How to Pre-authorize Your iPhone to Use Apple Pay

Image credit: Apple

This handy trick, quietly introduced in iOS 8.3, can speed up your Apple Pay experience. Or help quite a bit when you know you'll be one-handed at checkout.


Many Apple customers with an Apple Pay-capable iPhone have been making successful purchases since October 2014.  Even so, there's no doubt that the new Apple Watch has spoiled us when it comes to Apple Pay. Just double click the side button, and you're ready to hold the Apple Watch next to the Point of Sale (POS) reader.


Quietly introduced in iOS 8.3, Apple has made the Apple Pay process a bit more flexible with the iPhone itself. Now, you can pre-authorize the iPhone, so to speak, so that when you pull the iPhone out, all you need to do is hold it close to the POS reader. And you're finished.

This can come in particularly handy when you know you're not going to have both hands free at checkout. Perhaps you're holding a bulky package (or a child) in one arm, and you'd like to pull out the iPhone and pay one handed. Or perhaps you don't want to look like doofus in a busy checkout line, fussing with fingerprint recognition issues.

Here's how to do it. In preparation for the purchase, you can pre-authorize your iPhone for Apple Pay as follows.

  1. Open Passbook.
  2. Select the card you want to use.
  3. Touch the iPhone home button until it recognizes your fingerprint. (If you've been using Apple Pay, your iPhone has Touch ID.)
  4. The iPhone display will look like this, in part.

Now, put the iPhone is a handy spot, say, a pocket. You'll have 60 seconds or so to pull out the iPhone and hold it to a POS reader and verify the purchase. At this point, the iPhone is essentially working just like an Apple Watch.

While it may not seem like a highly useful feature because of the 60 second time limit, it sure is helpful to about know this trick. It could pay off in the future.

Happy Apple Paying!