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Apple's Passbook passes now work with Windows Phone 8.1

When Apple introduced Passbook in iOS 6 they billed it as a way to store all your tickets, coupons, boarding passes, loyalty programs, and other cards all in one place. It's hard to imagine they expected that place to one day be Microsoft Wallet, but thanks to Windows Phone 8.1 that appears to be exactly what's happening.

Passbook passes are just collection of data that get rendered into a card and displayed in Apple's Passbook app. Think of the Passbook files like the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript data that makes up a webpage, and the Passbook app like the browser that renders the actual page. It looks like Windows Phone 8 is taking the same data and rendering a similar card out of it, and then pushing that card to Microsoft Wallet.

Apple code-signs their Passbook cards, and it's not yet clear if Microsoft is simply accepting Apple certificates or accepting any pass regardless of whether it's signed or not.

Apple also provides a push-notification-based service to update cards, like gates numbers on boarding passes or balance info on Starbucks cards. Windows Phone probably can't hook into that system so, if updates are possible, there'd have to be some Microsoft-specific support from the supplier, or laborious polling process in place.

In a perfect world a system like Passbook would be universal and everyone could use and benefit from it no matter who manufactured their device or built their operating system. That's how we get standards and standards is how we get mass market adoption.

If there's no official agreement going on here, it's possible Apple would put a stop to Passbook support when they find out about it and if they can, technically or legally. If there's some form of cooperation going on, or some future agreement to be had, that could end up being the best solution for everyone, from the companies to Apple and Microsoft to us, the people who want these kinds of services made ubiquitous.

What about you — do you like the idea of Windows Phone 8.1 working with Passbook?

Via: @tomwarren

Rene Ritchie contributed to this story.



There are 43 comments. Sign in to comment

I would like to see Facetime for Windows phone. Then, again I am very satisfied with Skype.

FearL0rd says:

They should make Skype <-> Facetime calls

gandhirushi says:

Wow! I'm liking this.. Don't know how long before Apple pulls this one back...

bpmurr says:

Hopefully they don't as it really should be a standard across devices and platforms.  It really doesn't hurt Apple but actually helps.

Rug says:

I completely agree, there doesn't need to be three standards for this.

It would appear the good times are already over.   I just tried an AlaskaAirlines passbook and it gave me an error. 

That's nice for those who need it!


Off topic:

I have 12 GB of other, does the storage check app on WP 8.1 help? I don't want to open a new thread...

Please stop saying "off topic" and then posting off topic. That's against our site rules. Take it to our forums, that's what they are there for ;)

mr toes says:

Dan is right
Off topic:
Just bought some broccoli! LOL!

Roger that, over ;)

lippidp says:

I would never use it, but do like cross-platform stuff.

erzhik says:

Looks like Microsoft is pulling another Youtube. Won't last long.

tomwarren says:

It's just reading the file format. Of course it will last long.

Rene Ritchie says:

Maybe? Passbook passes are code-signed by Apple, so how that's being handled is a question. They're also fed by Apple's push-notification service, so what happens with Windows Phone and updates is a question.

Lastly, Apple applies for patents a lot of stuff, including the Passbook process, so there's that angle as well.

(Nice discovery!)

Novron says:

What exactly does this enable you to do?

SwimSwim says:

Hope its collaboration, because that's best for everyone.

Aashish13 says:

I find wp8.1 very new now have to adjust to it quickly. It's really looking new now

AR2186 says:

So how do we enable them?

b4rtw says:

So how do we get to use passbook in Windows Phone 8.1. That is not clear to me.


Evster88 says:

If you download a Passbook file, WP8.1 will read it and stick the data in Microsoft Wallet - that's all they meant. You don't get the actual Passbook app.

b4rtw says:

Thanks very much for the reply!

I am totally unfamiliar with Apple's Passbook and hence creating a file inside it.

How do I subscribe to Apple's passbook (from a desktop if thats possible?) so I can generate the passbook file?

Evster88 says:

I don't think it is... it's more that individual services might give you a Passbook download link for certain things like tickets or flight information. Not like Cortana or Google Now, which scrapes that information automatically.

b4rtw says:

Ok, thanks!

Yes and more Service clients like Facetime, iCloud, iMessage and so on.

Paul Dale says:

I just tried this, tickets for an event i'm going to have now been added to the wallet.. I'm loving it !

b4rtw says:

How did you do this? I am totally unfamiliar with Passbook, so please bare with me :)

Paul Dale says:

I went into the email that contained the eticket and tapped the passbook icon within, it then got added to my wallet : )

MadSci2 says:

Meh. Happy to avoid the FruitVerse whenever possible.

dkediger says:

Kind of an interesting thought excercise.  Does Apple need to emulate Microsoft's lead and begin to open services to other platforms in order to keep their growth and thrive?


Cleavitt76 says:

In my opinion, it is going to hurt Apple in the long run if they don't start adopting standards and opening up their services.  Right now most people are just happy to have a smart phone or tablet, but at some point people are going to want their devices to work together as seemlessly as possible.  Apple makes that very difficult unless you use their products exclusively (which most people don't).

dkediger says:

That's pretty much my opinion as well, long term they're in danger of becoming being seen as a "devices" provider against two other deep- pocketed "devices" and "services" providers.

It sort of feels like they're in Microsoft's position with WinMo 6 and having iPhone and Android peeking over the horion.  What they have is solid, and works well, but what do you do with it now?

hwangeruk says:

Apple _are_ a devices company.

Google _are_ an advertising company.

That's where the lions share of the respective revenues come from.

Microsoft are a much more diverse business, across both business and consumer, devices and services.

Will people ever get over buying Apple jewellery? Probably not.

Will Americans warm to Windows Phone or Android tablets over iPad? Probably.
Other than that, things will stay relativety as they are for a year ow two yet.

As can be seen from the Siri vs Google Now vs Cortana article, not having Search really hurts Apple. They make tin, very shiny and nice tin. But when you want that wider experience Google and Microsoft beat Apple. If it offends you that Google scrape too much private and personal data (as it irks me) then Microsoft is the comfort zone. The great thing is their products are now very impressive - so I am one happy camper.

MoeHd7920 says:

I would rather Microsoft add more features to their Wallet app. I thought I would be able to swipe my phone and make payments with my Lumia 920 but that hasn't taken off yet..., but keeping my loyalty cards and boarding pass stuff and be able to have them scanned is very useful to me.

indieimprint says:

How do I install passbook for windows phone??????????

nnimkar says:

Unfortunately for WP users.. the VAST majority of passes are created in iOS apps. Passbook was designed as files that can be passed around, but the most pass creators do it in an app and problably wont be accessible to WP users.

PassKitPaul says:

You can create passbook passes that are compatible across all majar smartphone. Simply visit

I like how the word standards is used their native vv app is anything but an recognized standard & most service provider apps fall into this category aswell

Dk92 says:

Kind of irrelevant, but has anyone mentioned that the games that were previously locked to windows phone 7 are now available again? I just got done playing Hydro thunder.

Larrybeo says:

Wallet is way better than the Apple thing. iOS users have to manually load everything into passbook.

nnimkar says:

What is the process in wallet to get, let's say a boarding pass, into wallet?

iXesh says:

keep some features for future update....

PassKitPaul says:

This is a great step forward. Passbook Passes are fast becoming the 'defacto' design for digital versions of coupons, boarding passes, event tickets, coupons, store cards and membership cards.

Passes created with PassKit have always worked cross platform (whether via the PassKit browser viewer, using thrid party app Pass Wallet, or for Android users they 'fit' in Samsung Wallet and Google Wallet).  But with the addition of this wallet functionality in Windows 8.1 and Passbook Passes it just make it even more compelling for businesses to move away from paper and plastic and into the digital wallet.

Business owners, marketers, agencies, or developers can create passbook passes for free at, and this allows full access to all of the Passbook capabilities (e.g. proximity services, dynamic updates, etc..)

sSamedi says:

I develop an app that open and show passbooks, and this movement is always welcome. But Microsoft in 8.1 update has made the passbooks file extension unregistable for third apps, what means that my App is automatically crap, because it can't open any passbook, ONLY wallet can do, and the passbooks are poorly represented or can't be opened.
I have done a hard work and lost too many hours in the App that I can throw away just right now.
This is the way Microsoft helps the few developers of this platform, thanks Microsoft.