Don't get Apple's Passbook? iOS 6.1 will explain it to you

Just what is Passbook, and why should people use it? Apple appears to be keen on explaining its kinda sorta digital wallet more clearly in the upcoming iOS 6.1.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
Apple's new explanation of what Passbook does to newbies.
Apple's new explanation of what Passbook does to newbies. 9to5Mac

iPhone users scratching their heads over how to use Apple's Passbook app will get a little more help as part of an upcoming software update.

iOS 6.1 adds an updated explanatory note to the digital-wallet app, which comes pre-installed on new iPhones and iPod Touch devices. Apple delivered a second beta testing version of the OS version to developers this morning.

Instead of kicking users out to the App Store to go find applications that offer Passbook integration, Apple now puts information about the feature inside a card that sticks around even after you've started using the software, 9to5mac noted this morning.

By comparison, the previous explanatory page would outright disappear the first time you added a pass, and suggest that passes could only be added through App Store apps.

Passbook is an application from Apple designed to store membership cards, tickets, coupons, and boarding passes -- a bit like a digital wallet. As an added feature, Passbook does a few things paper and plastic can't, like alert you to changes in connected account information, and pop up through the homescreen to be readily accessed based on your location. The feature debuted as a part of iOS 6 for iPhones and iPod Touch, though is not available on Apple's three iPad models.

Despite its claim to simplicity, critics have chided Apple for not doing a very good job at explaining how to use the software and its integration with third-party apps and services. Hence the tweak.

Besides the Passbook shift, other reported changes in the second beta of iOS 6.1 include a reset option in Apple's recently-introduced advertising identifier feature, and changes to the search featuresavailable for integrating Apple's maps in third-party applications. The software is expected to be released in the coming weeks.