How to Read Barcodes With iPhone Camera

by Spanner Spencer
Jupiterimages/ Images

Apple's iPhone features a built-in digital camera on the back of the device, which can be accessed and utilized by a host of different applications. By installing a bar code-reading application, you can take a photo of a book or product's bar code and use the application to decipher the information, or to perform an online search based on the bar code's data.

Step 1

Launch the "App Store" application on the iPhone and search for "bar code." Select and download a bar code-scanning application of your choice, such as "RedLaser," BeeTag" or "Bakodo."

Step 2

Launch the bar code-scanning application by tapping its icon on the iPhone's home screen once it has finished downloading.

Step 3

Tap the option to capture a bar code directly from the iPhone's camera.

Step 4

Point the iPhone's camera at the bar code you want to read, and position the bar code within the on-screen reticle. If required, tap the button to take a photo once the bar code is properly aligned and in focus. Many bar code-scanning applications take the photo automatically once the bar code has been detected.

Wait for the application to decipher the bar code in the captured image. The information contained within the bar code will be displayed, or the application will perform an online search for the same product.


  • The original iPhone and iPhone 3G don't have automatic focus in their cameras, which can make it difficult to capture a readable image from smaller bar codes.


  • Two-dimensional bar codes are also known as "QR Codes," and can contain more than just a product number. The codes could provide contact details, a web address, email address, or any other form of text-based information.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images

About the Author

Spanner Spencer has been writing since 2005 for a variety of print and online publications. Focusing on entertainment, gaming and technology, his work has been published by, "The Escapist," "GamesTM," "Retro Gamer," "Empire," "Total PC Gaming" "The Guardian," among others. Spencer is a qualified medical electronics engineer with a Business and Technology Education Council certificate in technical writing from Huddersfield Technical College.

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