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Smartphones & gadgets

How to scan a QR code on your Android (no apps required)

Your smartphone may be more intelligent than you think. When these devices first hit the market, third-party manufacturers designed apps to make the most of their capabilities. If you want to use your phone as a flashlight or scanner, there’s an app for that.

The thing is, these programs take up room on your phone and many have become redundant thanks to tools being added with updates. The services also have ulterior motives, such as data collection. Tap or click here to see which common apps you can delete right now.

A great example is a QR code scanning app. QR codes can be found just about anywhere. These pixelated squares are used in advertisements, retail, food packaging, business cards and more. When scanning them, you get more information about a product or are directed to a website. You no longer need an app for that.

Follow the maze

Some think of a maze when they see a QR code. And just like a maze, a QR code leads to discovery. How many calories are in those fries? Where can you buy the outfit you see in an ad? How many miles can this car travel on a gallon of gas? A quick QR code scan can resolve all these questions and more. Think of this tech as a smart barcode.

QR codes were around long before smartphones, and your device can likely scan them right out of the box. Tap or click here to find out how to scan anything into your Mac. Here’s how to find this helpful feature.

Use your Android’s camera app

Your Android phone’s camera likely has the ability to scan QR codes without the use of a third-party app. (PssT! This also works on Apple’s iPhone.)

Here’s how:

  • Open your camera app, point it at a QR code and hold steady for a few seconds.
  • If a notification appears, tap on it.
  • If you don’t get a notification, go to Settings and enable QR code scanning.

Use your Samsung’s camera app

Samsung’s camera app comes with native support for QR code scanning. Tap or click here to get even more out of your Samsung phone.

  • Open your camera app and point at a QR code and tap on the popup. If you don’t get this notification, you need to turn on the feature.
  • Open Camera settings and toggle on Scan QR codes.

Use Google Lens

Google Lens started as a feature in Pixel phones but soon became standard in many Android phones. The tool is part of your camera app and can do many things, from identifying a dog breed to translating text. Here’s how to use it.

  • Open your camera and tap More > Google Lens. Now you’ll have a Lens icon you can use whenever you open your camera.
  • You can also use Google Assistant to activate Google Lens. Say “Ok Google,” then tap Google Lens at the bottom right.

RELATED: Google finally reveals everything it knows about you

Use Bixby

Samsung’s virtual assistant can help you learn more about anything with a QR code.

  • Launch your camera app and tap Bixby Vision. Then tap Allow, enabling permissions. Enable all pop-up permissions.
  • Scan and tap Go to navigate to view the QR code content.
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