Wednesday, January 19

In the era of QR codes, downloading an app on your mobile to read them is totally unnecessary (both on iOS and Android)

QR codes have gone from being something for one-time use to a day-to-day element. Meeting at the moment we meet, we have QR codes even on restaurant tables to access the menu. It is therefore normal that, in the same way that Interest in QR codes has skyrocketed, have done it the apps to scan them, when the truth is that they are not necessary.

If Google and Apple have taken care of something over the years, it is adding native functions to their operating systems for mobiles, iOS and Android. One of those that can go unnoticed is precisely a native QR code reader. In short, whether we have an Android mobile or an iOS device, we can scan QR codes without installing anything at all.

Your mobile already reads QR codes from the factory

Applications to read QR codes there is kicking. Most are free, but they can display advertisements or even ask us for a subscription. Not to mention that they take up space on the mobile (something that, with few exceptions, should not be a problem today) and force us to use an additional app for something as simple as reading a QR.

Why use an extra app when your mobile reads factory QR codes? It is an excellent question. On the iPhone, since iOS 11 (let’s go, since 2017) there is a QR code reader built into the camera itself. Just open the camera, point it at the code and access the link. It’s that simple. It works well and does the job.


QR reader in the iOS camera app.

On Android, on the other hand, it depends on the manufacturer in question. The QR reader may be integrated into the camera app or there may be its own application to read the codes, but the truth is that (almost) all devices have a common QR reader integrated into Google’s own application. Its name is Google Lens.

Google Lens is an extremely versatile tool. The same is useful for translating a poster in another language as it is for extracting text, searching for a product you want to buy using the camera, or solving equations. For what concerns us today, what interests us is that it also reads QR codes.


QRs reader in Google Lens.

You can access Google Lens from the Google app or from the widget on the home screen. In either of the two options, you simply have to press the camera icon and point at the code. As in iOS, the app will return the address to us and we will be able to access it in a moment. Easy, simple and without downloading anything.