Your iPhone has a completely hidden app. Here's how to find and use it

Apple tucked this useful tool away from your home screen and App Library, but we‘ll tell you where to look.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read

A hidden app? Yes, and it's so easy to find. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Apple's iPhone is full of hidden features and tricks we're constantly discovering. For instance, did you know the Notes app has a hidden document scanner? Yeah, pretty cool. The latest hidden feature that's been popping up on Twitter and blogs is another type of scanner, dedicated to QR codes, and it's better than the one built into the camera app. 

Yes, you can already scan QR codes using the shortcut in Control Center, or just open the camera app and it will scan a QR code. And you're right. Both of those methods work just fine. But the dedicated Code Scanner app takes the job one step further by presenting more of the information I want to see about a scanned code.

For example, the camera app uses a small notification at the top of the screen to open a link or show you information, whereas the dedicated Code Scanner app makes it very clear what's inside the QR code you just scanned. But here's the rub: The Code Scanner app isn't found on your home screen, nor is it found in iOS 14's new App Library. 


Code Scanner is an app on your phone, but there's only one way to find it. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

As far as I can tell, the only way to find the Code Scanner app is to use the iPhone's Spotlight search feature. Go to your iPhone's home screen and swipe down in the middle of the screen. A search bar will appear at the top of your screen, along with app and shortcut suggestions below. Type either code or scanner. As you type, you'll see the Code Scanner app icon show up as an app suggestion. Tap to open it. 

The flashlight icon at the bottom of the screen acts as a flash to illuminate a code if your phone is struggling to read it. 

If you don't have the QR scanner shortcut added to Control Center yet, here's a post showing you how to customize Control Center to your liking. For more hidden features, check out our list for iOS 14. We also cover more general, but useful features in iOS 14