How to easily scan a QR code in Android 13

Person using phone to hover over QR code

Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

Once upon a time, to scan a QR code on Android, you had to install a third-party application. Most of the time it was fine. Every once in a while, though, you’d install an app that contained malware or ransomware, and things went decidedly wrong.

In reaction to this, Google added the ability to scan a QR code in Google Assistant, but that was flaky at best.

Sometimes the QR code would scan, and other times Android would take a photo or the assistant would tell me what I was looking at.

I needed my phone to just read the QR code.

This became especially problematic when the pandemic hit and many restaurants I frequented added QR codes to every table, so their servers didn’t have to come into contact with customers. It was a smart solution to a difficult problem.

Also: How to install Android 13 on your Pixel phone

But when Android wasn’t exactly designed to easily scan those codes, just ordering a meal became problematic. And because I know what I know, I wasn’t about to install a third-party QR code reader on my phone. You see, I’m all about minimalism when it comes to apps. Unless I absolutely needed it, it wouldn’t be installed.

Turns out I needed this QR code reader.

Fortunately, with Android 13, Google fixed this problem. Indeed, with Android 13, reading QR codes is now quite easy. Let me show you how it’s done.

How to easily scan a QR code in Android 13


The only thing you will need for this is a device running at least Android 13. That’s it. Let’s move on to scanning those QR codes.

Also: How to make a QR code for free

The QR code reader feature focuses on Quick Settings tiles, which are a collection of tappable tiles at the top of your notification shade. You can add and remove quick settings tiles, as needed, to easily access certain features. One such feature of Android 13 is the QR code reader.

Double pull down your notification shade and tap the pencil icon to edit the quick settings tile section.

The Quick Settings tile edit button.

Changing Quick Settings tiles on Android 13.

Image: Jack Wallen

Scroll down until you see Scan QR code listed under the Hold and drag to add tiles section. Tap and drag this tile until it’s near the top of the notification shade’s quick settings tile section.

The Scan QR Code Quick Settings tile in Android 13.

Added Scan QR Code Quick Settings tile to the notification shade.

Image: Jack Wallen

Once you’ve placed the Scan QR Code Quick Settings tiles where you want them, tap the left-pointing arrow at the top left of the window.

Scan QR Code Quick Settings tile in Android 13 notification shade.

Added Scan QR Code Quick Settings tile.

Image: Jack Wallen

Using the Scan QR Code Quick Settings tile

At this point, whenever you need to scan a QR code, all you have to do is pull down the notification shade, tap the QR code scanning quick settings tile, and point the camera at the QR code.

Also: How to assign a different language for apps in Android 13

There’s no need to install a third-party app, open Google Assistant, or even bother with your phone’s camera. Just a few quick taps and your phone reads those QR codes like the champ it is.

Very easy.