4 Simple Ways to Scan QR Codes on iPhone and iOS

QR code for I love you
Designing a QR Code for I Love You? Here are 4 Ideas to Try Out!
May 24, 2021
QR code gift ideas
Want QR Code Gift Ideas? Here are 7 to Try!
June 7, 2021

4 Simple Ways to Scan QR Codes on iPhone and iOS

As smartphones cement themselves as a mainstay in everybody’s life, the market for QR codes only grows larger and larger. What used to be an interesting trick to replace links and information has now become a tool we see in our day-to-day life. Countless restaurants have replaced or at least complemented their menu with a QR Code. And posters and pamphlets save time and get more visitors by providing a QR code over a cumbersome and long link.

QR Codes are here to stay, and they will only become more popular and important with each passing day. So today we’d like to talk about some of the most common ways iPhones and other products in the Apple family interact with QR codes. So stick with us as we tell you how to scan QR code with iPhone and what other third-party QR code scanner apps are available on iOS.

4 Simple Ways to Scan QR Codes on iPhone and iOS

Back in the day, the only way to scan QR codes was to rely on a third-party app. However, in light of their growing popularity, Apple made sure to include built-in scan code iPhone functionalities on their iOS 11 update. So all mobile Apple devices since 2017 or that have updated to iOS 11 or later releases can scan QR codes without relying on external applications.

1. Camera App

The most straightforward way to scan a QR code from your iPhone, iPod, or iPad is to open your camera, there’s no more trick to it. All you need to do is point your camera towards the QR code and wait for your device to pick it up. You’ll see the QR code being framed by white corners and a notification will pop up on the top of the screen. The notification will include all the relevant info from the QR code, and if it’s designed for interaction (leading to a link or phone number) tapping the notification will offer you the relevant option.

You don’t need to take a photo to scan a QR code, and a QR code on the screen won’t prevent you from taking a photo either. The scan QR code iPhone functions are designed to be non-intrusive and you can dismiss them if they aren’t relevant at the time.

2. iPhone Code Scanner / Control Centre

The next built-in alternative to scan QR codes on an iOS device is through the Control Center. All you need to do is to access the Control Center and open the Code Scanner on it. Unlike the camera, this functionality is meant exclusively for scanning and as such counts with various advantages over it. The Code Scanner can interpret and scan codes even on low-light settings thanks to the flashlight, which is great for night trips. All in all, this allows users to scan codes that have up to 30% of damage or blurriness which is an incredible level of accuracy for the market.

3. Google Photos App

If the above still aren’t enough options for you then rest assured that iOS users still count with more alternatives. Sometimes you are in a rush and want to store QR Codes instead of reading it immediately, maybe your data connection is spotty, or you are in a setting with a lot of codes around you; if this is ever the case for you all you have to do is to take a picture. Your iPhone can easily scan QR Codes from your camera roll, and this allows you to save as many codes as you want for later. To do this you must rely on the Google Photos app, but it saves so much time it’s worth considering.

All you need to do is to open a pic with a QR Code from Google Photos and you’ll see a Google Lens icon. Tap on the icon and you will eventually see some option dots on any QR Code on the photo. From there you can easily click on them and see what the action or link is. It’s simple and straightforward and more importantly, it lets you store QR Codes safely on your device.

4. Third-party QR Code Scanner Apps

While iOS comes with built-in scan QR code iPhone functionalities now, it doesn’t mean that there is any shortage of apps that allow you to scan QR codes on their own. The main reason for this is that users aren’t aware they can now scan codes on their own, and as such, they look for an QR code scanner app as they would have with older models.

Just go to App 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.

App store QR code scanner
Plenty of QR code scanners to choose on App Store (Scan QR Code iPhone)

There are also some apps that you might already have in your iPhone but you didn’t know that these apps can also scan QR Codes.

We will explore these third-party QR code scanner apps in the third-party apps section below.

Enabling an iPhone’s QR Code Scanner

When it comes to most of the above options the built-in scan code iPhone functionalities are enabled by default. But in case you don’t see them we’ll go over each one and how to enable them.

Camera App

If your camera isn’t picking any QR codes on its own and you have an iOS 11 or above system then it’s likely to be disabled on the settings. Tap on Settings on your iPhone and then look for Camera. On the Camera Settings, there should be an option that reads Scan QR Codes. Just toggle it back on and your camera will pick up any QR codes on its own from now on.

Control Center

Likewise, if you aren’t seeing the QR code reader on your Control Center it’s just a matter of setting it up. Once again head to Settings on your iPhone but this time search for the Control Center option. Now tap on Customize Controls and tap the “+” next to the QR code reader. This will add the QR code reader to the Control Center options and allow you to choose where to put it.

Third-party Apps: Popular QR Code Scanner Apps

That isn’t to say that external QR code scanner apps can’t have their benefits, but it’s up to each user to choose if they are worth the extra effort and resources. Certain QR code scanner apps add an extra layer of safety for any QR Code you scan, ensuring that it’s safe before allowing you to click on it. Though Apple’s security is already so high, this might seem like an unneeded perk.

Another popular function is conserving a history of previously scanned QR codes so you can access their information even if you don’t have access to the QR code. As well as the option to send the scanned QR codes to other devices through email or social media, to easily share content with other users. When it comes to scanning QR codes there will be next to no difference, so it’s up to you to choose if the extra perks justify the download.

Kaspersky QR Scanner

Kaspersky QR Scanner is one of the most famous alternatives in the market due to its focus on safety. Kaspersky counts with one of the highest-rated antivirus systems in the market, and its accompanying apps are designed to be as safe as it is. Kaspersky not only scans codes, but it makes sure links are safe and keep a history of the codes so you can access them at any time.

Kaspersky QR Scanner on App Store.


QRbot is simple but effective, and sometimes that’s all it takes to reach the top. As soon as you scan a code you can add contact data to your address book or login to a Wi-Fi network with just a click. It can also scan codes from your image folder, and even allows users to export their QR code history as a CSV file. QRbot is designed to be straightforward to use but you’ll find depth in its options.

QRbot on App Store.

QR Code Reader – QuickMark Barcode Scanner

Optimized for local searches, QR Code Reader – QuickMark Barcode Scanner provides fast results with a robust scanner, while also making sure to reduce the number of taps the user needs to get to their link. The app also has a lot of integration with other phone functions and allows users to mark events directly from it based on the content of the codes. Some of the functions are locked behind a paywall, but the overall package is very robust.

QR Code Reader – QuickMark Barcode Scanner on App Store.

Third-party Apps: Popular Apps that come with their own QR Code Scanner

Even if you don’t want to use any of the above apps, chances are that you have a lot of apps on your phone that already pack a QR code scanner of their own.


Twitter for example comes with built-in QR code scanner to easily follow a Twitter account, but the camera function can scan other types of QR Codes too.

Twitter on App Store.

Scan QR code with Twitter (Scan QR Code iPhone)
Where to activate QR code scanner on Twitter (Scan QR Code iPhone)


Google app likewise allows you to scan QR codes from its search bar menu. Tapping on the camera icon at the right edge of the search bar would activate Google Lens and this will allow you to scan any QR codes.

Google on App Store.

Scan QR code with Google (Scan QR Code iPhone)
Where to activate QR code scanner for Google (Scan QR Code iPhone)


WeChat is another app that allows you to not only scan QR codes to add friends but it can also read any type of QR codes. WeChat have a long history with QR codes and have integrate QR code scanning functionalities since the app’s early days.

WeChat on App Store.

Scan QR code with WeChat (Scan QR Code iPhone)
Where to activate QR code scanner for WeChat (Scan QR Code iPhone)


Similar to WeChat, you can scan QR Codes to add friends, as well as read QR Codes in general. To scan any QR Code with Line, access the QR Code icon from the search bar and then automatically scan the external QR Code.

Line on App Store.

Scan QR code with Line (Scan QR Code iPhone)
Where to activate QR code scanner for Line (Scan QR Code iPhone)

How to generate a QR Code?

If you are interested in generating your own QR codes you can easily do so with our free QR Code generator.

The app is incredibly intuitive and supports multiple types of codes so it can handle any task. On top of that, there’s a lot of customization options so you can make a QR code that suits both your needs and preferences in a matter of seconds.


Credits for images use in this article ‘4 Simple Ways to Scan QR Codes on iPhone and iOS’.

Photo by Laurenz Heymann on Unsplash

Comments are closed.