QR code scanner for the Mac - free of charge as software or as a handheld scanner

Scan the QR code on the Mac

Today my reader Roland from Switzerland wrote me the following lines and asked for help with the selection of a QR code scanner for the Mac:

Good evening Jens, In Switzerland, practically all inpayment slips in e-banking business will soon only be possible using the printed QR code as an attachment to paying bills (previously still using the IBAN number).

Since I want to avoid doing my banking with the iPhone, I am looking for a QR code reader that I can use via the USB port on my desktop.

My question to you: is there an Apple-compatible QR code scanner in the accessory trade? I didn't find anything in Switzerland. Thanks for the occasional feedback.

Since I was not aware of which barcode scanners can also read QR codes and are compatible with macOS Catalina or older systems, I had to do some research before I had the right answer (s) ready.

The Mac app QR-Journal allows you to scan QR codes with the webcam or the iSight camera on the Mac.

The Mac app QR-Journal allows you to scan QR codes with the webcam or the iSight camera on the Mac.

Software solution: QR journal for iSight and webcams

The first - even free - solution is the Mac app QR-Journalwhich can be found in the app store. This uses the iSight camera built into iMac and MacBook models to scan QR codes.

If you own a Mac without a built-in camera, you can also use any iSight-compatible camera. If I got it right, any webcam that the Mac can recognize without additional drivers would be considered.

Compatibility with Swiss eBanking

At first I wasn't sure whether the software could also be used in conjunction with the eBanking app that Roland has to use in Switzerland. But he was so friendly and gave me direct feedback:

Thank you, Jens, it works wonderfully with the app you submitted in the link! I had already tried various other QR apps, without success! But it's very easy with the QR Journal. Reading in via the webcam also works. However, this should be different within the numerous banking institutions. (vive la federation Suisse, grin!).

The CSL hand scanner is wired and connected to the Mac via a USB-A plug (Photo: Amazon).

The CSL hand scanner is wired and connected to the Mac via a USB-A plug (Photo: Amazon).

USB handheld scanner with macOS compatibility

The hardware solution is probably the better option in the area of ​​eBanking, since it works with every Mac app. A suitable model with support for macOS from version 10.12 (Sierra) and higher is the CSL barcode and QR code scanner. Since this scanner comes with a USB-A connector, a USB-C to USB-A adapter is required to connect it to current MacBook models. You can go here without hesitation the inexpensive adapter cables from Amazon Basics use.

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Supported Codes

The CSL scanner decodes many types of 1D and 2D barcodes at high speed including QR, Data Matrix, PDF417 and many others.

The scanning of bar codes or QR codes is also possible with a hand scanner. However, you have to make sure that you can find a mac-compatible hand scanner like this one from CSL (Photo: Amazon).

The scanning of bar codes or QR codes is also possible with a hand scanner. However, you have to make sure that you can find a mac-compatible hand scanner like this one from CSL (Photo: Amazon).

Compatible 1D barcodes

In the area of ​​barcodes, the CSL scanner offers support for the following codes:

  • 2of5 Datalogic, 2of5 Interleaved
  • codabar
  • Code93, Code11, Code39, Code39 full ASCII, Code128
  • EAN8, EAN13, EAN14, EAN128
  • ISBN
  • MSI
  • UCC-14
  • UPC-A, UPC-E
  • GS1 RSS14, GS1 RSS14 stacked, GS1 Limited

Compatible 2D barcodes

The scanner supports these variants for two-dimensional codes:

  • PDF 417, PDF417 90 digits
  • QR code, QR code 90 digit
  • Data matrix, data matrix 90 digit
  • Aztec, Aztec 90 digit

I hope you get on with this information. I would be interested in which areas of application you use the two scanner solutions and whether everything works for you.

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The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de

8 comments

  1. Andreas Husi says:

    Beautiful good day
    I downloaded and installed the QR-Journal app from the App Store. Success: Exactly ZERO. Not a single one of five tried QR codes was recognized, the built-in webcam (face-time camera) probably showed the image, but the only button that remained active was “Close”.
    macOS: Big Sur 11.3. Is that too new for the app?
    Best greetings from Switzerland
    Andreas

  2. Villiger Thomas says:

    Good day
    I read the article about QR code scanning of the payment slips in CH and tried it with QR Journal, which unfortunately didn't work. Do you have instructions ? Thanks very much

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Hello Mr Villiger! Unfortunately I have no idea what would work there. I don't use QR readers and I'm not from Switzerland either...that's why I have no experience with the topic. :( Sorry. VG, Jens

  3. Martin Bauer says:

    Hello Jens, contrary to the published comments, reading QR codes with QR-Journal works very well for e-banking in Switzerland. The saved jpg recorded with the Face-Time camera only had to be converted into a pdf. So thanks for the tip, Martin

  4. xandr says:

    QR-Journal is a nice try, but not usable. Scanning possible, but not translating QR code.

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      That seems to depend on the application. For online banking, it seems to work for some readers. Or what do you mean exactly with "translate"?

  5. Peter Bruhn says:

    Hello Martin. I downloaded the QR-Journal app from the App Store and installed it on the iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2017). I wanted to read a 3x3cm QR code with a very fine structure from the tax office. At first without success. But with a 3,8×3,8 cm QR code from the advertisement with a rough structure, it worked immediately. Then I enlarged the QR code of the tax office in the printer to 6x6cm and held it in front of the camera, now it worked. (iPhone12 and iPadPro could read the 3x3cm QR code immediately.) The resolution and close range of the iMac is probably not sufficient for the app.

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