7 ways to troubleshoot if your Android device is not scanning a QR code

  • If your Android device is not scanning a QR code, make sure the code is correctly framed on your screen.
  • Cleaning your camera lens and getting better light on the code are other potential solutions.
  • You can also try using Google Lens or a third-party QR code app.

QR codes have been around for a long time, but it seems that they have recently found new, increased popularity. Many restaurants, for example, have switched to leaving a QR code at the table so you can read the menu on your phone rather than printer paper.

It’s great, most of the time. But what happens when your Android phone does not scan a QR code? There are a handful of ways to quickly troubleshoot and try to resolve this issue.

Center the QR code on the screen

Often, your phone may not scan the QR code because of how you try to position your phone. Start by opening the Camera app on your Android phone – whether it’s the Google Camera app found on Android OS devices or a custom camera app. Center the QR code right in the frame, making sure the code is in the center of the viewfinder. Wait a moment and you should see the option to open the page associated with the code.

A QR code scanned on an Android phone.

Center the QR code on your screen and make sure it is in focus.

Dave Johnson

Check your lighting and distance

It is also possible that you are too close, too far or trying to connect with inadequate lighting. Make sure the QR code is focused in the frame. If the camera has difficulty identifying the code, move closer or farther to allow the lens to focus, and make sure the QR code lights up well enough for the camera to read it correctly. Move it to better lighting if necessary, or make someone else light up with their phone’s flashlight.

Clean the lens

It’s not just being too close to or far from the QR code that can prevent your phone from reading it properly; the camera lens is also susceptible to stains and other dirt. Give it a quick wipe (ideally with a microfiber cloth) to let the camera see the code better.

Touch and hold the screen

If you point your phone directly at a QR code and – despite decent lighting and good framing – the camera still does not scan the QR code, here’s a trick that will work with many camera apps: Tap and hold the screen. Depending on your phone model, the camera app may launch Google Lens and allow you to launch the QR code page.

A QR code scanned on an Android phone.

Touch and hold the screen to scan a QR code on many Android phones.

Dave Johnson

Try Google Lens

If touching and holding the screen does not work, your camera app may not be designed to launch Google Lens automatically. In that case, install Google Lens (if not already installed on your phone) and launch the app. Google Lens makes it easy to scan QR codes.

Make sure Google Lens suggestions is turned on

If you use the Google Camera app, make sure Google Lens suggestions are enabled – this makes it much easier to scan QR codes in a matter of moments. Start Camera app, press Options icon at the top of the screen, then tap More options. In it General section, make sure Google Lens suggestions is lit by swiping the button to the right.

Enabling Google Lens suggestions in Android camera settings.

If your phone’s camera offers this option, enable Google Lens suggestions.

Dave Johnson

Try a third-party QR code reader

If you are not lucky with your phone’s built-in camera, and either Google Lens does not work for you or you prefer not to use it, you can try a third-party QR code scanner app. There are many to choose from in the Google Play Store, though one of the best is the QR & Barcode Scanner. The app is easy to use and can accurately scan QR codes; just point the phone at a QR code and go.