QR codes aren’t new - they’ve been around for nearly 30 years now - but with Track and Trace systems going live around the world in the fight against COVID-19, QR codes are popping up in more places than ever before. While most tech-savvy consumers know what to do with QR codes, there are plenty of people that are only now discovering the tech.

For the uninitiated, QR codes present an easy way to share information with passers-by. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a short and clean URL to use in advertisements and on posters, you’ll likely opt for the QR code - it’s more concise and looks better than a lengthy link stuffed with numbers and symbols.

They’re universal, working across iOS, Android and most other platforms, and once the unique QR code has been scanned, you’ll be redirected to the desired website - no need to type long URLs into the browser of your choice.  

It’s used by many businesses in the UK as a quick and easy way to register your details as part of the UK’s track and trace system, so it’s vital more now than ever that you know how to scan QR codes on your iPhone or iPad. 

How to scan QR codes using an iPhone or iPad

If you’re running iOS 11 or later, the good news is that you don’t need to download an app to scan QR codes - the functionality is built directly into the Camera app. 

  1. Open the Camera app. This can be done directly from the lock screen by long-pressing the Camera icon in the bottom-right, or by swiping left anywhere on-screen. 
  2. Point the camera at the QR code you want to scan. Make sure you’re close enough to see the code clearly, and turn on your flash in the top-left if you need more light. 
  3. After a second or two of pointing the camera at the QR code, you should see a banner appear at the top of the screen with a link to an app or website - tap it to access the QR code content.

If you’re still using an iPhone or iPad running iOS 10 or earlier, we’d recommend updating your software if possible - the whole experience a lot smoother than having to use a third-party app.

If you can’t update your iDevice to iOS 11 or later, we’d recommend downloading QR Code Scanner from the App Store - it’s compatible with devices running iOS 9 or later - and it’s probably checking out our choice of the best new iPhone or best iPad for a possible upgrade too.