How do you scan QR codes and barcodes in Windows 10 Mobile?

One question we see a lot of around these parts is how do you scan QR codes in Windows 10 Mobile?

Back in the days of Windows Phone 8.1 you could just launch the camera and dive into Lenses for Bing Vision. That app from Microsoft included a nice QR and barcode scanner, but it has since been deprecated and is not even in Windows 10 Mobile.

Unfortunately, for now, the short answer to the QR question is you need a third-party app in Windows 10 Mobile. Seeing as Windows 10 Mobile is not yet complete Microsoft could still cram one in somewhere. However, we don't see this feature exactly being a priority for them either.

So, what to do?

To be clear, there are easily a dozen or so QR and barcode scanning apps found in the Store. Most range from the super simple and free to a full-featured one for $1.99 or more. Today, I'm going to focus on the two I find most useful and reliable, both from the same company. One is free, the other more feature complete one runs for $1.99 (but it runs on Windows 10 desktop as well for tablet owners).

QR Scanner RS (Free)

For myself, QR Scanner RS is likely one of the better free ones on the market. It's fast, and it has a few features on board including letting you pick your search provider and adjust some camera settings too. The app is no-frills, but it has zero ads, launches quickly and you can donate 99 cents to the developer to buy them a cup of coffee.

Now, I'm not saying I have tried every QR scanner out there, but I like this one so far under the free category. If you are looking to scan QR codes for Windows Store apps or basic barcodes for products you can't go wrong. There is an occasional nag to rate the app in the Store, but I can't fault a dev for that as these apps live or die by your votes and reviews.

QR Scanner RS is available for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile devices. Remember, if you like it give the dev a good review and maybe throw them 99 cents for a coffee.

Download QR Scanner RS (Free)

QR: Qrscannerrs

QR Scanner+ ($1.99)

If you are looking for something a little more powerful, actually a lot more, then grab QR Scanner+. The app is unsurprisingly made by the same dev who makes the above QR Scanner RS. Considering I liked the free one so much, its paid bigger version should not be a shock.

So what does QR Scanner+ do that makes it worth the $1.99? Probably the best feature is the ability to control how fast the scanner goes using the camera. Indeed, you can pin a Rapid Scan tile to your Start screen, and this version of the app is so fast to scan you may miss it if you blink. Just look at a sample of the Settings and you may be shocked that a QR scanning app could offer so much.

This app can also handle more codes, including:

  • URL
  • contact information / business cards (vCard, meCard, bizCard)
  • calendar event / appointments (vEvent)
  • geo-location
  • eMail address
  • eMail message
  • phone number
  • SMS
  • WiFi
  • text
  • SEPA Credit Transfer (Giro Code)

Now, the question is, do you need all of that? If you are just scanning QR codes for the Windows Store then no and grab the free one above or something else. However, if you want the most full-featured QR scanner out there is, then this may be your app.

There're two other things to note:

  1. QR Scanner+ has a free seven-day trial, so feel free to give it a go
  2. QR Scanner+ runs on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 tablets and PCs too

You may not need a QR scanner for your Surface, but hey, I like the idea that this works everywhere for my $2. Anyway, give the trial a shot and see if it meets your needs.

Download QR Scanner+ ($1.99, free trial)

QR: qrscanner+

Don't like my choices for QR or barcode scanners? Fair enough. Shout out in comments what you like better and let others know too (and why you think it's better!).

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Remember when Windows phone 7 hace it build on Bing? Steve Ballmer remembers
  • True fact: A lot of Android phones and no iPhone, to my knowledge, has built-in QR code readers either. Just saying, not sure this is a banner feature for an OS ;) While I'd like it there as well, if you look at what some of the third-party ones can do, you'll see it's more than just reading QR codes.
  • Not a banner feature, and probably not all that well known. But it was still nice. :p
  • Quite the reversal, WP went from tons of banner features like Office, Xbox, social integration, hubs, intuitive one handed UI, the Me tile, to one niche feature and people wondering if they'd like fries with their 'burgers......
  • "Quite the reversal, WP went from tons of banner features..."
    Same 3% market share. Those features did nothing to sell phones.
  • To be fair, Daniel - at that time, MSFT really wasn't doing much to sell the OS/Phones either. It was a pretty lackluster effort. Those features may not have increased sales, but they are what attracted a significant number of the initial fan base.
  • @karelj Yep, me included. I miss all the integrations that lended to the ease of use of the device. Separating functions is not often the answer, unless it has just become too bloated/unwieldy (not the case here). WP7 was fairly novel -- a reimagining of the smartphone operating system. Ever since then, it's been converging with the mainstream, for better or worse. It's ALL about UX for me.
  • Amen. I too am a little frustrated with the "well this or that feature and it was and still is only 3%". Not to mention it is a lot more in several markets where Nokia did have tradition, presence and made a real effort to market Lumias. :) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yes, much of what originally attracted me to WP seems to have gone away.   Bing vision, with QR codes, barcodes, book covers, translations, etc. should all be part of Cortana.  It used to exist.
  • Exactly, bar codes used to be built in too. They are removing too many apps and features.
  • i was amazed people downvoted this.  Ofc windows 10 phone should have the same features it had in windows 8 and 7 phone as well as the new ones and qr codes was a huge shortcut for finding stuff, now i have to type the names in gurrrr.
  • Yes, but don't you think a more cohesive and complete OS like Microsoft had in WP7, with the added benefits and features in the newer versions would have done much better right now? While it's true those features didn't sell, I'm sure the primary cause for WP's low marketshare is other things like timing (iPhone, Android, carriers -- there's a comprehensive post on that), and lack of proper flagships to look up to (and the lack of apps for many people). I think Microsoft had a very good momentum in adding features to Windows Phone 7. Remember the great quality, shiny features in NoDo? Or even better, Mango? Then they went down the rabbit hole of resetting and rushing (which created more bugs), pleasing Nokia, then a delayed (and rushed yet again) Windows Phone 8.1, then buying Nokia, then slowly trying to integrate with it and get a strategy that finally makes sense, and then resetting for Windows 10 Mobile because it is the way to go (and I hate to repeat it, but it is even more rushed, leading to bugs and lag). None of this is Microsoft's fault, though, and is pretty unfortunate. Circumstances haven't exactly been in their favour. And nobody can see the future, can they?
  • @Centrally Windows It is in fact ALL Microsoft's fault. Circumstances are the way they are becuase of decisions and non-decisions made by them. They had the same opportunities to read the market and predict trends that the other systems did. They chose to keep resetting the mobile operating system instead of building on it for several years. They decided that their strategy would be to strive toward a more universal solution with each approach. A perfectly fine decision, but they could very well have just continued to build on WP7 and make it more robust. Apple hasn't yet announced a universal OS, so they chose a different strategy. In my opinion, they should have kept building on WP7 while building this ideal "universal" OS in the background. Potentially, they could have maintained a higher marketshare this way up until the release of the universal OS, and they could potentially have carried all of those features into the universal OS so there would be no gap in that transition. I completely agree with everything else you said, especially about the rapid and exciting improvements we were setting as WP7 continued to develop. And I'm not hating on Microsoft or their decisions, just saying that their decisions cannot be extricated from their current position.
  • You guys forget that Microsoft had to change kernel in order to move away from WP 7. It doesn't change the fact that WP 7 itself wasn't rushed -- albeit very late to the party, too, which led to the rush of WP 7. In the end, it most certainly IS Microsoft's fault for not realising that mobile was the next big thing.
  • Would you provide the link to the post you mentioned, please? Sounds like an interesting read.
  • That's a pretty sorry way of looking at things...
  • Not true... as ordinary perople had no idea that these features even existed! IF phone sellers would have bothered to care for the customers needs and not only try to sell the latest iPhone in stock, then MAYBE a lot of those built in features would had made people to think twice about Windows Phone! I blame the totaly crappy marketing for this. Microsoft has made the best mobile OS that nobody knows about. The blame falls entirely on the Microsoft marketing division that doesnt seem to be able to sell ice in the desert, in my opinion!
  • yeah..thats true...their marketing division is the worst I think. and this is the reason behind all those rising of rival platforms.
  • True, true, true... Marketing.
  • I think for a lot of sales people if somebody comes in dead set on getting the latest iPhone they'll just take that easy sale and move onto the next customer -They won't push somebody to a specific OS unless they particularly love it themselves, they will mostly just get the sale soon as possible though
  • Well, said... It's time people, and MS realize this.
  • i loved windows 8.1 denium lumia 930 but like you all i saw was a huge marketing problem, microsoft will go down in history for terrible marketing on things like xbox one which lost the race, windows mobile 7 and one drive changes, these points alone have helped cripple microsofts mobile dreams, hell onedrice changes though microsoft went back on it, it already pushed alot of people away from buying the 950 and thats all marketing well and a cheap ass plastic body gurr lol
  • In all fairness, this new strategy won't either. Expect 18 months after Lumia 950/XL the platform will be retired as the software corruption of Android will be complete.
  • So your guys moved from "Windows Phone is dead" to "windows phone will be dead"
  • i tihnk once windows have 400 million users it doesnt mater what device casue people will buy for tablets(which windows ones sell well) pc desktops and laptops too will get apps that can also work on the phone, hum i think windows phones can only go up but microsoft need to release features like camera swaping on skype like face time have always had, apple pay equivelent up and runining, all features it used to have likge gestures and qr reader, it needs to make phone that look great and flagships that are pure premium and not just in specs.Hell i bet they releaS THE NEXT FLAGSHIP WITH A PREMIUM BODY BUT TAKE AWAY THE SD SLOT AND REMOVABLEW BATTERY CAUSE THATS THE KIND OF DUMB ASS THING THEY DO.  I hope im wrong cause even with the hamburger menu i find 10 mobile 2best in the mobile os world, windos 8.1 denium is number 1 to me still.
  • Apps sell phones, not the OS. Windows is the best desktop OS because it has developer support. On mobile the developer support is with IOS and android and that is what people buy. However, why get rid of features that made your OS better than the competition.
  • Well if that's going to be the attitude....why try to compete at all then?  One of the things Windows Phone was trying to do was push this "so simple you can whip out your phone, glance at what you need to glance at, put your phone back in your pocket and get back to life."  MS tried to differentiate themselves from the competition by having features others didn't, and just because that 3% market share didn't increase any with these unique features, MS is going to just ditch them?  I get that things have been real negative around here lately, Dan...but c'mon.  That "Same 3% market share. Those features did nothing to sell phones." comment is really hogwash.  
  • "those features did nothing to sell phones"... And yet at the time of those very features, you were like "Oh these features of WP7/8 are so good"
  • "You know what will drive market share?  Removing all of these useful features" - Said Nobody, Ever.
  • Lol.. Right.
  • Haha, well put
  • Increased marketing efforts, but same market share could mean nothing changed. However, it could also mean, for every new adopter, some existing customer base quit the platform. We also have to acknowledge the fact that windows phone users chose windows over others despite various perceived disadvantages of the platform. A QR code scanner is not going to make us leave now am; there are a dozen other things that should have made us quit, but didn't.
  • True.... But, saying that MS. Knows we'll stick around no matter how inferior their products are is kinda a slap in the face to fans....
    One thing MS DOESN'T understand is ""IF IT AIN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT""""
  • UC Browser has in-built in QR code scanner I use it when I required :)
  • Come on, Daniel, ​Windows on phones is playing catch up since its inception and it's certainly not the removal of features that is going to help sell more phones either! Microsoft hasn't sold many Windows Phone because (1) they didn't advertise it enough, (2) because quite a few large carriers are still not playing as partners, (3) because of the app gap and, (5) because, till recently, it was targetting solely the consumer market, (6) because it came late to the party... And one can find many other reasons but none will relate to the presence of interesting features!
  • Well, said...... Why are some fans here constantly making up arguments, and excuses, for WP's shortcomings?.... That's no way to promote progress..
  • the app gap and the impression people have as faulse as it is is keeping them away.  Marketing could fix that.  Features like qr might not be phone sellers but they certainly should be have to have features especially when all windows mobile phones before windows 10 had it as a feature.  Then again features like gestures that is not in windows 10 currently could be influental to new buyers.  On 8.1 even my iphone friend slavered when they saw my speakerphone come on automaticly by laying it on the table.
  • @Daniel Rubino:
    You're right in saying that these features (alone) didn't help Windows Phone to gather a stellar marketshare.
    But it was comforting to know that they were there; and removing them certainly didn't help in getting more phones with Windows out there...
  • Exactly.
  • Poor Marketing did nothing to sell phones.
  • Complete lack of Marketing is the reason WP never took off. Windows Phone 7 was not ready to compete with Android and iOS either way, but there was no marketing push for these phones whatsoever. Carriers wouldn't even mention them to walk ins. The reason Windows Phone still clings to barely 3% in the US is because of Windows Mobile 6.x carry overs that are still hanging around. If you look back to 2010 most research firms predicted that by today Microsoft's platform would either be above or tied with Apple in terms of marketshare, but their numbers didn't take into consideration Microsoft's great plan to have the phones sell themeslves...
  • True. But snatching "features" out isn't going to help anything either. Just sayin'...
  • You forgot wireless sync and podcasts