10 ways to fix the error of not being able to scan QR codes on iPhone

The built-in QR code scanner is one of the best quality-of-life features on iPhone. You can access information, make payments, join WiFi networks, and more with a simple scan.

However, your QR code scanner sometimes may not recognize or read the code correctly. This can be frustrating, especially when you need urgent access to content in code. Before giving up, here are some fixes you can try to get your QR code scanning working again.

1. Check if the QR code scanner is enabled

Normally, pointing the iPhone's camera at the QR code will do the trick. However, if that doesn't work, you may have accidentally turned off QR code scanning in your Camera app. Here's how to enable the QR code scanner:

  1. Open the Settings app on iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and tap Camera.
  3. Turn on Scan QR code option .


2. Make sure your camera is in photo mode

The QR code scanner on your iPhone only works when the camera is set to Photos mode. If you mistakenly switch to Video, Portrait, Pano, or any other camera mode, the QR code scanner may not work as expected. So swipe left or right in the Camera app to switch back to Photos mode. Then point the camera at the QR code and try scanning again.

3. Position the camera properly when scanning

For fast and successful scanning, make sure the QR code is placed in your camera viewfinder. Avoid scanning at slanted angles and try to keep the QR code parallel to your device. Also, make sure the QR code is not wrinkled, obscured, or damaged in any way as this could prevent a successful scan.

4. Move to a location with better lighting

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Good lighting is essential for every camera function, and QR code scanners are no exception. A well-lit environment makes it easier for the camera to recognize and read the QR code. If you are in a dimly lit room or area, move to a brighter spot or shine a little light on the QR code to improve visibility.

5. Clean the camera lens

A smudged or dirty camera lens can make it difficult for the camera to read the QR code. So, if you're still having trouble scanning the QR code, gently wipe the camera lens with a soft, lint-free cloth to make sure it's clean. Avoid using hard or abrasive materials that may scratch the lens. If necessary, lightly moisten the cloth with water to remove stubborn stains.


6. Relaunch the Camera application

Sometimes, software glitches can cause your QR code scanner to malfunction. The quickest fix for this is to simply close Camera and relaunch the app. To do this, swipe up from the bottom of the screen, then swipe up on the Camera app to close it. Wait a few seconds, then reopen the Camera app and try scanning the QR code again.

7. Add Code Scanner to Control Center

If you're still having trouble using the Camera app to scan QR codes, you can add Apple's built-in QR code scanner directly to Control Center for easy access. This built-in feature works separately from the Camera app and can sometimes bypass problems you might encounter while using the Camera app.

Here's how to add a QR code scanner to Control Center:

  1. Open the Settings app .
  2. Scroll down and tap Control Center .
  3. Find Code Scanner in the Other Controls section .
  4. Tap the plus (+) button next to Code Scanner to add it to Control Center.
  5. Now, open Control Center then tap on the code scanner icon to scan the QR code.

When scanning in a dark or dimly lit area, tap the Flashlight icon at the bottom of the screen to turn on your iPhone's camera flash.


8. Restart iPhone

If the above methods still don't work, a simple reboot may help. Sometimes, minor system glitches can cause certain features, like the QR code scanner, to malfunction. Restarting your iPhone can clear these glitches and get everything running smoothly again.

However, the iPhone doesn't have a restart option, so you'll have to manually turn the device off and then turn it back on. Luckily, you can perform a manual restart even if your iPhone's buttons are damaged.

9. Update iPhone

Apple periodically releases software updates, including bug fixes that can fix any operating system glitches. Outdated iOS version can cause problems with your QR code scanner and the update should fix this issue.

10. Check out a third-party QR code scanner

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If your iPhone's built-in QR code scanner still isn't working after trying all of these fixes, you should consider downloading a third-party QR code reader from the App Store. Many options, both free and paid, offer more possibilities than the built-in QR scanner.

Popular iOS third-party QR code readers include TeaCapps' QR Code & Barcode Scanner, Scanner App PDF Tool's Scan Shot, and INSTIG's CamScanner.