Apple Releases iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay, Photo Album, More

desktop_ios8_iconAs promised at last week’s media event, Apple has released iOS 8.1 which adds Apple Pay for its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, along with the return of the Photo Album within Photos and the ability to send and receive text messages on a Mac running Yosemite via a paired iPhone, and much more.

Apple Pay is arguably the most notable and anticipated feature in iOS 8.1 and it’s easy to set up. Once you’ve upgraded your iPhone 6 to iOS 8.1, open the Passbook app and tap on the option to add a credit or debit card. You’ll then be walked through adding the card’s information, which you can do manually or by using the device’s camera.

Click images to enlarge

The last step is verifying that you’re the owner of the credit card and indeed want to add it to Apple Pay, which can be done via phone, text message, or email. For my Citibank card, I opted to receive a text message, but it didn’t arrive after several minutes so I went back and chose to call Citibank and provided a password to complete the process. For my American Express card, I opted to receive a text message with a code, which did arrive immediately and the card was added after I entered the code into Passbook.

Once you’ve set up your eligible credit and debit cards, you should be able to pay for goods and services at participating stores with just your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and your fingerprint via TouchID. Apple has published a list of participating stores.

Currently only the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus can use Apple Pay for contactless payments in stores, while other devices with TouchID can use Apple Pay though only for in-app and online purchases since they lack the NFC chips present in the newest iPhones.

For more information, you can check out Apple’s own Apple Pay FAQ, a walk-through on how to set up and use Apple Pay, and Apple’s list of participating issuing banks. If you’re concerned about how safe and secure Apple Pay is, read Apple’s overview of Apple Pay security and privacy.

Here’s a demo video showing how Apple Pay works from TechCrunch:

I’m going to try out Apple Pay tonight. The credit card I use most often isn’t from a participating bank (hustle up, Fidelity!) and while I’m hoping that will change soon, I still have others I can test it out with in the meantime. Are you excited about Apple Pay?

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