How to Scan a QR Code on Android: A Comprehensive Guide by Mira

Quick Response (QR) codes are everywhere these days. From advertisements to restaurant menus, QR codes provide a fast and easy way to access digital content. But if you don’t know How to Scan a QR Code on Android.

It’s quite easy if you have an Android phone or iPhone. With Android phones, there is a feature called google lens, and on iPhones, you can use the camera app to scan QR codes with ease. 

Scanning a QR code on your Android or IOS device takes just a few seconds.

A Quick Overview of Scanning QR Codes on Android

Scanning a QR code on an Android smartphone or tablet is a simple process that can be broken down into three basic steps:

  1. Use google lens or google search bar camera option- on Android devices, you can use google lens to scan QR codes, and for below Android 8 devices, you will have to install a QR code scanning app.
  2. Use default camera App on IOS devices: After the 2017 IOS 11 update, added a feature in the camera app that lets you scan QR codes without any additional apps.
  3. Install a QR code scanning app – The Google Play Store offers many free and paid QR scanner apps. Some popular options include Google Lens, QR Code Reader, and Kaspersky QR Scanner.
  4. Open the app and grant camera access – Allow the app to access your device’s camera so it can scan codes.
  5. Align the QR code in the camera viewfinder – Center the code in the viewfinder, and the app will automatically scan it.

Once scanned, the QR code will typically open a website, initiate a download, add a contact, connect to WiFi, or perform some other instant action.

Below we’ll explore these steps in greater detail, as well as provide some tips for scanning QR codes successfully on Android devices

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Choose a Reliable QR Code Reader App

The first step is to install a trusted QR code reader app from the Google Play Store. There are many options to choose from, but here are some top recommendations:

  • Google Lens – This increasingly popular AI-powered app from Google has excellent QR scanning capabilities. As a bonus, it can provide additional information about landmarks, products, text, and more.

This app is installed by default on your phone. Just search it on your app search bar.

  • QR Code Reader – With over 100 million installs, this aptly named app quickly and easily scans QR codes without unnecessary bells and whistles.
  • Kaspersky QR Scanner – The security experts at Kaspersky provide a fast, safe QR code scanner. It checks links for malicious content before opening.
  • Barcode Scanner – From ZXing Team, this open-source app has been a go-to option for reliably scanning QR codes for years.

Look for apps that have solid ratings and reviews. It’s ideal to choose an established app from a reputable developer rather than some new or unknown option. For security, avoid apps that ask for unnecessary device permissions.

Open the App and Allow Camera Access

Once you’ve installed your preferred QR code scanning app, open it and allow access when prompted so that it can utilize your device’s camera.

Here are the steps for granting camera permissions:

  • When opening the app for the first time, you will get a pop-up asking if you want to allow access to the camera. Select Allow.
  • If you accidentally denied access previously, go to Settings > Apps & Notifications (maybe under Apps or Application Manager on some devices).
  • Select the app and tap Permissions.
  • Turn on the Camera permission.

Enabling camera access allows the app to instantly scan codes through the viewfinder. Without it, the app won’t function.

Align the QR Code Within the Viewfinder

For Android

Now comes the actual scanning part! Follow these tips for successfully scanning a QR code:

Step 1: Open the QR scanner app and point your device’s camera at the QR code, keeping about 6-12 inches away.

Center the code squarely within the viewfinder area. Try not to cut off any edges.

Step 2: Hold the camera steady. Shaky movements can throw off the scanning.

Step 3: For improved focus and scanning, tap the screen where the QR code is located.

Step 4: The app will automatically scan the code once a clear image is detected.

Step 5: If the code doesn’t scan immediately, slowly move the camera closer or further away until it’s recognized.

Good lighting is important. Avoid scanning codes in low light when possible.

Step 6: For damaged or hard-to-scan codes, try capturing the image with the camera, then tapping the preview to scan.

Step 7: If the code contains a web link, select the notification that pops up to open it. For other code types, follow the prompts.

For IOS devices: 

Scanning with IOS devices is easier than with Android devices. Here is how to do it

Step 1: Open the camera app on your IOS device.

Step 2: You just need to hold the camera in front of the QR code from a certain distance and focus the camera on the QR code.

Step 3: After you have focused on the QR Code, there will be a QR code pop-up sign. Tap on it.

Step 4: After tapping on it, the QR code will take you to the designated link, and you are done.

And that’s all there is to it! With a reliable app and allowing camera permissions, scanning QR codes on Android devices is quick and painless.

Helpful Tips for Scanning QR Codes Successfully

Follow these additional pointers for optimal QR code scanning:

Clean your camera lens – Smudges on the lens can interfere with scanning. Gently wipe it with a soft cloth beforehand.

Update your apps – Make sure your scanner app and device OS are up-to-date for the best performance.

Scan codes from printouts – For scanning QR codes from a computer screen, print them out for better results.

Increase brightness – Turn up your Android’s screen brightness before scanning in low-light conditions.

Try a different angle – Experiment with different positions and angles to help read challenging codes.

Use camera zoom – Zooming in may help with very small or far away QR codes.

Scan one code at a time – If multiple codes appear together, cover the surrounding ones with your hand when scanning a specific code.

Connect to WiFi – For QR-coded links, connect to the internet for immediate access after scanning.

Bookmark important codes – Many scanner apps let you save QR codes to easily access frequently used ones.

What Does QR Codes Content?

QR codes can contain different types of content, depending on their intended use. Here are some of the most common:

  • Website URLs – Send users to specific web pages by encoding URLs into QR codes.
  • Contact information – Instantly add email addresses, phone numbers, locations, and more to device contacts.
  • Digital documents – Download PDFs, presentations, ebooks and other files to your device.
  • Text – Display lines of text or room for custom messages.
  • WiFi logins – Connect to WiFi networks by scanning a code instead of manually entering passwords.
  • Geo-locations – Launch navigation apps to specific destinations when scanned.
  • Phone dialer – Initiate phone calls instantly after scanning appropriately encoded codes.
  • SMS/text messages – Pre-populate SMS apps with messages ready to send to pre-determined numbers.
  • Account logins – Securely encode usernames and passwords for logging into accounts.
  • Payments – Transfer funds or pay for goods/services when paired with a mobile wallet app.

The possibilities are nearly endless! QR codes bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds.

Some Popular Uses for QR Codes

Understanding how QR codes are commonly used can help you take full advantage of their versatility:

  • Advertising – Encourage users to visit websites, follow social accounts, download apps and more.
  • Retail/e-commerce – Simplify mobile purchases, product lookup, offers and navigation.
  • Restaurants – Enable diners to view menus, order and pay right from their tables.
  • Events – Share event details, ticket purchasing, schedules, maps and vendor info.
  • Education – Distribute course content, assignments, registrations and contact info.
  • Business cards – Instantly add contact details to address books after scanning.
  • Product packaging – Provide supplementary info, instructions, or marketing content.
  • Email marketing – Track campaign analytics when recipients scan embedded codes.
  • Help/support – Direct users to knowledge bases, contact forms, social channels and more.
  • IoT/smart devices – Simplify connecting, configuring and controlling Internet-connected devices.

Nearly any industry can benefit from QR code integration in creative ways. Analyzing use cases is key for implementation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Scanning QR Codes on Android

Here are answers to some common questions about scanning QR codes on Android:

What app does Android use to scan QR codes?

Android doesn’t come preloaded with a QR scanner. You’ll need to download a third-party app from the Google Play store. Popular options include Google Lens, QR Code Reader, Kaspersky QR Scanner, and Barcode Scanner.

Why won’t my QR code scan on Android?

If a QR code isn’t scanning, first ensure the camera has a clear, focused view of the entire code. Also, try cleaning the lens, adjusting lighting, moving the camera closer/farther away, and using camera zoom. Check that both the app and OS are up-to-date too.

Can I scan a QR code from a computer screen?

It’s better to print out QR codes for scanning rather than display them on a monitor. The consistent flat perspective of a printout produces far better scanning results.

How do I create a QR code?

There are many free QR code generator sites and apps you can use to easily create codes, like QR Code Monkey, Unitag, and Kaywa. Most allow you to enter URLs, text, contacts, WiFi info, and more to encode into scannable codes.

Can QR codes hack my phone?

QR code risks are very low if you only scan codes from trusted sources using reputable apps. Avoid downloading suspicious scanners and inspect links before tapping. Most apps check for malicious content too.

Conclusion: Scanning QR Codes Opens a World of Possibilities

With QR codes popping up everywhere, every Android user should know how to scan them conveniently using their built-in camera. But many of us don’t know How to Scan a QR Code on Android. Using Google Lens Lensnstalling a reliable scanner app (if your device is below Android8), allowing camera access, and aligning the codes properly can take you to a world of helpful content and instant actions.

QR code adoption is now gaining more popularity nowadays, so take advantage of these digital shortcuts to engage with the environment around you in new ways!


  • Mira Edorra

    I'm Mira Edorra, your go-to gadget gal! I’m originally a California girl, born and raised in Silicon Valley, where people are as busy as bees, making all sorts of amazing tech stuff. But now, I live all the way over in the UK! At 32, I’m living the dream as a digital nomad, Traveling is my jam and gadgets are my peanut butter - a perfect combo, don't you think? As I bounce around the globe , I get my hands on loads of cool gizmos, and I just can't wait to share all my discoveries with you!From testing drones on mountain peaks to troubleshooting laptops in cozy cafés, my travels fuel my tech expertise. Got a gadget query? I'm your girl. Even if I don’t have the answer right away, Google and I are like Sherlock and Watson - we leave no mystery unsolved.

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