How do I scan QR codes on an iPhone?
QR codes are useful things. If you're not familiar with them they're the squarish, black and white images that look a little like a bar code that's let itself go. In many ways they serve the same function as their more orderly brethren in that you scan them and they then reveal information to your device. This could be a website for a product, pairing instructions for a VR cardboard viewer, or an entry ticket for a gig.
Scanning takes seconds, but up until recently it's often required a dedicated app on iPhones. Now Google Chrome has added the feature to its iOS offering, meaning you have a few different choices for decoding these monochrome marvels.
How to scan QR codes on iPhone: Using the new feature in Google Chrome
The introduction of QR code reading in Chrome is a nice touch from Google. To be sure that you have the feature enabled go to the app store, tap the Updates option at the bottom of the screen, then check whether there are any pending for Chrome. If not, you're good to go.
To access the scanner there are two methods. The first is for non-3D Touch devices, but it can still be used on the iPhone 6s/6s Plus and iPhone 7/7 Plus. Swipe right on the Home screen to open up the notification centre, then in the search bar at the top of the screen type QR code. You'll see an option for Scan QR Code next to the Chrome logo; tap this and the scanner will launch. Now you can read the QR code.
Chrome won't necessarily action whatever it is the QR code is saying. Instead it creates a link that you can launch in the Chrome app which then takes you to the information provided by the scan.
The second method simply involves tapping and holding the Chrome app icon so that the 3D Touch menu appears. In here you'll see an option to Scan QR Code. Select this, scan the code, then visit the provided link in the Chrome browser app.
How to scan QR codes on iPhone: Using the Apple Wallet app
The only QR code scanning capability included with the iPhone is found in the Wallet app. This is because Wallet uses them to add boarding passes, cinema tickets, loyalty cards, and a number of other digital documents to the app.
When you first open Wallet you'll be presented with an explanation of this and an invitation to Scan Code. Tap this option and the QR scanner will launch. On all other occasions you'll need to open the app, tap the + symbol at the top of the screen, then select Scan Code to Add a Pass.
If you have a QR code ready then you'll need to point the target area towards it and the scanner will do the rest.
Passes will be automatically added to your Wallet, or you'll see an error message letting you know that there was 'No pass available for this code'. In the case of the latter it would be a good idea to contact the person or organisation who issued you the code as it may not be valid.
How to scan QR codes on iPhone: Using Third-party apps
In you prefer a dedicated app that you can just open up and use straight away then there are several excellent QR scanners available on the App Store. Our favourites include QRDR, Free QR Code Reader, and QR Reader for iPhone, all of which are free and offer the same kind of functionality as the options mentioned above.
So there you go, a few different ways to unravel the mysteries of the QR code. But remember, only use your newfound power for good.