Pro tip: the iOS 11 camera app reads QR codes automatically


Several months ago, I went to a local TEDx event. It was an opportunity to absorb wisdom, to learn from the experiences of others and... to participate in one of the sponsors' games. The latter could win me a trip for two to an exotic destination, but for a chance to grab the prize, I had to take a quiz at the sponsor's website. There was a poster with a huge QR code on it linking to the page. Then it occurred to me that I didn't have an app to scan the code with. "Why can't smartphone cameras scan these automatically?", I asked myself. 

Well, it turns out that some already can. With iOS 11, Apple is bringing the ability to scan a QR code by simply pointing your iPhone's camera at one. The link it leads to does not open automatically. Instead, you get a notification saying that a QR code has been detected. Then you tap to open it or slide down to preview the content without leaving the camera app. If the code links to a web page, it will be opened in Safari, but links to apps and games will open in the App Store instead.


Curiously, the iPhone is not the first phone that can automatically detect QR codes with its stock camera app. The feature has been present for some time on phones by the Chinese brand Xiaomi and it works in a similar fashion. And Meizu – another Chinese smartphone maker – has a non-automatic QR code scanning mode in its own camera app. While QR codes never became a hit in western markets, they're quite popular in China, which is why it comes as no surprise to see scanning software built into these two brands' phones out of the box.

The ability to scan QR codes will come to iPhone and iPad users later this year with the release of iOS 11. Those who are feeling adventurous can try that, along with many other cool new features, by downloading the public iOS 11 beta on their compatible device.

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10 Comments

1. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

This is a nice addition...

9. sgodsell

Posts: 7034; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

This has not only only been on Chinese smartphones, but even Nexuses and Pixels as well. As other smartphones as well.

2. AmashAziz

Posts: 2894; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Possibly inspired from Google. I think they also have this feature in their camera app.

4. Valdomero

Posts: 662; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

Yes, but you have to enable the Google Assistant for that to work if I'm not mistaken.

6. tommy_vercetti

Posts: 34; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

MIUI has this feature since MIUI 8

7. tommy_vercetti

Posts: 34; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

MIUI has this feature since MIUI 8

3. sissy246

Posts: 7035; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LOL, WOW so innovative

5. AmashAziz

Posts: 2894; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

hashtagNoOneSaidItIs

8. iDroidPhony

Posts: 59; Member since: Sep 21, 2016

It is nice Apple include features longed by users for years. But there still are features not yet included for some reasons.

10. dinglenugget

Posts: 12; Member since: Apr 04, 2017

This has already existed on my Moto G4+ and G5+. Makes it difficult to take a photo fo anything like a building or a car with a QR code on it.

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