Millions of people are paying for iPhone QR code readers — here's how to use Apple's own one for free

lenses on an iPhone 15 Pro model
(Image credit: Apple)

An app for scanning QR codes is making nearly $1 million in net revenue a month from the App Store according to a new report.

The report from appfigures shows the Scan QR Code app earns hundreds of thousands of dollars a month and has been downloaded 3.5 million times, despite the iPhone having the feature built in.

Following on from this discovery, the report found that 49 QR code scanner apps on the App Store make over $1,000 a month, that's crazy considering you can use one for absolutely no cost at all. Combined with 14 apps on the Google Play Store, the report states that in the last 30 days "these 63 apps generated more than $4m in net revenue."

Don't be one of those people paying to use software that is available for free on iOS. Here's how to access the secret QR code scanner app on iPhone:

How to access the free QR code scanner app on iPhone

Code Scanner is available on all the best iPhones and best of all it's free so you don't need to pay for it like the QR code scanning apps mentioned above. Here's how to access the totally free QR code scanner app on your iPhone:

Code Scanner iPhone

(Image credit: Future / Apple)
  1. Swipe down from the middle of your screen to access Spotlight
  2. Type Code Scanner
  3. Open the app and aim at a QR code

It's really easy to access and works very well, ideal for anyone who scans QR codes on a regular basis. If you own the iPhone 15 Pro or the iPhone 15 Pro Max, you can even add the QR code scanner to the Action button:

  1. Open Shortcuts
  2. Tap the +
  3. Select Open App
  4. Tap App then choose Code Scanner
  5. Now enable this shortcut in the Action button settings

If you don't have an Action button, you can also access the Code Scanner app via Control Center. Simply head into Settings, select Control Center, and add Code Scanner. Now whenever you want to access the secret app swipe down from the top left of your screen and press the QR code icon.

Did you know about this free app? Are you one of the millions of people paying for a QR code scanning app on iPhone? If so let us know why you prefer the premium options over the free app available on all iPhones via the iMore forums. Want to use the QR code scanner with the Action button, buy a 15 Pro here:

iPhone 15 Pro | $999 at Apple

iPhone 15 Pro | $999 at Apple

The iPhone 15 Pro is the best iPhone on the market right now and with its three-camera array, it's easy to scan QR codes from afar.

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit. 

  • Lestat1886
    Apple could delete those useless apps but the regulators today would just say it is anticompetitive and that Apple should even allow them to be the default !
  • FFR
    It’s right there in the camera app.