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QR Code Smartphone Apps And Phone Software

For your phone to be able to read QR Codes you will need to have a QR Code scanning app or QR Code scanning software installed on it.

For those without an iPhone or Andriod, some of the following sites offer the option of downloading via PC and then transferring and installing the software to your phone, or visiting with the website with your smartphone via its browser for direct download and installation. Some also have the option of setting the application up on your phone as a device bookmark.

  • Scan For iPhone - All we can say is "sweet"! It just gets on with the job of scanning QR codes in a no-nonsense no-fuss sort of way. User-friendly scan history (with a really cool map) and a feature which really caught our attention is their support for scanning reverse image/inverted colour QR codes. They also have an Android version and have recently released a Windows Mobile version as well.
  • Optiscan - A great iPhone app that understands all the trickier encoding types and has definitely kept up with developments in QR code technology.
  • QRafter - One of the consistently good scanning apps for iPhone and a great pick - fast, reliable and broad range of user features. It also has a great iPad version.
  • ScanLife - Supporting not just QR codes, but Datamatrix and EZcode 2D barcodes as well as regular UPC/EAN product barcodes, Scanlife is a fully featured solution for all of your barcode scanning needs. Scanlife is another one of the tried and tested apps that's been around for a long time and has been regularly upgraded to keep its place in the lead pack. Available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Java and Symbian.
  • For Android devices our clear favourite is Scan with QR Droid coming a close second. Scanlife is also a solid performer that is well put together by people that clearly understand QR codes at a technical level.
  • I-Nigma - Popular and reliable QR code scanning app that's been around forever and comes in all the popular flavours - iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile.
  • Quickmark - Another name that's been synomous with QR code scanning for years. It has the mandatory iPhone, Andriod and Windows Mobile version, but Quickmark is also available for a wide-range of other phones including Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony-Ericsson, Kyocera, Fujitsu-Siemens, LG, Vodafone and Huawei. It's even got a version for the Palm Treo!
  • Kaywa Reader - Supports an extensive list of Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Sony-Ericsson Java and Symbian phones, as well as having a Windows Mobile version.
  • Nokia Barcode Reader - Most Nokia's now come standard with the Nokia's own scanning software, but this is good for the ones that don't - N78, N80, N82, N93, N93i, N95, N96, E66, E71, E90, 6210 Navigator and 6220 Classic.
  • Google Zxing - For Android and iPhone.
  • Blackberry Messenger - Comes standard with most Blackberry's these days. Check out Blackberry App World for more QR codes scanning apps for Blackberries.
  • Esponce QR Reader - An honourable mention to Yalla for putting together a good Windows Mobile scanning app that does most of the things you need and supports most of the QR code data types that you're likely to come across. Check out the Windows Mobile App Store for more QR codes scanning apps for Windows Mobile devices.

While QR codes themselves conform to an ISO standard, not all app developers are as diligent with standards compliance as they should be, so, sadly, there are a lot of QR code scanning apps out there that aren't all they could be and tend to become challenged by QR codes containing anything more complex than a simple website URL.

Our blog post Not All Scanning Apps Are Created Equal presents a general discussion of the situation, however a quick browse through the user reviews for QR code scanning apps in the iTunes App Store, Android Market, Blackberry App World or Windows Mobile App Store will highlight which ones are worth having, and which have known issues.

Desktop QR Code Software & Applications

  • QRreader - QR code reader software for your desktop computer that uses your webcam to do the scanning. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux but needs Adobe AIR installed.
  • Bar Capture - Capture and decode QR Codes from your computer screen
  • Leadtools Barcode - A fully featured SDK for Silverlight And Windows Phone developers
  • Wordpress QR Code Plug-In
  • Joomla QR Code Extension
  • Barcode Maker 2D Adobe InDesign CS3 QR code plug-in by Teacup Software
  • Mobile Barcoder - Firefox add-on for generating QR codes for a URL from your browser
  • QR-Code Tag - Google Chrome QR code plug-in for generating QR codes for a URL from your browser
  • ScanLife For IE - Internet Explorer QR code add-on for generating QR codes for a URL from your browser

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