Almost all smartphones now have built in NFC readers. How to access the reader will depend on your phone and operating system.
How to scan a QR Code with an iPhone
There’s two easy ways you can scan QR codes with an iPhone. The first is automatically using the camera. The second is using the QR code reader from the Control Centre.
Scanning QR Codes using the camera
Open the Camera app by tapping on the Camera icon on your home screen or by swiping left from the lock screen. Aim the camera towards the QR code keeping the whole QR code steady in the frame. A notification will appear informing you that the QR code contains a web link and you can tap to follow.
If your phone isn’t responding to a QR code in the camera view, then you might need to enable it. Go into your settings, scroll down to ‘camera’, the check the ‘Scan QR Codes’ setting.
Scanning QR Codes from the Control Centre
Open the Control Centre. If you have an iPhone with a home button, you can swipe up from the bottom edge. Otherwise, you can swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen. You should see an icon which looks like a mini QR Code. Tap and you will launch the QR code reader.
If the icon isn’t there, then go into your Settings, then ‘Control Centre’, then ‘Customise Controls’. Tap the plus sign next to the QR code reader icon (which looks like a mini QR code).
How to scan QR Codes with Android
Scanning a QR code with Android will depend on the version of operating system you have.
Android 7 or earlier
You need to download an app to scan a QR code. There’s a huge number of free apps available and there’s a QR code reader built into Snapchat and Amazon apps if you already have those.
There’s two easy ways to scan QR codes on Android 8 without using a third party app.
Google Screen Search
Point your camera at the QR Code and then long press the Home button and tap ‘What’s on my screen?’.
Google Lens can be activated either from Google Assistant or downloaded as a separate app from Google. The camera function in Google Lens will automatically detect a QR Code as it comes into view.
Android versions 9 and 10 have Google Lens built in. First, makes sure Google Lens is activated by opening the Camera app and tap on ‘more’. Open the settings and enable the Google Lens suggestions.
Now simply point the camera at a QR code and the content will automatically be presented.
Most Samsung phones have QR code scanning built into the camera automatically but you can also use the Bixby application. For more information visit the Samsung QR Code scanning help page.