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What app do I need to open QR code?

QR codes have become ubiquitous in our daily lives. You can find them on everything from advertisements and products to restaurant menus and event tickets. When you scan a QR code with your smartphone camera, it will typically open a webpage, app, or provide some other useful information. But in order to scan a QR code and access its content, you need to have a QR code reader app installed on your phone.

How Do QR Codes Work?

QR codes are a type of matrix barcode that can be read by QR scanners, mobile phones with cameras, and smartphones. The “QR” in QR code stands for “Quick Response.” QR codes were invented in 1994 by a Japanese company called Denso Wave to track automotive parts. But over time they have evolved into a consumer phenomenon thanks to the rapid spread of smartphone technology.

A QR code consists of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background. The information encoded in these squares can be text, URLs, or other data. When you take a picture of a QR code with your smartphone’s camera, the QR reader app on your phone uses an image sensor to translate the code into useful information. This information is then displayed on your phone screen.

Types of QR Code Readers

There are a few different types of apps you can use to scan and read QR codes:

Default Camera App

Some smartphones like iPhones come with a built-in QR code reader in the default camera app. Just open your camera and point it at a QR code, and a notification will pop up asking if you want to open the link. This is the most convenient option if you just need basic QR code scanning capabilities.

App Store QR Readers

You can download QR reader apps from your phone’s app store. There are many free and paid options available, such as QR Code Reader, QR Scanner, and Kaspersky QR Scanner. These apps offer quick and easy QR code scanning. Some even allow you to create your own QR codes.

Third-Party Browser Extensions

Browser extensions like QR Decode and QR Reader for Chrome allow you to scan QR codes directly from your desktop computer if your webcam is enabled. This eliminates the need to use your mobile device.

Most Popular QR Code Reader Apps

Here are some of the most widely used and trusted QR code reader apps:

QR Code Reader by Scan

This app is available for both iOS and Android. It has over 100 million downloads worldwide. QR Code Reader offers a quick and easy scanning process. You simply open the app, grant camera access, point your camera at the QR code, and the content will instantly open.

Kaspersky QR Scanner

As the name suggests, Kaspersky QR Scanner is brought to you by the cybersecurity experts at Kaspersky. This app scans QR codes quickly while also checking the safety of the website before opening it. This helps protect your device from malicious content. It’s available for free on iOS and Android.

QR Code Reader and Barcode Scanner (Pro)

This fully-featured app allows batch scanning of multiple QR codes and creation of your own QR codes. It can scan QR codes even from an image in your photo gallery. The Pro version has extra features like analytics and cloud storage. It’s available on iOS and Android.

QR Code Scanner by Scanbuy

Scanbuy is one of the early pioneers of QR code technology. Their QR Code Scanner works quickly and has a simple interface. It provides shoppers with direct access to product info, reviews, price comparisons, and more. This app is available on iOS and Android.

Google Lens

Google Lens is primarily an image recognition app, but it does offer excellent QR scanning capabilities. Just open Google Lens and point your camera at any QR code to scan it instantly. This makes Google Lens one of the most convenient QR scanner options since many people already have it installed.

Choosing the Right QR Code Reader

Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a QR code reader app:

  • Compatibility – Make sure the app works on your phone’s operating system (Android or iOS).
  • Ease of Use – Look for an intuitive app with a seamless scanning process.
  • Speed – The app should scan codes quickly without lagging.
  • Security – Select an app from a trusted brand that scans safely.
  • Features – Choose an app with all the features you need like QR creation tools.
  • Cost – There are quality free and paid options available.

How to Install a QR Code Reader App

Installing a QR code reader app on your iPhone or Android phone only takes a few minutes.

On iPhone

  1. Open the App Store app.
  2. Tap the search bar at the bottom and search for “QR code reader” or “QR scanner.”
  3. Browse QR reader apps and select one.
  4. Tap Get or Download to install the free app.
  5. For paid apps, tap the price button and confirm purchase.
  6. Once installed, you can open the QR reader app from your home screen.

On Android Phones

  1. Open the Google Play Store app.
  2. Tap the search bar and search for “QR code reader” or “QR scanner.”
  3. Browse QR reader apps and select one.
  4. Tap Install to install the free app.
  5. For paid apps, tap the price button and confirm purchase.
  6. The app will download and automatically install.
  7. Once installed, open the QR reader app from your app tray.

The installation process is quick and easy. In just a minute or two, you’ll have a robust QR code scanner ready to use on your smartphone.

How to Use a QR Code Reader App

Once you’ve installed a QR code reading app on your iPhone or Android phone, using it to scan and open QR codes takes just a few simple steps:

  1. Open the QR Reader App – Locate the app icon on your home screen and open it.
  2. Allow Camera Access – The app will ask for permission to access your phone’s camera. Tap OK or Allow to let it use the camera.
  3. Scan a QR Code – Hold your phone’s camera up to a QR code so that the code appears in the viewfinder. The app will automatically scan it.
  4. Open the Content – Once scanned, the QR code content will open automatically. This could be a website, app, location, etc.
  5. Scan Again or Exit – To scan another code, simply point your camera at it. To exit, close or minimize the app.

That’s all there is to it! In just a few seconds you can unlock the contents of a QR code. Most QR reader apps make the process very quick and seamless.

Tips for Scanning QR Codes

Follow these tips for the best results when scanning QR codes with your smartphone:

  • Get close to the code and hold your camera steady for a clear scan.
  • Make sure the entire QR code fits inside the viewfinder frame.
  • Scan codes in good lighting conditions.
  • Avoid reflecting glare on the code surface.
  • Try scanning at multiple angles if you have issues.
  • Clean your phone camera lens regularly for optimal focus.
  • Update your QR reader app frequently for best performance.

Editing QR Codes

Most QR code readers only allow scanning and reading QR codes. But some apps let you edit, change, and update existing QR codes or create entirely new ones.

For example, QR Code Reader and Barcode Scanner Pro has a “Code Editor” feature that lets you edit QR codes by changing the embedded URL to redirect elsewhere. Some apps specifically designed for generating QR codes like QR Code Monkey also allow editing.

To edit a QR code:

  1. Scan an existing QR code with an app that has editing capabilities.
  2. Tap the edit button which is usually visible after scanning.
  3. Make changes to the structure, embedded URL, or other payload data.
  4. Save the changes.
  5. Rescan the code to confirm your edits.

The benefit of editing QR codes is you can update them over time or create custom codes without starting from scratch. But not all QR reader apps have editing features.

Creating QR Codes

In addition to scanning QR codes, some apps allow you to create your own QR codes from scratch. This allows you to generate QR codes that link to your website, social profiles, contact information, or any other data you want to encode.

Dedicated QR code generator apps like QR Code Monkey make creating codes very simple. But scanner apps like Kaspersky QR Scanner also have QR creation tools built-in.

To create a custom QR code:

  1. Open a QR code reader app with creation tools.
  2. Tap the option to make a new code.
  3. Enter a URL, text, contact, or other content to encode.
  4. Customize the code’s size, color, image, etc.
  5. Download or share the finished QR code.
  6. Scan your code to confirm it works as intended.

DIY QR code creation allows you to make interactive codes for business cards, promotions, products, and more. Get creative with dynamic QR codes!

QR Code Uses and Ideas

Here are some of the most common and creative ways to use QR codes:

  • Link to website pages
  • Share contact info
  • Check-in for events or appointments
  • View restaurant menus
  • Open apps
  • Access wifi networks
  • Follow social media profiles
  • Share funny videos or memes
  • Product instructions and manuals
  • Business card contact details
  • Conference session schedules
  • Wedding invites
  • Share Spotify playlists

As you can see, the possibilities are endless! QR codes are a fun and engaging way to share digital content in the real world.

Benefits of QR Codes

QR codes offer numerous benefits, including:

  • Convenience – Instantly open webpages just by scanning.
  • Tracking – Analytics on QR code scans and user behavior.
  • Security – Encrypted codes for protecting sensitive data.
  • Engagement – Interactive marketing tactic for promotions.
  • Information Access – Quickly convey details like contact info and menus.
  • App Promotion – Encourage app downloads and usage.

QR codes are an excellent replacement for lengthy URLs. They make take up minimal space but pack lots of functionality.


QR code reader apps unlock a world of possibilities. With the ability to instantly scan QR codes, you can tap into a wealth of digital content anytime, anywhere. Choosing the right QR scanner app for your smartphone takes just a few minutes. But it provides an unlimited amount of utility. So download a QR code reader, scan away, and enjoy instant access to useful links, apps, information and more!