Starbucks for iPhone updates with passbook support, still no iPhone 5 support

Starbucks for iPhone update with passbook support, still no iPhone 5 support

Starbucks has finally updated their iPhone app to offer support for Passbook, the new Apple app introduced in iOS 6. Starbucks had originally claimed that this update was coming at the end of September so, although late, it's great that it's finally here. However, it's disappointing that although this update does support iOS 6 and Passbook, it does not support the iPhone 5's larger screen.

With the new Starbucks update and Passbook, you can now use Passbook to pay with your Starbucks card. The pass shows the current balance on your card and one of the generic Starbucks card graphics. As a Gold Card member, I was hoping that my pass would look a little different, but that is not the case. Paying with with your Starbucks card was, and still is, a feature of the actual Starbucks app, but Passbook is much faster. You can also receive notifications when you're near one of your indicated favorite Starbucks locations.

I'm disappointed that this update to the Starbucks app does not include support for the iPhone 5's larger display, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm excited to make a special trip to Starbucks tomorrow just so that I can use Passbook for the first time. What about you? Do you plan on adding your Starbucks card to Passbook?

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Leanna Lofte

App and Photography Editor at iMore. Mother, wife, and math instructor. Follow her on Twitter @llofte and send her apps to consider for review at

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There are 36 comments. Add yours.

Maru_The_Cat says:

So what's so special about using this app though? Do you get rewards from Starbucks?

Camfella says:

LOL, She gets way too excited about this stuff:)

Leanna Lofte says:

You earn stars!!! Every 15 stars rewards you with a free drink :) And you also get extra pumps of stuff for free and a free drink when you buy a pound of beans.

So yes, there's plenty of benefits to using a Stabucks card. The app just makes it easier to use your Starbucks card. And you get to watch your stars fill up :) You can also electronically send gift cards through Facebook or email. And save your favorite drinks. And other cool stuff. JUST GO DOWNLOAD IT ALREADY! :P

Maru_The_Cat says:

Thank you Leanna! Going to be downloading this now hehe. Do i need to fill it up with cash credit or can i does this work like a stamp card?

Carsten23 says:

I work for Starbucks and the rewards are changing but its even better you will get them right to your phone instead of the post cards. No more free syrup pumps and soy or free coffee but there will be free food now.

Check it all out here!!

pendragyn says:

This change isn't better. No more free tall drink when I buy a pound of beans? No more free soy (I'm vegan so that matters)? Yeah, I get the reward sooner and it's in the app so I don't need to wait for and hope a mail person doesn't swipe my free drink card. But since Starbucks won't be paying for postage to send the cards out they should give the customer more, not less. Bad change in my opinion.

Leanna Lofte says:

I didn't even know about these changes! They go into effect on Oct 16. There's a lot of good changes for customers and some bad ones. I will definitely miss the free drink when I buy a pound of coffee, but getting a free drink after 12 stars instead of 15 will be nice. I'm also glad that we'll be able to redeem free drinks with our phone, I hated the postcards. You can see all the changes here.

nikkisharif says:

I hated those postcards too!!! I am bummed that I can't get free soy anymore...I guess that's a punishment for not drinking dairy :-(

9thWonder says:

i think the change is way better. faster free drinks. i don't buy pounds of coffee and i don't buy drink syrups. I just buy hot coffee. Awesome change for me.

as for that they should give you more cause they aren't paying for postage. Come on. It's a business. They have obligation to take any paltry per customer savings on mail to customers rather the keep the profit. They have shareholders. The companies job is to find ways to minimize costs and be more efficient. And you're talking about savings of maybe 32 cents cause they are paying a bulk postcard rate anyways. So for every postcard they don't send you you're arguing they should give you that 32 cent savings back? Fine to make the argument but it's a business. It's not gonna happen.

That said there's NOTHING in passbook that i don't get more with the full starbucks app. The Starbucks app can already do that. I expected it to track my rewards, my stars. At least regarding Starbucks, i think it's a nice addition but nothing special.

Rothko says:

and of course, no Passbook in the UK, which is really odd of Starbucks.

So all we have are 3 non UK airlines and a hotel booking service available in the UK app store.

9thWonder says:

your not missing much honestly. YOu'd get it and go "that's it." Hell the starbucks passbook as far as i can tell is exactly the same functionally as the card starbucks app.

Cyrano says:

Hoping UK app is updated too. Though not holding my breath!

avmsam says:

No passbook support for Canada yet.

tobias_i_d says:

neither here. no starbucks passbook app in singapore =(

zucubo says:

no Starbucks app in Austria either... : /

bretterson says:

Having lock screen functionality limited to only 10 preselected stores really takes away a lot of the much-hyped convenience of the Passbook concept. I wonder if that's a limitation of Starbucks or Apple. Either way, it's very disappointing.

Mrdevali says:

How about this... Where I live there are no Starbucks! Lol

9thWonder says:

lol, Apple should have anticipated that, built one in time for the launch, that way you'd have a starbucks to complain about not being able to use your passbook at.

Steve-O says:

Just topped the app for the first time in the hope I could then add to Passbook & actually start using it...... only to find no UK Passbook support yet. Grrrrr! says:

Tried this out this morning and works great. I am not sure I like downloading an app to get another app to work though, but I will give it a go. I have a flight next weekend and I will try the boarding pass ...

Mister869 says:

Even with update loaded, the Starbucks card in passbook does not update balance. Very disappointing.

Carioca32 says:

That's fragmentation for you right there, Apple took the worst leaf from the Android book.

The Apple ecosystem is quickly becoming horribly fragmented, with millions of 3GSs and 3gen iPods still in use, plus iPhone 4 and 4s's, iPhone 5s, old iPads, new iPads, and soon mini iPads. With five or six different resolutions, developers might as well do the math and deliver to the most popular, or to the ones that fit in most devices.

Hoofer Jones says:

The fact that Apple has 5 different models over 5 different years isn't a sign of fragmentation: even the 3GS can support iOS6. Sadly, Android is in a different place - my handset was obsolete 4 months after it was released, stuck at Froyo. Despite clear stability issues, neither the manufacturer or carrier was willing to deal address it. It convinced me that Android was a 2nd class citizen. In contrast, my wife bought an iPhone 3GS at the same time, and she is running the latest OS and apps today. Fragmentation? Not nearly like the problems experienced with Android, or with RIM before that.

BigDog353 says:

When I switched my card over to Passbook this morning, I lost all of my stars and rewards ad was told that I need 5 stars to reach green. I was only 3 away from Gold. Please fix this.

Hoofer Jones says:

I don't think Starbucks sees this forum as a customer service line.

That said, when switched over to the new version of the Starbucks app this morning, I retained all my stars/rewards. Perhaps you have multiple accounts - easy to do with SB.

speckhals says:

I love to find fault with a free app, and I'll try to nick pick as much as I can. Doing that will encourage the company to give us more without them having to worry about being thanked. And I also will submit my support problems through these comment pages, thereby being assured I'll receive help immediately. says:

When I open passbook and click to go to App Store, I don't see Starbucks among the selections. Right now, except for the Lufthansa app, I don't see anything I can use. And since I prefer delta to LH, and with no delta passbook enablement in its app, there is nothing I can use. This is kinda lame...

If I were running apple, or at least having influence into the strategic thinking and planning process, I would make sure that before I launched such a feature, I had a department working with the top 5 companies in each branch to ensure that from day one there would be a host of passbook enabled apps available.

I can only wonder if there are so few apps available because apple might be demanding some kind of cut from each transaction that a retailer is hesitant to agree to. If this is the case, I could see retailers weighing increased traffic vs reduced margin, and waiting to jump in until they see how it works for others, or until there is clear feedback from customers that they are voting with their feet (apple cut rates in iAds a couple of times already, so perhaps they will be forced to do the same on passbook.)

Btw, why is there no global Starbucks app? My guess is that Starbucks overseas doesn't operate in the same competitive or cultural atmosphere as in the USA, and as such, doesn't feel the need to teach customers to expect freebees!

In the meantime, users are going to give up on checking back for new apps and any momentum that the feature had at launch will fade (maps is suffering a similar kind of fate now too)...

Just as I wonder why apple didn't buy tomtom or Nokia to get off to a good start on maps, I really, really, wonder why apple didn't buy CardStar and LemonWallet to make a strong and competent entry into the digital wallet competition! Although I think I would risk using LemonWallet if it were a native apple-owned feature, I'm not keen on ever entrusting all my private data to whatever security an app developer has on their system or in their personnel ranks).

I kinda wonder if passbook was supposed to be part of a bigger something, featuring NFC and fingerprint readers, or maybe even Apple-made Point of Sale NFC-reading devices, that Apple has not been able to get organized in time for the recent launches. Phil Schiller's statement about "no present need" is , IMHO, misdirection, in that, there is a great need, but nobody is quite there with both the hardware and software to accomplish the task, of replacing plastic cards with strips and chips, with a smartphone having equal or better security features.)

Presently, passbook seems like a launch thud, as did ping, hopefully, apple will take the steps necessary to prevent thud from becoming dud.

nikkisharif says:

Can't wait to use it for the 1st time today!!

GlennRuss says:

Bug, or no. I went into the app, and added the card into passbook from card view, manage. Checked passbook, and it was there. Used it via passbook, no problems except amount shown, did not change after charge. It only changed when I opened the app again, and told it to add to passbook again. The proper amount was displayed. Kind of strange. You should not have to add the card via the app every time you use it just to get the correct amount shown. Defeats the purpose of passbook. Might as well use the app itself. At least is shows the proper amount after a charge.

GlennRuss says:

Never mind. It it working fine now. No problems showing proper charge amount.

Keldog says:

I downloaded the Starbucks app from the App Store, then added it to Passbook from the app. Worked great, just logged into my Starbucks account like I did for my little card. One less thing to carry around in my wallet.

zuseapp says:

That's awesome that it integrates gold card rewards. Anything that makes getting caffeine easier is great.

auribe14 says:

Are you able to scan your card for the picture, like you are with the Best Buy app? That would be the way to make it look like a Gold Card.

GreenDize12 says:

Piece of Crap update deleted all my stars and now Im back to 0. Time to call Starbucks!!!

joshnaugle says:

I am not getting updates when I am near my favorite store nor is the card updating after making a purchase. Not sure this really provides any benefit over the regular app. Not sure Passbook provides anything either... I've moved it to my junk folder for now...