Introduction to Passbook

Introduction to Passbook

Related posts about Passbook:

Passbook is an application included in iOS 6 which allows a user to store tickets or passes. These passes can be downloaded from other applications, from the browser or from the email. They have a front space to show the most important data and a back space to show some details and additional options.

Passbook is not available for iPad.

Back options

On the back of some passes, the user can activate the “Show On Lock Screen” option. This option will show the pass in the lockscreen at a specific hour or location. The option “Automatic Updates” will update the pass automatically without any user interaction.

In order to provide this options to our users, we need to have implemented an Apple Push Notification Service.

Types of passes

There are 5 types of passes:

  • Boarding Pass. This pass style is appropriate for passes used with transit systems such as train tickets, airline boarding passes, and other types of transit.
  • Event ticket. This pass style is appropriate for passes used to gain entry to an event like a concert, a movie, a play, or a sporting event.
  • Store Cards. This pass style is appropriate for store loyalty cards, discount cards, points cards, and gift cards.
  • Coupons. This pass style is appropriate for coupons, special offers, and other discounts.
  • Generic. This pass style is appropriate for any pass that doesn’t fit into one of the other more specific styles.

Source: via Kate on Pinterest


Passes contain barcodes that can be scanned to display their information. Passbook supports the following 2D barcode formats: QR, Aztec and PDF417. Next to the barcode image, we can add a text label to make the barcode human-readable in case it could not be scanned.

Best Practices

In the Passbook Programming Guide, there are some recommendations to take into account when designing and creating our passes. I highlight the following best practices:

  • Add a link to your application in the back of the pass.
  • Use an alternative text to the barcode.
  • Create policies regarding when passes can be redeemed. Remember that these policies are your responsability: control duplicates and expiration dates.
  • On the front space, the contents of fields must be brief. Show the rest of the information on the back of the pass.

Passes in Android

There are some applications in Google Play that import and store Passbook passes, so Android users can choose between different options.
One of the best is PassWallet from Attido Mobile (PassWallet – Passbook + NFC).

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