Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Scanning QR Codes With Your iPhone

John Gruber:

My tip for scanning QR codes is not to use the Camera app at all. Instead, enable iOS’s hidden built-in Code Scanner app in Contol Center. Go to Settings → Control Center, and under More Controls, enable Code Scanner.


Worth keeping in mind, too, that when you use the regular Camera app to scan a QR code, if you open the link, it opens in Safari. With the Code Scanner app in Control Center, links open in a sandboxed in-app web view, which is more private. The only downside is that if you want to keep the opened the page around, you’ll need to open it in Safari from within Code Scanner.

Code Scanner is a faux app that does show up in search, but you can’t actually drag its icon to your home screen.

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Not sure I understand why?

My gripe with the special Control Code scanner is that it often freezes on my iPhone 7+ for ~30s, making it quite useless.

Code Scanner does not allow you to zoom, so in some situations you may not be able to scan a QR code. For example, if the code is on a slide and you are sitting further back in the room.

I have set Brave as my primary browser on iOS and the scanner thus opens all pages directly in Brave, not in a webview window. I really like it.

It is handy to use the Control Center widget for a brief time, but it is quite hidden-away, and Gruber is right point out it doesn't persist the web view which can be aggravating if you want to continue interacting with the website. (I've been to a restaurant where you don't just view the menu via QR but it's the only way to order!) Jef Raskin would be incensed at all these interface modes.

Why would anyone ever open any QR code? QR is a URL shortener, automatically in "paste and go" to your browser. Who knows what site your Safari is opening? Might as well click a "You Won" email link in spam.

QR codes are evil waiting to happen. At very least IOS readers should perform a QR "validity" and "preview" allowing block, reject, or go before opening. Maybe check against virus total.

@Adrian: On my iPhone 11 Pro, the Code Scanner appears to use the "2X" (longest) lens. That's as good as it's possible to get. (Obviously, "digital zoom" won't add any value to the optical recognition.)

@Dale: The obvious answer to your first question is that I'm at a bar, I want a beer, and I need to see the tap list. Suit yourself if you'd prefer to type in a lengthy URL, but I'm willing to bet that for most people pragmatic convenience wins.

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