How to scan QR codes on Android in 3 steps
QR codes are celestial pixelated squares that people scan to access a website, download an app, get information or communicate, among other functions. As the name suggests (QR stands for quick response), scanning QR codes on Android is fast and allows users to complete tasks in just a few steps.
Unlike before, when QR codes were read using scanners, you can now scan the code using other devices, including your Android phone or tablet. Although the exact methods for scanning the QR code may vary depending on your Android phone or tablet, the process is usually quick and easy. Dive in as we decode several ways to scan QR codes on your Android device.
Method 1: Scan the QR code using the camera app
If your device is running Android 8 and above, you can scan QR codes using the built-in camera app. Use these steps to find out how to do it.
Step 1: Open the Camera app
Scroll through the list of apps on your device and tap the camera icon. You can also tap “camera” in the search bar.
Step 2: Scan the code
Position the QR code in the frame of the camera, making sure that all ends of the QR code are visible in the viewfinder. After scanning the QR code for a few seconds, a pop-up banner should appear. If the code is a link to a website, the URL will open below the QR code frame with an option to copy, open or share the link.
If your camera doesn’t scan the QR code, try closing and reopening the app to see if it works. You can also try adjusting your camera settings to allow the camera to scan QR codes. Alternatively, if the pop-up banner doesn’t appear, you’ll need to use Google Lens.
Method 2: Scan QR codes on Android using Google Lens
Google Lens is a feature that lets you search the web with your phone’s camera. The app is built into your camera app, but you can also download it from the Play Store. You can see the lens icon on your screen or by tapping modes (or more) in the camera app and selecting Lens.
If you don’t see the Lens option, you can access Google Lens through the Google Search app. Using Google Lens is better than the camera because it gives you more options for the code you’re scanning. Here are a few ways to access Google Lens.
Method 2.1 via Google Search App
Step 1: Open your Google Search app
In the search bar, type “Google” and press the search icon. Then tap to open it.
Step 2: Launch Google Lens
Tap the camera icon to the right of the search bar to open Google Lens.
Step 3: Allow Google Lens access to your camera
Tap the “search with your camera” option below the camera icon on the Google Lens page. This will allow Google Lens access to your camera.
Step 4: Scan the code
Point your camera at the QR code you want to scan and make sure the code is in the frame. Your phone will scan the code and open whatever is encoded in it.
Enable Google Lens
If Google Lens doesn’t work with your camera, you may need to enable Google Lens suggestions. This is how:
Step 1: Open the camera settings
Go to the camera app and click the gear icon to open the settings.
Step 2: Enable Google Lens suggestions
Under camera settings go to Suggested Google Lenses option and toggle the toggle next to it. Try scanning with Google Lens and see if this option works.
Method 2.2 via Google Assistant
Step 1: Open Google Assistant
Press and hold the home button on your Android device until you open Google Assistant.
Step 2: Open Google Lens
Tap the Google Lens icon, indicated by a camera icon in a broken box. You can also open Google Lens by tapping the microphone icon and saying “open Google Lens.”
Step 3: Scan the code
With Google Lens now open, you can point your camera at the code to read and reveal the content of the code.
Method 2.3: Via Google Photos
The Google Photos app also has the Google Lens feature that you can use to scan a QR code. To access it, take a photo or screenshot of the code you plan to scan. Open the image in Google Photos, then tap the Google Lens icon below.
Method 3: Scan QR codes using third-party apps
Although Google Lens is one of the most reliable ways to scan a QR code using Android, your device may not have this option (if its version is older than Android 8). In this case, you need to use third-party applications to scan QR codes.
These apps are available through the Google Play Store. Here are the steps to scan QR codes using a third-party QR code reader app.
Step 1: Download the app
Open the Play Store app on your Android device. Find QR Code Reader and click install to download it.
Step 2: Allow the app to take photos and videos
Once the app is downloaded and installed, you will be prompted to allow the QR scanner to take photos and record videos. Click on Allows grant this permission.
Step 3: Scan the QR code
Point your camera at the QR code to scan it using the app. The app will scan the code and open the website link or other information in the code.
Other reliable apps that you can install on your Android phone to scan QR codes are Barcode Scanner, QR and Barcode Reader, Best QR code scanner and Freescan QR code scanner.
QR codes are an upgrade to barcodes that made life easier. For example, in a restaurant, you can scan the QR code to get the menu. You can also save yourself the hassle of filling in a complex URL. To enjoy these benefits, you need to know how to scan URLs on your Android phone. Use the tips above to scan QR codes and take advantage of the benefits of owning a smartphone.
How to Scan QR Codes on Android in 3 Steps FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What happens when you scan a QR code with your phone?
When you scan a QR code, your phone decodes the information encoded in the QR code and displays it on your screen. For example, if the QR code contains a link to a website, it displays the URL after scanning it, so you can tap and open the link. Some scanners will also allow you to copy or share the link.
Can all Android phones scan QR codes?
Almost all Android phones can scan QR codes. For Android 8 and above, they have built-in QR code readers, meaning you don’t need to download an app. Older versions, Android 7 and above, will require you to have a QR code scanner app to scan a QR code.
Is scanning QR codes free?
Scanning QR codes using the built-in scanning function or a third-party application is free. If you are prompted to make a payment, you are probably paying for the service you receive after scanning the code. For example, you can scan a QR code to make a payment and be prompted to enter your PIN to complete the transaction.
How far do you have to be from the QR code to be able to scan it?
The size/distance ratio of scanning QR codes is 10:1. If the QR code is 1 meter (3.2 feet) wide, you must be at least 10 meters (32 feet) away when scanning. The smaller the QR code, the closer you need to be to scan.
Is it safe to scan QR codes?
Scanning QR codes is generally safe. However, be careful when scanning QR codes you don’t trust, as some may lead to malicious websites.
Can you scan QR codes with the front or selfie camera?
You can use the front camera to scan QR codes, especially for small codes. However, since the rear camera is often larger than the front, this is the better choice.
Why doesn’t the QR code I scan open?
If you’ve tried all possible methods to open QR codes to no avail, there’s probably something wrong with the code. Try scanning with another device to confirm if the QR code is the problem.