How to Scan QR Codes on iPhone and iPad in iOS 11

BY Khamosh Pathak

Published 15 Sep 2017

iOS 11 QR code scanning featured

The new QR code scanning feature in iOS 11 is a classic Apple feature. In that it’s directly integrated in the stock Camera app and there’s no menu or button for it anywhere in the UI. And yet, when you bring up your phone’s camera against a QR code, it will be scanned instantly. In the classic Apple parlance – it just works.

How To Use QR Code Scanning in iOS 11

The feature is enabled by default so you don’t need to mess around in the Settings app.

Step 1: Open the Camera app and make sure that the rear facing camera is enabled.

Step 2: Now, locate the QR code and make sure that it’s entirely visible in the camera’s view finder. You don’t need to do anything else. There’s no need to take a picture of it.

ios 11 QR code scanning 1

Step 3: The QR code will be scanned instantly and you’ll see a notification at the top. It will describe what kind of QR code you’ve scanned (website QR Code, Calendar QR code and so on) and you’ll see what action the QR code can perform (add event to your calendar, open page in Safari).

ios 11 QR code scanning 2

Step 4: You can swipe down on the notification to see a preview of what the QR code will do (a preview of the web page or calendar invite). Or you can directly tap on the notification to complete the action. You’ll be taken to the respective app.

ios 11 QR code scanning 3

Supported QR Code Types

iOS 11 supports around 10 QR code types depending on the devices that you have.

Talking about the stock apps, you’ll be able to scan QR codes for the Phone, Contacts, Calendar, Message, Maps, Mail and Safari apps.

They can perform the action corresponding to the app. Like adding a contact, calling a number, visiting a website, adding an event to calendar, opening a location in Maps app and so on.

Newer HomeKit devices can even start the pairing process using a QR Code (which should come in really handy).

There’s also support for callback-URLs. So some apps will be able to use deep linking and open a specific part of the app by letting you scan a QR code.

It’s important to note that in iOS, a QR code can can just launch or open an action. It can’t authenticate anything in a first party or third party app. For instance, a QR code can preview a new contact but it won’t be added to your contact book until you press the Save button.

How to Disable QR Code Scanning Feature in iOS 11

If you don’t want to use the QR code scanning feature, you can disable it altogether from Settings.

Step 1: Open the Settings app and select Camera.

iOS 11 Scan QR Codes Disable Feature

Step 2: Turn off Scan QR Codes option.

Will You Be Using QR Code Scanning Frequently?

QR code scanning isn’t as prevalent in the west. But in some asian countries it’s used for everything from communication to sharing to payments. The feature itself is a bit hidden. So it will take some time for new users to discover and to start using it (unless Apple starts a marketing campaign around it).

Is this something that will help you save time or be more productive? Will you be using QR code scanning in your day to day life? Share with us in the comments below.