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Pokémon GO tips & tricks: How to catch ‘em all (and more)

Our Pokémon GO tips and tricks guide is here to help beginners get started on their mission to catching ’em all. More advanced players can check out our Pokémon GO tips and tricks for seasoned gamers.

“Hello there! Welcome to the world of Pokémon GO! My name is Toddy! People call me the Pokémon GO Prof! OK, nobody calls me that, but I digress.

Pokémon GO - Professor Toddy

“This world is inhabited by creatures called Pokémon! For some people, Pokémon are pets. Others use them for battling. Myself… I search for the best tips and tricks to help you on your quest to becoming a Pokémon master”.

We’ve written these tips and tricks assuming you already have some of the basics of gameplay and terminology down, but if you’re yet to set out on your very own Pokémon adventure and you aren’t lucky enough to be in one of the game’s launch markets (Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and finally, the UK) our ‘how-to download Pokémon GO’ feature might be a good place to start.

Get Pikachu as your starter Pokémon

Niantic knows how to get the nostalgia juices flowing, not only opting to launch GO with the original roster of 151 Pokémon, but also presenting players with the same choice of three starter Pokémon as in the original 90s Game Boy games: Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. There is, however, one very important starter missing from this lineup, the most iconic Pokémon of all time – Pikachu.

Thankfully, despite the appearance of only three starters in front of you to begin with, you can actually summon a Pikachu with a little trick. Rather than tapping on the three standard beasties, just walk away. Walking far enough away will cause the game to reset the position of these starters, placing them back around you. If you cause a reset four to five times, Pikachu will eventually join the lineup.

Then it’s simply a case of tapping on the little yellow electric mouse and lobbing Pokéballs at him. Enjoy.

Catch ‘em all (yes, everything)

Unless you have a lifestyle that packs in plenty of travel you’ll likely encounter a lot of the same kinds of Pokémon when you’re out and about, but don’t fret, that’s actually a good thing and in fact an essential part of how to progress as a trainer. When you catch a Pokémon you’ll notice that it comes with a few extra goodies, namely in the form of something called ‘Stardust’ and candy specific to that breed of Pokémon.

If you want to strengthen your Pokémon up quickly, or indeed evolve them, catching a lot of the same Pokémon breed is the only (free) sure-fire way to guarantee that you have the necessary supplies to toughen up your Pokémon for those all-important gym battles. Catching every Pokémon you encounter will also help speed through those first five experience levels too.

Want to see a complete list of all of the wild Pokémon you’ll be hunting, and how they evolve? Check out our complete Pokémon GO Pokédex.

Not all Pokéstops are created equal

Niantic Labs – the team behind Pokémon GO had a previous title called Ingress, that centred around location-based gameplay in much the same way. You may have noticed that Pokéstops appear on real-world landmarks, significant locations and other important points of interest, but visiting some can be more beneficial than others, just like the developer’s last game.

Whilst this isn’t an absolute guarantee, a rule of thumb is that the bigger and more well known the landmark is, the greater the loot you’ll receive when you visit it. Most run-of-the-mill Pokéstops will dole out two or three Pokéballs and, on occasion, the odd potion, but head to a more significant P.O.I and you’ll likely land more than three items or at least more useful/powerful items in a single visit.

Best places and times to find Pokémon

It’s not just the road layouts of the real world that marry up with the world of Pokémon GO, you’ll also notice that green land, such as parks or gardens, as well as waterways, rivers, and oceans are all also accounted for – these are all great places to find Pokémon if you’re struggling.

Keep an eye out for rustling leaves, hinting at where critters may be lurking and simply hang out in a suspected region for the increased chance of an encounter. Not all Pokémon stick to the same time frame either, many players have reported finding more psychic, fairy and ghost types in the evening or at night, so if you’re trying to bag the likes of a Clefairy or a Haunter, you might need to pull a late one in order to track them down.

As with rustling grass, hanging out near sources of water will also increase the chance of running into water-type Pokémon. Go figure.

What are the footprints in Pokémon GO?

When on the hunt for Pokémon you may have noticed the little footprint icons next to the various pocket monsters supposedly in your current vicinity. In the current build of the game at least, it’s never actually explained what those footprints mean, but we can confirm they refer to distance.

The fewer footsteps there are, the more likely you are to encountering a specific Pokémon. Think of it as the game’s way of telling you ‘hotter or colder’.

Easier captuARs

The whole hook of Pokémon GO is that it places Pokémon in the real world, our world – and it does so by way of augmented reality or AR. The game uses your phone’s camera and positioning hardware (gyroscope etc) to place a Pokémon in front of you as if it were really there, but depending on where they get placed, it can sometimes be hard to pin one down.

The capture mechanic, requires that you swipe up to throw a Pokéball at the Pokémon on-screen to capture it, but with some attempting to dodge your barrage, paired to unsteady camera work (and thus constant movement of the target as it’s tracked around), it sometimes makes more sense to leave out the AR element of GO for a moment.

To do this, simply swipe the AR toggle that appears in the top right of the screen whilst you’re in capture mode. It’ll place the Pokémon you’ve been trying to hit into a separate all-virtual environment with no moving backgrounds to track against or distract you, making them that little bit easier to hit.

How to save battery power when playing Pokémon GO

In case you hadn’t noticed, in order to get the full experience out of Pokémon GO, you have to have active internet and GPS connections at all times, as well as ensuring the screen stays on. Suffice to say, Pokémon GO can be a bit of a battery hog, so naturally, if there are ways to curb its consumption without harming your gameplay experience, you should put them into effect. No?

Thankfully, the developers have created at least one feature for this very purpose, but the benefits sort of depend on what phone you have. Switching battery saver on will turn the screen black when your phone is upside down (for clarification, face-down on a table won’t cut it. The screen won’t turn black unless the device is upside down, such as in a pocket).

By turning black, particularly on phones that use AMOLED displays (such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Vodafone Smart Platinum 7), Pokémon GO can keep running, without eating up as much juice from your device’s power-hungry display.

As Pokémon GO also uses Google’s Maps for reference, downloading maps of the areas you usually play in for offline mode will save on data and thus battery life too.

Notifications and accessories for Pokémon GO

As an extension of the previous point, a key tool in finding Pokémon in your area is through the use of notifications. Pokémon GO has a built in notifications system, causing your phone to buzz/vibrate when a new pocket monster appears in your locale. However, the app has to be on for this to work, it can’t function in the background or when your device is locked.

Luckily there’s an alternative way of receiving these handy physical hints, even when your phone is locked, in the form of the $35/£35 Pokémon GO Plus wearable that appeared alongside the game at its initial unveiling; otherwise, battery saver will let you black out the screen, whilst the app can continue to run and vibrate, alerting you to the presence of new Pokémon nearby.

Read next: Everything you need to know about the Pokémon GO Plus, including compatibilty, UK price and release date.

Don’t be lazy

Part of the fun of Pokémon GO is exploring the outside world, searching for new creatures in new places, but playing a game that requires that you walk around isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes and some might consider looking for alternative means of traversing the globe. Whilst it’s possible to spoof your phone’s GPS location so you can jump from Tokyo to San Francisco within GO in a matter of seconds, we wouldn’t recommend it.

Whilst you you will pop up in the desired destination within the game, it’s smart enough to determine that something isn’t right (likely trigged by having to place your Android phone into Developer Mode) and as such, Pokémon, Pokéstops and gyms simply won’t appear.

More importantly, Niantic Labs have ways of detecting GPS spoofing and if Ingress (their previous game) is anything to go by, if you get caught trying to warp all over the place, your account could receive a permaban, and nobody wants that. You have been warned.

Think we’ve missed anything important or have a burning Pokémon GO question we’re yet to answer? Drop us a line in the comments section below.

Video: Pokemon Go Tips & Tricks

To see our Pokemon GO tips and tricks in action, check out our video guide below.

Read next: Inappropriate Pokéstops and other bad places to play Pokemon GO


  • Joel Araújo

    One hint: Some eggs have a long way to incubate like 10Km (6Miles) walking. Trying to do it in a car (in slow speed) or bicycle it’s just not recommended. The game knows how fast you go and can determinate if you are going too fast. If you go fast, it doesn’t count. Too fast it’s like more than 10km/h or so – in my experience. Don’t be lazy, walk! 🙂
    Other thing it’s very good travel by train, for exemple. Every single stop you have a PokeStop where you can obtain itens. (in my experience in Switzerland)

    • Anilson Martins

      wow hello fellow i also play this game in Switzerland and thats pretty accurate

    • Fullmetal_Omar

      I can confirm this. I tried doing this on my way to work. i have 2 eggs incubation both requiring 5km (3miles) of walking to hatch. my drive is about 35 miles and it didn’t count towards my steps at all. I had the app open too

      • Christian Lowe

        you must be driving 20- mph

    • Vivaan Nagpal

      the game actually uses google maps which has a track of roads so even if you are walking on the road it will count it as driving or cycling thus road not show on google maps of pokemon go are good places to ride a bike or a car

  • Lee Hackett

    Has anyone figured out how to sell items? I really don’t want to pay for coins when I have items I won’t use.
    Apart from the fact your starter is useless as you have to capture more of the same Pokémon to get their candy to level up this is a great app

    • Emberson Jay

      You can attain coins by owning Gyms and cashing in daily.

  • danlei88

    “You may have noticed that Pokéstops appear on real-world landmarks, significant locations and other important points of interest”

    My closest Pokéstop is a graffiti that roughly translates to “Life is life”. Really significant landmark. Then again, it’s not supposed to work in Europe yet so can’t complain too much.

    • Anilson Martins

      what is not supposed to work in europe noooooooo

  • Redicious

    Actually the Pokestops and Gyms are Portals in Ingress. So it seems they used the Data from Ingress/Field Trip.
    Ingress Players collected data of those Landmarks which then were published in the App Field Trip as Point of Interest. Thats why we used Field Trip to discover Portals in the early days of Ingress – might be useful for Pokemon Go… finding spots with a high density of Pokestops.

    I didn’t experience a difference between the pokestops yet. Maybe it is even linked with ingress: Higher Portal rank -> more generous Pokestop. Maybe it’s time again for a big excel sheet to calculate dropchances 😉

  • VT0L

    Phone couldn’t even last 3 hours with full battery running this game non stop. Hard to go exploring with this battery drainage. Encountered so many bugs, it just kills the fun.

    • Krios

      Thats why you invest in a decent battery pack. I have like 2 heavy duty ones and one for casual charging which last me several cycles. I bought them for conventions and emergency charging but they are also useful for this app lol. But my main concern is the data hogging

      • VT0L

        Yeah. But to solely buy a powerbank for just a single app wouldn’t seem worth it. My phone usually last 1/2 a day regularly. Don’t like carrying extra weight.

        • zonkttc

          boo hoo then.

        • johntate90210

          I’m afraid you can’t run GPS and a lit screen for free. Perhaps not using the AR (camera) mode might help a little?

          • VT0L

            Yea i dont use AR, SFX, sound. I play mine in black/white from using power saving mode feature from Note 4. It helps a lot.

  • Noob

    Anyone have any ideas on where to find fire types

    • larry

      I’ve wondered the same things.. I did some research and found out people are saying during really sunny days and in desert areas (like Arizona). You can find electric types during thunderstorms, water types near water or when its raining, etc. If you find out anything else, lmk.

      • KagetaneHiruko

        Does not work that way for me. Yesterday it rained all day and I have not seen a single water pokemon. What does work though is trying different areas. I drove a few stations until I saw electro Pokemon and jumped off, and voila, loads of electrics

        • larry

          That’s weird. There was a thunderstorm here and I caught a voltorb, staryu, krabby, and magikarp. Went down by the water and caught a squirtle, shelder, and for some reason a charmander..
          No idea why he’s near the water lol

    • Sara

      Las Vegas. I’ve found Charmander, Vulpix, growlithe, and ponyta here!

      • Jonah Wrencher

        I’m in law vegas, where Sony find charmander

    • EnderHuntress

      There were quite a few in Utah. Pidgeys, Rattata, Abras, and Geodudes were also plentiful. Not sure if that’s normal though.

  • jkane001

    Full disclosure: I am the author of the app I’m about to recommend. The link is below.

    Wakey is an Android app that is built to keep your screen on, on your terms. I’ve worked very hard to make it work well and be simple to use, and gives you lots of options which may improve battery life while using Pokemon Go. It works better than the “Battery Saver” mode included in Pokemon Go, which only really works when the screen is upside down. Wakey works in any orientation.

    You can choose a mode that will allow the best combination of screen and battery – you can choose CPU only (this allows the screen to shut off, but the phone stays awake. I’m not 100% sure this is compatible with Pokemon Go, but if not…), or you can choose “Minimal Brightness” mode, which lowers your screen to the lowest brightness, but keeps it on. Finally, there’s “Allow Dimming” mode, which lets the screen go partially dim, but not fully dim or off. I would recommend trying the modes in that order, as they are listed in the order of most battery saving.

    With Wakey, you can set it to keep your screen on manually, or as long as Pokemon Go is on screen (or any app or apps you choose), or as long as the device is charging (the Auto features require in-app upgrade to Premium, but everything else I’m talking about here is free).

    Android users can download it here:

    • Anonymous


  • Andrew Smith

    Im just wondering What does the ranking do in this game? Im currenlty lvl 9. Almost 10. Anyone know?

    • Jonah Wrencher

      The higher your level the high the pokemons level in the wild

    • KagetaneHiruko

      An you get better items with higher lvl, like hyper potion (lvl 15) or hyper ball (lvl 20)

  • Yelena Golovkin

    Hey guys, I want to start playing but I read on this site that I need to walk at least 1 hour to be even level 5! is this true?
    site is this btw:

    • kevin42

      A lot depends on where you live. I can capture 5 to 10 pokemon an hour just setting in my livingroom. Otherwise just find your nearest pokestop and set out a lure and they will come.

    • KagetaneHiruko

      If an hour of walking is too much for you, this is not the game for you!

  • Julie

    I need help trying to open the camera while hunting to see everything live. Anyone can help?

    • kevin42

      It doesn’t work like that. You only see pokemon in AR after you start a capture. It isn’t really an AR game during the hunting phase.

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