How to Read QR Codes With Your iPhone

This (very) short guide explains how to read and use QR codes with your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch – without having to install any additional Apps.

Simple Help QR CodeQR (“Quick Response”) codes (as pictured left), are two-dimensional bar codes that you might have started noticing on web sites, in magazines or on products when you go shopping. They allow you to quickly scan them with your camera and either launch a web site, show product info, display plain text, send an SMS message and much more. For more info, see our guide “QR codes explained and how to use them”.

Once upon a time (when this guide was initially published back in 2010) you needed a 3rd party App from the App Store in order to scan and use QR codes on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Fast forward to 2021 and the need for an App is long gone – now all you need to do is open the Camera on your iPhone and point it at a QR code. That’s it, that’s all.

QR codes displayed through an iPhone camera

Once the code has been scanned, a notification message will appear on your screen letting you know what the QR code “wants to do” – most often that will be to open Safari to a web page.

a Safari notification in iOS

Of course that’s not the only thing QR codes can be used for – sometimes they will request that you launch the Messages app to send an SMS.

a Messages notification in iOS


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