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How to scan everything in Starfield

Planets, flora, fauna, and resources

The player in Starfield scans a pot in a kitchen of their ship.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bethesda Game Studios

Wondering how to scan everything in Starfield? Scanning in Starfield is quite useful — it’ll allow you to unlock more information about your surroundings, including nearby resources and landmarks. It can be a bit confusing to completely scan everything, though, but we’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything we know about scanning in Starfield, including how to unlock your scanner, how to scan everything, and how to upgrade your scanner.

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How to scan in Starfield

First, you’ll have to unlock scanning by completing the One Small Step story mission, which you’ll get early on in the game. Once you’ve unlocked this handy tool, you’ll be able to scan almost anything. Simply pull up the scanner by pressing LB on Xbox or F on PC. When looking through the scanner UI, scannable items, NPCs, and enemies will appear highlighted. Now, you’ll be able to scan anything, although there are different methods for scanning different things.

How to scan planets in Starfield

Scanning planets works a bit differently from the rest of the scanning methods we have covered below, but it’s still pretty easy. To scan a planet, fly close to your planet of choice (increasing your scanner’s range, which we’ve detailed below, or purchasing certain skills will make this easier) while in the same system and head to the starmap. As long as you’re close enough, you’ll be able to see a scan planet option in the menu on the left side of the screen (otherwise, you’ll get a "Scan Unavailable" error). Using this will unlock more information about the planet in question, including a handy "Show Resources" button that appears under the planet’s information and unlocks a resource-focused map of the planet.

The planet Decaran III in Starfield as seen from orbit with the resources scanner activated.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bethesda Game Studios

To get 100% survey data for a planet, you’ll need to scan some things from the categories listed below, not just the planet itself. Planets also have traits that can be scanned, which are marked with "Unknown" markers in the scanner UI. Approach these areas to scan them and you’ll receive additional information about the planet and its traits.

How to scan flora in Starfield

Flora (or plants) in Starfield can be scanned by pulling up the scanner while exploring a planet on foot. When close enough to your chosen plant, use the scanner to learn more about it. Scanning a plant just once isn’t enough, though — to unlock all information about a given species of plant, you’ll need to find several different specimens and scan each one (scanning the same plant multiple times won’t count). Scanning progress can be tracked via the box on the right side of the screen when looking at a plant with the scanner, and increasing this percentage will unlock more information about the species of plant.

How to scan fauna in Starfield

Like flora, you’ll also need to find and scan fauna (or wildlife) several times to unlock 100% scan completion. Scanning progress can also be tracked on the right side of the screen, though you’ll also receive information about if the targeted species is hostile or passive right next to its name.

How to scan resources in Starfield

Unlike flora and fauna, you’ll only need to scan a resource once to unlock all of its information. Other than that, scanning resources works the same as scanning flora and fauna — simply approach the resource you’re looking for and scan it to unlock more information.

The player in Starfield arrives near Chthonia in the Wolf System in their ship cockpit.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bethesda Game Studios

How to upgrade your scanner in Starfield

If you’re hoping to make your exploration process a bit more efficient, there are quite a few upgrades that you can purchase for your trusty scanner. Within the Science skill tree, these three skills and their respective upgrades can help improve your scanning experience:

  • Surveying - Adds zoom and boosts range of scanner
  • Scanning - Lets scanner identify rarer resources
  • Astrophysics - Improves information given by scanning planets

That’s all the information we’ve got on scanning in Starfield. Although, there are a few extra things worth checking out, including a few mods for the scanner. Our list of all 1,629 planets here will help you find things to scan. And, once you've finished scanning, don't forget to learn how to sell your survey data.

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