How to Scan A QR Code: A Step-by-Step Guide


How do you scan a QR code? What are they for? Well, that’s a good question!

Designed by a Japanese manufacturing company back in 1994, Quick Response (QR) codes are essentially 2D bar codes that store information. 

Maybe you’ve scanned a QR code train ticket at the barriers. Or regularly order and pay for food at your table using your favourite restaurant’s QR code stickers. Regardless, the convenience and flexibility of QR codes are steadily cementing them as a staple in everyday life and services. 

Smartphone cameras can scan them to open web links or apps instantly, making them a surefire choice for use on printed materials.

What can I do with a QR code?

The possibilities are endless, but here is just a little taste of what scanning a QR code can do…

Open a website or app

View QR code menus and order in a restaurant

Make payments (Curious? More about QR code payments)

Pass security barriers in offices or train stations

Redeem a coupon or offer

What are the different types of QR codes?

There are two main types of QR codes: static and dynamic.

Static QR codes store the data they contain permanently, while dynamic QR codes can be updated with new information.

how to scan a QR code

How do I scan a QR code?

It’s easy! You can use your built-in camera or a specialised QR code scanner app to scan a QR code to launch its information.

How do I scan a QR code using an iPhone?

1. To scan a QR code, open the iPhone camera app and point it at the QR code. 
2. The phone will automatically scan the code and show a yellow button.
3. Tap the button to open the link or app provided on your device quickly.

You can also try this handy guide.

If you don’t see a notification, your phone’s QR code scanning feature might not enabled. Here’s how to fix it:

1. Open Settings.
2. Scroll down to “Camera” and tap.
3. Toggle the “Scan QR codes” option to show green.

This option is only available on iPhones with iOS 11 or later. If you have an older iPhone, you can still scan QR codes by adding the Code Scanner to Control Center.

How do I scan a QR code using an Android?

1. Open your camera app and point it at the QR code.
2. Wait for a notification to appear. It may take a few seconds.
3. Tap the message to open the link associated with the QR code.

If you don’t see a notification, your phone’s QR code scanning feature might not enabled. Here’s how to fix it:

1. Open your phone’s Settings app.
2. Tap “Advanced features.”
3. Tap “QR code scanner.”
4. Toggle the switch to the “On” position and try scanning the QR code again.

How do I scan a QR code with a scanner app?

You can also use a QR code scanner app instead of your mobile phone camera. They often have more features than built-in cameras and scan better in low-light conditions.

Follow the step-by-step list below:

1. Choose a free QR code scanner from your app store, like Google Lens or Barcode Scanner.
2. Open the QR code scanner app on your phone. 
3. 🤳 Point your phone’s camera at the QR code. Ensure the QR code is in the centre of the camera view.
4. The QR code scanner app will automatically scan the QR code to display the information it contains.

If the QR code scanner app doesn’t scan the QR code, tap on the screen to focus the camera. You may also need to adjust the brightness of the screen.

If you use the Google Chrome browser on your phone, you can use Google Lens to scan QR codes on your phone screen. Just tap the camera icon on the image shown below to launch. You can use it to scan both physically printed QR codes and ones on your phone screen.

Watch the video below to see how easy making QR code payments in a restaurant is…

Frequently Asked Questions

Why won’t the QR code scan?

It might be too dark. Make sure you’re in well-lit surroundings before you scan.

It might be dirty or damaged. Wipe it clean, or try a different QR code.

It’s too far away. Try to zoom in on the QR code. Make sure it’s in focus or aligned to the centre of your camera frame.

The QR code has expired. Dynamic QR codes can be set to expire, for example, when a limited offer has ended.

If you still have trouble scanning, try asking the person or business who created it for a different QR code to scan.

How long do QR codes last?

Static QR codes can last forever, while dynamic QR codes may be set to expire, e.g. a train ticket valid for one day or a limited offer code. 

How do I create a QR code myself?

Several apps, desktop and online tools, such as QR Code Dynamic, are available to create QR codes. Enter the information you want to store in the QR code, and the tool will generate a scannable image to download and share.

How secure are QR codes?

QR codes are generally secure. However, it’s best to scan QR codes from trusted sources and avoid giving away personal information. Stay safe!

We know a thing or two about QR codes. We let your business take payments with them! Follow the banner below to find out more about our merchant app.

Join Atoa now and get
14 days of free transactions.

Atoa is the low-cost alternative to card machines, enabling you to take payment from your customers in-store, on the move or via SMS and WhatsApp.

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