How mobile wallet works

Learn how Airship gets wallet passes to your users.

A pass is the product of a link generated from a template contained within a mobile wallet project:

In general, the process of getting a pass to your audience is as follows.


  1. Create your project.
  2. Design the pass. This is the template.
  3. Generate a URL that points to the pass. This is the pass link.
  4. Distribute the pass link to recipients.

The recipients:

  1. Open the pass link and view the pass.
  2. Install the pass to their Apple Wallet or Google Wallet digital wallets.

Create and Design

The first step of creating a pass is creating a project that will store the templates for that pass type. Projects can contain both Apple Wallet and Google Pay templates for a single pass type.

You must then design a template for your pass. The template holds the design, field information, and default field values for your pass. If designing passes to support both Apple Wallet and Google Wallet users, you will design two templates, one for each platform.

You will then create a link to the pass that users can tap or click to install the pass. Adaptive links are the preferred pass-creation method. An adaptive link detects the recipient’s platform and installs the appropriate pass. Instead of sending an Apple Wallet pass URL to one recipient group and a Google Wallet pass URL to another (or both URLs to all recipients), you can associate the two templates using an Adaptive Link, then distribute that single Adaptive Link to all intended recipients.

You can also create platform-specific URLs.


While you can use a wallet project to create passes, you cannot distribute passes via a wallet project. Since the pass is essentially a URL, you can send the pass however you would send any URL, such email or SMS. See the various pass distribution methods.

It’s important to remember that you are sending a link to install a pass, not attachment to a message body. You should send a pass over a medium that you expect to reach your audience and persist, in case a user decides to dismiss a notification alert and install the pass at a later time.

If you are also an Airship messaging customer, you can include the pass URL with all our message types. Depending on the message type you choose, you can link to the pass:

  • When the user taps or clicks the notification.
  • When the user taps a button.
  • From the body of the message.


A user receives the pass URL, opens the URL, and then has the option to install the pass. The user only needs to install the pass once. They can then open the pass from Apple Wallet, Google Wallet, or an app that relies on the respective Apple and Google APIs.

Update Content

After a user installs a pass, you can seamlessly update the pass as event information, gift card balance, loyalty points, and other information changes, so that your users are always up to date.

By updating an already-installed pass, you can ensure that your customers never miss their gates, and that they take advantage of the loyalty programs that bring them back to your business.

You can optionally continue to update content and appearance of a pass that has already been installed by a recipient. See: Publish Tutorial.

Get Started

To get passes into the hands (devices!) of your users, you need:

  • An Airship account.
  • A certificate for Apple Wallet or Google Wallet.
  • A project to contain your certificate, templates, pass URLs, and other settings and information.
  • A template to generate your passes from.