How to Scan QR Codes on Android in 3 Steps

How to Scan QR Codes on Android

How to Scan QR Codes on Android in 3 Steps

QR codes are heaven-sent pixelated squares that people scan to access a website, download an app, get some information, or communicate, among other functions. As their name suggests (QR means quick response), scanning QR codes on Android is fast and enables users to perform tasks in a few steps.  

Unlike before, when QR codes were read using scanners, you can now scan the code using other devices, including your Android phone or tablet. Although the exact methods of scanning the QR code may vary based on your Android phone or tablet, the process is generally easy and fast. Dive in as we decode several ways through which you can scan QR codes on your Android device. 

Method 1: Scanning QR Code Using Your Camera App

If your device runs on Android 8 and above, you can scan QR codes using the built-in camera app. Use these steps to understand how to go about it. 

Step 1: Open the Camera App 

how to scan qr codes on android
Tapping the camera app.

Scroll through your device app list, and tap the camera icon. Alternatively, tap “camera” in the search bar.

Step 2: Scan the code 

how to scan qr codes on android
Scanning with the camera app.

Position the QR code within the camera frame, ensuring that all the edges of the QR code are visible in the viewfinder. After scanning the QR code for a few seconds, a pop-up banner should appear. If the code represents a link to a website, the URL will open below the QR code frame with the option to either copy, open, or share the link.

If your camera doesn’t scan the QR code, try closing and reopening the app to see if it works. You can also try adjusting the camera settings to allow the camera to scan QR codes. Alternatively, if the pop-up banner does not appear, you will need to use Google Lens. 

Method 2: Scanning QR Codes on Android Using Google Lens

Google Lens is a feature that allows you to search the web with your phone camera. The app is built into your camera app, but you can also download it from Play Store. You might see the lens icon on your screen or by tapping modes (or more) in the camera app and selecting Lens.

If you can’t see the Lens option, you can access Google Lens through the Google search app. Using Google Lens is better than the camera since it gives you more options for the code you scan. Here are several ways in which you can access Google Lens. 

Method 2.1 Through the Google Search App

Step 1: Open Your Google Search App 

how to scan qr codes on android
Opening Google.

In the search bar, type “Google” and hit the search icon. Then tap to open it. 

Step 2: Start Google Lens

how to scan qr codes on android
Locating Google Lens.

Tap the camera icon to the right of the search bar to open Google Lens. 

Step 3: Give Google Lens access to your camera 

how to scan qr codes on android
Allowing Google Lens to access the phone’s camera.

Tap the “search with your camera” option below the camera icon on the Google lens page. This will give Googe Lens access to your camera. 

Step 4: Scan the code 

how to scan qr codes on android
Scanning the QR code with Google Lens.

Point your camera toward the QR code you want to scan and ensure that the code is within the frame. Your phone will scan the code and open whatever is coded in it.  

Enabling Google Lens

If Google Lens isn’t working with your camera, you may need to enable the Google Lens suggestions option. Here is how to do this:

Step 1: Open Camera Settings 

how to scan qr codes on android
Locating the camera settings.

Go to the camera app and click the gear icon to open the settings. 

Step 2: Turn on Google Lens Suggestions 

how to scan qr codes on android
Turning on suggestions.

Under camera settings, navigate to the Google Lens suggestions option and toggle on the toggle button next to it. Try scanning using Google Lens and see if this option works. 

Method 2.2 Through Google Assistant

Step 1: Open Google Assistant 

how to scan qr codes on android
Accessing Google Assistant.

Long press the home button on your Android device until you’ve opened Google Assistant. 

Step 2: Open Google Lens 

how to scan qr codes on android
Turning on Google Lens.

Tap on the Google Lens icon shown by a camera icon in a broken box. You can also open Google Lens by tapping the microphone icon and saying, “open Google lens.”

how to scan qr codes on android
Using the “Open Google Lens” command.

Step 3: Scan the code 

how to scan qr codes on android
Scanning the QR code.

With Google Lens now open, you can point your camera to the code to read and unveil the contents of the code. 

Method 2.3: Through Google Photos

how to scan qr codes on android
Scanning the QR code with Google Photos.

The Google Photos app also has the Google Lens feature that you can use to scan a QR code. To access it, take a photo or a screenshot of the code you intend to scan. Open the image in Google Photos, then tap the Google Lens icon below it. 

Method 3: Scanning QR Codes Using Third-Party Apps

Although Google Lens is one of the most reliable ways to scan a QR code using Android, your device may lack the option (if its version is below Android 8). In this case, you must use third-party apps to scan QR codes. 

These apps are available through the Google Play Store. Here are the steps for scanning QR codes using the third-party QR Code Reader app

Step 1: Download the App 

how to scan qr codes on android
Installing QR code reader.

Open the Play Store app on your Android device. Search QR code reader, and click install to download it. 

Step 2: Allow the App to Take Pictures and Videos 

Give the app the necessary permissions.

After the app has been downloaded and installed, you get a prompt asking you to allow the QR Scanner to take pictures and record videos. Click Allow to give this permission. 

Step 3: Scan the QR code 

how to scan qr codes on android
Scanning the QR code with the app.

Point your camera at the QR code to scan it using the app. The app will scan the code and open the website link or any other information held within the code. 

Other reliable apps you can install on your Android phone to scan QR codes are Barcode Scanner, QR and barcode reader, Best QR code scanner, and Freescan QR code scanner


QR codes are an upgrade to barcodes that have made life easier. For instance, when in a restaurant, you can scan the QR code to get the menu. You can also save yourself the struggle of cramming a complicated URL. To enjoy such perks, you need to know how to scan the URL on your Android phone. Use the tips above to scan QR codes and enjoy the benefits of owning a smartphone.

To see an overview of the steps in this post just check out the video below which walks you through each of the different methods.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when you scan a QR code using your phone?

When you scan a QR code, your phone decodes the information coded in the QR code and displays it on your screen. For instance, if the QR code holds a link to a website, it displays the URL after you scan it so you can tap and open the link. Some scanners will also enable you to copy or share the link.

Can all android phones scan QR codes?

Almost all Android phones can scan QR codes. For Android 8 and higher, they have built-in QR code readers, meaning that you do not need to download an app. The older versions, Android 7 and below, will need you to have a QR code scanner app to scan a QR code.

Is scanning QR codes free?

Scanning QR codes through the built-in scanning feature or the third-party app is free. If you are prompted to make any payment, you are probably paying for the service you get after scanning the code. For instance, you can scan a QR code to make a payment and be prompted to enter your PIN to complete the transaction.

How far away from the QR code do you need to be for you to scan it?

The size-to-distance ratio of scanning QR codes is 10:1. If the QR code is 1 meter (3.2 feet) wide, you should be at least 10 meters(32 feet) away when scanning. The smaller the QR code, the closer you should be to scan.

Is scanning QR codes safe?

Scanning QR codes is generally safe. Nevertheless, be careful when scanning QR Codes you don’t trust since some could lead to malicious websites.

Can you scan QR codes using the front or selfie camera?

You can use the front camera to scan QR codes, especially for small codes. Even so, given that the rear camera is often bigger than the front one, it is the better choice.

Why is a QR code that I am scanning not opening?

If you have tried using all possible methods to open QR codes in vain, there is probably something wrong with the code. Try scanning using another device to confirm whether the QR code is the problem.

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