Category: iPhone Apps

8 iPad Apps That Stream Free Full Episodes of TV Shows (Part 2)


Below is a list of 8 apps that deliver free, full episodes from TV networks in the US (make sure to check out Part 1 here). Most of the apps below deliver only a few episodes of a handful of shows from a specific network—thus, the apps aren’t replacements for watching your favorite shows on cable TV or over-the-air television. But they may be good for discovering new shows or watching the latest of your favorites. And hey, they’re free, so no complaining.

1. CBS

CBS iPad app screenshot

The CBS app (free) is one of the best iPad TV apps because it offers a lot of free content from some of its best shows; in fact, there is a least one episode for just about all of their shows. And yes, there are full episodes, with commercials interspersed throughout. Shows currently streaming as of this writing are:

  • The Amazing Race
  • Survivor
  • NCIS
  • Elementary
  • David Letterman
  • The Good Wife
  • Rules of Engagement
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • And more…

2. History Channel

History Channel app

The History Channel (free) is another app with a ton of content inside. The History Channel may not feature much actual history anymore, but its shows are still pretty entertaining. As of this writing, there are 59 episodes of Axe Man available in the app (wow!). Other shows don’t feature quite so many, but most offer 4-6 episodes for streaming inside the app. Other shows with full episodes currently available in the app are:

  • Vikings
  • Pawn Stars
  • American Restoration
  • Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy
  • Counting Cars
  • Swamp People
  • American Pickers

3. A&E

A and E iPad App

A&E (free) also offers several shows with free full episodes. Storage Wars, for example, features 12 full episodes for your viewing pleasure (as of this writing—it could change week to week). Other shows with full episodes available inside the app are:

  • Bates Hotel
  • American Hogger
  • Duck Dynasty
  • Hoarders
  • Intervention

4. LifeTime

LifeTime iPad App

LifeTime (free) has a good amount of free episodes available, but it varies from show to show. For example, Client List only features the latest episode, but The New Adventures of Old Christine has 5 full episodes available for streaming. There are also a few Lifetime made-for-TV movies available to watch in the app. Shows offering free full episodes are:

  • Preacher’s Daughters
  • Project Runners
  • Dance Moms
  • How I Met Your Mother

5. Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel HD app

Discovery Channel HD (free) offers only a few free episodes in the app. There are tons of video clips from shows, but few episodes. In fact, there are currently only 5 free episodes total from the following three shows:

  • Pot Cops
  • Bering Sea Gold
  • Weed Country

6. TLC

TLC iPad app

TLC (free) has tons of clips from popular shows like Honey Boo Boo, but sadly there is currently only 1 free full episode in the app, and it’s from the show Welcome to Myrtle Manor. Of course, many of these apps add and remove content periodically, so perhaps this is just a dry spell, but as of this writing, there’s very little full-episode content in the TLC app.

7. Animal Planet

Animal Planet for iPad

Animal Planet (free) currently offers full episodes from 3 different shows. My Cat From Hell even has 6 episodes available to watch. All available shows (as of this writing) are shown below.

  • My Cat From Hell
  • North Woods Law
  • Gator Boys

8. Adult Swim

Adult Swim

Adult Swim (free) offers a mix of free full episodes and “gold” content which is only available by signing in via your cable provider. The good news is that there is a ton of free episodes available for streaming in the app. Shows currently available for streaming in the app are:

  • The Venture Bros
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force
  • Metalocalypse
  • The Boondocks

Apple Builds Support for Audiobus, a Third-Party App, Into Garageband (Audiobus Now 50% Off in Celebration)

Audiobus icon

Independent developers A Tasty Pixel have just received the rarest of honors from Apple today. Apple has built in support for their app Audiobus ($9.99, on sale for $4.99) into the latest version of Garageband for iOS ($4.99), essentially making Audiobus the standard for piping sound from one music app into another.


Audiobus is a middleman app for music-making on the iPhone and iPad. It essentially functions as a pipeline for moving sound created in, say, a synthesizer app like Animoog into another like Garageband so you can record it, or manipulate it with more filters, etc. It also makes it easier to switch between music apps with just a tap, and to start/stop recording in app while playing in instrument in another.

To non-musicians, it may sound a bit benign, but it solves a lot of issues on iOS for making and recording music. Without a doubt, Audiobus is currently the most powerful music-creation app for iOS out there, even more so now that Apple seems to recognize it as a protocol—highly unusual because Apple usually likes to control these things. Developers have to build support into their apps for Audiobus (the long list can be found in the official app description in iTunes here), so it’s a little funny to see Apple join the crowd. Apple must be Audiobus fanboys, too.

Audiobus announced via Twitter (see the tweet below) that the app is currently half off ($4.99) in celebration of Apple’s move.

We recently chose Audiobus as one of our Most Essential iPad Music-Creation Apps, which you can view as a slideshow here (Part 1, Part 2) with example videos.

Google Maps Returns to iPhone, Now Available as Free Download in iTunes App Store

Google Maps icon

Google Maps (free) for the iPhone is now available to download in the App Store. Google Maps for iPhone brings back much-missed features like Street View and transit directions, as well as adding a few new tricks like voice turn-by-turn directions. It’s a beautiful looking app, too, with a minimalist, easy-to-use interface (although the maps themselves are not as good looking as Apple’s). No iPad version as of yet. Major features of the app include:

  • Voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions
  • Color-coded real-time traffic
  • Saved favorite addresses
  • Transit (bus, train) and walking directions
  • Street View, with new feature of going inside over 100,000 buildings worldwide
  • Satellite imagery
  • Zagat reviews, customer reviews, menus, book reservations
  • Compass mode
  • Google Earth integration
  • Shake iPhone to supply feedback and map corrections
  • Vector-based maps (supplies better visual performance)

Google Maps screens for iPhone

Google Maps for iPhone 1

Google Maps for iPhone

Any downsides? As David Pogue of the NYTimes notes in his review, no Siri integration, which means, no saying “take me home” and getting instant directions. Interestingly enough, Pogue says the iPhone version of Google Maps is better than Google’s own Android version—hard to believe with no voice (Siri/Google Now) integration.

Google has created an SDK that allows other iOS apps to integrate Google Maps instead of Apple Maps.

Google Maps for iOS works on iOS 5.1 and the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, which one-ups Apple Maps, as it does currently do not support iOS 5 and those devices.

Download Google Maps for iPhone.

The 6 Best News Aggregation iPhone Apps

While single-source news apps like CNN and NYTimes are good, I personally like a lot of variety in my news. That’s why I use news apps that aggregate thousands of news sources and display what’s most interesting, entertaining, or important. Listed below are 6 of my favorite.

1. News360

News 360 iPhone news app

News360 (free) uses over 20,000 newspapers and magazines to deliver the best and most-interesting content in a beautifully designed, minimalistic interface. The app’s main screen shows Top News, but you can customize content by selecting specific topics or news sources to follow.

Probably my favorite feature is that it makes it easy to find dozens of different takes on a single major news story. You can also swipe through dozens of images from different sources for a particular story, another favorite feature of mine.

Other features of News360 inlcude:

  • Safari Reader integration (strips away extraneous formatting)
  • Sharing of articles via email and Facebook, Twitter, G+, email
  • Evernote and Instapaper support
  • Save stories for offline reading
  • Sign in to Twitter or Facebook and get personalized news based on your tastes

2. SNews Free

Snews Google News iPhone reader app

SNews Free (link) is Google News, only as a native iPhone app. This is not merely a generic browser that loads Google News, it tweaks the site to fit more headlines on the screen. And it has a scrollable row of buttons for various news topics (Business, Sports, etc), that can be rearranged to personal taste. You can also add your own topics (like “Apple” or “iPhone”), and do so without having to sign into your Google account. Even though this is the least slick of all the apps here, it’s also one of my most-used. One annoyance though, the app used to be called GNews but recently had to change their name, but the app still shows as GNews in the iPhone’s Spotlight search. I also wish I could prevent some sources from showing up—there are many online news sites that exist simply to spam Google News with copycat news written in poor English.

3. Prismatic

Prismatic iPhone News app

Prismatic (link) presents news in a clean, minimalist way. It also has a wide variety of news sources with lots of customization options where you can tweak what shows or doesn’t show.

Prismastic has a cool menu system for saving/sharing news stories—you simply hold your finger on the screen and menu options will pop-up around your finger, then you just slide your finger to the option you want. Each article is labeled with keywords, which you can tap to view more articles based on the keyword. My only annoyance with the app is that it places 3 Twitter quotes commenting on the article in the middle of articles—it disrupts my reading flow sometimes.

4. SkyGrid

SkyGrid News iPhone app

SkyGrid (free) has a tile-based interface similar to CNN’s app, but SkyGrid has thousands of news sources where CNN is only 1. SkyGrid uses a grid of tiles that use images from news articles. Each tile has a headline representing a news story. When you tap a news story, you are presented with another grid featuring several sources covering the same story. Tap again and read the story. It’s a great way to get perspective on a news event.

SkyGrid offers a personalized page where you can add your own topics (Apple, Knitting) or specific news sources like CNBC or blogs like Daring Fireball. You can “follow” specific news events. There are also the typical sharing tools for Twitter, Facebook, Text Message (iMessage), or email. There is also support for the all-important Instapaper.

5. Digg

Digg iPhone news app

If you’re bored with mainstream news, Digg (free) is a beautiful and minimalistic app that always has something interesting to read. And no ads! Easy to browse through, lots of content from varied sources, and good typography make this app a pleasure to use on the iPhone. The app even lets you save stories for offline reading. There are the typical sharing tools for Facebook and Twitter.

6. Alien Blue

Alien Blue Reddit iPhone app

Alien Blue (free) optimizes the popular website Reddit for the iPhone. Reddit is an alternative news source, much of it created or posted by Reddit’s own users. It’s kind of like a bulletin board where people can vote up what is most interesting—and where most of the voters are teenagers or twentysomethings. I don’t have a Reddit account, but I do enjoy browsing the front page for the top posts. Alien Blue is my favorite iPhone app for doing so. The free version has a ton of features, like access to your Reddit account, voting on stories, and changing font size and look of the app. The Pro version ($1.99 in-app upgrade) has even more features.

Other Cool News Apps:

The following apps didn’t quite make my cut, but all have cool interfaces and are worth checking out, you may like them better than me:

Circa News (free) is beautiful and minimalistic. It also takes a unique approach on news, showing you brief chunks, and you swipe to dig deeper into evolving stories to reveal more facts. There’s a bit too much swiping and not enough text for my tastes, but it’s a cool app nonetheless.

Summly (free) has an interface that is smooth and beautiful, and it presents news from various sources in a slick yet minimalistic way. Navigation is done by swiping in various directions. I get a bit lost at times in the app, but it’s still a cool app to check out.

Flipboard (free) is a great app for Twitter and Facebook, but I find it only so-so for browsing multiple news sources. It turns any content source into a beautiful magazine that is a pleasure to flip through.

Pulse (free) was a former Apple iPad App of the Year. It presents news headlines in a tile format. You can personalize the app by choosing various news sources to follow. I personally like the “list of headlines” format verus the “grid of tiles” format, but if you’re of the latter persuasion, check out this app.

Review: Brownees, an iPhone App to Convert YouTube Videos Into “MP3s” for Offline Playback

Brownees iPhone app icon

You’ll never watch a YouTube video using the Brownees app for iPhone ($1.99), even though YouTube is the only site accessible in the app. That’s because Browness is focused solely on audio. The app “rips” audio from YouTube videos and saves it on the iPhone for later offline playback. Why would you want to do this? For free music, of course.

It’s been a “free music” theme week here on Art of the iPhone (check out my reviews for the similar apps Free Music Download Pro and McTube Pro). Brownees is solely focused on collecting free music from YouTube, and it works as advertised, although it’s far from being perfect.

Video Review:

How It Works. To save a song for offline playback, you simply choose a song, and once it starts playing, you simply add it to your Favorites list. That’s it. Eazy peazy (although you have to make sure the “Offline playback” tab is set to On). Unfortunately, music stored on the iPhone must stay inside the app—it can’t be downloaded off the iPhone onto a computer or sent into another app.

Finding Music to Download. Brownees is great if you know the specific song or artist you’re looking for, but not so great if you want to discover new music. There is a Search tool for finding music on YouTube. There is also a somewhat mislabeled “News” tab that shows the top 50 music videos on YouTube, which can help discover new music. But other than that, there is no way to browse genres of music. There is no web browser, new artist section, etc.

A Basic Music Player. As a music player, the app is pretty basic. It has the requisite play, pause, etc, controls, and the ability to create playlists. The music controls do work outside of the app, meaning you can control the music from the iPhone’s lock screen and via headphone control dongles. I only mention this because in another similar app I recently reviewed (McTube Pro), the music controls did not work outside of the app.

Other Features. Brownees has Facebook integration that supposedly lets you share your Brownees playlists with friends, making it easier to find and download music, but I couldn’t it get to work. You don’t need a Facebook account to use the app, but you do need to either use Facebook or create a Brownees account. I was unable to find the reason or use for a Brownees account.

Cons *Updated*. I found the app to be buggy. There were times when various features stopped working, and I had to force close the app and restart it. Also, the app’s first language is apparently not English, and some translation from Spanish has occurred to put it in the US App Store. I know this because occasionally I’ll see a menu option in Spanish.

*Update* After more use, I’ve discovered many more serious bugs with this app (as of version 1.3 of the app). Deleted music does not, in fact, delete, and suddenly reappears in my music library. Saved music many times can’t be played until you use the force-quit the app (force quit is done by double clicking the home button, holding finger on app icon, tapping the red close button, then relaunching). Hopefully, the developers can squelch these bugs, because it’s hard to recommend this app for long-term use if these issues remain.


Like the other 2 “Free Music” apps I reviewed this week, I can recommend downloading Brownees because, hey, free music. But I also found the app sloppy, limited in functionality, and buggy. But in the end, it gets the job done. Again: free music…saved to the iPhone…for offline playback. What’s not to love?

Review Summary

Price: $1.99

Art of the iPhone’s Rating: ★★★★★ (3 stars out of 5)

Review Summary: A good app for collecting music from YouTube for offline playback on the iPhone, despite a few glitches.

Review: McTube Pro, an App for Downloading YouTube Videos for Offline Viewing on the iPhone & iPad

McTube Pro YouTube client for iPhone and iPad icon

*UPDATE 5-15-2013* The video-caching feature of this app seemed too good to be true, and it was. The latest version of McTube Pro removes the cache video feature in McTube Pro per a request from Google. If you haven’t updated yet to the newer (less useful) version, you may want to back up your current version of the app (instructions) in case you accidentally update it in the future and want to revert back to the old version. If you did accidentally update, you may consider restoring your iPhone from a recent backup (just remember you’ll lose all changes on your iPhone since you made that backup).

McTube Pro’s ($1.99) killer feature is that it lets you save your favorite YouTube videos to your iPhone and iPad for offline playback. That’s right, saved YouTube videos can be played back without an Internet connection. And in HD, too, if you’d like. While McTube Pro can be used with any type of YouTube video, it really shines for music. Read on for my full review to find out why.

McTube Birthday Song Offline Viewing

Downloading Videos. McTube distinguishes itself from other YouTube viewing apps by allowing you to store YouTube videos for later playback. McTube avoids saying it “downloads” videos because that would violate YouTube’s terms. Instead, it “caches” them. When you find a video you like, you simply tap the Cache button, and the video downloads, whoops, I mean caches, in the background. Cached videos are stored in the Local folder for later playback.

Review Summary

McTube Pro

Price: $1.99

‘s Rating:
★★★★★ (3 stars out of 5)

Review Summary: McTube works well for storing your favorite YouTube videos and as a way to collect free music from YouTube. But the app is rough around the edges, lacking a way to organize videos and a way to control audio outside of the app. Still, it’s the best YouTube downloader among the several I tried out.

Videos Can’t Be Moved Out of the App. Unfortunately, videos stored in the app stay in the app—they can’t be downloaded to your computer. Allowing you to do this would be against YouTube’s terms, and would likely lead to the app’s YouTube access being revoked. But apparently allowing you to “cache” them is fine. That’s the power of semantics.

Best for Music. YouTube has quickly become the place to find and listen to music on the web. Just about everything is on there, for free. McTube Pro not only lets you save these videos, it has a special MP3 mode where you can listen to the audio-only portion of your saved videos, as if they were mp3s in the iPhone’s Music app.

But that’s not to say McTube Pro is a particularly good music player. It’s not. McTube’s biggest flaw as a music player is that music control functionality (play, pause, forward, back) only works inside the app. You can’t use the iPhone’s lock screen controls to, say, pause a song, and you can’t you use the headphone dongle controls either. You must use the app. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future version. MP3 mode also lets you create playlists, although the interface is crude and clunky.

Mp3 mode in McTube iPhone App

MP3 Mode lets you listen to audio-only portion of videos.

No Folders or Organization Tools. Another big annoyance with the app is that there is no way to organize your saved videos—there are no folders or playlists (except for MP3 mode). Videos just sit there in a big long list in the order you downloaded them. This gets annoying once your library grows.

Offline Cached Videos in McTube

Cached videos in McTube for offline viewing.

Access to Your YouTube Account. You can log in to your YouTube account inside the app and get access to all your Subscriptions, Favorites, Playlists, etc. This is a nice feature if you’ve already done some work collecting your favorite videos. You could simply go through your lists and download them to the iDevice.

Video Review:

Pro vs Free Version. There is also a free version of McTube that only lets you store 5 videos and has advertisements. I recommend checking it out first. The Pro version ($1.99) removes the storage limit and the advertisements.

Settings in McTube

Settings in McTube Pro.

HD and Auto Caching. The app has two useful option in its settings. The first is the ability to turn on HD streaming. If you’ve got good download speeds and lots of storage on your iPhone, I recommend taking advantage of HD video, as the audio quality is so much better. The Auto Cache setting, when turned on, automatically saves every video you watch using the app. It’s a nice time-saving feature—if you’ve got a lot of free memory. The Region setting lets you set a country (Argentina, Italy, etc) as your base for content filtering purposes.

AirPlay. The app also supports AirPlay. Combine this with HD downloads and an AppleTV, and you can put together a pretty sweet music-video party.


McTube Pro’s key feature is its ability to store YouTube videos on your iPhone/iPad for offline viewing later. In this area, it works as advertised. You can even save HD videos. The app also has a special “MP3 Mode” that lets you listen to the audio-only portion of videos, making this a good way to collect free music. But this app is rough around the edges. There are no tools to organize offline videos, and the iPhone’s audio controls (play/pause/forward) don’t work outside of the app. Despite it limitations, I can highly recommend this app for its main purpose: caching YouTube videos for offline viewing. It’s also a great way to collect free music.

The CW Network App: Tons of Free TV Episodes

The CW Network iPhone iPad app icon

Like America’s Top Model? The CW Network app (free) for iPhone & iPad lets you watch it, for free. The app can stream the latest 5 full episodes of every primetime show on the CW, for free. Here are some of the shows available:

  • Gossip Girl
  • 90210
  • The Vampire Diaries
  • America’s Next Top Model
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Supernatural
  • Nikita
  • Emily Owens, M.D.
  • Arrow
  • Beauty & the Beast

There are commercials interspersed throughout each episode, of course. They’ve got to pay the bills somehow. But the streaming video works beautifully, although it wasn’t quite HD quality. And if you have an AppleTV, there’s a tricky way to get AirPlay to work. More on that later.

The CW Network iPad app  1

The app other features are Twitter and Facebook integration, the CW Network TV schedule, photos, etc, but who cares about all that? It’s all about the free TV.

AirPlay Support. The app supports AirPlay out to AppleTV, but there’s a trick to it (AirPlay isn’t found in the app itself). To use AirPlay, start playing a show, then double-click the home button to bring up the fast-app switcher. Swipe to the right to bring up the iPad’s media controls, then tap the AirPlay button. It will stream both audio and video to your AppleTV.

The CW Network iPad app screenshot

If you want more free movies and TV shows, check out our list of Apps That Stream Free Movies & TV Shows. Now get rid of that $100-a-month cable bill.

A Complete List of iPhone Passbook Apps

Starbucks iPhone app icon

Starbucks (free) app lets you add your Starbucks Card to Passbook. With Passbook, you can pay for drinks and scan in your Starbucks Rewards account at the register. Starbucks is changing the rewards program on October 16, 2012, so no more free syrups and milk, but say hello to free drinks and food on your birthday and free refills in-store.
Discover iPhone app

Discover (free) is the official app for the credit card with all the requisite account features. It also lets you add reward eCertificates to Passbook, which you can redeem in stores, rent cars, etc.
Target App Icon

Target (free) features a weekly coupon that’s good for several deals in Target stores. You can send the coupon into Passbook, where it can be scanned at the register. You can read my review of using the Target Passbook coupon here.
Fandango iPhone app icon

Fandango (free) allows you to send movie tickets into Passbook, which theaters can then scan to confirm your ticket purchase. Few theaters currently support Passbook, however. You can read my rant about this here.
Walgreens iPhone app icon

Walgreens (free) app lets you connect your Walgreens Balance Rewards card to Passbook. You can even sign up inside this app then quickly add your new Walgreens rewards card to Passbook. It even works with your prescriptions, so scan the Passbook barcode and get instant refills on all your drugs!
Sephora to Go iPhone app icon

Sephora to Go (free) lets you add your Beauty Inside card to Passbook. Earn points with your purchase by scanning the Passbook barcode at purchase, then redeem your rewards points using this app. You even get a free iPhone sleeve by downloading the app and making an online purchase.
Ticketmaster iPhone app icon

TicketMaster (free) lets you send your Ticketmaster tickets into Passbook. The Passbook tickets can then be scanned to get into events, but only select venues support the feature. Select venues, got it? No whining because you thought Passbook would get you into the Justin Bieber concert.
MLB At Bat iPhone app At Bat (free) lets you send your MLB tickets into Passbook, where they can be scanned for entrance to the ballpark. The feature was only supported by 4 teams, the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, and Kansas City Royals, in the 2012 season. Hopefully by the time 2013 rolls around, more teams will support Passbook.
Lufthansa iPhone app icon

Lufthansa (free) app lets you send your mobile boarding passes into Passbook, where it can be scanned to board the plane. Scan it mach schnell!
American Airlines iPhone app icon

American Airlines (free) allows you to add your mobile boarding pass into Passbook. An alert will automatically appear on the iPhone’s lock screen close to departure time. Tap the info button on the ticket to show departure date, duration of the flight, and Wi-Fi flight availability. Passbook ticket automatically updates with changes in flight times. The Passbook ticket can be scanned to board the plane. Sweet.
United Airlines iphone app icon

United Airlines (free) lets you add your United airline to ticket to Passbook, which can be scanned for entrance to the plane. Unfortunately, TSA will probably still want to pat down your naughty spots.
Gyft iPhone app icon

Gyft (free) lets you add your gift cards to major US retailers into Passbook, where they can be scanned at the register for redeeming. Leave your wallet at home. You have to sign up with a Gyft account first, though, to be able to send cards into Passbook. But when you do sign up, you get a free $5 gift card from Gyft! Tight.
WallaBee iPhone app icon

WallaBee (free) is the first iPhone game to utilize Passbook. WallaBee is a scavenger-hunt game that uses GPS where players travel to certain locations and check-in to collect virtual items. They’ve recently added branded items to the game, and you can use Passbook coupons with branded items and earn prizes.
Valpak Local Savings iPhone App

ValPack Local Savings (free) automatically finds local coupons for restaurants, stores, etc, near you. You can then add those coupons into Passbook and scan them for discounts. (Tap the small arrow in the bottom left, next to the coupon, to add it in Passbook).
AirBNB iPhone app icon

AirBNB (free) app lets you send your upcoming reservations to Passbook (go into the upcoming tab to add).
Expedia Hotels iPhone app icon

Expedia Hotels (free) helps you find and book hotels at bargain prices. The lastest update lets you add your hotel reservations into Passbook so you can keep all your bookings in one place.
Jetsetter Hotels iPhone app icon

Jetsetters Hotels and Exclusive Travel Deals (free) is a service that provides special deals on 5-star hotels and other classy vacation packages. The app lets you add your hotel check-in info into Passbook, and the pass will then pop up when you arrive at your destination, making check-in a snap.
Living Social iPhone app icon

Living Social (free) is the Groupon clone that offers daily deals in your area. The app allows you to send your purchased deals into Passbook, so your vouchers can be accessed lickity split when you arrive at the business.
AMC Theater App icon

AMC Theaters’ (free) Passbook integration is for their AMC Stubs card, which is a rewards card. It’s not for tickets (you’ll need the Fandango app for that). Still, spend $100 and get a $10 AMC gift using AMC Stubs. Not bad.
Apple Store app icon

Apple Store (free) app (Apple’s official app, in case you’re wondering) recently added the ability to buy and gift Apple gift cards inside the app. The cards can then be added to Passbook for easy access when buying things at an Apple Store. Buy a new iPhone using your old iPhone and bathe in the sun-soaked warmth of optimistic progress.

Non-Apps That Work With PassBook:

  • American Express and View your balance and be notified of recent purchases in Passbook.
  • Visit the site on your iPhone & iPad and add coupons to your Passbook.

More Passbook Apps in our forum thread here!

To make your own Passbook coupons, check out the website Passdock.

Want to Try Out Passbook? Target’s iPhone App Has Coupons (Review)

Start-up Screen on the Target iPhone App

If you want something…anything…to put in the new Passbook app, you can use the free Target app (link) to put something there. It has a weekly “mobile coupon” that will sit in Passbook. Because Passbook is not very intuitive to use, here’s a quick review of the process of sending the coupon from the Target app into Passbook (I even used the coupon in a store).

Setup. As people are quickly discovering, the new Passbook app comes with almost no instruction. It’s all up to you to figure it out. With the Target app, it’s not exactly a quick process. It took me about 5 minutes for the initial setup. Here’s what you’ll have to do:

  1. Download the Target app.
  2. Click on a link in the splash screen for mobile coupons.
  3. Sign up for a Target account, which you can do inside the app. You enter in info like phone number and favorite store.
  4. Receive a text message (charges may apply, of course).
  5. Tap a link in the text message to register.
  6. Access the mobile coupon in the Target app.
  7. Tap the Add to Passbook button toward the bottom of the coupon (see image below).
  8. Launch Passbook app to view the coupon.

Target Add to Passbook 3

What’s the Benefit of the Target Coupon in Passbook? There’s supposed to be 2 silver linings to all that hard work: 1. A shortcut to the coupon will show up on the iPhone’s lock screen when I enter a Target store, making accessing the coupon a breeze at checkout. Note: This didn’t work. 2. The coupon in Passbook will automatically update itself every week. I’ll have to wait a week to see it this works (*Update* This didn’t work either. I had to manually update the coupon by going into the Target app and tapping Add to Passbook).

The coupon is not for just one deal but rather several different deals. See the image below for my coupon. Note that the image below is not the coupon as seen in Passbook, but rather in the Target app itself. The coupon in Passbook is a simply a barcode upon initial view; however, for more info, you can tap the lowercase “i” in the bottom right corner and it will flip over to provide coupon info. The coupon in the Target app is better because it has images and formatting. For the image below, I blurred out the barcode and number.

Target mobile coupon on iPhone 5

What Worked. What Didn’t. The whole point of Passbook is supposed to be quick and easy access to all your coupons, tickets, and rewards cards, all in one place. A keystone feature of Passbook is supposed to be the location-based pop-up. When you walk into a Target store, a pop-up will appear on your iPhone’s lock screen so that when you check out, you just swipe the pop-up to launch the coupon. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. There was no pop-up.

The coupon, however, did scan at checkout ($1.50 off with purchase of 2 Market Pantry soups!). The cashier used a barcode scanner to scan my iPhone 5’s screen. One interesting tidbit about Passbook: when launched, the iPhone’s screen brightness will automatically go 100% brightness. This makes it so the coupon will scan better. Nice attention to detail by the developers.

I sneaked a peek at the register after the coupon was scanned, and it said “1 of 9 deals used.” There are 9 different deals on my coupon, so I can reuse this coupon again for the other 8 deals, just not the soup deal I took advantage of. No soup for you!

My Verdict. If Passbook’s automatic location-based pop-up would actually appear when I walk into a Target store, it would make it worth the effort. But it didn’t. If Passbook’s location-based pop-ups don’t work, there’s little point to the app. I’d rather just use the individual apps, like the Target app itself—it’s more flexible and capable of providing much more info. For example, I can view the entire coupon with all its images in the Target app, but not in Passbook. If Passbook can’t provide a quicker or more convenient experience that the Target app itself, then what’s the point?

Fandango iPhone App Gets Passbook Support, But Few Theaters Currently Support it

Fandango iPhone app screenshots

The Fandango iPhone app (free) has been updated for iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 to support the new Passbook feature. Passbook will allow movie theaters to scan a barcode displayed on your iPhone’s screen to confirm your ticket purchase.

It sounds useful in theory, but unfortunately, the Passbook implementation in the Fandango app is currently hard to find and without much instruction.

Few theaters support Passbook, and it’s a lot of work to find the theaters in the Fandango app that do. In the app’s description, Fandango says to “look for the ‘Mobile Ticket’ icon on the theater page.” Well, I had to tap through 20 theaters in Chicago one by one until I found the mobile ticket icon (which really means Passbook support. Why don’t they just say “Passbook tickets”? Presumably because they want these mobile tickets to be used on other phones as well). The “mobile ticket icon” looks like this:

Fandango Passbook mobile ticketing example on iPhone

There is no way to list just the theaters that support Passbook. You have to tap in and out of each theater to find one that does. Most users will likely think, as I did, that Passbook “just works,” meaning if you buy a movie ticket via Fandango, you can use it in Passbook. Not so.

I hope Passbook support will grow quickly, but at least for Fandango, it’s not very widespread so far, and it’s not very intuitive to use.