Here’s how Passbook works in iOS 6

By , Sep 19, 2012

If you’ve been using iOS 6 beta, they you’re probably pretty familiar with the default Passbook screen that prompts you to open the App Store. Prior to iOS 6′s release just a few hours ago, the App Store page wouldn’t load, or at the very most remained blank.

Today, all of that changes. If you open the App Store link from the Passbook app, you’ll be presented with a introductory list of apps that currently support the fledgeling venture.

The list of the currently supported apps are as follows:

  • Fandango
  • Live Nation
  • Lufthansa
  • MLB.com At Bat
  • Sephora to Go
  • Ticketmaster
  • Walgreens

Since the possibility of me using most of those services is low, I decided to take the safe route, and download and install the Walgreens app. I mean, c’mon, there’s a Walgreens on every corner, isn’t there?

Upon initially loading the app, I was presented with a pop up outlining the new Passbook integration. It looks like Apple has indeed worked closely with the developers of this inaugural list apps.

After logging in (as it turns out I already have a Walgreens logon for some bizarre reason) I was able to easily create a new Walgreens Balance Rewards account. This would, in turn, allow me to create a rewards card that I could add to Passbook.

Once I selected the option to add to Passbook, I was prompted to select my preferred Walgreens location so that Passbook could display my Balance Rewards card using location services, when near a store. Pretty slick.

After those initial steps were completed, I was presented with a final version of my rewards card, coupled with an option to add it to Passbook via a blue confirmation button in the upper right-hand corner.

After adding the card to Passbook, I exited the Walgreens app, and opened Passbook. There sat my lone card — the Balance Rewards card from Walgreens — complete with barcode.

Tapping the information button in the lower-right corner of the card flips the card over to showcase additional options. These options include a link to open the installed Walgreens app, and two toggle switches — one for Automatic Updates, and one to Show On Lock Screen when location services sees that you’re near your preferred store.

Now I have a pretty firm grasp as to how Passbook will work going forward. First, you create the Passbook card inside an app, or on a website, and then you add the card to Passbook from that app or website. Undoubtedly, more and more stores with loyalty cards will hop on board. As time goes on, I see this becoming extremely popular, both with consumers and companies.

Is it better than NFC? Well, no. That’s a whole different beast in itself. But I think you can definitely make the argument that it’s more useful than NFC given our current environment, and lack of storewide support with regard to (POS) point of sale devices. Passbook is certainly the more conservative road to travel, and makes it possible for a much higher adoption rate among both consumers and companies.

What do you think about Passbook thus far?

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  • http://policydiary.com/ John S. Wilson

    Thanks! Great article and very informative.

  • Primo Sidone

    “Awesome, a Jeff article! What? No video? :( Too lazy to go through all this. Will wait for the video.”

  • Metroview

    You can try out and add sample passes over on passk it / samples.
    (put a dot between k and it and remove the spaces)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000945354629 Avery Massenburg

    That’s kinda interesting.. Wasn’t Starbucks on that list? I remember that being the only Passbook app when I was on the GM release

    • http://twitter.com/warrenskipper Warren Skipper

      Apple’s website says, “Starbucks pass is coming soon”.

  • Guest

    I still get the “Could not connect to itunes store”…

    • http://www.facebook.com/trevorsalmon Trevor Salmon

      Same here…

    • Eric Morgan

      IT’s opening day with a million downloads. Relax.

      • J M

        If it were cydia or something, fine. But with Apple, and so many people downloading the iOS 6 and wanting to check out new features, I think it is just shows really poorly that this is happening. We are more involved in the iOS news than 99% of the people who own an iPhone (in fact, at dinner the other night, a relative actually asked me what the new iPhone looked like as she texted on her iPhone 4S!!!).

        The fact that those people will try and use this app, only to have it fail will result in a poor impression and bad experience for them.

    • Harold

      im having that problem as well… suckkssss!!! :(

    • http://www.facebook.com/seanhoward Sean Howard

      There is a fix to that which was discovered by a friend of mine. Change the date on your phone to 2013 and go to the App Store. Select the update tab at the bottom (you will receive an error). Then go back into your date & time settings and put it back on automatic. Open passbook and hit the App Store button at the bottom and it should be fixed.

      • http://www.facebook.com/josh.myrwold Josh Myrwold

        THANK YOU!

      • Harold

        it worked… thank u

      • http://twitter.com/RosenZone Nate Rosen

        it worked! thanks a whole lot

      • http://twitter.com/OfficialMisterC OfficialMisterC

        Ok, well that kicks butt. That worked, Thanks for this!

      • http://www.facebook.com/debra.stroupford Debra Stroup Ford

        With everyone else thank you!!

      • Thomas

        Thanks

      • http://www.facebook.com/jojomp Josefa Pena

        how do I change the year?

      • michellelfelt

        Thank you so much! Worked perfectly.

  • http://twitter.com/AlamarMarine Spencer B

    Sorry Jeff, I’m still none the wiser, coming from outside the US, what the hell is Walgreens??

    • Stephen Lynch

      It’s like a 7-11, Wawa, or any other convenience store lol

    • http://www.facebook.com/kasits16 Matthew Harris

      Walgreens is a very popular pharmacy here in the USA they are everywhere. They don’t only sell medicine and stuff but they sell things like some toys, cards, personal care stuff etc.
      Go on http://www.walgreens.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.spencer.522066 Jeremy Spencer

    In Canada there is also: Cineplex Mobile

  • http://twitter.com/aomia syler

    What about the fandango app? I tried and there was nothing to give me that option.

    • Bill

      Buy a movie ticket with the app. The u get option to put the movie voucher in passbook

  • Chingiz Saidov

    unrelated. ive upgraded to ios 6 and now i cant connect to my wifi network. It shows im connected but the in five seconds it disconnects. what is happening! dont tell me to reset network settings because i already tried that. respond ASAP

    • http://www.facebook.com/dimitar.denchev.3 Dimitar Denchev

      Go airplane mode, connect to wifi and it should work, had the same problem, it took me some time to figure it out

    • narg

      The problem was an Apple web site used to check wifi connections. Turn off cellular and it will work.

  • J M

    Still can’t get over the fact that you need to download an app for each and every pass you want to store…

    • http://www.youtube.com/myjailbreakmovies/ Jeff Benjamin

      Not necessarily. There will be websites as well.

      • J M

        Fair enough, but for the ones listed already, unlike something like keyring, which contains the passes within itself, these require a separate app download, right?

      • http://www.facebook.com/jgstemen Justino Humeante

        I agree and think that it’s pointless almost.

  • stephanie clause

    i got walgreens but thats it. how do you do target?? and will starbucks show up soon?

    • http://twitter.com/promises64 Tamara

      To get the Target coupons, apparently you have to sign up for the mobile coupons using the SMS sign up before the coupons are available. Fail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoesBrat67 Barry Farrington

    I have both Live Nation AND Fandango – 2 apps that should link to Passbook. I tried the date change trick and that didn’t help. What am I doing wrong??

  • djr12

    I had high hopes for Passbook, but unless they right the ship soon this is going to be another Ping-level debacle. Nobody knows exactly what this app’s purpose is or how to use it, and, contrary to its reputation of making stuff that “just works,” Apple here has introduced a product that’s just not ready for prime time. I’m beginning to feel like they’ve lost sight of the fact that simplicity of use will never be enough if setup is so complex that nobody gets to use the feature.

    • Bill

      I disagree. It’s merely a wallet that it left up to other companies to design their apps to give u an ability to store something in the wallet. Could u just open the fandango app to pull up the movie voucher you bought? Sure! Could u just open the airline app to pull up your plane ticket? Sure! And soo on. But just imagine when jewel gets their stuff in there and Walmart and target and Starbucks and other airlines etc..it’s just convenience and nothing more. Basically would you rather rifle thru your pocket to find a credit card among many cards or open a wallet that had them neatly organized. That’s all it is

  • MM

    I don’t get it. What’s the point of having an app called Passbook, if I have to fill my iPhone with lots of apps to use the function? I’m confused.

    • Kristen O’Bryan

      I thought the exact same thing!

    • Alex

      I said the same thing on appnn. It’s idiotic. I have over 30 loyalty cards on a separate keychain. How the hell am I going to use this with my iPhone? Guess I’ll stick with the inferior, but greatly more useful, CardStar.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chorikawa321 Craig Koichi Noda Horikawa

        You could use an app called “Awards Wallet” http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/awardwallet/id388442727?mt=8

      • Tuscadero

        Keychain is another app for keeping up with loyalty cards. The bar codes can be scanned from your phone at most stores, too.

    • Tom

      Agreed. I don’t get it. I’m looking for an app that lets me put my cards, all kinds, in my phone with a photo of the front and back and is secure. This isn’t it. Very disappointed. I was hoping it would allow me to manually add my cards. I added Walgreens as stated above but now when I open passbook I get the walgreens card but unable to add another.

      • andy andyy

        keychain does that. this app is pointless

      • http://www.facebook.com/Insomniac625 John Filippone

        Lemon…its awesome and even gives you a “lemon” email address that stores and keeps track of EVERY receipt. Scans the front and back of every card, license etc

    • http://PassKit.com/ PassKit

      You don’t need to have an app to get a Pass. That is indeed one of the beauties of Passbook; especially for small and medium sized merchants that may not be able to invest in app development and then fight for real estate.
      You can distribute a Pass as an email, from a website, from an app, or even scanning a Barcode (eg if you are a bar owner and want to distribute Passbook coupons you could ‘advertise’ these coupons in your bar on the wall for someone to scan.

      Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion on Passbook.. not really helped by having the ‘app store’ button within the Passbook itself.

      As more businesses issue Passbook Passes (via whatever mean) I think the convenience and ease of the app will become more apparent. For now, it’s about asking your favourite shops, restaurants, etc.. when they will start issuing coupons, store cards and loyalty cards for Passbook.

  • http://twitter.com/brandonkwilcox Brandon Wilcox

    Working for me. A bit disappointed that Apple sort of misled us a little bit. The ad had several different passes for like Starbucks and the Sheraton. Where are those cards?

    • Bill

      It just launched. Give it like a few months. I guarantee well have hundreds. Just cuz apple was ready to launch the iOS 6 doesn’t mean Starbucks was ready to launch its card ya know?

  • http://twitter.com/RandyGWheeler Randy Wheeler

    I’ve opened Passport and downloaded the TARGET, WALGREENS, CVS, FANDANGO AND WINN DIXIE. Not one of them after completeing the sign in process has asked me to put them in Passport. LOST!!!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/RandyGWheeler Randy Wheeler

      JEFF, Help us out here!!!

      • Bill

        The feature wasn’t ready yet. Should be good now

  • wayne

    ok – I added the Walgreen app to passbook – each time I load passbook – it just shows me the walgreen card – I dont see how I can add any more ! – it doesn’t show me the original screen nor a link to the app store – what am I missing here?

    • http://www.facebook.com/susan.c.stein.9 Susan Cole Stein

      I am getting the same thing.

      • Duane Ronan

        Same problem. I have 3 cards but no way to launch the app store from Passbook? How do we add more cards?

  • Harold Hart

    Thank goodness for this post. I thought I was losing my mind after updating to iOS6 and Passbook was just plain goofy. First is wouldn’t connect to iTunes, which I later find out was a weird bug that could be corrected by advancing the year in settings to 2013 and then back to 2012. Then all I could find was the blank Passbook and a pointer to limited amount of apps. Oh well, I guess it’s just the normal pain of something new. However, with all the time between the original announcement of iOS6 and the delivery I would have thought these things should have been worked out. smh

  • http://www.facebook.com/coffeemee Susan Richards

    i got it to connect to itunes, and i chose the United app. It downloads a separate app on my iphone, but i didn’t get anything that connects it to the Passbook?? I tried to create an account with Target to see if I could get the screens shown in the posts above, but it couldn’t create me at this time. So when I open Passbook, all I am getting is a list of the available options, and the choice of OPEN or FREE (wanting me to download another app). Hmmmmm, this doesn’t seem as cool as I thought it would be. Am I doing something wrong?

  • prince

    how do you change the year?

  • HLV

    I think CardMobili is far better. Everything is in one place… one app!

  • Sebastian

    you should make a video about this

  • http://twitter.com/free2bhuman free2bhuman

    Passbook is a waste of space

  • Laura Lynch

    I don’t get it. It seems pretty pointless and really disappointing. It’s basically a mini app store with one store I can put on it. I’m kind of baffled.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nancardav Nancy Carol Davenport

    I use a app call key ring to hold all my cards. You don’t need to download load all the apps

    • Bill

      I don’t understand why downloading an extra app is a big deal. I have hundreds of apps on my phone. What’s a couple more? Plus I’m sure is was a demand of the companies. Like fandango says u can use our ticketing in your passbook as long as u make them get our app. I mean makes sense from a business perspective

  • maurid

    I call bullshit.

  • Tuscadero

    I’ve tried turning it off and on again. I’ve tried the advance the date trick. Still doesn’t work. Surely Apple has a QA dept? Worst debut for an app! Thumbs down.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tonya.leathers Tonya Leathers

      Mine does not work either, and I am getting frustrated!!

  • Miss Liz

    I’ve only tried the sephora app and I just went to the website, logged in, and clicked a button that said add to passbook and its in my passbook. I did t have to DL the sephora app or anything and it literally took like 1 minute.

    • Miss Liz

      Didn’t*

  • http://twitter.com/LauraReeder88 Laura Reeder

    Passbook would be alright if I didn’t need to keep apps that bog down my memory to use it. Keyring is far more superior for coupons and loyalty cards. Remove the need to store apps and I’ll considering using it

    • http://PassKit.com/ PassKit

      Hi Laura. Actually you don’t need an app to get a Passbook Pass. Unfortunately it’s a big mis conception – probably because Apple out a ‘App store’ link on the empty Passbook screen. Using PassKit, merchants can issue passes via email, website, in an app, on social media pages or even on traditional media (as a link of a barcode). In fact one of the beauties of Passbook is businesses can get their Pass (loyalty card, coupon, store card etc..) into someone’s phone without investing in or fighting for screen real estate with an app.

  • Passbook is next Siri

    Wish more places offered free wifi for those with wifi devices to use passbook.

  • Kt

    Just wanted to add that “valpak” app has a good source of local passbook ready coupons..