You probably already know how to scan a QR code with your phone. It’s simple enough: just open the camera app, point your phone at the code, and tap the link. What if you’re on your computer, though? You could point your phone at the computer screen, but that inter-device dance isn’t necessary. You can open that code right from your laptop or desktop.
Scan a QR code in Google Chrome
Google Chrome users have it the easiest, as the browser has a built-in feature specifically to handle this situation. Right-click the image containing the QR code and click Search Image with Google.
This will open a Google Lens panel to the right of your browser window. At the top you’ll see your image. Below that you will see the words QR code: Text, along with the text contained in the QR code. If the text is a link you will also see a button for opening the link.
Non-Chrome users can still access this feature, it just requires an extra step. Simply head to Google.com in your browser of choice and click the Search by image icon, which is in the right side of the search bar.
You can upload an image with a QR code, if you want, or provide a URL for the image. Either way Google Lens will open and let you know what’s in the QR code.
Scan a QR code with your webcam
Sometimes you have a QR code on a sheet of paper but your phone isn’t handy. Your laptop has a camera, though, and you can use it instead.
In Windows 10 and 11 you can use the Camera app, which is included with your operating system. You can find this application by opening the Start menu and searching for “Camera”. Scanning is simple: hold your QR code in front of your webcam and click the QR code button.
Apple’s macOS does not have a built-in camera application capable of scanning QR codes. The good news: the free application QR Journal, which you can download in the Mac App Store, can use the webcam to scan QR codes.