While you can play the game casually by walking around and stumbling into Pokémon at random, there is a way to how to target a specific type out of a selection nearby, which is perfect if you want to fill out those Pokédex entries, find a Pokémon to counter a specific Type, or work on getting Candy for leveling and evolutions.
With recent patches, however, much of the mechanics around finding and catching Pokémon have changed. As of late July, the radar in the bottom right of the screen now no longer displays footsteps to indicate actual distances to Pokémon nearby, and was replaced by new Nearby and Sightings trackers. Meanwhile, third-party apps such as Pokévision have been shut down.
Despite the improvements, things still a little up-in-the-air right now for fans in search of the rarest Pokémon, so below we've complied all the known ways for hunting down Pokémon.
How to find Pokémon with new Nearby and Sightings radar trackers in Pokémon Go
After removing the buggy three-step method in late July, Pokémon Go was updated in August with two new Sightings and Nearby trackers. While Sightings is available to everyone, Nearby is only visible for select users, with most evidence pointing to users in North America so far only having access.
Sighting radar tracker
This is similar to the broken three-step radar, allowing you to see Pokémon in the local vicinity without knowing the distance or approximate location. While you can't narrow down a location using this, it gives you a broad indication of what is nearby somewhere, if you want to take a little stroll to hunt them down.
Nearby radar tracker
Only available to a small selection of users on its debut, this replaces the three-step radar by showing you where specific Pokémon are located relative to PokéStops. Select the Pokémon you want, and you will get a close up view of the Pokéstop. Tap again, and the map will zoom out and show you the route to that stop. Users are reporting that Pokémon won't be located on top of that location, but close enough by, helping you narrow down the location.
Here is a video showcasing how it works:
While it certainly doesn't replace a third-party app such as Pokévision in terms of effectiveness, it could ultimately be useful tool to bring players together in one place in search of a specific Pokémon.
How to use Ingress to find Pokémon in Pokémon Go
Another, somewhat more obscure method for finding Pokémon with more than just blind luck is to use Ingress, developer Niantic's previous mobile game which uses almost identical technology to that of Pokémon Go.
To briefly explain: Ingress is a game which required players to head out and control Portals, amongst other things, in order for their team to gain dominance over a certain area. The locations of those Portals correspond, almost exactly, to the locations of PokéStops in Pokémon Go, whilst XM - the resource which players had to gather in order to perform any in-game actions in Ingress - tended to cluster around Portal locations.
Interestingly, there appears to be a correlation between Pokémon spawn locations and locations of large amounts of XM in Ingress. The theory is that the particularly XM-dense areas around Portals - or PokéStops - are nullified in Pokémon Go until a lure is dropped, and more Pokémon spawn.
So how do you use this to your advantage for catching Pokémon? Well, your best bet is to download Ingress and open it up when you see a rare Pokémon appear on the nearby list. Then you can at least head to an area dense with XM - which appears as a cluster of white dots on your map in Ingress - and, in theory, you should have a greater chance of finding Pokémon there.
It's worth noting that this is still an unconfirmed theory, which has only undergone some pretty minor testing by the likes of Reddit user HotrodCorvair. However, with in-game tracking and Pokevision both out of action for the moment, it's probably your best shot for now.
Want more help with Pokémon Go's Gen 2 update? Our list of new Gen 2 Johto Pokémon can teach you where to find each one, what you need to know about new Pokémon Go Berries, Special Items to evolve Pokémon such as King's Rock, Sun Stone, Up-Grade, Dragon Scale and Metal Coat, and how to get Eevee evolutions Umbreon, Espeon, and updated Egg distances and best Pokémon charts, as well as other Pokémon Go tips, tricks, cheats and guides.
Other methods to finding more Pokémon
- At the launch of the game, third-party websites such as Pokevision tapped into the game's API to accurately display the location of Pokémon around you. These services, despite their popularity, have been shut down at the request of developer Niantic due to claims of additional server load during an already over-populated launch period. Whether these effective methods of locating Pokémon will return to the game is uncertain.
- You also attract more Pokémon with items, such as using the Incense item from your backpack, or Lure Modules at a PokeStop - to increase the encounter rate. (Make sure you check Pokémon Go's server status before though, or it could go to waste!
- Remember that certain creatures only exist in certain locations in Pokemon Go, such as lakes, rivers and oceans for water types. There are also a handful of region-exclusive Pokemon, and nests of specific Pokemon to be found.
- To catch rare Pokémon and powerful Pokémon, increase your trainer level, which expands the variety and difficulty of Pokémon you come across. (If you need help, then read our tips on how to get XP fast in Pokemon Go.) Luck and patience also pays a part, so keep exploring to see what you find.
- There are some creatures - such as Mewtwo, Mew, Articuno, Moltres and Zapdos - which have yet to be seen at all, but there are some clues on where they might show up.