Apple Wallet app icon and Google Wallet app icon

Getting Started with Apple Wallet and Google Wallet

Learn the essentials of offering passes in Wallet, such as distribution, updates, and best practices.

How it works

Apple Wallet is natively iinstalled and available on the iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple Watch. Google Wallet is available on the Google Play store and can be installed on all Android Phones and Wear OS devices (Lollipop 5.0+).

These Wallet apps allows users to easily manage payment cards, boarding passes, tickets, gift cards, and other passes. Apple Wallet is time and location enabled, so passes can be configured to display on the user’s device at the appropriate moment, like when the user reaches the airport or walks into a store. Passes can also be updated with push notifications so, if details change, you can notify the user and they can simply tap the notification to view the updated pass.

Wallet Passes Process Flow
PassKit Design icon

Designing Passes

You design a pass using the PassKit Portal or the PassKit API. You will choose a style — boarding pass, coupon, event ticket, membership card or loyalty card. The style automatically determines how the pass looks and the details it shows, including the time window and location radius relevance. The relevant time for a boarding pass is quite different from a movie ticket, so it’s important to choose the correct style.

You can personalise passes with your logo, your images, your text, and your links and you have some flexibility to decide where you want certain fields to appear on the pass. But the fonts and formatting are determined by Apple and Google. i.e. you can't change the font type or style, or the position of your logo or image, or the location of the barcode.

You should also make sure your passes are clear and optimized, and look great on all devices.

PassKit Integrate icon

Integrating Passes

Once you have designed your pass, you can optionally integrate passes with your other systems and applications. You do this using the PassKit Software Developer Kits, or no-code automation tools like Zapier and make, or using the integrations available in the PassKit Portal.

This will keep that your passes synchronised with your customer data that exists in other database. For example you might want to connect your CRM (customer relationship management) application with PassKit, or connect your POS (Point of Sale) software with PassKit.

You should thoroughly test your integrations to make sure that data flows between systems as you rexpect. Do this before distributing passes.

PassKit Distribute icon

Distributing Passes

Getting passes into Wallet is easy. You can distribute them in your app, via email, via messaging apps, on the web or even by scanning a QR code. Users can add a pass without installing a related app, or add a pass that doesn’t have a related app at all. If there is an app, and the user does not currently have the app installed, they can install it directly from the pass. iCloud pushes passes to all of a user’s devices.

PassKit automatically detects the device and presents the correct pass type with the correctly styled Add to Wallet badge. i.e Add to Apple Wallet for iOS users, and Add to Google Wallet for Android users.

PassKit Manage icon

Updating Passes

You can update the pass from using the PassKit Portal or automatically when data changes in your other applications, using the integrations you implemented.

Passes will be updated by using push notifications or the pull-to-refresh gesture on the back of a pass, so you can easily notify the user of important updates; like when a gate changes at the airport, a coupon expiry has changed or a loyalty points balance adjusts.

PassKit Accept icon

Accepting Passes

Users access their passes in their Wallet app. For Apple Wallet users, Passes can display on the Lock Screen at the right time, like when the user reaches the airport or walks into a store.

Near Field Communication

Passes can work with Near Field Communication (NFC) readers for contactless redemption. Users hold their device near a reader with contactless symbol to use a pass, with no need for a barcode. If you're developing an NFC-enabled pass to use with Apple Pay, you'll need to request an NFC certificate. In addition to the NFC certificate there are a number of strict requirements before you can implement NFC passes, see enabling and using NFC passes for more information.


Passes can contain barcodes that are scanned in order to obtain information stored in the pass. Wallet supports barcodes using QR, Aztec, PDF417 and Code128 formats. Wallet optimizes the presentation of passes in order to facilitate a successful scan. For example, the screen's orientation locks to portrait and the backlight is temporarily boosted to the brightest setting. However, it's still important to test your passes with the hardware you expect to use for scanning. An optical scanner works better for scanning an iPhone screen than a laser scanner.

If you are not integrating with scanning hardware you can use the PassKit PassReader app to scan your passes. For more details on using the PassReader app, see the Scanning Passes instructions.


For coupons, a user can click on a link on the pass to redeem the coupon. We call this Customer Initiated Redemption (CIR). For more details, see digital coupons without POS integration.


Passes can also display text below the barcode to show the user's membership or account number in case scanning is unavailable.

Resource Center

Visit the PassKit Support Center for further guidance, tutorials and best practices.

PassKit Support Center