How to Use Passes in Your iPhone’s Wallet App

Wallet (formerly known as Passbook) is a handy yet underrated app that comes pre-installed on iOS. It’s the one with the card holder icon that you’ve probably buried in a folder of things you never use.

The app is perfect for keeping event passes, travel tickets, loyalty cards, and more accessible and ready to display at a moment’s notice. Apple refers to these information cards as “passes.”

wallet icon

Today we’ll see how you can add passes to Wallet and what else you can do with them. We’ve covered the Apple Pay aspect of Wallet before , so we’ll leave that out in this article.

Add a Pass to Wallet

Adding a pass to Wallet is easy, but it’s not always obvious how to do so. That’s because the workflow involved is not predictable at times. You’ll see what we mean by that as we explore the three basic ways to add a pass to Wallet.

1. By Scanning a Code

From Wallet’s own welcome screen it’s clear that scanning a barcode is one way to add a pass. Tap on the Scan Code link to begin. The catch here is that Wallet identifies codes only from certain brands/stores, but don’t let that bother you. Install Pass2U Wallet (Free) and you can bring even unsupported barcodes into Wallet by first scanning them into Pass2U Wallet.

wallet options

2. From a Supported App

The second option on Wallet’s welcome screen (Find Apps for Wallet) leads you to a list of the top apps that Wallet supports. Install one of these, or any other, Wallet-supported apps and look for the “add to Wallet” option within it. This is the tricky part and you might have to hunt around a bit for that option, because it lives in a different location in each app.

As you can see in the screenshot below, different apps have different names for the “add to wallet” button. Tap on that button once you find it and the corresponding pass information will show up in Wallet once you confirm the add request.

add pass options

3. From a Pass File

In the email app on your phone, open a booking confirmation email for a flight or an event and see if it has an attachment with a .PKPASS extension. If it does, tap on that file to download it. You’ll then automatically see a preview of the pass with an Add button at the top right, which allows you to add the pass to Wallet.

pkpass file

You can view .PKPASS files on Android as well. You’ll need a passbook app like the ones we have mentioned in the Wallet for Android section below.

Rearrange Passes

Passes stack up in Wallet in the same order that you add them, with the most recent ones at the top of the stack. It’s helpful to rearrange them in the order you’ll need them, and iOS allows you to do that. Tap, hold, and drop a pass to the right location and it shows up there! If you have trouble activating the drag-and-drop function , try holding your finger on the pass for a couple of seconds before you drag it out.

If you have, say, booked flight tickets for your family, you’ll get the option to add passes for all of them to Wallet on your phone. These passes stack up as a separate bundle and you can view them one at a time by swiping through them left and right.

add multiple passes

View, Share, and Delete a Pass

Tap on a pass to view its details and once again if you want to return to the pass stack. In the “full” view of a pass, you’ll see the most important details that go with it. For example, for flight ticket passes, you’ll see the flight number, departure and arrival dates and times, passenger name, and so on.

When you’re viewing a pass, pay attention to the “i” information icon at the bottom right. Tap on it to reveal extra information, such as seat numbers for travel-related passes.

For some passes, you might even see an Automatic Updates switch in the information section. With this switch set to ON — and it is by default — you don’t have to worry about missing updates on flight timings and such.

To be on the safe side though, you might want to refresh passes manually when you’re viewing them, especially the time-sensitive ones. It’s as easy as placing your finger at the top of the pass (in the info section) and pulling it down to release.

pass info

The information section is also where you get the option to share the pass with a friend or a family member. Tap on Share Pass and you’ll see the standard Share menu that you’re used to seeing in most of your iOS apps.

Tap on the Remove Pass button to delete a pass from Wallet anytime. Deletion of expired passes isn’t automatic, which is probably a good thing. You’ll have to remove each pass yourself after it’s past its validity. It’s a pity you can’t remove passes in bulk.

View Passes on the Lock Screen

For some passes, besides the share and remove options in the info panel, you’ll find a Suggest on Lock Screen switch. If you enable this option, Wallet reminds you at the right time that a movie, event, trip or similar is coming up by displaying the relevant pass on your lock screen. Useful? Absolutely! Creepy? Yes again.

If you’d rather look up passes yourself, you can stop Wallet from suggesting any of them on the lock screen based on location. For this you’ll need to block the app’s access to location services . Select the Never option under Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Wallet and you’re all set.

In general, leaving your passes accessible on the lock screen is a security risk. There’s no authentication barrier to protect the information they contain. Of course, it’s up to you to decide if certain types of passes are harmless enough to display on the lock screen .

In any case, for apps with sensitive data, you might want to stop any kind of alerts from showing up on the lock screen. To do this, open up the app’s individual settings from Settings, and under Notifications, set the Show on Lock Screen switch to off.

Open Wallet Super Quick

If you want quick access to Wallet, you can get it with a double click of the Home button. You’ll first need to ensure that the Double-Click Home Button switch under Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay is set to ON, which it should be by default.

On some phones, this setting appears as Wallet under Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Allow Access When Locked.

home double-click settings

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the double-click feature to work on my phone (iPhone SE, iOS 10). It turns out other iPhone users have come across this issue as well.

Of course, you can also get to Wallet by swiping from left to right on a pass displayed on the lock screen.

Mind you, the Home button double-click trick isn’t necessary if you’re using Wallet to pay for something with an Apple Pay card. Hold your phone near the point of sale (PoS) terminal and Wallet/Apple Pay shows up automatically, ready for Touch ID authentication.

Wallet for Android

If you also own an Android device and wish Google Play Store had a Wallet-like app or two, you’ll be glad to know that it does. Our top three picks are Wallet, WalletPasses, and PassAndroid Passbook Viewer. Among the Android-based passbook apps, Wallet seems to come closest to its iOS namesake. It’s not associated with Apple in any way though.

What’s in Your Wallet?

If Apple Pay isn’t available where you live, your Wallet experience might differ from that of someone who lives in an Apple Pay-enabled region. For example, a few Wallet features/settings might be in a different location, or in some cases, missing altogether.

I don’t even have a Wallet & Apple Pay section in my iPhone’s settings, but I still think Wallet can be useful for every iPhone user!

Have you tried out Wallet or is it one of those unused default iOS apps that sit pretty on your iPhone’s screen? Let us know what you think.

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