How to Scan QR Codes with Android Phone

QR codes are everywhere: these little pixelated squares appear on billboards and posters, in magazines and on product packaging. Unlocking their content can share contact info or Wi-Fi passwords, or take you to the website for a movie you just saw the poster for. So how do you use them? Here is how to scan QR codes with Android phone.

What are QR codes?

QR is the acronym for Quick Response. It’s a smarter version of the ubiquitous barcode and it was originally developed in Japan for the automotive industry. Machines can read QR codes faster than bar codes and can also store more data in less space.

If QR codes had stayed in factories we probably wouldn’t be interested in it, but they are now used for all kinds of activities: cafe loyalty programs, electronic tickets for sports and concerts, “find out more” links on advertisements or packaging, and share contact information.

For most of us, the main reason for using QR codes is to get a web link to get more information about an item or to get a password for a wireless network: scan the code and the information should appear in your web browser or sign in. to the network. But how do you scan it? There are two ways.

How to scan QR codes with an Android phone

There are different ways to scan QR codes on Android. On Pixel phones, you can do this without downloading any third-party apps. The option is directly integrated into the default camera application. All you need to do is switch to Lens mode and point the camera at the QR code you want to scan. On Samsung smartphones, the Bixby Vision app can also be used as a QR code reader.

Google Lens

However, if your phone isn’t a Pixel or a Samsung, you don’t have to worry – if you have Google Assistant, you should already have the Lens option. You can find it through the camera icon when the Assistant is in use. If it’s not there, you can download the Google Lens app directly from the Play Store. This is one of the best QR readers for Android and has other cool features like identifying plants and animals or delivering information to nearby sites with AR overlays.

The app was not found in the store. 🙁

Of course, third-party apps are always an option too and it’s the QR scanner app that we recommend the most:

QR code reader

QR Code Reader is one of our favorite apps for scanning QR codes – it’s simple and free, works fast, and doesn’t send you ads (unlike many competing apps).

It’s also battery-compatible with Android devices and versions: if you have Android 2.3.3 or later, you’re good to go, provided of course your device has a camera. If the code you’re scanning is designed to go to a website, you’ll also need a data signal or wireless connection.

QR Code Reader
QR Code Reader

To scan a QR code all you need to do is load the app, start scanning, and point your camera at the QR code. Line it up between the arrows in the guide: the QR code reader recognizes it and gives you the correct information, performs the appropriate task, or, in the case of phone numbers and other contact information, asks you what action to take. It also records the history of your analyzes so that you can consult the codes on which you have indicated your phone.

No advertising, no money. What are the benefits for developers? They hope you enjoy the app so much that you buy Scan, their scanner for $ 4.99 ($ ​​1.99 at time of writing due to limited sale). It has the same basic functionality as QR Code Reader, but adds support for scanning all common barcode types (UPC, EAN, and ISBN) to show you prices, reviews, and other related stuff. the product (s) you scan (you will need a relatively good camera for barcode scanning).

Unlike QR Code Reader, you can also set a default browser for opening web links; QR Code Reader opens them in its own browser.

Can I create my own QR codes?

Yes! There are stacks and stacks of code-generating Android apps out there, although judging by the reviews they all appear to have flaws. It is probably easier to go on the Scan Developer Website where you can create QR codes for social media, Wi-Fi access, contact information and many other types of data for free in your web browser.

Are there any risks for scanning QR codes?

In fact, yes. A scam called “attagging” involves pasting new QR codes on top of existing codes, for example by sticking a label over the QR code on a poster. The new code could be related to malware that can then access your camera or personal data. In Russia, a QR code scam allowed phones to send premium rate text messages of $ 6 per text. This type of malware is very, very unusual, but it exists and has been around for several years.

Are you using a QR code reader on your Android device? Is it an essential application delivered daily or a virtual dust on the screen of your applications? Have you ever been the victim of attacks? Let us know in the comments below.