Passbook (application)

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Passbook icon ios 8.jpg
IOS Passbook.png
The Passbook app's introduction screen on iOS 8.1 on iPhone 6
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Initial release September 19, 2012 (2012-09-19) (iOS 6)
Stable release iOS 8.1 / October 20, 2014; 5 months ago (2014-10-20)
Development status Active
Written in Objective-C
Operating system iOS 6 and later
Platform iOS
License Freeware

Passbook is an application in iOS that allows users to store coupons, boarding passes, event tickets, store cards, credit cards as well as debit cards via Apple Pay.[1] It was designed by Apple Inc. and announced at the 2012 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 11, 2012.[2] The application was released with iOS 6 on September 19, 2012.


The Passbook application displays 2D barcodes of following types: Aztec, PDF417 and QR. Each digital coupon or ticket is known as a "pass".[3] When the user launches Passbook for the first time, a brief introduction screen will appear with a button inviting users to browse applications on the App Store with Passbook integration. Passes can also be distributed online via Safari, or sent to the user via email.

Passes are synced between iOS devices using iCloud, and OS X 10.8.2 and higher also support opening passes to be sent to users' iOS devices. Although the application is available in iOS 6 or later, it is currently only available on iPhone and iPod Touch, but not on iPad.[4]

Passbook has the following features:

  • Displays 2D barcodes of following types: Aztec, PDF417 and QR.
  • Triggered by location. Up to 10 locations can be added to each Pass. A location is programmed as GPS coordinates (longitude, latitude, and altitude) and/or iBeacon UUID (The UUID is a Universally Unique Identifier which is a 32 ASCII character code or a code automatically generated from a name using the PassKit API).
  • Triggered by time of pass.
  • Localisation of the pass. Up to 35 languages can be stored per Pass.[5]
  • Pass changes can be pushed via the Apple Push Notification Service by the pass provider, or manually updated by the user themselves.

As Passbook is only officially provided by Apple for iOS, several third party developers have created unsupported applications for other operating systems, such as Pass2U, Passes or PassWallet for Android & BlackBerry, that support importing and viewing Passbook passes.

Passbook Ecosystem[edit]

Passes Exist in a Larger Ecosystem. Passes are created as a package. The Package is a Pass Template (created in a Pass Designer) + Relevant Data + a Private Key. Passes can be updated at anytime using the PassKit API and an iOS app can interact directly with passbook passes.

Passes are presented and managed by the Passbook App. Systems and apps interact with passes via the PassKit API.

An interaction (or transaction) between a Pass and a system is facilitated by a 2D Barcode at the moment. There is speculation that this may later be achieved though iBeacon technology.[citation needed]

Passbook Pass Distribution[edit]

Passes can be distributed via email, SMS, MMS, the web, social media, an app, and as QR codes (using the built in Passbook scanning app in iOS 7) [6]

Third Party Solutions for Pass Distribution:

  • Bleu Meetings is a SaaS offering from Twocanoes Labs LLC for meeting & event managers to create, distribute & manage custom Passbook passes and deliver registration & schedule notifications.
  • Waterfall is a tool for the distribution of time and location-enabled boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards and more.

Pass scanner, redemption, providers[edit]

Name Remarks
Pass Scanner An application used for scanning passes (and QR, Aztec, and PDF417 codes). It can display the message encoded in large type for easy entry or it can display a web page in an embedded UIWebView or it can perform intelligent updates (automatically invalidating passes, incrementing loyalty cards, etc.) for passes created at PassSource. It allows for:
  • Validating the scanned pass against the PassSource database.
  • Automatically invalidating coupons.
  • Automatically incrementing punch cards and loyalty cards.
  • Automatically decrementing class cards.
  • Providing custom web-app interfaces for modifying pass information.
  • Using custom URL endpoints when scanning any QR, Aztec, or PDF417 code (pass or paper).
  • Integration into any backend using the API.
Pass Verifier An application for scanning and verifying Passbook passes:
  • Scan: Barcodes can be scanned in order to add passes directly to Passbook.
  • Verify: Passes can be validated by pass issuers (in-store processing), offline and online verification is supported. Integration into any backend is supported by API.
CodeREADr A scanning application for iOS and Android for businesses to Scan Passbook passes and push the scan data back to their own redemption system or a third party redemption system. Supports online & offline validation. Scan-Mask. HTML responses. The Web control panel gives admins control to provisoin scanning permissions to multiple employee scanning devices, export scan reports, integrate through an API. PCI compliant. 21 CFR Part 11 compliant.
PassCheckout An application and web service for in-shop processing service of PassBook passes issued via PassKit.[7]

Some of the services provided include:

  • Receiving of scanned code, via keyboard input, webcam or USB Barcode scanner.
  • Validating the scanned pass against the PassKit database.
  • Providing configurable processing options per template, for example: Redeem, Invalidate, Add Value, Deduct Value and UpdateManage shop locations, users, pass type options.
  • Overview of transactions, export to Excel.

This service is currently running in Beta with many new features in development and coming soon. Paper coupons, plastic cards, leaflets, mass emails & SMSs (spam) are unfocused and out of fashion strategies for providing strong consumer incentive. They are neither targeted nor interactive or cost effective. Also having to access multiple mobile Apps/Websites is many times inconvenient.

The mobile wallet in association with's management solution collects and manages loyalty cards, coupons, gift cards, store cards, member cards, event tickets, stamp cards and boarding passes right on the consumer's smartphone, providing huge technological advantages. Promote offers, reward, attract and facilitate consumers.


External links[edit]