How to Use PassBook in iOS 6

PassBook is a new iOS 6 app that turns the iPhone into a wallet for tickets, loyalty cards, coupons, gift cards more.

The PassBook app doesn’t handle payments like Google Wallet, but it is a place to keep all the various cards and cruft that turns real wallets into George Constanza wallet.

PassBook is installed on the iPhone and iPod Touch with iOS 6, but the app is not available on the iPad.

Read: How to Use Passbook at Starbucks

PassBook Video Walkthrough


The app by itself doesn’t include any passes, or the ability to create new passes. Soon airlines, stores and even amusement parks will start offering to add passes to PassBook when users buy a ticket or sign up for a coupon. Passes also include the option to automatically alert users when it’s time to use them. So airline tickets and movie passes can pop up an alert in the Notification Center.

PassBook on iOS 6 - 1

Several apps already support PassBook, but until more businesses get on board, users can create their own passes for PassBook on the iPhone.

How to Make Your Own PassBook Passes

Users that don’t want to wait for companies to offer PassBook passes can create passes with a service called PassSource. This site is not affiliated with Apple, so I’m not comfortable putting my gift cards in this way, but it is a great way to create loyalty cards for stores like Best Buy and others.

User created PassBook passes
User created PassBook passes

The easiest way to create passes and loyalty cards is to go to on the iPhone. Here users can make passes for a variety of businesses, airlines and other items. There are also generic passes users can add to their phone.


In a minute I made a Best Buy RewardZone PassBook pass, a Kroger Plus PassBook pass and a fake Apple Store gift card.

Update: Some readers report the Kroger Plus card is not working. I’m looking for other solutions.

The site allows users to create passes right on the iPhone and then add them to PassBook. Users can also create PassBook passes on a computer and email the pass or a link to their phone.

This is a nice way to add passes to PassBook while waiting for developers to catch up.

Read: How to Use Panorama Mode in iOS 6 (Video)

PassBook Not Ready for Prime Time

While it is tempting to jump right in to using PassBook for iOS 6, most users will want to wait.

Developers are quickly adding support for sports tickets, movie tickets, coupons and rewards cards to apps and webpages, and in the real world there are plenty of chances for errors.

Another big hurdle is training for retail employees. Movie theater employees, cashiers and others are not trained on how to accept or use items in PassBook. Some employees will know what’s going on, but for the most part it will take some time for employees to accept PassBook as easily as paper.

Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch, shares his experience using PassBook at a movie theater. The experience was not great, but an app update today may solve some of his issues.

If you plan to use PassBook, be patient and remember it may be the first time a cashier has heard of the feature.

PassBook Compatible Apps

PassBook Apps.
PassBook Apps.

When you open PassBook, there is  a link to the App Store where compatible apps will show up. So far there are only a handful of apps that work with PassBook, but the list is constantly changing.

Update 2: MLB Teams Support PassBook Tickets

Starbucks showed up in this list yesterday, but as of today, the following apps are shown as PassBook compatible in the App Store.

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

The number of apps using PassBook will likely grow in the coming weeks as developers push out app updates.

Read: How to Use Do Not Disturb in iOS 6


  1. When I click App Store within passbook – I get a message that says it can’t connect to iTunes Store. As a result, I am disappointed. If anyone has any solutions please let me know. Thx

    • I think the store is just overloaded with 100 million other users doing the same thing. after a couple of dozen attempts, mine finally connected.

    • Sounds strange but if you manually change date to a year ahead in settings and then retry it will work. Once connected, don’t forget to reset correct date

      • Thanks Jess! Setting the date one year ahead lets Passbook open and the icon responds after you’ve reset the date.. Ignore the backup warning when you change the date to one year ahead though.

        That said Passbook isn’t much to write home about. I use Cardstar and I don’t have to download apps for affinity/loyalty cards.

        The affinity card scan problem that some folks are mentioning is thus: the flat glass bar code readers at merchants typically CANNOT read the code due to glare from the iPhone screen. A handheld bar code scanner, however CAN read the code since it “pings” the code with a laser directly…

  2. Does anyone know how to scan/enter loyalty cards? I open the Passbook app, click on the App Store and the only thing that happens is I connect to the App Store where it shows 7 apps – only two of which I use ( and Fandango.) There is nothing about scanning/entering loyalty cards.

  3. Go to settings>general>date and time>set automatically> off set the year one year later and then try it and then go back and set the time back to normal..

  4. A little concerned that the passsource website is asking for my website login and password. Since Best Buy can store credit cards and your rewards, this might not be such a good idea. I would suggest another app that does not require your passwords or other personally identifying information. Better yet, one of the apps that can scan your card and create it would be better.

  5. 4 hours later…. it is still a let down.
    Some of it works:
    – Fandago will let me buy the tickets and supposedly store them.
    – I suppose shop-a-holics will like sephora.
    – Ticketmaster looks to work ok, if you can find anything in the clutter.
    – By far the most useful app I see if Walgreens rewards card program

    – The only compatible airline ticket app is a german app I can’t pronounce. Where are rhe major airline’s apps?
    – MLB? Really? How many fans are in a big enough hurry to get to a baseball game that they need this? Sure it shows box scores, but that doesn;t qualify as a ticket!

    The whole thing seems buggy and unfinished. Definately not up to apples “it just works” standard.

    • i feel like the iphone 5 isn’t even really worth it after i got the software update i was like really this is all it does? very disappointing. I personally would rather just go back to the IOS 5. this whole update is disappointing.

    • It’s the individual apps that need to add PassBook compatibility. This has nothing to do with Apple. The documentation on how to do it has been on the App developer site for months. Kudos to those who were on the ball and ready in time for the release of iOS 6.

  6. Only the Lufthansa app is available in uk! Which is poor.

    Also to the person who says no major airlines, Lufthansa IS a major airline!

  7. Yeah, I’m UK based and was excited about the whole Passbook thing.
    But only Lufthansa appears, which I’ve never used, cos like, no money to fly.
    I’m looking for coffee shops, like Costa (& Starbucks, obv) and some high street chains? Tesco, Lidl, those kinda budget places?
    I have 2 zillion cards in my wallet, and this app sounded like some kind of dream.
    I hope UK integration doesn’t take too long… It’s a good idea, after all, especially if NFC starts moving in.

    • I’m with you. Should be in time. Just ashame they hadn’t got a broader selection available from the off.

      As for UK, our US friends needn’t complain … We’ve only got one pretty pointless available app. Really disappointing :(

  8. I disagree. I think that ‘in time’ this app is going to replace my ‘to thick with cards’ wallet…

  9. if you’re traveling on United, you can add your boarding pass from the United app boarding pass display on iPhone to Passbook by pressing [Add to Passbook] button that is right underneath your boarding group #. This worked for me. Just need to see if it shows on lock screen at time of boarding, that’s the next step later today…

  10. Travis’s fix worked for me….got up on Fandango with no problem and although I didn’t order anything yet, I was able to jump around on it with no probs.

  11. man this is really dumb. i got kroger plus card in passbook but when i went to scan it at the store it wouldnt work. I had to get out my original card and do it this really sucks. I keep seeing people have there iphone scanned at the register when im busy bagging I dont know what app there using. Does anyone know of a good wallet app that does work well?

    • I have been using Key Ring from MobeStream Media for years – works well – can sync across devices – but it does not work with all Scanners – some places the bar code can be scanned and other places it cannot – it does have a button for showing the numbers larger when the barcode will not scan to make it easier for the cashier to type in your number.

    • CardStar or KeyRing! One of them also has an option that if it doesn’t scan, you click on a “won’t scan?” button and it gives you the number of the card instead of the barcode, in clear, bold numbers. The cashier can type that in. Works wonders. I use both apps (can’t decide which one I like best), and the only card that hasn’t worked was a special saving coupon/card I got at Staples. Oh, and my card from Kroger at a gas station. But I have so many cards that “2” is a really low number! :)

  12. I have me points/rewards/membership cards in CardStar. Including a working Kroger card. Like I’m gonna PAY someone to have the card in Passbook.

  13. I did it. It took a while for it to load, but once it did, the apps showed up just like on the screen shot. Now I want to add my store loyalty cards.

  14. IPhone 4 I had to power my phone off after changing the year . Then the passbook app worked. Please not there are not many companies using this app, because it is still relatively new

  15. Is there any way I can put my existing loyalty cards onto Passbook? I just updated iPhone 4S to iOS6 and found the Passbook app on my phone. It says I can have store loyalty cards in Passbook, but I can’t figure out how to get them there. When I go to the App Store, I don’t see my stores (for e.g., Harris Teeter grocery store). I currently use Key Ring and just scanned my cards in. Or am I mistaken about Passbook and it doesn’t work like Key Ring?

    • You can create your own cards and put them into Passbook using but you would manually need to update your balance /points when you use it.

      The real benefit of Passbook is when your favourite merchants issue Passbook Passes (instead of the plastic and paper cards they do today).

      The best thing you can do now is ask your favourite stores when they will replace the plastic loyalty cards with Passbook Passes, and if they need help just tell them to get in touch with us. They can be issuing Passbook passes in less than a week.

      The sooner we can get companies to do away with these wasteful (and costly to produce and manage) plastic and paper coupons, store cards, loyalty cards, tickets the better

  16. So far I am not impressed with passbook. It is just a bunch of hype. I does not work on my phone, other than the intro screen.

  17. Just loaded my United ticket/boarding pass 23hrs59minutes before my flight you need the boarding pass! true test tommorrow at Dulles – backed up confirmation on Evernote, just in case 😎

  18. So you just showed us what different companies use Passbook–great. How bout you show us how to set them up? When I first launched Passbook it prompted me to download more apps. Not what I was expecting nor what I really wanted in an all-in-one system. Then when I downloaded the Ticketmaster app, and signed in it doesn’t seem to want to integrate in with Passbook; despite it being one of the vendors Passbook claims to support.

  19. Just downloaded the new version. Was so excited to see Passbook; however, when I download the apps they do NOT go into the passbook app?? What am I doing wrong?

Leave a Reply