Windows Phone 8 did a number of things fairly well, including an easily accessible QR code reader. This changed a bit as time went on, and it got shoved somewhere into the anal fissures of the Camera app under something called Bing Vision, but at least it was still there. For those of you contemplating upgrading to Windows 10 Mobile, please be advised that Microsoft has decided to completely remove this functionality, at least natively.
The only way to get back this functionality is through an app in the app store. There are dozens of QR code readers available, most of which are free, or can be had for dirt cheap. But be advised, that not all QR code reading apps are created equal. While all of them can be accessed through the apps list, some of them are designed as lenses that can be actuated from the lenses function in the Camera.
The one I prefer is called Barcode Lens. It's simple and immediate, no need to press some stupid menu just to actuate the function. Just open it up, point and shoot. It also has a nifty history function just like the native Bing Vision. Certain functions require you to purchase the app for $2 USD, which I paid for with my Bing Rewards.
Ultimately, while you can get the functionality back, honestly they're all bloated, unnecessary nonsense compared to the simple native implementation.
Much like the music discovery function I discussed several weeks ago, this is one of those changes that doesn't really make any sense. Microsoft keeps harping on and on about feedback, but seriously, who asked for this to be removed? What user group, secret society, big oil company, or environmental interest group lobbied Microsoft to remove this function that's been around since the beginning?
Not all hope is lost yet. Those of you paying attention to the latest Insider build developments will notice that in Redstone build 14267, Microsoft has actually rectified the music discovery feedback I previously discussed, putting the function straight on the Cortana's front page rather than hidden inside its voice command. While Microsoft's design strategies nowadays tend to be very questionable, the company has consistently demonstrated that it listens to customer feedback, so if you want Microsoft to bring back the native scanner and put in a much more sane location, let them know through the Windows Feedback app.
This examination was done with OS build 10586.107 and firmware revision 01078.00027.15506.02004, which is currently shipping and updating with the Lumia 950. This Lumia 950 is not in the Insider program.