iBeacons For Apple Passkit

A little known, under-promoted use of iBeacons is with Apple Passkit. Passkit allows you to create and distribute things like coupons, boarding passes, store cards, event tickets, promotions, offers or just information that can end up in the built-in iOS Wallet app. After adding a pass into the wallet, a user can get a notification about the pass when they are near an iBeacon associated with the pass, all without installing an app. There are lots of uses particularly in retail, events and hospitality.

The Apple developer documentation explains how the Wallet works and the passkit reference shows the iBeacon related set up fields.

An important thing to realise is that the beacon doesn’t send the pass to the smartphones. They just cause the triggering. You need to provide a mechanism, usually via a web site, where users can download the pass from your web server. Your server must be secure (HTTPS) and use a SSL certificate from a known certificate authority. Self-signed certificates won’t work. You will also have to set your server to serve the application/vnd.apple.pkpass MIME type when hosting the pass file.

There’s a useful example by Tom Harrington who shows how he created a Passbook Business Card. If you are not a technical person and it all looks too complicated, PassKit Inc  (nothing to do with Apple) have a platform based on Apple Wallet.

Apple Passkit works with all iBeacons.