In-camera QR code scanner terribly slow on many Google Pixel devices


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Google Pixel technology is undoubtedly one of the best when it comes to the Android experience. The software on Pixel phones over the years is tested to e reliable and devoid of bloatware when compared to other OEMs. Any feature is carefully visualized and crafted before bringing to implementation. One such feature that most Android users find indispensable is the in-camera QR code scanner.

With the global pandemic situation changing the way we live, the implementation of QR codes has become the new norm. Be it in easing out contact tracing or making payments, one needs to just point the camera viewfinder on a QR code. The required action i.e. opening a link, making payment, etc. is done without ever needing to install any scanning app. Pretty neat, it sounds!

Of late several Pixel users are complaining about the slow response of devices while scanning QR codes directly from the stock camera app. Earlier it used to take 1 to 2 seconds for the code to be scanned. However, the Google Camera updates have greatly accelerated the time needed to scan a QR code. Post the updates, QR codes take like 3 to 5 seconds just for the link to appear. Maybe, Google Camera is taking longer to process the QR code because of how smart or capable Lens is increasingly becoming.

The feature of the in-camera QR code scanner was working perfectly for most of the Pixel owners. However, few issues related to slow QR Code recognition have been brought to light majorly complaints by Pixel 5 owners.

There is no setting to activate a QR code reader in the settings section of the camera unlike Pixel 2. One needs to point the camera onto a QR code to enable it to read it automatically and display a link to tap on.

Pixel 3a users on the other hand find the QR code recognition feature to be prompt and impeccable. They have no complaints so far.

On searching the Google support community, the issue of slow QR code scanning on Google Pixel devices is not new. It has been logged by users last year as well.

The QR code scanner on my pixel 5 is horrendously slow. I’ve tried everything. Can someone help?  
The QR code scanner on my pixel 5 is terribly slow to pick up any code it sees. In a world filled with having to scan QR codes any time you enter a venue for a drink or a meal etc (thanks covid), it is very frustrating for all including the people behind me waiting to do the same thing. Can anyone help me with this? 
I had a pixel 2 prior to having the pixel 5. The pixel 2, I found, was much better..
1 Reply

Users have started comparing the performance with their counterpart iPhones and they are dismayed. iPhone’s visual image identification capabilities are far superior though definitely less smart than lens but much quicker and user friendly.

While comparing the performance of the feature on iPhone and even Galaxy S10, users feel that convenience, as well as performance, are not up to the mark. With other devices, it is easier to parse the QR code from any angle. Whereas, with the Pixel smartphone, one needs to position the camera to be exactly square and sometimes it won’t read at all.

Google is yet to respond to the issue of the slow in-camera QR code scanner. Hopefully, it fixes the issue in the next major Android 12 and the performance gets seamless across any device.

Till the time, it doesn’t get resolved, install a separate third party QR scanner app. People have suggested Cognex, Google Lens under More, QR & Barcode Scanner PRO, Anycode Wallet. These apps, do add a fraction of delay, but definitely faster than the current Google camera abilities.

Share with us your feedback and any such issues you have encountered during your Pixel’s life.

Rashmi is the Editor of PhonesWiki. She launched PhonesWiki back in 2018, turning it into a top spot for phone news and updates by 2019. Now, it's your go-to for leaks and solutions to phone problems. Her first phone was a Nokia 6610, but now she relies on an iPhone 14 Pro as daily driver. Rashmi's a tech enthusiast through and through, always tinkering with gadgets and gizmos. When she's not writing, you'll find Rashmi hanging out with her beloved pet, enjoying some quality playtime. Have a tip or just want to say hello? Contact her at


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