes up in different brands. Nonetheless, other than Google, the following are the other leading brands that use Android as their core OS and have similar functionalities even with differences in user interfaces.
Android has some excellent built-in features to seamlessly capture QR codes. Some of these tools are so simple that you don’t need a lot of technical expertise to work your way through them. Let us look at each of them in a little more detail.
This is the simplest way to scan QR codes on Android. In many Android phones, especially the newer models, the built-in camera is enough to scan a QR code. But how do you know if your phone’s camera supports it? The only way to find out is to try.
All you have to do is open the camera app on your phone and point it steadily towards a valid QR code image. Do not take a picture but just wait a few seconds for a notification to come up.
If your phone’s camera is equipped with the technology to read QR codes, you should begin to see notifications about the QR code you are pointing at. Follow the instructions on the screen to get more information about the QR code.
Now, what if you continue to hold the camera at the image but nothing happens? Don’t give up yet as this does not necessarily mean your phone’s camera cannot read a QR code.
Go to your phone’s Settings and check if there is an option to enable QR code scanning. If there is, and it is disabled, turn it on and go back to your camera to see if it can scan the code now. If there is no such option, then unfortunately your device’s camera cannot read QR codes yet.
The second easy method to scan QR code on Android phone is using Google Lens / Google Assistant. In most newer versions, you can access Google Lens directly as an app without having to go through the Assistant.
Ensure your Google Lens app has access to your camera. This is usually the default. If not, you can do this from the settings. Once the Google Lens app reads the QR code, it will do the rest of the work of pulling information related to it.
But if you have a slightly older version, you would need to access Google Lens via Google Assistant. Either way, the ultimate task of scanning the QR code is carried out in the same manner.
True to its name, Google Assistant helps you with many features in your phone that you probably were not even aware of. Take the case of reading QR codes. You just need to open your Google Assistant and ask.
At the bottom of the Google Assistant interface, tap on the Google Lens icon to activate the Google Lens app. This is the app that is going to get you all the information about the QR code you are trying to read.
If you’re just having issues with the methods above as your Android phone is running on an older version, no worries, as there are also third-party QR code scanner apps that you can utilise.
Just go to Play Store and enter search terms like ‘QR code’, ‘QR code scanner’ or ‘QR code reader’ and you’ll be presented with a wide range of choices. Many of the options are free but note that they tend to be ad-heavy. Still, there’s usually no real need to get a paid QR code scanner app.
Once you install the app, all you need to do now is start the app, open its QR code scan screening and point your camera towards the QR code. The app will do the rest and you will get the information behind the QR code in seconds. No matter which third-party QR code scanner app you choose to install, the method to scan a QR code is broadly the same,
In the next section, we will present some third-party QR code scanner apps that you can consider.
Whether your version of Android have a built-in QR code scanner or you are looking for a different user experience, it is important to install only the best third-party apps for the job. Ideally you should opt for one with a large number of ratings and a high average rating.
Related: Check out our blog post for 10 Best QR Code Scanner App for iPhone and Android.
Here are the top 5 apps available on the Play Store for a seamless QR code scanning experience.
It quickly scans the QR code that your phone’s camera is pointing at. If the QR image has a URL, it automatically takes you to the link. You don’t have to tap on a single thing. Another great feature of this app is that it identifies and notifies you about potentially malicious links. Works with Android 4.4 and above.
QR Code Reader and Scanner: App for Android on Google Play.
The scanner works fast and is designed in a way so that you don’t need to tap anywhere to read a QR code. All you need to do is install this app, open it, and point it at a QR code. The app will instantly fetch all the relevant data onto your screen. Works with Android versions 4.1 and up.
QR & Barcode Scanner on Google Play.
It is a basic QR code scanning app but does the job perfectly. It not only reads the QR code but also allows you to generate one. The best part of this app is that it even reads WiFi QR codes. It features minimal ads, too. Works with Android versions 4.4 and above.
QR Code Reader on Google Play.
Fast and accurate, this QR code scanner is a lightweight yet fast, efficient, and feature-rich QR code scanner and barcode scanner app. The app can scan and read all types of QR code and barcodes such as finding a location and connecting to a WiFi hotspot. Works with Android versions 5.0 and up.
QR Code & Barcode Scanner (no ads) on Google Play.
Rated highly by PCWorld and Android Magazine, this little droid is more than just a QR code scanner. It can help you create and edit QR codes through a well-designed user interface. It also makes sharing data easier by allowing your scanned codes to auto-sync with your Google Drive. The Android version requirement depends on the brand of phone you are using, though.
QR Droid on Google Play.
QR codes have become one of the easiest ways to share information in seconds, given their accessibility through Android phones and, of course, their versatility in the type of information they can store.
Another great feature of QR codes is how easy it is to generate them once you have the right tool at your disposal. With our free QR code generator, you can create attractive and useful QR codes in minutes, without having to know about the nitty-gritty of the designs. All you need to do is fill up the fields with your requirements, choose a design, and the tool will do the rest.
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