How to Scan a QR Code Using the Camera on the iPhone or the iPad

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Dec 16, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    In iOS 11, the native camera app includes functionality that allows you to scan QR codes and access QR code content like URLs without having to download a third-party app.

    Here's how to scan a QR code when you run into one:
    1. Open the Camera app on the iPhone or iPad.
    2. Make sure you have adequate lighting so the camera can pick up the QR code.
    3. Align the camera with the QR code.
    That's all there is to it. From there, the camera will read the QR code and provide you with a notification to access whatever it contains.

    QR codes can include contact information, calendar events, website links, phone numbers, email addresses, Wi-Fi information, and more, so they can be pretty handy, and it's nice to have the built-in scanning feature available when you need it.

    Article Link: How to Scan a QR Code Using the Camera on the iPhone or the iPad
  2. IHelpId10t5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2014
    I hope the notification includes displaying the actual URL before navigating to it. The singificant problem with QR codes (and shortened URLs) is that they are handy for masking a malicious destination from unsuspecting click-happy smartphone users that have no care for their own security.
  3. Michael Scrip macrumors 603

    Mar 4, 2011
    This should have happened a LONG time ago.

    I remember having to download "Red Laser" or something on my iPhone 4S

    Of course I knew what to do... but the average person? Nope.
  4. kingpushup macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2013
  5. rlarsen_eu macrumors member


    Nov 2, 2016
    1: Go to the Settings app on iPhone, iPad

    2: Scroll down and tap on Camera

    3: Find Scan QR codes and disabled it.
  6. neliason macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2015
    I’m glad they implemented this but I don’t really bother with QR codes anymore. The ideal of them being handy didn’t work for me when you had to pull out your phone, type in a passcode, and find an app. Now with face and fingerprint unlock and the camera app more easily accessible it is finally useful. But I don’t notice as many codes (the rage seems to have died down) and I have it in my mind to ignore them.
  7. guidocruz macrumors newbie


    Sep 18, 2017
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    For years I have been saying Apple ought to do this some day. Glad they did.
  8. dannyyankou macrumors G3


    Mar 2, 2012
    Scarsdale, NY
  9. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    I much prefer relying on a separate app, I think. I haven’t done a lot with QR codes in iOS 11, so maybe it’s fine, but it feels like information searching is a different enough function from photography that they each deserve dedicated apps.

    Using both in the same app because they use the same underlying hardware is a bit like saying Safari should handle email because they both use the network interface. Whereas putting a QR button in Safari to let it capture URLs and in Mail to capture email addresses in the same way they have a microphone for dictation would make a lot of sense to me.

    Oh well. I can turn it off, so not a big deal, and maybe other people use QR about as often as they take pictures and having one consolidated app is worth while.
  10. Dekema2 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2012
    WNY or Utica
    Considering how quick it is to do this and the versatility of the codes, this should have caught on a long time ago.

    I had no idea that QR codes can store as many characters as is described here. I thought all it does is points to websites or holds small amounts of data. No, they can hold a whole news article, or the first 10 or so paragraphs of an encyclopedia article. Then you can copy and paste the contents by interacting with the notification.

    Maybe they'll make a comeback.
  11. Susurs macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2010
    It does not scan small qr those on Sony chargers and other products...but maybe it is normal...
  12. neliason macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2015
    That would be useful for me. I have a guest network so I don’t want to share my credentials via the new iOS 11 feature. And my password for the guest network is long and somewhat complex.

    Do you know of any programs for generating one? I see there are online programs but I don’t like sharing credentials with a website.
  13. ersan191 macrumors 65816

    Oct 26, 2013
    This was long overdue, but a welcome feature nonetheless.
  14. Michael Scrip macrumors 603

    Mar 4, 2011
    I understand your position.

    However... the fact that you use the camera to read QR Codes... I can see why they integrated it into the camera app. It does make sense. Think of the average user... not those of us who read tech forums. :p

    I don't think QR Codes have taken off because you had to go to the App Store and search for some 3rd-party app. While not difficult... there's still an onboarding process.

    And people might see a QR Code printed on a poster somewhere... but they might not even know that it's called a QR Code. Or what to search for in the App Store.

    Maybe if Apple included their own, separate QR Code app it might have helped. I dunno.

    Having said all that... there's one big question:

    Are QR Codes still a thing? YES/NO

    If yes... then having native functionality on the iPhone is great. It'll let people scan them with minimal effort.

    Who knows... this might be the resurgence of the QR Code.

    (does Android have native QR Code scanning?)
  15. Pezboy macrumors member


    Nov 23, 2015
    iOS 11 has been out for months. How is this just being posted? This was a big deal feature for iOS 11 and I have been using it happily since launch
  16. peterh988 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2011
    Can a QR do anything bad?

    I once created a text QR code and used it as a profile picture, when scanned, it said

    "Thank you for your donation, your account has been debited accordingly"

    Of course it was a joke, but could anything like that actually happen?
  17. JosephAW macrumors 68020


    May 14, 2012
    That's why I like the app "QR Reader" it has the option to ask before going to a URL.
  18. Superhai macrumors 6502


    Apr 21, 2010
    Are you sure they are QR? Sounds more like they are another kind of barcode.
  19. imac george macrumors member

    imac george

    Apr 2, 2007
  20. FelixDerKater macrumors 68030


    Apr 12, 2002
    Nirgendwo in Amerika
    How to accidentally get swept off to a random link while trying to take a photo... Pass.
  21. spiddyman007 macrumors regular


    Jun 17, 2017
    They should of had this 5 years ago
  22. ersan191 macrumors 65816

    Oct 26, 2013
    No, not unless there was an app specifically made to do that after you enter your payment info. QR codes scanned with the camera app can only take you to a website.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 16, 2017 ---
    Android has automatically recognized qr codes with the camera app for several years. I do think Apple was hindering adoption by not doing the same thing, but are QR codes really that convenient? Is a website that hard to type in?
  23. 69Mustang macrumors 604


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    Android has had automatic recognition for years for the exact same reason Apple is now adding it to their camera app. China. QR codes are almost an essential part of life in China. Chinese phones primarily run Android so Android has QR codes. Apple wants to cater to Chinese customers, they need QR codes. A lot of what Apple has done recently regarding iOS features is all about China.

    Surprised @jclo didn't give a mention to it in her 'how to'.
  24. ersan191 macrumors 65816

    Oct 26, 2013
    Makes sense. Oh well, guess if we want new features we have to hope China wants them too nowadays.
  25. nicho macrumors 68030

    Feb 15, 2008
    Why do you think the 6 Plus was made?

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