Your iPhone has a secret app for scanning QR codes

Iphone 12 Pro Mask Unlock Hero
Iphone 12 Pro Mask Unlock Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Code Scanner is an iPhone app designed just to scan QR codes and open App Clips.
  • The app can't be found without using Spotlight or Control Center.

Apple ships iPhones with tons of apps pre-installed and that's cool, but there's one that it doesn't actually tell you exists. Code Scanner, it appears, is an app that can be used to scan QR codes and initiate App Clips. But you won't find it in your App Library.

First spotted by Gadget Hacks, the Code Scanner app has to be launched from Spotlight because there is no app icon anywhere to be found. Once tapped, users are asked to "find a code to scan"

Code Scanner On Iphone

Code Scanner On Iphone (Image credit: Gadget Hacks)

Eagle-eyed users will notice that the app is actually the same one that can be launched via the QR code scanner Control Center. Until now that was thought to be the only way to access the app, but it appears that isn't the case at all.

The same feature can also be accessed by using the standard Camera app, too. Just point your camera at a QR code and it will be recognized as such. But if you wanted a new way to get to your QR code scanning on, now you have it. Note that you'll need iOS 14 installed if you intend to search for Code Scanner, though.

Don't have an iPhone that can run iOS 14? Maybe it's time to treat yourself to one of the best iPhones Apple has ever made!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.