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How To Scan QR Codes Using The Stock iPhone Camera App

After switching to iOS from Windows Phone, I have to say there wasn’t much that I missed about Microsoft’s mobile platform, but there are times when you have to admit that WP8 offers more convenience in everyday life than any other smartphone OS. QR codes are not something that can change your life, but they can come in handy quite frequently if you learn to use them in an efficient manner. On iOS, you need a third-party app to scan a QR code (and there are some awesome ones available in the App Store), but on Windows Phone, a QR scanner supports the hardware search button. This is a great feature that served me well a lot of times. Since Spotlight search doesn’t seem like a really suitable area for a QR scanner, the stock Camera app is the most logical choice for the feature. No, Apple has not announced the addition of a barcode scanner to iOS 7’s next beta version but if you have a jailbroken iPhone, you can get the functionality right now.

There are two rather similar tweaks that have been released in the Cydia store for adding a QR code scanner to the Camera app. Both tweaks have different price tags, but both offer varying bonus features as well.

Decode Camera

Decode Camera iOS Settings Decode Camera iOS Options

Decode Camera is a very neat tweak capable of handling both QR codes and data matrices. The tweak can be enabled by heading to the ‘Options’ list present inside the Camera app. There is a separate menu belonging to Decode Camera in the stock Settings app as well, but that houses nothing more than a single option that can toggle the tweak’s sound status. By default, Decode Camera plays a sound whenever it detects a QR code, and then displays a popup that includes the text or web link embedded in the code.

Decode Camera fetches for $1.50, and is available in the BigBoss repo of the Cydia store.


NativeQR iOS Option NativeQR iOS Result NativeQR iOS Contact

NativeQR is not capable of reading data matrices, so it just has a single toggle in the options pane of the Camera app. Despite that, the tweak is worth $1.99, which is more than Decode Camera. There is some logic behind this though, as the tweak offers the additional option of creating QR codes out of the entries in the Contacts app, so that they can be shared with others easily. For some reason, the new ‘QR Code’ option is only added to the sharing menu in the Contacts app, and doesn’t show up when you access contacts via the Phone app.

NativeQR is available in the BigBoss repo of the jailbreak store and works only with iOS 6 devices.

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