When Apple revamped their USA Apple Pay page back in June with the Clipper launch, they rebranded Express Transit as Express Mode on a new and separate Wallet webpage. At the time the branding change seemed trivial but it had bigger implications. After the release of iOS 15 Apple has scrubbed Express Transit references from numerous support pages and replaced it with Express Mode which is now a little *footnote on the Apple Pay Transit page. It used to be a whole ‘Ride transit with Express Transit’ section.
Does the change make it easier to understand the difference between going through a transit gate with Express Mode on, or where it can be used? Not really. In fact you have to read carefully to understand which transit systems have dedicated Apple Pay transit cards and which ones are open loop with Express Mode…or pokey old Face/Touch ID. Maybe that’s the whole point, it’s all just Apple Pay for transit.
As outlined after WWDC, Express Mode is what Apple wants to market because Wallet is not only about transit anymore: “With Express Mode, you can use cards, passes, and keys in the Wallet app with just a tap.” Sounds nice, except one small thing: somebody forgot to tell the iOS 15 UI team. Express Transit Card in Wallet & Apple Pay settings is still the place to turn on Express Mode that it always has been without the new branding. But there is no indication in the UI. And it is still different for keys and passes: tap the card ‘…’ button and then turn Express Mode on or off via a toggle or a menu, depending on the issuer…I guess.
In short Apple refers to Express Mode as a universal thing, but it’s not a universal setting in the iOS 15 UI and missing altogether in Express Transit Card settings…how confusing. Hopefully Apple will clean up the confounding Express Card vs Express Mode UI mess in future iOS 15 updates.