How to scan a QR code with your phone

As online ordering, remote payments and checking in to locations becomes more important QR codes have become important to enjoying a day out. This quick quide shows you how to scan these important codes on your phone.
QR Code

QR codes are advanced patterns that store more information than older bar codes. They can contain web links, membership IDs or even just a  cheerful message. 

Scanning QR codes on the iPhone

It doesn’t matter if you have the latest iPhone  model with a cutting-edge camera or an older device – as long as it has the latest iOS experience the experience is the same.

  1. Launch the default iOS camera app.
  2. Align your iPhone so that the QR code fills the screen.
  3. When your iPhone recognises a QR code a notification bar will appear.
  4. Press the screen to run the QR code. This will usually open a web page or another dedicated app on your iPhone.

On Android

Android phones have more variations and versions, so there are a few different ways to scan codes. MOst new Android phones can read QR codes right out of the box, but older phones may need a little help to get up and running. 

Using the default camera app
Depending on how old your phone is, the normal camera app may recognise codes straight away – like the iPhone. Just position the code in the viewfinder and wait for your phone to recognise it.

Google Lens
The Google Lens app, installed on most new Android Phones, uses your camera to perform all sorts of clever tasks, from translating text to recognising objects or places. Open the lens app and point it at a QR code and the app will do the rest.

Using your Virtual Assistant
If your phone has Samsung Bixby or the Google Assistant installed, then it can already scan QR codes. You can even just say “hey Google, scan a QR code”.

Download a QR code app
If the options above don’t work, or if you are just the sort of person who wants a big button that says “scan QR code” then there are plenty of apps in the Play store. We like the QR scanner app from anti-virus company Kapersky. It is easy to use and helps protect you against malicious links concealed within QR codes. You can download it here: Kapersky QR Code Reader and Scanner

NHS Covid-10 app

The most important QR code app at the moment is undoubtedly the NHS Covid-19 app. This handy app will let you record where you visit and receive alerts if there is an outbreak that could affect you.

Once you have the app installed on your Android or iOS smartphone, keep an eye out for QR codes when you visit a shop, bar or restaurant. We can almost taste the first swig of that icy cold pint.