QR codes are a theoretically simple way to send or receive information – they can contain a link to a website or app, contact information, ticket details, or a number of other things, and you can just scan the QR code with your android phone to get this data.
But QR codes aren’t necessarily things you’ll come across on a regular basis either, so you might not know how to scan one when you do, which instead removes the convenience factor. Making it even trickier is the fact that the process may differ on different Android phones.
But at the end of the day, no matter which Android phone you have, it’s super quick and easy to scan QR codes, and we’ll walk you through exactly how below.
How to scan QR codes with your Android phone’s camera app
Many Android phones allow you to scan QR codes directly from the camera app. In most cases, this will be true if your phone is running Android 9 or later. This software was released in 2018, so the majority of recent handsets will be on this version or later.
To scan a QR code this way, simply open the camera and point it at the QR code for a few seconds – there is no need to take a photo. If your phone can scan QR codes from the camera app, a link should appear on the screen. Tapping on it will take you to the content of the code (such as a website or Google Play Store page).
If at first you are unsuccessful, try to line up the QR code in the center of the frame and make sure it is clearly visible and the phone remains stable. You will also need a data connection.
Note that on some Samsung phones you will also need to enable Bixby Vision in the camera before the QR code scan will work. To do this, tap on the Bixby Vision icon in the top left corner of the camera app. Some phones also require you to enable QR code scanning on their main settings screen, so you may have to dig.
If you’re still out of luck, chances are your phone’s native camera app can’t scan QR codes, but don’t worry, there are other ways to scan them, detailed below. below.
How to scan QR codes with Google Lens on Android
Google Assistant can also scan QR codes using a tool called Google Lens, provided your phone is running Android 8 or higher. To activate it, simply launch the Google Assistant (usually by saying “Hey, Google” or long pressing the home button), then tap the Google Lens icon. It looks a bit like a camera lens.
Point Google Lens at the QR code for a second or two and it will highlight the code and display a link to its content. Tap on it to go to the website or other location hidden in the code. As with any other method of scanning a QR code, you will usually need an internet connection for this to work.
How to scan QR codes using an app
If your phone is running an older version of Android or if you are just having trouble with the above methods, you are not out of luck, as there are third party apps that allow you to scan QR codes as well.
There are many options available, including QR & Barcode Scanner and QR Code Reader and Scanner, and many of them are free. Just search the Play Store for “ QR code scanner ” and you will be presented with almost endless options. Either of the above two should serve you well, but if you’re considering alternatives, ideally go for one with a large number of ratings and a high average rating.
The exact process will vary from app to app, but will be broadly consistent with the methods above – once you’ve opened the app and its QR scan screen is displayed, just point your camera at the code. QR and it should automatically scan and provide you with a link to the content.
It is usually not really necessary to choose a paid QR code scanner app, but note that free apps tend to be ad-heavy and it can be easy to accidentally touch an ad rather than the code link. QR, then double check. re tapping the right thing.
How to scan a QR code displayed on your screen
Okay, most of the time you’ll want to scan an external QR code with your phone. But what if you browse the web on your phone and see a code displayed on your screen? You can still scan it.
Using the Chrome browser, you can just long press the QR code and select “ Search with Google Lens ” from the menu that appears. This will then display the URL found in the code, giving you the option to follow it.