How to Add Apps to Passbook on iOS

iOS 6’s new option, Passbook, might not have as many options as users, or even Apple, would like it to have at the moment, but once it gets moving, hopefully more stores and businesses will sign up. Yet even with it’s limited offerings, it can still be beneficial.

Passbook offers the chance to keep all your tickets, coupons, passes, and cards in one place. There’s no more clipping and organizing, then flipping through everything in your wallet once you get to a store or business trying to find just that one item. All you have to do is open up the Passbook app on your iPhone.


The first time you open up Passbook, it displays the above screen. It shows your choices of the types of tickets, passes, cards, and coupons you can add. It also gives you a handy link to the App Store. This is because the cards, etc., that you add to Passbook are all done through apps. The link automatically takes you to the section of the App Store that has all the Passbook apps.


The listing of the number of stores and businesses that have developed apps to work with Passbook has already grown in number just in the short time since its release. And the companies that have been added are big names like American Express and McDonald’s, although for right now, the McDonald’s app is only available in France, but hopefully it will expand to other countries soon. The apps are downloaded just like regular apps.


For many of these apps, they’re the same apps that were already existing, and the Passbook option has just been built into it. This is the case with the first Passbook app I tried – Walgreens. I had been given a Balance Rewards card, a card for a new savings program Walgreens is utilizing, but couldn’t find it. No matter. When I opened the app, it gave me the option of either entering my card, getting a card from my existing account, or starting a new account.


After signing up for the Balance Rewards card with my account, it pops up with a mobile version of the card and gives me a button to add it to Passbook. Looking around the app, I can check out the bonus buys that are available to me with the Balance Rewards card.


I downloaded a selection of the apps, but many of them are ones I just plan to use someday, such as the one for movie tickets. The other app that I can use now is Target. It not only stores gift cards, but also allows for coupons. I was able to pull up weekly coupons for the store, and it made a pass just for this week that I was able to add to Passbook.


Going back to Passbook, both of these, Walgreens and Target, are now stored there. Going shopping in either store, I only need to show the cashier my iPhone, and they will scan the cards/coupons from there. Additionally, when entering these stores, these cards/coupons will now pop up on my phone when I wake it to let me know there are deals there that I could take advantage of.

This all works great, but what I especially can’t wait to use Passbook for is the airline tickets. Currently American Airlines and United Airlines have signed on. I print out my own boarding passes currently, and this way I’ll be able to do it all from my phone. It should be interesting as well to see what other businesses will sign on to Passbook. If the businesses that are included have enough success with it, it shouldn’t take too long before it becomes a popular feature with as many business as you can imagine.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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