How To Scan QR Codes On iOS Without An App

Image: StockSnap

While Quick Response, or QR, codes aren't as prevalent as they once were, they can still prove handy in certain situations, say, scanning a two-factor authentication profile. If you have an Android device, you'll need to download an app to take advantage of QR codes, but for iPhone and iPad users, that functionality is built right in.

Built-in QR scanning is a relatively new feature, introduced with the first version of iOS 11:


  • Portrait mode now supports optical image stabilization, HDR and True Tone flash
  • Photos and videos will take up half the space with the new HEIF and HEVC image and video formats
  • Redesigned set of nine filters optimized for natural skin tones
  • Automatically identify and scan QR codes
Image: Lifehacker

That's right, just open the Camera, aim your iPhone's shooter at the code and it should scan in.

However, depending on your settings, it's possible QR recognition is disabled. In that case, you'll need to turn it on in Settings.

Once you have Settings open, find the Camera option, which should be alongside Photos, iBooks, Podcasts and such. Click it and double-check "Scan QR Codes" is active. If it isn't, turn it on.

That's all there is to it. I've used it successfully to get 2FA profiles into Google Authenticator, so I can vouch that it works.

The only things to keep in mind are to use a sufficiently bright and high-resolution display (if you're scanning from a screen) and not to hold the camera too close, otherwise it won't be able to focus.


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