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Pokémon Go tips, tricks and cheats guide to help you catch 'em all

What you didn't know about catching Pokémon out in the real world, including details of summer 2017's huge Gym update.

Pokémon Go, the location-based free-to-play game that has taken the iOS and Android app stores by storm, allows players to use the original 151 Pokémon in real-world locations, as Google Maps data turns parks, shops and churches into places where you can capture, train and battle creatures.

Despite the seemingly straightforward premise, there's lots of hidden, unexplained or not-so-obvious elements throughout the game, and we have a series of Pokémon Go guides that can help.

Pokémon Go tips, tricks and cheats guide

On this page are a series of tips and tricks for Pokémon Go that allow you to make the most out of finding and catching Pokémon, hatching eggs, leveling up creatures and much, much more.

Gyms have seen a massive revamp

As of summer 2017, a huge multiplayer update has taken place, changing the way Gyms work and introduce the concept of Raids.

  • The Gym rework has dropped levels and Prestige, and now centers around Motivation.
  • Gyms now also act as PokeStops, which also give out collectable and upgradable Gym Badges.
  • The way you earn and collect PokeCoins has changed.
  • Raid battles allow you to take on extra-powerful creatures for exclusive rewards, including Rare Candy and Golden Razz Berries.
  • Play enough Raids, and you'll finally be able to catch Legendaries.
  • There are several new Gym-related Medals to unlock.

New Pokémon are here!

togepi

As of the February 2017 update, Pokémon from Gen 2's Johto region - otherwise known as the Pokémon from Gold, Silver and Crystal - are available.

Alongside new creatures, there are also new features - such as additional Berries - and many minor tweaks and additions to the game's various systems. This includes:

Post-Gen 2 update, we've also seen the arrival of promo codes, not unlike Niantic's other game, Ingress.

If you want to play properly, then be prepared to travel around

Instead of exploring at random, there are ways to track specific creatures in Pokémon Go with Nearby and Sighting radars thanks to an in-game radar in the bottom right corner of the screen, which allows you to hone in on what creatures are nearby and by PokeStops. You can also track creatures by their Type in real-life locations - such as water Pokémon being near rivers, canals and lakes - as well demanding players travel to entirely different continents to get region-exclusive creatures.

Pokémon Go - Find Pokémon using new Nearby and Sighting trackers
Learn the best ways to locate creatures nearby.

Pokémon Go nests - Where to find nests in London, the UK and other areas
Find clusters of specific Pokémon fast with these maps and lists, up to date until late August.

Check in regularly to get the most out of your daily bonuses

Daily Bonuses are now available, and give you some decent sized rewards simply for checking in once a day to play the game, and completing a couple of minor tasks. Check out our guide to the daily bonuses below for some more details on how the work:

Pokémon Go Daily Bonus - Rewards for streaks and first catch and Pokestop of each day
Here's how much XP and Stardust you get for playing Pokémon Go each day.

Increase your egg hatching productivity by playing smart

eggs1

Once you have collected an egg, go to your Pokémon then swipe right to access them.

For hatching eggs, you start the game with an incubator that you can use as many times as you like, and also find or purchase additional one-time-use incubators so you can have multiple eggs brewing at once.

When you have more than one available, it pays to be smart about where you put your eggs; placing longer-lasting 10km eggs in the finite supply will make them last longer, since they're based on the number of uses, not distance used.

Pokémon Go - Egg chart and hatching 2km, 5km and 10km Eggs
What to expect to hatch after putting in those miles.

Increase your egg hatching productivity by not moving at all

Another trick that players have discovered that if you leave the game open when you're not moving - such as on your desk at work - your Trainer can sometimes step slightly from side-to-side as the phone continues to narrow down your GPS position. These little movements count as walking towards hatching, so it might be worth keeping the app open to slowly chip away when you can - assuming you can trust co-workers not to mess with your phone away from your desk, of course!

But you can't hatch eggs faster by using public transport

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fast

Since the game uses the amount of distance you have travelled to hatch eggs and unlock certain medals, you might think that catching a bus or train is a quick way of travelling large distances. However, the game will know that you are travelling too fast, and won't register the movement at all - and even gives you a warning when it happens. As if things were that easy!

That said, if you're not needing to track specific Pokémon, then using public transport is a great way to increase your chances of encountering them out in the wild, especially in busier urban areas.Remember you can complete a capture without having to stay in a fixed position, so don't worry if the bus or train speeds away.

While public transport also isn't a great way to interact with Gyms, since they require you to be in their radius for the duration of their use, can 'queue up' a PokéStop interaction up ahead before you pass through it, and then spin the screen at the right time.

Pokémon Go Catch Bonus explained - How to increase your chances of catching elemental Pokémon with Medals
Every Medal listed that will increase your capture rates.

There's a way to see which Pokémon you caught recently

blue

When browsing your Pokémon, you might have noticed some have a blue glow to them - this means they have been caught in the past 24 hours.

While you can already filter your roster by Recent, it allows you to differentiate at a glance if you are browsing by Pokédex number, CP and name, too.

Out of Revives? Then have Candy at the ready...

This is a short but sweet tip; if you're out of Revives and need to resurrect a creature, then spend Candy through a Power Up or Evolve and it'll come back to life with HP. Handy if you're in a pinch!

Pokémon Go Candy - How to get Candy, how Rare Candy works
How to get Candy as easily as possible, and how much you'll need to spend.

Pokémon Go Buddy system - Distances for when each Buddy Pokémon drop rewards
Which Buddy Pokémon are quicker to produce Candy than others in Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is just as complex as the main games, thanks to a hidden layer of stats

CP is one of the most important values for a Pokémon, but it hides a number of hidden stats that determine how effective a Pokémon can actually be. Just like the main games, fans have discovered there are a series of Individual Stats - or IVs - that act as an individual Pokémon's genes, dictating whether and how much a particular Pokémon's stats deviate from the norm of their Base values.

A combination of a Pokémon's hidden Base Stats, IVs, and Level (the white bar above the Pokémon) are what dictate its CP. While the higher the better, remember that your initially brilliant Vaporeon might only be strong because it's a high Level, and could get swept aside by more naturally strong, high-IV alternatives later on.

Our dedicated page explains more on how this works in more detail, and how to find and exploit these hidden values:

Pokémon Go Moves - movesets, move list, and highest DPS attacks.
How to find out the best, most powerful moveset for your Pokémon.

Pokémon Go CP meaning explained: How to get the highest CP values and create the most powerful team
How to expose hidden stats to make Pokémon as powerful as they can be.

Pokémon Go - How to get Stardust easily to strengthen your Pokémon
The best ways to gather Stardust, from Eggs to Gyms.

You don't have to tap every item at a PokéStop

A surprisingly helpful time saver is knowing that you don't need to tap every single item that floats up the screen when you spin a PokéStop. If you tap the cross at the bottom of the screen, you'll be given every item automatically, which is particularly useful if you need to get back to the map to turn your attention to another PokéStop or Pokémon out in the world.

Use the 'L Throw' technique for perfect Curveballs

As well as throwing balls within a shrinking circle to get Nice, Great and Excellent catches - increasing your chances of success - you can also get a little fast XP on top with Curveballs, a sort of trick shot that sees balls curl towards their target.

To throw a Curveball, start by holding the Pokéball and rotating it round. When you throw, it'll then curve in the rotation you spun the ball - if it's clockwise, then it'll go to the right, and if anti-clockwise, to the left.

They're hard to pull off, but thankfully players recently discovered a technique that allows you to easily throw them with great success. After a spin, move the ball up the left-most side of the screen, and release at the same height as the Pokémon. Assuming the Pokéemon didn't move or attack, it should land and start the capture process. You can read more on the technique and see it in action in the following guide:

Pokémon Go Curveballs - Throw perfect curveballs and get Nice, Great, Excellent bonuses
How to trap Pokémon effectively inside those valuable Pokéballs.

There are more Easter eggs and secrets to find in Pokémon Go

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As well as plenty of shortcuts, tips and tricks that the game doesn't tell you about, there's also a few secrets hidden away by the developers for players to find, from finding a fourth starter Pokémon at the start of the game to using hints from the TV show to evolve Eevee the way you want - links to those articles below!

And apparently there's more - at Pokémon Go's San Diego Comic Con panel, developer Niantic revealed that there are several Easter Eggs in the game that fans had not revealed yet, so expect more secrets to emerge in the coming weeks and months as players pick the game apart.

Pokémon Go secrets and Easter Eggs
Looks like the developers are big fans of Pikachu...

Pokémon Go Ditto - where to find and how to catch Ditto in the wild and everything else you need to knowThe elusive Pokémon finally shows up - but it's not so easy to catch.

Pokémon Go Pikachu: How to get Pikachu as your starter and out in the wild
How to start with Ash's favourite Pokémon over Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle.

Pokémon Go Eevee evolution: How to evolve Eevee into Vaporeon, Jolteon and Flareon with new name
A hidden reference to the TV show allows you choose the way Eevee evolves.

You can stop yourself from accidentally transferring Pokémon

Niantic have added a function which prevents you from accidentally transferring those valuable Pokémon to the professor, thanks to a post-release reworking of the game's Favouriting system.

In brief, Pokémon favourited by the player - which can be done by tapping the star in the top-right of the Pokémon's screen - are now unable to be transferred at all, until you unfavourite them again. As part of the July 31 update, the Transfer button has now also been moved to a sub-menu on the Pokémon's screen, under a button with three horizontal bars in the bottom-right, rather than simply being left on its own down the bottom of the page.

It's a quick, simple means of stopping yourself from doing something incredibly frustrating by accident, whilst also making the instant transferring of a Pokémon far easier. You can now mulch down those pesky Zubats into Candy as fast as your heart desires, without the risk of chucking an accidental Dragonite into the mix. Not that we've ever done that, of course...

There's a battery saver mode which can help keep you playing for longer

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Pokémon Go has proven to drain phone batteries surprisingly quickly, but thankfully there's an in-game option to help combat this problem.

To access the Battery Saver, tap the Pokéball at the bottom of the screen during map view to bring up a menu of options, then tap the cog in the upper right corner. Once you enable it, the phone's screen will automatically dim when it's down by your side in a horizontal position, but still continues operating, notifying you of any nearby Pokémon, PokéStops and counting steps towards hatching eggs.

There's a few other ways to save battery that the game doesn't tell you about:

Pokémon Go - Battery saver mode explained, other ways to save battery
There's various ways to help your Poké adventure last longer on your phone.

Digital Foundry's best cheap phone for Pokémon Go in 2016
Meet the Ł60/$99 smartphone that actually plays the game rather well.

Access the game's many sub-menus faster

Instead of tapping the Pokéball at the bottom of the screen to bring up each menu item, you can swipe it in different directions to take you to corresponding sub-menus instead:

  • Swipe Left for Pokémon and Eggs
  • Swipe Right for Items
  • Swipe Up briefly for Shop
  • Swipe Up more for Pokédex

High HP Pokémon make for better Gym defenders

When it comes to deciding which Pokémon to leave at a Gym for battling in Pokémon Go, while you might automatically think offense is the best defence, Pokémon who are defending a Gym get a double HP bonus. It means that creatures with the highest HP (or Stamina) in the game - such as Lapras and Snorlax - are then much tougher to take down, and make for the perfect defenders.

Players have figured out which these Pokémon are - as well as those with the highest Attack, Defence and overall stats:

Pokémon Go best Pokémon tier list - Best Attackers, Best Defenders and highest HP, Stamina and overall stats ranked
Where does Charizard stack up against Dragonite, Lapras and the Legendaries?

Pokémon Go - How to evolve, use Special Items, when to evolve or Power Up your Pokémon
Evolution and Power Up mechanics explained with a flowchart.

The higher your Trainer level, the better (and rarer) Pokémon will be

Trainer level is possibly the single most important stat in the game; the better it is, the stronger CP the Pokémon you encounter will have, and the higher your chances will be for discovering rare Pokémon. Each new level also gives you items, including more powerful Pokéballs and Potions, so it's worth looking to gain XP whenever you can.

Pokémon Go: Level rewards list, level up items and max level cap in full
Here's what you items and rewards you unlock as you collect XP, and when.

Find out whether you actually caught that Pokémon before the game crashed

journal

Due to its immense popularity and a rollout that has seen new regions introduce waves of players every few days, Pokémon Go has had an unsteady launch, with regular bouts of downtime and connection issues. One of the more frustrating incidents is when the game stops responding as you catch a Pokémon.

If this happens, give it a moment to respond, then close and re-open the app and check your Journal (you can do this by tapping the lower right menu bottom on your Trainer screen) to display a list of recent activities. Fingers crossed your prize catch made it to the servers after all!

There's other server-related issues to be aware of too, which we explain in this page:

Pokémon Go server status - check Pokémon Go servers are down in UK, US, Europe and more
Pokémon Go isn't the most reliable game right now, so here's now to navigate its various errors.

There's a simple method to get a whopping 60,000 XP in 30 minutes

Players have worked out a method to get huge XP gains in a short space of time, and interestingly, it involves using the game's weakest and most Pokémon - Pidgey, Weedle and Caterpie - with lots and lots of Candy, netting you tens of thousands of experience in a single sitting:

Pokémon Go XP - Sources list and how to get XP fast with Pidgey farming
A simple way to earn a whopping 60,000 XP in 30 minutes.

Pokémon Go - How to evolve, when to evolve or Power Up your Pokémon
Evolution and Power Up mechanics explained with a flowchart.

Pokémon Go is getting seasonal updates

Like most 'live' games, Pokémon Go will receive regular seasonal updates. Starting in October, the game received a week-long Pokémon Go's Halloween event that increased the appearance rate of select 'spooky' creatures and also increased Candy drop rates.

It was then followed by a Double XP and Stardust Thanksgiving event in November, with more over Christmas and Easter.

You only have one shot at choosing a Gym team, so pick wisely

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Once you hit level 5, you are invited to join one of three teams - Team Instinct, Team Mystic, or Team Valor. The point of teams is to divide the users into competing camps that control gyms, with the idea for players to seek out gyms owned by rival groups, take control of them, and continue to defend them over time, with the game rewarding players for doing so.

While the differences between them are minimal, since you can't change your team once they've been chosen, it's a decision that really matters, especially since there are so many rivalries emerging between players around the globe. Make sure you take your time and choose wisely!

Pokemon Go Team - Valor Mystic and Instinct, which team is the best and which team to join?
Is there a benefit to choosing one team over the others?

Pokémon Go username: How to change username, change appearance
How you can swap the look and nickname of your Trainer.

A guide to what's next in Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go has been around for a number of months now, but there's still more teased to come:

  • Developer Niantic has confirmed that Pokémon Go trading will be available at some point, alongside tweaks and changes to PokéStops, Gyms and AR functionality.

Alternatively, given the game's enormous success, you can look forward to a robust number of Pokémon Go alternatives cropping up in the months and years ahead. The first ones will inevitably be completely dreadful, firstly because that's how hastily-cloned mobile games always are and secondly because pulling together this much GPS data and having a working knowledge of AR is quite a rare combination even beyond gaming.

But there's clearly enough of an audience to make it worthwhile, and pairing the same approach with a similarly beloved brand - say, Harry Potter - is a tempting enough prospect for big companies to start spending big money. We'd place a small bet on the topic being much discussed at next year's games conventions.

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