I don't know anything about Apple world... Our customer did have a Macbook (I think) and now he did switch to an iMac (I think with El Capitan?).

A simple barcode reader USB did work on old Mac. It did "beep" and it did write the scanned number properly on the screen.

With new iMac now the barcode reader does "beep" but it doesn't write anymore on the screen (on an Excel / Notepad / Browser etc etc etc).

Reading on the internet seems a well known bug of El Capitan.

Someone has tested some USB barcode reader and it works on El Capitan? For now not a big problem the cost... Or do you have a workaround?

Thank you

  • Most USB barcode readers just work like a keyboard and signal through the code as text. Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 14:31

1 Answer 1


A USB bar code reader should just work out of the box.

I am personally using a Symbol (aka Motorola, a.k.a. Zebra) bar code reader. Upon plugging it into my iMac running OS X El Capitan (10.11.6), it just shows up; no drivers were needed for the install.

Update: this is still working in Catalina on my iMac and Sonoma on my MacBook Air.

System Profiler

This is the exact model bar code reader I am using for this example: Symbol USB Bar Code Scanner PN# LS2208

Symbol barcode scanner side view Symbol barcode scanner product label

I have been using this (and another Symbol scanner, but I no longer have it) since I got this iMac with Mavericks (10.9.x) and I never need to install drivers for either of the scanners.

Doing a scan of a simple UPC bar code sends the characters to whatever application I am using (in this case, Notes)

scanning demo picture 1 scanning demo picture 2

  • Is it the Motorola, all right?
    – sineverba
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 15:02
  • Yes. Motorola owns the Symbol brand so it's one in the same
    – Allan
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 15:04
  • Just to note, when a barcode is scanned, the Symbol scanner works as a keyboard input. So open the notes app, create a new note and make sure that your new note has a focus. Then scan a barcode.
    – Jirik
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 15:09

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