How to Scan QR Code on MacBook?

MacBooks don’t have a built-in tool for scanning QR codes, which is annoying when you just want to scan one quickly. The best thing to do here is scan it with your iPhone and send the decoded link to your Mac using AirDrop.

But if you don’t have your iPhone with you, you’ll have to rely on a third-party app. For example, there are apps like QR Journal, ScanQR, and Code Reader – QR Scanner to do the job for you.

Using these apps, you can either scan the code with your webcam or select an image stored on your computer. Let’s show you how to scan a QR code on MacBook easily.

Scan QR Codes on MacBook with QR Journal

QR Journal is probably the most popular third-party app for scanning QR codes on Mac. It’s free, fast, easy to use, and doesn’t need an account to get started. Here’s how to use it:

Download the QR Journal app
  • It might request permission to access your Mac’s webcam, so grant it.
  • To scan a QR code, click “Scan.” It’ll then launch the webcam.
To scan a QR code, click Scan.
  • Hold your QR code in front of your Mac’s webcam and wait until it gets recognized. If it’s too dark around, you can adjust the camera contrast for better capture.
Hold your QR code in front of your Mac's webcam
  • Once the app decodes the code, it’ll reveal the hidden link, text, or email in a new window.
it’ll reveal the hidden link
  • Now, if you have an image or screenshot with a QR code in it, you’ll have to choose the “Import” option instead.
choose the Import option
  • When a new window pops up, drag the image down to the empty field, and it’ll decode the code for you.
drag the image down to the empty field

Scanning with QR Code Reader – QR Scanner

The QR Journal should meet most of your needs. Yet, you’ll want to look at this app as well, especially if you’ve got multiple QR codes and want to read them all at once. Here’s how:

download and install QR Code Reader - QR Scanner
  • Launch the app and give it the necessary permissions when asked.
Launch the qr scanner app
  • You’ll find options to switch between scanning with the webcam or uploading an image from your MacBook in the tabs at the top.
  • For scanning with your webcam, go to the “Scanner” tab, click “Scan QR Code,” and hold your code before the camera.
Scan QR Code
  • For saved images, click “Choose pictures to scan” at the top-right, and locate the images you want to scan.
click “Choose pictures to scan
  • You can also go to the folder containing the images, multi-select several ones, and choose “Read Code” from the Share menu.
  • The app will immediately process the code’s content and display whatever information it holds. You can then copy it to your clipboard.
  • It also lets you “Save” the decoded information for later use and click any link to open it directly in your browser.

Use If You Don’t Want to Use an App

If you’ve only got a single QR code to scan, a web app might be more convenient than downloading an App Store app. And that’s when you’ll find handy.

  • Open a browser on your Mac, navigate to, and click “Scan Now.”
navigate to, and click Scan Now
  • You will see the option to upload a QR code image. However, there’s no way to use your Mac’s webcam.
  • Click “Select QR Image” and locate the image with the QR code on your Mac. Or, simply drag and drop it in the upload area.
simply drag and drop qr code in the upload area
  • You’ll see the unveiled info at the right side box marked “Scanned Data.”

What If the App Can’t Detect My QR Code?

Sometimes, QR codes may not be read well because of poor picture quality or if the code itself is damaged. For example, there could be a squiggly line in the middle. Hence,

  • Make sure the QR code is clear and not covered up, then try scanning it again.
  • If the problem persists, try enhancing the picture quality with an upscaling app like img2go or scanning the code from a different angle.
  • Also, check that your MacBook’s camera is working correctly and there is enough light for the QR code to be read easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have further queries regarding scanning QR codes on MacBook? Here, we’ve answered a few commonly asked questions that might help.

Can I scan printed QR codes with my MacBook?

Yes, you can scan printed QR codes using your MacBook’s camera with apps like QR Journal or QR Scanner, just like we showed. Be sure the printed code is well-lit and not smudged or wrinkled for the best results.

What if my MacBook doesn’t have a camera?

If your MacBook doesn’t have a camera, you can still use your phone to scan the QR code and then send the information to your MacBook through email or AirDrop. Or you can connect an external webcam to your MacBook.

Can I create QR codes with my MacBook?

Yes, you can create QR codes right from your MacBook. In fact, all three apps we mentioned above let you generate QR codes. Just select the “Create” or “Generate” option in the app, enter the info or URL you want to encode, and it will make a new QR code for you.

Final Notes

So, there you have it. If you didn’t know how to scan QR codes on MacBook, you now have several ways to do so.

It’s important to remember that some QR codes can lead to malicious websites, so you must be careful when clicking the links. Notably, you’ll want to avoid apps that automatically take you to the revealed link.

Also, always use a trusted scanning app. If your code contains personal information, you wouldn’t want it to be misused.

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