InfoHub, Technology

How to scan a QR code using your phone

Have you come across a situation where you are required to scan a QR code using your phone? It is perplexing at first because many people have no idea what a QR code is, leave alone knowing how to scan them. In this article, we demystify this technological advancement by answering the following questions:

  • What is a QR code?
  • What is a QR code used for?
  • How do you scan a QR code using a phone?

What is a QR code?

If you know what a Barcode is, then you will easily understand what a QR code is. A QR code is simply an advanced barcode. While the common barcode visually contains some numerals, a QR code is a “machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.”

See the difference between the two below: Barcode is on the left, QR code on the right.

barcode vs qr code

What is a QR code used for?

You can create and store many types of information in a QR code, send the code to someone, and when scanned that person gets the information in the code.  Such information can be a URL for a website, a text message, a personal identification number or password, etc.

Yes, you can use a QR code for a password to sign into a phone or website. Some organisations have adapted this as the sign-in mode for employees when they report to work. Merchants use QR codes to identify goods and information associated with the goods. And as tech advances, even advertisers are using QR codes to easily pass the messages to targeted audiences.

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The QR code matrix barcode was invented in 1994 by Denso Wave, a Japanese automotive company. You can create your own code using online QR code generators free of charge.

How do you scan a QR code using a phone?

It is easy to scan a QR code using your android phone or iPhone:

On Android

  1. Phones running on android 9.0 have inbuilt camera capability for scanning.
  2. Open your Camera app and point it to the QR code
  3. Or Some phones enable you to point it at QR code picture in the phone gallery.
  4. Touch the camera shutter to scan once the code is highlighted to be under focus by the lens, just the same way you would take a picture. Some phones also bring the words “Scan Me” after about 3 seconds of focusing on the QR code.
  5. A banner containing the information in the QR code will pop up. Tap the banner to read or see the info.

On iPhone

  1. Open the Camera app from the Home Screen, Control Center, or Lock Screen.
  2. Select the rear facing camera.
  3. Hold your device so that the QR code appears in the viewfinder in the Camera app.
  4. Your device recognizes the QR code and shows a notification. Tap the notification to open the link associated with the QR code.

Using the Google app

This is probably the easiest and most efficient app to read a QR code using any smartphone. The app gives you options to listen to the information, read the information or visit a URL in an instant.

  1. Open the QR code on your computer, or print it, or take a photo and store in gallery.
  2. Select the Google app on your phone. This will take you to the search area of Google. You will see a microphone icon and a camera icon.
  3. Tap on the camera icon. This will open the Google lens.
  4. If you have printed the QR code or you have it open on your computer, point the camera on it and tap on ‘Search with your camera”. If you have the QR code in your gallery, just search for it and click on it. The Google lens will do the rest.
  5. Choose among the first three options provided: Translate, Text, Search.
  6. If you choose Translate or Text, the option to listen will appear. You can listen to the message in the QR code. Or you can view, depending on what you want.
  7. There are many there options with Google lens and you can choose any depending on what you want.