Barcode Scanner app for iPhone

Updated October 9th, 2019.

I just learned of an iPhone app called “Snappr.” It’s amazing.

UPDATE: Snappr’s been discontinued. Try RedLaser or ShopSavvy instead.

Launch Snappr, then “scan” a barcode by taking a picture of it using your iPhone’s camera. The picture is sent to Snappr’s servers, where the code is actually read. In a few seconds they tell you how much that thing would cost at,, and a few others. That way, before you buy that big flat-screen TV as a present for your older brother’s 47th birthday this coming July so he can watch college football games while typing his fingers off in an effort to make the world a better place for Mac and iPhone users everywhere, you– Brother Spencer– could check that you were getting a good deal.

I will demonstrate with a box of Rice-a-Roni, recently purchased at my local grocery store. Let’s find out whether I got a good deal.

Here’s the bar code (as seen in the Snappr app after I took the picture)…
Snappr Rice-a-Roni barcode

And here’s how much it would cost at “Meijer,” wherever that is.
Snappr Rice-a-Roni image and info
I don’t want 12 boxes but it’s nice to know that it would cost $14.71 for the dozen. I only paid 99 cents for my box so I’m feeling pretty good.

Let’s try something a little different: a CD.

Here’s the bar code (a little blurry)…
Snappr CD barcode

And here’s what comes back from Snappr.
Snappr Willie Nelson Greatest Songs
Pretty neat. Of course, I already bought it, but suppose I was in the store looking at CDs and was only thinking about buying it. Armed with the price info from Amazon & Yahoo I would know whether I should buy it at the store or not.

Pretty cool stuff.

Snappr says that you have to have a special macro lens on your iPhone to take the bar code pictures properly, but I say you don’t. I took those bar code pictures with my stock iPhone 3G S and everything turned out fine. If you DO want a macro lens, try to find a “Clarifi” case for your iPhone (from Griffin), as it has a little slide-out lens and it does make a difference. You can always try taking a picture of a bar code without the macro lens– it’s a free app, so it costs nothing to try. (The iPhone 3G S’ camera is Apple’s best camera yet, so maybe the Snappr people just need to update their website.)

Copyright 2008-2022 Christian Boyce. All rights reserved.

Did this article help you?

Maybe you'd like to contribute to the
Christian Boyce coffee fund.

Want some some quick iPhone how-tos?
Visit me at

Looking for quick tips about Macs?
See my One-Minute Macman website!

Please use the “Sharing” buttons to share what’s interesting with your friends. It helps your friends and it helps me too. Thank you very much!

Christian signature
Christian Boyce

Please Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑

Read our Privacy Policy