How to scan QR codes on iPhone and iPad

It's easy to use your iPhone to scan QR codes. Simply launch the camera app and aim it towards a code in the real world to get started. When your iPhone scans the QR, a link will appear for you to tap.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Launch the camera app from the home screen, lock screen, or control centre

2. Select the back-facing camera.

3. Hold your device for a few seconds so the camera app's viewfinder shows the QR code.

4. Wait until your iPhone recognises the QR code. A yellow square notification will appear.

5. To view the URL linked to the QR code, tap the pop up notification.

However, a QR code on your iPhone screen cannot be scanned with your phone's camera.

To scan a photo of a QR code or a QR code that appears on a website, you need to use a third-party QR code scanner. Countless apps can help with this on the App Store.

QR Code Scanning for iOS

How to enable QR code scanning on my iOS devices?


iPhones that are compatible with iOS 11 or later will be able to scan QR codes directly from the camera app.

- All QR code scanning is enabled automatically in iOS 12 later. If you don't have iOS 12 or if your camera app isn't already scanning QR codes.

- You might need to activate QR code scanning in the settings menu if you're using iOS 11:

How to activate QR Code scanning from the iPhone settings?

  • Launch the settings app by tapping the settings icon
  • Scroll through and tap on the camera option
  • Toggle the option to scan QR codes.
  • QR code scanning is enabled when the toggle switch is set to green

Which iPhones are compatible with iOS 11 and above?

Apple introduced iOS 11 in June 2017, which is compatible with 64-bit devices. This means the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and any other iPhone below does not support the software.

iOS 11 and 12 are compatible with the following iPhone models:

  • iPhone 5S,
  • iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 7, 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8, 8 Plus
  • iPhone X, XS, XSMax
  • iPhone 11, 11pro, 11pro max
  • iPhone 12, 12 pro, 12pro max
  • iPhone 13, 13 pro, 13pro max

iOS 13 and above only supports iPhones with Apple's A9 mobile processor or a more recent chip, which makes the iPhone SE and iPhone 6s lines the oldest Apple smartphones able to handle this version of iOS. 

How to scan QR codes from Photo Album

We’ve written a full article on scanning a QR code from your camera roll with screenshots and step-by-step guidance here.

Reading QR codes from your photo album requires a third party application. You cannot use the native camera app to read QR codes from screenshots, photos or saved files. The best QR code applications are thankfully cost-free and quite simple to use.

For iOS, here are steps to scan QR codes from your photo album:

  • Open the photo in Photos.
  • After a split second, a bracketed symbol will appear in the lower right corner of the image when the software recognizes that a QR code is present.
  • Tap the bracketed symbol in the lower right-hand corner of the image.
  • You will be given the option to launch the URL in the appropriate app, such as YouTube, Safari, etc.

For Android, you can use apps such as Google Lens or Google Photos to scan QR codes in your photo album.

Why my iPhone won't scan QR code?

 A variety of things can cause a QR code to be unreadable by your iPhone. Here are some possible reasons:

  • iOS 11 or later is not installed on your Apple device. You can install a third-party app to read QR codes if your device cannot run iOS 11 or later.
  • The brightness of your screen is too dim. The QR code must be visible to the camera; thus, it must be bright enough.
  • Your camera cannot read the QR code because of a smudge on the lens.
  • Your phone is not upright or is slanted in some other way.
  • The QR code may be too near or far from your iPhone. The camera can identify and scan QR codes at a certain range, usually when the perfect 10:1 ratio is reached.
  • Not enough time has been given to the camera to pick up the QR code.

How To Scan A Qr Code On iPhone From Screenshot Or Picture 

There are several ways to scan a QR code from a screenshot on your iPhone. Here are some options:

  • You can scan a QR Code from screenshots or pictures using Siri shortcuts on your iPhone.
  • Using third-party apps, you can scan a QR Code from a screenshot or a picture.
  • The Google app widget available on iOS 14 and above provides a Lens button that can be used to scan screenshots or pictures on your iPhone.

Ready to make your own QR Code?

Making your very own QR Code to share your contact details is easier than you think. Learn more about how you can set up an electronic business card with Blinq.

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