That’s great, most of the time. But what happens when your Android phone won’t scan a QR code? There are a handful of ways to quickly troubleshoot and try to solve this problem. Often, your phone might not scan the QR code because of how you’re trying to position your phone. Start by opening the camera app on your Android phone — whether that is the Google Camera app found in Android OS devices or a custom camera app. Center the QR code squarely in the frame, being sure the code is at the center of the viewfinder. Wait a few moments, and you should see the option to open the page associated with the code.
If a QR code isn’t scanning on your Android device, make sure it’s properly framed on your screen. Other options include cleaning your camera lens and improving the illumination on the code. You can also use Google Lens or a QR code app from a third party. QR codes have been around for a long time, but it appears that their popularity has recently risen. Many restaurants, for example, now leave a QR code at the table so that you can read the menu on your phone instead of on printer paper.
It’s also possible that you are too close, too far, or trying to connect with insufficient lighting. Make sure that the QR code is focused in the frame. If the camera is having difficulty identifying the code, move closer or farther to allow the lens to focus, and make sure the QR code is lit well enough for the camera to read it properly. Move it into better lighting if needed, or have someone else shine their phone’s flashlight.
If you’re pointing your phone directly at a QR code and — despite decent lighting and good framing — the camera still isn’t scanning the QR code, here is a trick that will work with many camera apps: tap and hold the screen. Depending upon your phone model, the camera app may launch Google Lens and give you the ability to launch the page for the QR code. If tapping and holding the screen doesn’t work, your camera app might not be designed to launch Google Lens automatically. In that case, install Google Lens (if it’s not already installed on your phone) and launch the app. Google Lens makes it easy to scan QR codes.
It’s not just being too close or far from the QR code that can keep your phone from reading it properly; the camera lens is also susceptible to smudges and other grime. Give it a quick wipe (ideally with a microfiber cloth) to let the camera see the code better. Quick tip: We tested the best accessories for your iPhone and recommend the Whoosh! Screen Cleaning Kit because it gives you everything you need to keep your phone clean at a reasonable price of $10.
Make sure Google Lens suggestions are turned on. If you are using the Google Camera app, make sure Google Lens suggestions are enabled — this makes it much easier to scan QR codes in just a few moments. Start the Camera app, tap the Options icon at the top of the screen and then tap More Settings. In the General section, make sure Google Lens suggestions is on by swiping the button to the right.