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The easiest ways to read QR codes on Android without installing apps

21 mayo, 2021

Reading a QR code is a very simple action in which they intervene the phone’s camera and software that interprets the code graph. The most common is to choose to download an application, but it is not necessary: ​​your mobile already has the QR code reading integrated, both through the Google application and in the camera app.

Looking at the most downloaded apps from Google Play, it is common to come across applications dedicated to reading QR codes on your mobile, sometimes also to create them. Such applications they can be a risk to your phone as they often flood the device with advertisements; not to mention that they offer a function that you already have installed on your mobile. Do you want to know how to read QR codes without installing anything? Let’s look at a couple of ways.

Your camera app probably already reads QR codes

Read Qr Codes Camera Application Left, HiVision on Huawei phones; right, QR reading option in the MIUI camera app

As we said, in Android smartphones there are usually two ways of knowing what the QR codes hide. These codes can be used to share WiFi networks, web addresses, contacts and even payments from the mobile: just by reading them from another phone you access the option that hides the image. And the camera app is up to the task.

How to scan a QR code from a photo or screenshot with an Android mobile

To check if your mobile camera application reads QR codes, simply access its options: brands such as Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, OnePlus and even Google They include QR reading as standard.

  • Open the camera application and go to the settings.
  • Identify an option similar to ‘Scan QR codes‘. If it is not active, turn it on.
  • Brands like Huawei integrate QR reading in their ‘HiVision’ mode. Activate it, accept the permissions and focus on the QR to read it.
  • LG integrates QR recognition into Lens: turn it on to read QR codes.
Samsung Camera Settings Camera settings in One UI 2

Most brands offer QR reading on their camera, so you only have to aim at the code without taking the photo to know what it says (you may have to activate the smart modes, as we have reviewed). In this way you save installing third-party applications; avoiding any risk derived from advertising while saving space on your device.

Google Lens also reads QR codes

Read Qr Codes Google Lens Google Lens can read the content of any QR code, both with the camera and from a photo in your gallery

One of the key features of the Google search app is the brand’s assistant, Google Assistant. This software provides various tools with a key for the task we are looking for: Google Lens. This automatic recognition system is so powerful that it allows identify animals, buildings and even translate between languages ​​in real time. It also reads QR codes, of course.

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To read the QR from Google Lens, and without downloading any application, you need have Google services and applications installed. With the exception of the most recent Huawei, and some imported phones, yours should have everything you need to know what the QR codes hide:

  • Say ‘Ok Google’, press and hold the Home button, or use the Google Assistant app to call your phone’s assistant.
  • Click on the Google Lens icon, a square with a dot inside that appears at the bottom of Assistant, to the left of the microphone.
  • Accept the Google Lens terms if you haven’t used it before.
  • Point the mobile camera at the QR and press on the screen for Lens to take the photo. Make sure the magnifying glass icon is selected at the bottom.
  • Google Lens will tell you what the QR code means. If it has any hidden action (add contact, a WiFi or open a website, for example) it will give you the possibility to execute it by clicking on the box below.
  • Apart from capturing a QR with the Lens camera it also allows you read the code of any photograph you have stored on your mobile: click on the image icon (upper right corner) to load the image from the gallery. Lens will identify everything it recognizes in the photo, including the QR.