How to Scan QR Codes on Android

QR code is the new way to interact with the world of information, scan and gain access to information linked to that code such as a link to a website, etc. This obviates the need to remember and type it in a web browser. Its importance is not just providing comfort to the user, but it’s an advertising strategy. The capability of a quick response code can improve the conversion rate, which means the probability of converting the contact with an advertisement into a sale. This advertising strategy makes sure that there shouldn’t be any delay between the moment users have seen the advertisement and check the detailed information of that product over a website.

If this delay is more, viewers may lose interest in the product or they may choose another product. So, QR codes make it fast, as soon as you scan the code, you’ll have all the information about that product. However, now it’s no more limited to a specific strategy, it has got much wider usage and available almost everywhere. The latest technology has made it too easy, just scan with your phone camera. Well, if you are struggling, we are here to guide all Android users around the world.

What is QR Code?

Do you wonder, what is QR code and how it works? Here you go, no more suspense, it is called quick response Code, a type of the matrix barcode invented in 1994 by the Japanese automotive company Denso Wave. This barcode is a machine-readable optical label that holds information about the item it is associated with. It became popular due to its fast readability and greater storage capacity compared to older barcodes. Those black squares positioned in a square grid on a white background can be read by an imaging device like a camera, and processed using error-correcting codes until the image can be appropriately interpreted. Information is stored under the patterns in both horizontal and vertical components of the image. Even you can create a QR code.

Note: If you landed here but still not sure if your phone uses Android then go to Settings > About Phone to confirm. Here you can check the Android version as well, it’s good to know before going down because the way to scan QR code varies with versions.

Methods to Scan QR Code

In general, these are the following ways you can scan QR code:

  1. Built-in feature of your phone camera.
  2. Default app which comes with your phone.
  3. Third-party app.
  4. Some existing apps which have other purpose, but it can also scan QR code.

General Steps to Scan QR code on Android

Before going anywhere, quickly check your Android phone camera if it can scan QR code automatically without an app:

  1. Open your camera and place it over the QR code, make sure all four corners are captured.
  2. You’ll get a notification if it can scan.
  3. If not, then go to camera Settings > Scan QR Codes, make sure it is enabled.
  4. If you don’t see this setting, then you don’t have the built-in facility, which means you need a third-party app.

Now let’s get into options specific to Android versions.

Android 6.0: Google Now on Tap feature

  1. Download the Google App.
  2. When you open this app, make sure to choose to enable it now.
  3. Go to Settings > Screen search.
  4. Enable “Asks Google to show you info related to what’s on your home screen when you hold the Home button or search by voice”.
  5. Hold down the Home button, it starts the “Now on Tap” feature to scan QR code using the camera. If you wish to use a third-party app then you can try out that as well.

You need a third-party app for any version before Android 7 other than version 6. We have provided recommendations below for the free third-party QR code scanner apps.

Android 8.0 and higher has a built-in feature to scan QR codes automatically using your camera. Check the above section where we have explained how to check if your phone has this built-in feature. However, you also have the following options to scan QR codes:

1. Google Screen Search

  1. Open the camera and place it over the QR code.
  2. Hold the Home button and swipe up to get the options.
  3. Tap on “What’s on my screen?
  4. You get the URL from the QR code.

If screen search is not enabled then open the Google app, go to Navigation and you’ll find Screen Search under Setting, enable it.

2. Google Lens in the Assistant

  1. Hold the Home button to get Assistant.
  2. Select Lens option, if not visible then tap on the dots, it’ll appear.
  3. For the first time, enable Lens to use your camera. You are ready, place the camera over the QR code to scan.

If Google Lens is not enabled to scan QR code suggestions, open the camera and select more. Go to Settings > Scan QR codes, enable it.

3. The Google Lens app

Google Lens can also be used by using the official Google Lens app.

Again if you are using it the first time then enable it to use your camera as you can do above in the case of Google Lens in the Assistant.

4. Using Third Party Apps

You can also use the following free QR code scanner apps for Android:

  1. Kaspersky’s QR Code Reader and Scanner
  2. NeoReader QR & Barcode Scanner
  3. Barcode Scanner
  4. QR Code Reader by Scan
  5. QR & Barcode Reader by Gamma Play
  6. QR Droid, etc.

You may be already using apps that have QR scan capability, such as Snapchat, Shazam, Pinterest, Whatsapp, Linkedin, Twitter, etc.

We have discussed the benefits of using QR codes and various ways to scan them, however, this may not be the case always. A hacker can lead you to some undesirable situations where you may find yourself trapped and lose your valuables. It’s recommended to make sure that the QR code is from a trusted person or company before using it. That may save you from a lot of trouble which you may regret after taking a bad step.

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