Scan QR codes with iPhone iPad

Have you noticed that QR codes are everywhere nowadays? We can find QR codes in cinema, restaurants, metro, poster, magazines, billboards. The QR codes are readable by machines. Normally people need to use a QR code reader app on their mobile phones to scan them. You can find many QR code scanners or readers on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. They are usually free, with in-app purchases or ads. Some Android devices, like Xiaomi & Redmi phones, have the built-in support to QR code scanning in their stock Camera apps for years. And finally Apple follows the suit. The iOS 11 has included the QR code scanning functionality in the native Camera app for iOS. You no longer need to download or use a third-party QR code reader in order to scan QR codes on iPhone and iPad.

Method 1. Scan a QR code with the Camera on iPhone or iPad

As we mentioned above, QR code scanning is built-in to the default Camera app starting from iOS 11. If you are using an old version of iOS, make sure have the latest version of iOS installed on your iPhone.

Run the Camera app on your iOS device. Point your camera toward the QR code. Your iPhone or iPad will interpret the content of the QR code, then tells you what the QR code about and what you can do with it.

scan website qr code with the camera app on iphone

Generally speaking, QR codes contain website links, so you can scan QR code and quickly visit the site without the need to manually type in the long URL addresses in your web browser. Some QR codes could include name cards or contact information, calendar events, plain text and more. If the QR code you are scanning contains a website link, you’ll get a prompt saying this is a website QR code, you can then tap on this message to open it in Safari browser on iPhone or iPad. If it is a contact QR code contain phone numbers, email addresses, you can just tap to add them to the Contacts app.

Enable QR code scanning for Camera

QR code scanning option is enabled by default. If you do not like it or you have your favorite QR reader app, you can manually turn it off from iPhone Settings >> Camera >> Scan QR Codes, see below screenshot.

iphone camera settings - scan qr codes

QR codes reading is really welcome feature to the stock Camera app. With this new feature built-in, iPhone and iPad users can scan QR codes with minimal effects, without the need for a separate app. Thus we do not recommend to disable this functionality.

Method 2. Scan QR codes from Control Center

Apart from using the built-in Camera app, you can also add the QR code scanner to the Control Center on your iPhone or iPad and quickly launch the scanner to read QR codes.

In recent iOS versions, Apple added a QR code scanner toggle to the Control Center by default. If you don’t see the QR code scanner icon in your Control Center, make sure you have the latest version of iOS installed on your iOS device. And jump into the Settings to add the shortcut to Control Center. Here’s how to do that.

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Scroll down and tap on “Control Center.”
  • In the Control Center settings, you’ll see two sections: INCLUDED CONTROLS and MORE CONTROLS. Under the INCLUDED CONTROLS section, you’ll find the tools that are already included in your Control Center. If Code Scanner is not yet listed in the INCLUDED SECTIONS, scroll down to the MORE CONTROLS section to find it and add it to the Control Center.
add, remove controls to or from Control Center on iPhone

Once the Code Scanner being added to the Control Center, you can follow these steps to scan QR codes using an iPhone.

  1. Swipe down from the top-right corner of your iPhone screen to open the Control Center. On older iPhone models with a Home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access it.
  2. In the Control Center, you should see a square-shaped “QR Code” icon. Tap on it to open the QR code scanner.
  3. A viewfinder opens on your screen. Align the QR code within the viewfinder.
  4. Once the QR code is recognized, a notification banner will appear at the top of the screen, displaying the content of the QR code.
  5. Tap the notification banner to perform the action associated with the QR code.

Method 3. Scan QR codes using third-party scanners

For earlier iOS versions before iOS 11, you can download and use a third party QR code reader app instead. For example, you can use Adobe Scan, Scanner Pro by Readdle, Scanbot, WeChat, iScanner to scan QR code on iPhone. Do a search on the App Store, you will find more free scanner apps.

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