How to Scan NFC Tags or QR Codes

How to Scan NFC Tags or QR Codes

Need to read an NFC tag or scan a QR code? The process is straightforward, but will vary depending on your phone. Here we explore the process for both iPhone and Android devices.

March 20, 2019

How to Scan an NFC Tag with an iPhone

For iPhone, the steps depend on which model you have.

iPhone XR, XS or newer

  1. Locate where the NFC tag is located on the object you are scanning
  2. Tap the top of your iPhone to where the NFC tag is located on the object
  3. Upon read a notification will appear at the top of your screen. Tap it to launch the experience.

iPhone 7 through iPhone X

  1. Download the Decode NFC App
  2. Launch the app and select NFC
  3. Locate where the NFC tag is located on the object you are scanning
  4. Tap the top of your iPhone to where the NFC tag is located on the object

Notes

  • The newest iPhones have NFC enabled natively without the need for an app
  • Phones before iPhone 7 do not have NFC capability beyond Apple Pay
  • For more, see our full guide on iPhone NFC capability

Get a Dedicated NFC Reader App

If you’re using an iPhone 7 through iPhone X, you’ll need a NFC reader, like the Decode NFC App:

Get Decode NFC Reader

How to Scan an NFC Tag with an Android Phone

  1. Locate where the NFC tag is located on the object you are scanning
  2. Touch the back of your device to where the NFC tag is located on the object
  3. There is no step 3. Your device should open the experience after reading the NFC tag.

Notes

  • When trying to scan if an action is not immediately triggered, slowly move your phone around the NFC touchpoint until an interaction is triggered.
  • Most Android phones natively have NFC capabilities. Check our Android NFC capability article to be sure yours does.
  • Depending on your phone manufacturer, NFC may be switched off by default. If your phone supports NFC but still doesn’t interact with NFC objects, see our Android NFC Guide for more information.

How to Locate an NFC Tag in an Embedded Object

NFC Call to Action

If you are having trouble triggering an NFC action and have ensured that NFC is available and enabled on your phone, take the following steps:

  • Look for a call-to action that describes the desired action. For example “tap or scan here”.
  • Be sure your phone’s NFC antenna is within 1 cm of the NFC tag (it is located on the top of iPhones and on the back of Android devices)
  • Different Android phones have the NFC antenna located in different places along the back of the device. Because NFC tags can only be scanned from a very short distance it is important you properly align your devices NFC antenna with the embedded NFC tag. Make sure you know where both are located when trying to scan. If an action is not immediately triggered, slowly move your phone around the NFC touchpoint until an interaction is triggered. Remember this location for future scans.

How to Scan a QR Code on iPhone and Android

  1. Open the camera app
  2. Place the QR code you want to read within view of the camera
  3. If your device presents a popup or banner with the link tap it to launch the experience

Optional

Get a Dedicated QR Code Reader App

Learn More