How to scan a QR code with your iPhone or Android phone (no app needed)

Your smartphone is full of surprises. There is an app if you want to use your phone as a magnifying glass or scanner. Tap or click here for hidden apps on your smartphone and how to find them.

Third-party programs take up space on your phone, and many are redundant thanks to the phone’s built-in features. Tap or click here for common apps you can delete right now.

Quick response codes, better known as QR codes, are those pixelated squares you see in restaurants, advertisements, shops, food packaging, business cards, airline tickets – you name it. Some developers would lead you to believe that you need to download their app to scan them. Spoiler: Your phone can do it with the built-in features.

Follow the maze

QR Codes were originally created to keep track of automotive parts, but are now used for so much more.

Readers can scan this QR code to make a donation to the American Red Cross and join FOX Corporation’s effort to provide relief after Hurricane Ian.
(FOX Company)

How many calories are in those chips? Where can you buy the dress you see in an ad? How many miles can this car go on a gallon of gasoline? A quick scan of the QR code can solve all these questions and more. Think of this technology as a smart barcode.

QR codes existed long before smartphones, and your device can scan them immediately. Here’s how to use this useful feature without third-party software.

Use your phone’s native features to avoid malware

Third-party scanning apps are popular, which makes them the leading malware delivery systems. Hackers hide malicious code in these useful apps, which can steal your money, hijack your personal information, or even take over your device.

RELATED: QR code app was caught hiding malware – check your phone!

How to scan a QR code with your iPhone’s Camera app

Your iPhone’s built-in Camera app can scan QR codes and it’s as easy as taking a picture. That’s how:

  • Open the Camera app and press and hold your iPhone, so that the QR code appears in the viewfinder.
  • Your phone should recognize the QR code and notify you.
  • Tap the notification to open the link associated with the QR code.

How to scan a QR code with your Android phone

Your Android phone’s camera is likely to be able to scan QR codes without the use of a third party app. That’s how:

  • Open the Camera app and press and hold your Android phone so that the QR code appears in the viewfinder.
  • Your phone should recognize the QR code and notify you.
  • Tap the notification to open the link associated with the QR code.
  • If you are not notified, go up Settings and enable Scan the QR code.
In this photo illustration we see an Android logo displayed on a smartphone.

In this photo illustration we see an Android logo displayed on a smartphone.
(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

Use your Samsung’s Camera app

Samsung’s camera app comes with native support for QR code scanning. That’s how:

  • Open the Camera app and press and hold your Samsung phone so that the QR code appears in the viewfinder.
  • Your phone should recognize the QR code and notify you.
  • Tap the notification to open the link associated with the QR code.
  • If you are not notified, go up Settings and enable Scan the QR code.

Use Google Lens

Google Lens started out as a feature in Pixel phones, but soon became standard in many Android phones. The tool is part of your camera app and can do many things, from identifying a dog breed to translating text. Here’s how to use it:

  • Open yours Camera app and tap More> Google Lens.
  • You will now have a Lens icon that you can use every time you open your camera and it can scan QR codes.
  • You can also use the Google Assistant to activate Google Lens. To say “Ok Google,” then tap Google Lens bottom right.

Tap or click here to get even more out of Google Lens.

Use Bixby

Samsung’s virtual assistant can help you learn more about anything with a QR code. That’s how:

  • Launch the camera app and tap Bixby Vision.
  • Then tap To allow to enable permissions. Enable all popup permissions.
  • Scan and touch to go to navigate to view the content of the QR code.

While it’s convenient and fun, scanning a QR code can expose you to malware and scams. Tap or click here for suggestions on what to look for.

A guest holds the new iPhone 14 at an Apple event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, USA on September 7, 2022.

A guest holds the new iPhone 14 at an Apple event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, USA on September 7, 2022.
(REUTERS / Carlos Barria)

Maintain your technological knowledge

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today”. It’s 30 minutes filled with technical news, tips, and callers with technical questions like you from around the country. Look for it wherever you find your podcasts. For your convenience, click on the link below for a recent episode.

PODCAST CHOICE: Sell ​​your poop, no more Netflix sharing, delete these apps

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Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you find your podcasts. Just search for my surname, “Komando”.

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