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How to scan a QR code on your phone or computer

  • You can scan a QR code using the camera of your smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • Scanning QR codes gives you easy access to websites, restaurant menus, videos, etc.
  • Most smartphones have built-in QR scanners, but you’ll need to download third-party apps to do this on your Mac or PC.
  • Visit Insider’s Technical Reference Library for more stories.

If you are vigilant, you can find QR codes everywhere. These black-and-white squares connect the real world to the internet, and digitizing them gives you quick access to ID cards, restaurant menus, social media sites, and more.

QR codes are so popular that almost any device with a camera allows you to scan them. Here’s how to do it with your phone, tablet or computer.

How to scan a QR code with an iPhone or iPad

IPhones and iPads both have a QR scanner built into the camera.

1. With a QR code nearby, open the camera on your iPhone or iPad.

2. Position the camera so that the QR code is in the frame. Your iPhone or iPad should scan it automatically, without any intervention on your part.

Once the code is scanned, a notification will appear at the top of your screen with the link to the content of the QR code. Tap on it and you’ll be brought there.

Scan a QR code using an iPhone camera.

Make sure all four corners of the QR code are in the frame.

Ron Lyons Jr./William Antonelli


How to scan a QR code with an Android phone or tablet

Like Apple users, Android devices have a QR code scanner built into the camera. However, you might need to open a special app to use it.

1. With a QR code nearby, open the camera on your Android device.

2. Position the camera so that the QR code is in the frame. Your Android should scan it automatically, but if it doesn’t, hold your finger on it.

You will receive the link to which the QR code leads and the choice to open it, copy the URL or share it.

Scan a QR code on an Android phone.

You will have a few choices on what to do with the QR code.

William Antonelli / Insider


If that doesn’t work, download the Google Lens app from the Play Store. One of its main features is the QR scanner of this app.

How to scan a QR code on a Mac

It’s not often that you see people scanning QR codes with their computer, but if your Mac has a camera, it can be easily done. The simplest and free application we have found is QR Journal, which you can download from the App Store.

1. Download QR Journal and open the app.

2. Click on To analyse in the upper left corner and allow the app to use your Mac’s camera. You may need to restart the app after doing this.

A macOS QR code scanning application, with the "To analyse" highlighted option.

Select the “Scan” option.

William Antonelli / Insider


3. Once your camera is on, place your QR code in front of your computer’s camera. Once identified, you can open or save it.

A QR code scanned on a Mac.

You can open the link or save it.

William Antonelli / Insider


How to scan a QR code on a Windows PC

For PCs, the process is similar. We recommend that you download the QR code for Windows 10, which you can find in the Microsoft Store.

1. Download the QR code for Windows 10 and open the app.

2. Allow the app to access your camera, then place your QR code in front of your PC’s camera.

A QR code on a piece of paper held in front of a camera.

Make sure the QR code fits into the frame of the camera.

William Antonelli / Insider


3. The app will read the QR code and then open it in an in-app browser.

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