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What is the Pokemon Go ‘buddy’ update and how do I get it?

The Pokémon Go ‘buddy’ update has arrived. Here is what it does, how to use it and exactly how it works.

After a bit of a wait, the latest Pokémon Go update has arrived on Android and iOS. So we thought we would explain what the new ‘buddy’ system is all about.

How do I get the Pokémon Go ‘buddy’ update?

You may be prompted to update the Pokémon Go app. If not, head to App Store or Google Play, depending on whether you use an iOS or Android device, and then, if possible, select update and wait.

What is new in the Pokémon Go ‘buddy’ update?

As the name suggests, developer Niantic has added something called buddy. In a nod to how Pikachu followed you around in Pokémon Yellow on Gameboy, the buddy feature lets you walk around with a Pokémon joining you albeit you can’t actually see it on screen.

Why would I bother using buddy in Pokémon Go?

Because the buddy feature allows you to build up candies. For every 1km, 3km or 5km you walk (the distance dependant on the Pokémon’s rarity), you get a candy – sometimes two – that is necessary for evolving a Pokémon into its next evolution and, in conjunction with Stardust, increasing its CP level and overall strength. Walk a lot and you will soon be rolling in candies in addition to hatching eggs as you normally would.

What is the biggest benefit of the buddy system?

Free candies are always good, but it is especially useful for rare Pokémon. As opposed to having to wait to catch a second rare Pokémon, you can speed up the process by making it your buddy and build up candies that way. So that Growlithe can become an Arcanine more easily. For when the ultra-rare Pokémon arrive, of which there may only be one, the buddy feature will prove invaluable.

How do I use buddy?

Click the character screen on the bottom left (where the face of your avatar is), then press the menu button with three lines in the bottom right. Here you can choose ‘Buddy’, which is nestled between the Journal and Customise. Now choose a Pokémon and off you go.

How do I change my Pokémon Go buddy?

Go back into the same menu and press the button with an up and down arrow in the bottom right corner. Be warned: Changing buddy before you earn a candy will reset the progress so maybe keep the buddy active if you have walked the majority of the distance needed.

Anything else I should know?

A buddy can still fight at a gym and will continue digging up candies even if it fainted in a battle or is hurt. So, yes, technically you can drag a fainted Pokémon about. There is also reportedly a trick that, if you walk 10km with Pikachu as your buddy, it will sit on your shoulders like in the Pokémon cartoon series.

What else is new in the Pokémon Go buddy update?

The update, known as 0.37 on iOS and 1.7.0 for iOS, also makes it easier to click on small Pokémon to initiate a battle, prevents an issue that meant you sometimes missed the egg hatching animation, improves overall performance and includes some ‘minor text fixes’. But no fix for the tracker. Meh.

How can I become a better Pokémon Go trainer?

You could try dressing like the show’s protagonist, Ash, but it may be less embarassing to read one of our many guides or watch some of our videos. Buying the Pokémon Go Plus wristband may also help.


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