Scan QR Codes with Android Phones

QR codes have become popular and many businesses have adopted them to improve customer convenience. Scanning QR codes with an Android phone allows users to get additional information about products or services effortlessly. QR codes make it possible to access sites without having to manually type in their addresses.

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How to scan QR codes on your Android phone


Open the camera app

Find your Android phone’s camera app and launch it. You can scroll to it or enter “camera” in the search bar.


Point your phone camera at the QR code

Ensure that the four corners of the QR code are in view. A banner shows up if you’re using Android 8+.


Select the banner

You’ll be redirected to a website or app once Google Lens detects the code. If nothing happens, activate Lens first.

Using Android QR Scanner Apps

There are numerous QR scanning apps out there. While Google Play is a safe platform to download Android apps, it doesn’t mean that you’re fully secure. Some apps, regardless of the online platform you use, can put your device’s security at risk.

An app can steal your information and sell it to third parties. That’s why you need to be careful when installing any QR scanning app on your Android device.

Check its ratings and reviews on Google Play and other review sites. For instance, most apps with a rating of 4+ on Playstore are good to use. It’s even better if there’s a significant number of users leaving positive reviews about the app.

Also, apps that have been around for some time with millions of downloads are usually trustworthy.

Can you scan a QR code without an app?

Newer phones with the most recent Android versions can scan QR codes using the mobile's camera. Other than that, you need to download an app to scan QR codes and quickly access products and services.

Google Lens is one app that makes scanning QR codes on Android an easy process. If you don’t have it, you can download it for free. While Google Lens was initially only available to Pixel owners, you can now use it on most of the latest Android phones.

It’s also possible to scan a QR code without an app using Google Screen Search. You can simply point your phone’s camera at the code, click and hold the home button, and select “what’s on my screen?” You’ll then get the link.

How to scan a QR code from a picture on your phone?

The first thing to do is download the QR code image to your mobile device if not saved. One option to scan a QR code from a photo is to use Google Lens.

This app uses image recognition technology to allow users to search what they see using their phone camera or a picture. It lets you do things quicker and is free to use on Android and other devices.

Open the Google Lens app, go to your gallery, and select the photo. Once you tap on the image, you’ll get the QR code’s details.

Another way is to do it using Google Photos. Simply open the Google Photos app, choose the photo on which there’s a QR code, and tap on the Google Lens icon to get its information.

Reasons why your phone camera can’t scan QR codes

Besides not having the right app, here are some other reasons why your phone doesn’t scan QR codes.

Poor lighting

Brightness makes it possible for your phone camera to detect QR codes. If you’re in a place with low light, your camera performance won’t be the same.

Holding your phone the wrong way

Another reason your camera can’t scan a QR code is that you’re not holding your phone correctly. The camera won’t detect the code if you tilt your phone or when your hand is shaking.

Too close or too far

Holding your phone too close or far away makes it challenging for the camera to scan a QR code. That’s because your phone camera won’t focus well.

Tips on Scanning QR codes on Android

There are a few guidelines to follow to ensure that scanning QR codes on Android is a smooth process for you.

First, you need to go to a bright area to ensure there’s enough light for your phone camera to scan a QR code. Get rid of any shadows blocking the scanning process. If you’re in a dark place, switching on your phone’s flashlight helps.

Keeping your phone camera in focus is essential. Move back and forth slowly until you find the right spot. Your phone should also be on the same level as the QR code’s surface.

If you follow these tips and scanning still doesn’t work, the issue may be your phone camera’s quality. Clean it or use a different device to see whether the problem is solved.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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You can scan a QR code on your Android phone using its camera. This happens with the help of Google Lens. Google Lens detects QR codes and sends you to the site or app the code represents.

If you use older versions of Android, you need to download a QR scanning app on Google Play that’s compatible with your device.

Newer phones (Android 9 and 10) allow you to scan QR codes using the built-in camera. And so, you won’t need to download a third-party app like the case with older phones.

Scanning occurs with the help of Google Lens. You just need to activate the Google Lens suggestions in your camera settings to scan a QR code on your Android device.

The most common reasons are low light, tilting or shaking your phone, and being too close or far away. In some cases, your phone camera may not be clear because of some dirt.

So, make sure there’s enough brightness, keep distance between the camera and the QR code, and hold your phone correctly. Clean your camera if it appears unclear.

While QR codes themselves can’t get hacked, the destination of a particular code can be malicious. QR codes have been used in phishing scams before. If you aren’t careful, you may be taken to a fake website that looks similar to that of another legitimate company.

The attacker can place the QR code in a place with high traffic like a bus stop. In such a case, their victims will be curious people. You could fall into the trap if you’re one who likes to satisfy their curiosity.

Using a QR code with malicious links can affect how your device functions. Depending on the type of attack, the malware could steal your information, access your location, send unknown messages to your contact list, among other things.

You’re free to scan QR codes on Android or another device as long as it’s from a trusted source. Just like when you see links in emails or other texts, you need to be cautious when using unknown QR codes.

If you don’t trust the source, avoid scanning the QR code. The link could take you to a landing page with malware or other security risks.

Beware that some QR code scanner apps automatically open links when you use them for scanning. And so, the best way to avoid such dangers is to keep away from any random QR codes you don’t trust.

Having the latest antivirus on your device also helps in case you accidentally open a malicious link. There are some third-party scanning apps for Android with antivirus features that you can use to safely scan QR codes. If you’re more focused on security rather than other interesting features, those are the apps you need.