Using QR Codes With Your iPhone

While QR codes aren't used as much today as just a few years ago, it is nice to know that when you encounter one you can access the URL using your iPhone's Camera app, without needing to install anything else. If you'd like to create a QR code that links to a specific page on your website, you can use Google's URL shortener as a quick and trustworthy method.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using QR Codes With Your iPhone.

It's been a long time since I've talked about QR codes. QR codes are things that look like this. You see them sometimes in magazines, on posters, even on vehicles with advertising on the sides of them. The idea is that this thing acts like a little bar code. You can scan it using your phone's camera and then it usually just takes you to a webpage. So it's just an easier way to go to a webpage than actually having to remember an exact URL and then type it in.

Now there was a big promise with the QR codes that they were going to be everywhere. That every advertisement, that every magazine and newspaper was going to have them. It was going to be on every billboard. All that stuff. They were even going to be on TV shows and TV commercials and all that. It never really lived up to the hype. But they are still used, sometimes, especially in ads where there is a complex URL or some sort of special code that you needed like a coupon code or something like that. Occasionally you see them for cool things like scavenger hunts or something like that. So it can be useful to be able to use them on your iPhone.

Now in the past you had to use special QR code reader apps. Launch this app. It accesses the camera. You point the camera at the code and then it opens up the webpage. But awhile ago Apple added that functionality as native functionality inside of iOS.

So the way you do it is on your iPhone you want to go to Settings. Under Settings you go to Camera. So here I was already in Camera. You see there's a Scan QR Codes that's an option. You can see I have it turned on. So now that it's turned on I'm going to start the Camera up and there's just my Mac desktop. But I'm going to bring the same piece of paper in and you can see it says Website QR Code open in Safari. So I'm going to tap it in. You can see it actually even gave the URL there which was because that's the service I used to make the QR code. I just made a simple QR code that I printed out that just takes you to As a matter of fact if you were to point your iPhone with this turned on at the screen while I'm just showing this then it should take you to as a demonstration.

So it's a handy thing to know that you can use QR codes in your iPhone without any extra app. So if you ever see one of these and you're curious to find out what's behind it you can actually go and use it just using your regular camera app as long as you have that turned on.

By the way if you're interested in how I made that QR code, and how you can make your own, I just went to the Goggle service that does it. There's tons of other services that will do it. I used, that's the Goggle shortener, and typed in Hit Shorten URL. It gave me the short URL which you can use for other things as well. Hit Done. Once I was done there's the three dots here. I clicked on that and it has QR Code. This is just a graphic. I can drag and drop that to the desktop. I can Control click and copy the image and use it in whatever I want.

Comments: 5 Responses to “Using QR Codes With Your iPhone”

    Richard Fuhr
    1 year ago

    What if the QR code is not associated with a web page? For example, I just got a ticket to a conference that I will be attending. The ticket has a QR code, but when I scanned it, with my iPhone it did not recognize it as a link to a web page or anything else. Maybe the code only means something to the conference organizers and they will use it to validate my ticket. How does that work?

    1 year ago

    Richard: A QR code is just an encoded bit of data. If that data is a URL, then this method will decode that URL and take you to that web page. If it is something else, then that information only means something in that content. It is no different than a piece of text. The text “” is a URL, but the text “ticket number 927392 to event X” is not a URL but makes sense to a device or app scanning for tickets.

    SCERRI Emmanuel
    1 year ago

    Thanks for a great video.

    1 year ago

    I just discovered a QR code on my twitter account on the iPhone. I don’t see it anywhere on the desktop version. Hit your profile its on the bottom right. Scanning it brings you to the persons twitter profile. It’s been there for a quite I few updates I think just never have taken a good look at everything on my profile.
    As always Mr. Rosenzweig thanks for the info and all videos you put out.

    Ian Leckie
    1 year ago

    Gary, thanks so much for this video! Even as a long-time iPhone user I was completely unaware of this function, which will be very useful as here in Germany magazines are full of QR codes! I just tried it out on my iPhone X with the QR in your video — it works! Regards, Ian.

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