QR codes are all around us, providing an easy shortcut to content through your Android phone’s camera.

Point your phone at a QR code in a magazine, on a poster or on a screen, and a whole world of online content is directly accessible.

Although there is a wide range of custom Android UIs, the method of scanning QR codes is basically the same.

What we used

  • We tested this method on the Sony Xperia Pro-I and Poco X4 Pro 5G, but these methods should work on any modern Android phone.

The short version

  • Open your Android phone’s camera app
  • Bring the QR code in the viewfinder
  • Tap the Google Lens icon
  • Approve all requests
  • Press the link
  1. Stage
    1

    Open your Android phone’s camera app

    View your phone’s default camera app.

  2. Stage
    2

    Bring the QR code in the viewfinder

    Point your phone at the QR code. Some Android camera UIs may lock to the QR code at this point, in which case you can tap the link that appears below. However, most will require the help of Google Lens.

  3. Stage
    3

    Tap the Google Lens icon

    Now you need to locate the Google Lens icon and tap on it. The exact location of this icon can vary greatly depending on your phone brand, but it’s usually found around the main camera UI. If not, expand the More/Modes menu (or equivalent) and it may be there.

  4. Stage
    4

    Approve all requests

    You may be asked to “Open Camera” at this point, so tap the corresponding button if that’s the case. Some Google Lens implementations will take you to a completely separate Lens UI that requires your permission to access photos. Approve by tapping “While using the app” if prompted.

  5. Stage
    5

    The Lens UI should appear and quickly lock onto the QR code, with a link appearing below. Press the shutter button or the link directly to access relevant content.

FAQs

What is a QR code?

Quick response codes, or QR codes, have been around since the mid-1990s, when they were used to track cars in the Japanese automotive industry.

I still don’t see the Google Lens icon

If you can’t find the Google Lens icon on your phone’s camera UI, try downloading and opening the Google Lens app instead.