Of all the features and apps that have been rolled out in iOS 6 by Apple, Passbook is probably the most confusing one. A lot of people have mistaken it for a Google Wallet competitor, while others think it manages your receipts (like Lemon). In reality, Passbook is a service that anyone but Apple will be hard-pressed to offer. Thanks to Passbook, iOS 6 users can save their airline boarding cards, tickets and coupons in one place, but the best part is that anything saved in Passbook can actually be used in real life! Thanks to this amazing service, you don’t have to keep tiny slips of paper somewhere safe, because the items you save in Passbook are recognized by a lot of companies (all of them in the US, for now). A great aspect of passes saved in the app is that you can purchase them from the App Store, or while browsing the web, from your iPhone or iPod touch. Passbook is intelligent enough to alert you whenever it thinks you might need one of your passes, and the notifications it sends out can be location-based, time-based, or both, depending upon the type of items stored in the app.
Of course, Passbook is not going to become as mainstream as credit cards overnight, and you have to give the service some time before it can propagate all the major airlines, restaurants and shopping spots. Just within hours of iOS 6’s release, about half a dozen companies have added support for Passbook. The list currently includes Lufthansa Air, Fandango, Walgreens and Ticketmaster, with a whole lot more expected to be added regularly. The way the cards are displayed on your iPhone depends upon the vendor, but most companies are going to rely on QR codes to give the contents of the cards easy recognition on all their terminals or outlets.
The thing that makes Passbook really useful is its interactive nature. Not only do the passes stored in your iPhone display more information as compared to an ordinary paper ticket or boarding card, Passbook is capable of sending out automatic alerts and reminders as push notifications. The reminders are sent whenever you are in the vicinity of a coupon’s source, or the pass is about to expire. This feature of Passbook ensures that none of your passes go unused, and you never forget all about them at a time when they can prove to be of use.
To view all the passes available for purchase in your region, hit the App Store button in the Passbook app. The notifications for the app can be controlled under the Passbook menu in the stock Settings app. Passbook is only compatible with iOS 6 on iPhone and iPod touch, and should appear on them as a preinstalled app as soon you update your device.
This guide is a part of our guide to new features in iOS 6, which covers the following topics:
- Panorama Camera Mode
- Facebook Integration
- Shared Photo Streams
- Brand New Maps App
- Passbook (Currently viewing)
- New Native iPad Clock App
- Phone App Improvements & Do Not Disturb
- Privacy Control
- Siri Improvements
- Remodeled App Store
- Safari Improvements
- Mail App Improvements & VIP Inbox
- New Accessibility Features
- List Of Other Lesser Known Features & UI Changes