I'm trying to create a pass signing server to dynamically create Apple Wallet passes using OpenSSL and standard pass templates provided by Apple but I can't seem to get the pass to show up using the following tutorial:


Unfortunately, when I try to import the pass into the device simulator I don't seem to get any error messages indicating what the problem is... but I did look at Apple's documentation and I think it may have to do with the signature process since the (outdated) tutorial doesn't mention anything about a PKCS #7 detached signature: Apple Wallet Documentation

My question is: What do I need to adjust on the tutorial's OpenSSL commands to successfully sign the pass with the proper certificates? I've gone through the documentation on OpenSSL but I'm pretty new to this process so I'm not sure what to make of it. Also, if anyone has decent resources on learning more about certificates/signing/etc I would greatly appreciate the help!


This is a delayed reply, but I hit a similar thing today, while also using that same guide:

Beginning Passbook in iOS 6: Part 1/2.

It turns out, as old as it is, it still works.

Here is some information which might help:

1) You don't need iOS Simulator to open a .pkpass file (as suggested in Apple docs), you can also open them on a Mac. What's even better, on a Mac you will get an error message when it fails to open, while on iOS Simulator it will just fail silently.

2) These errors can be seen by opening Console.app on your Mac. Trying to open an invalid .pkpass on Mac and iOS Simulator, both had log entries in Console.app, which might give you some more hints. (If there is too much noise from other logs, try filtering by pass in the top right corner.)

3) I eventually figured out my problem was because I modified the example, and was just using an empty password to produce passkey.pem, and openssl was not outputting the key into the passkey.pem file. Note the empty -passout pass: at the end:

openssl pkcs12 -in Certificates.p12 -nocerts -out passkey.pem -passin pass: -passout pass:

This of course was specific to me, and your problem might be different. The signing process is tricky, everything needs to be just right, changing one small character in any of the files throws the whole signature invalid and thus makes the pass not valid. You should be able to get some more clues specific to your setup in the log files in Console.app.

To clarify and answer your question more directly, I don't think you need to adjust anything in the example. Following it verbatim, it still generates a valid .pkpass file. Try to use the methods described above to figure out where you went wrong: i.e. is the certificate invalid, or does the signature not match the data. There should be some clues in the error logs.

  • 1
    Thanks for the Console.app hint! – Razvan Grigore Nov 17 '19 at 20:29

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