How to Make Passbook Work

Frustrated with that “Cannot connect to iTunes Store” error you get when trying to add stuff to Passbook? Here’s how to fix it, and a complete list of every store and service available for Passbook use.

Apple kinda dropped the ball on Passbook. They have that whole “no manuals” policy for their touchscreen products, because they’re supposed to be so intuitive that you don’t need instructions. But in this case, a little explanation would have helped.

When you launch Passbook the first time, you’re presented with a little screen that tells you the kinds of things you can store in Passbook. At the bottom, there’s a mysterious link to the App Store (but no reason is given for it being there). When you click on the link, most users get a pop-up error that says, “Cannot connect to iTunes Store.”

So what’s the deal?

What Apple didn’t tell you is that other apps are required to make Passbook work — apps that are Passbook-friendly. Apps like Fandango, for example, which offers to put your purchased movie tickets in Passbook, if you want. Or Walgreens, which will put your customer loyalty card in Passbook, along with in-store coupons. New coupons can even be set to appear in Passbook automatically as they become available.

But none of this stuff will appear in Passbook right out of the box. The iTunes Store button on that first screen is meant to take you to a list of apps in the App Store that are Passbook-friendly. Some users are saying it’s working for them now, while others still can’t access this page. (Making the problem worse: once you finally get coupons and cards and tickets inside Passbook, the “iTunes Store” button disappears. So there’s no way to get back to that list of apps again. Not your smartest move, Apple.)

So how do you know which apps have tickets, coupons, loyalty cards, and all that good stuff that you can conveniently put into Passbook? Well, until Apple makes the whole process easier, you can just check the categorized list we’ve compiled below. It shows every app that currently offers compatibility with Passbook.

Passbook-Compatible Apps

Airline Boarding Passes

Concert/Live Event Tickets

Coupons/Loyalty Cards

Finances

Hotels/Rentals

Movie Tickets

Restaurants

Social Media

Sporting Events Tickets

In their promotional materials and live demos, Apple has shown off Passbook compatibility for Amtrak, Apple Stores, Delta, Sheraton, Starbucks, Starwood Hotels, and W Hotels. So we have to assume that those apps will be getting updates soon (and no doubt many others as well). Stay tuned.

About Robin Parrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

Comments

  1. But how do you get the card- united for example, or Starbucks. Into the passbook app? That’s my question.

    • There’s no required protocol for that. It’s different for every app. Usually you can find it somewhere in under your account settings, or your purchases.

      With the United app, for example, once you buy a plane ticket inside the app, you’re given the option to put it in Passbook. The Walgreens app has a page where you can sign up for a customer loyalty account (or sign in to your existing one), and then it offers to put your loyalty card in Passbook if you want. Target’s app wants you to login with your user account, and then it offers you in-store coupons that you can move over to Passbook.

      So you’re going to find it in different places for different apps.

  2. Upgraded the Fandango app, purchased a movie ticket abd still can’t do it. There’s just nothing anywhere in the app that would link to passbook in any way. What am I missing??

  3. Man – Apple has taken what could have been an amazing concept and is friggen blowing it!!!! This reeks. No NFC. Lame QR code scanning. And they can’t even get that right? WOW!

  4. Lais Abrunhosa says:

    Hi guys :) I’m from Brazil and I’ve just updated my iPhone 4S. Here’s the thing: Apple has, somehow, set a specific date to enable the “iTunes Store” button (I’m pretty sure its somewhere over 2013). Anyway, there’s one way to skip that. All you have to do is to change the date on your phone one year ahead, than the button will disappear and it will redirect you to the passbook page on iTunes. Don’t worry about your phone date, you can change it back and passbook will still remain unlocked (at least with me everything went ok…) What really disappointed me was the few cards options once I got it unlocked. Apple still has much to work on! Hope my comment was useful… And sorry about my english but I don’t have much time to practice!!

  5. Thanks for continuing to update the passbook apps. Once you add a passbook coupon or whatnot, not really sure how to get back into the app store of that section. Anyways, snipsnap said also they will lets you put coupons in passbook by the end of the month. But I’m going to start getting my coupons in the app now :) so I’ll be ready.

  6. Michael H. Babcock says:

    Thanks for updating this list, it’s great to see. Please keep it going, it’s the best resource I’ve found for Passbook information.

    BrownPaperTickets.com and EventBrite.com have both confirmed they will be using Passbook at some point this fall, which is exciting. It will be really interesting to see how long it takes for these bigger, and smaller, companies to take advantage of it. So far, I’m extremely unimpressed with how long it’s taking for it to be more widespread. Target and Walgreens are both on their, but there are hundreds of apps who should be able to figure this out.

  7. how do I add my starbucks card to passbook?

  8. What a great list! So though to find Passbook passes on the Internet so far. Thanks for putting this together.

    I wanted to point you to BillGuard for Passbook, the first service to let you add your credit and debit cards to Passbook to monitor balance, recent transactions, fees & more.

    It’s live at http://passbook.billguard.com

  9. Air China has updated their app to do the usual plane ticket thing. It’s mostly in Chinese, but a little trial-and-error is sufficient to work out where things are.

  10. Pierce Torgan says:

    Nothing useful for Europe then? :(

  11. The AAA app now adds your AAA membership card to passbook. Just updated today.

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