Apple Pay on iPhone 5s: Not Without an Apple Watch

Apple Pay was launched earlier this week alongside the release of iOS 8.1. While the latest update is compatible on the iPhone 5s, it turns out that Apple Pay is not. Instead, you’ll have to have an Apple Watch to get Apple Pay to work on older iPhones.

Apple Pay is the company’s own digital wallet service to take on the growing market of digital payment systems that have already been released by companies like Google.

Apple Pay allows you to store your credit card information on your iPhone and use it to buy stuff at any store that supports Apple Pay. The iPhone 6 has an NFC chip that allows you to tap the pay terminal at a store to instantly buy goods. It’s perhaps the easiest way to buy stuff and you don’t have to hand over your credit card to the cashier. It’s all done wirelessly between your iPhone and the pay terminal.

Apple Pay also works with mobile shopping apps, allowing you to pay with a single touch of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in shopping apps that support the feature.

Apple Pay

The iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 also support Apple Pay, but are only limited to in-app purchases since neither devices have an NFC chip inside for wireless payments. As for the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and the iPhone 5, it turns out that Apple Pay isn’t compatible with these devices without the help from the yet-to-be-launched Apple Watch.

Of course, Apple skimmed over this important detail and just slyly referenced it on its website in a chart all the way at the bottom, but it can be easy to miss. In turns out, even if older iPhone devices could technically support Apple Pay, users can’t take advantage of it at all. However, the Apple Watch will work with the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and the iPhone 5 when it eventually launches next year, and the wearable device will support Apple Pay

So pairing an Apple Watch to your older iPhone will essentially make it compatible with Apple Pay, but only through the Apple Watch, meaning that you’ll only be able to use it in stores and not inside of shopping apps.

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The fact that the iPhone 5s doesn’t come with support for Apple Pay is rather baffling and many iPhone 5s users have taken to social media to voice their displeasure. It’s perhaps even more baffling since the iPhone 5s is already equipped with Apple’s Touch ID, which is a huge part of what makes Apple Pay work so smoothly and stay secure at the same time.

However, we can’t be too surprised by this, considering that Apple is notorious for only bringing new and exciting software features to newer devices, mostly to persuade consumers to upgrade to these newer devices so that they can take advantage of the newer features. Because if users don’t buy new Apple products, the company doesn’t make any money.

If you happen to have a newer Apple device, such as an iPhone 6 or an iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3, here’s how to set up Apple Pay and get going with digital payments.