Pokémon Go Friends is a new addition that opens the door to several new new highly-requested features, including Trading and sending Gifts.

Building a Friend list now only allows you to track the progress of how your Friends are doing, but also provides an array of bonuses when using Gyms and Raids.

On this page:

What does being Friends allow you to do in Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go Friends features a Friends system that introduces a number of benefits. It allows you to:

  • Track the progress of Friends, from their Trainer Level to Pokémon caught and distance walked
  • Trade Pokémon
  • Send and receive Gifts, which include 7km Eggs
  • With higher Friendship Levels, receive a higher attack bonus during Gym / Raid attacks, spend less Stardust when Trading, undergo Special Trades

There's plenty of systems and benefits in play, but let's start with the basics - how to add a friend in Pokémon Go.

How to add Friends in Pokémon Go and where to find your Trainer Code

First, you need to be the right Trainer Level to access the feature. Right now, the Trainer level limit is Level 10. This has decreased rapidly - it dropped from 40 to 30 within a handful of hours of the feature's launch, then became Level 10 the morning after - so if you're not in it yet, just wait a few more days and it could be available at the lower levels.

When you are high enough Trainer level, to start adding Friends in Pokémon Go, go to your Trainer screen by hitting the icon in the bottom left corner of the main screen, then tap the 'Friends' tab in the upper right corner.

pokemon_go_add_friends_1

Next, tap 'Add Friend'. Here you can enter a Trainer Code of a Friend. You will need this to be Friends with someone - there is no way to simply use their Trainer nickname. Think of Trainer Codes like 'Friend Codes' on Nintendo consoles, which require you to actually know the person before you can send a friend request, to prevent players from interacting with strangers.

Your own Trainer Code is also listed here to send to others. To make it simple, you can copy your Trainer Code to your phone's clipboard, so you can easily message it them directly through another app.

It should be noted that Trainers who "require parental approval and registration through the Pokémon Trainer Club to play Pokémon Go will be unable to trade with other Trainers in the game", according to developer Niantic.

Once you have your friend's Trainer Code, enter it into the field then send them a request. Once they accept, you are now Friends - there's no need for you both to send Trainer Codes to each other.

How to increase Pokémon Go Friendship Levels

You can improve your Friendship Level with a friend in two ways:

  • Sending Gifts
  • Participating in Raids and Gym battles together

Note you can only progress your Friendship once per day, so once you have performed one of the above activities, you have to wait until the next day to increase it further.

Pokémon Go Friendship bonuses and how to get Good, Great, Ultra and Best Friend Levels

Since you can only progress your Friendship once per day per friend, though it'll require multiple days to unlock Levels. There are total of four Friendship Levels to unlock:

Friendship LevelNo of days to unlockBonuses
Good Friend1Ability to Trade and send / receive Gifts
Great Friend73,000 XP, Small (0.2x) Stardust discount on Trading
Small (1.05x) Gym and Raid attack bonus
+1 Raid capture balls
Ultra Friend3030,000 XP, Medium (0.92x) Stardust discount on Trading
Medium (1.07x) Gym and Raid attack bonus
+2 Raid capture balls
Best Friend90100,000 XP, Large (0.96x) Stardust discount on Trading
Large (1.1x) Gym and Raid attack bonus
+4 Raid capture balls

Thanks to Bbbarna and Charales on The Silph Road for the specific stats in the above table.

There are plenty of worthy benefits. In short better Friendship Level is, the higher the Stardust discount and better the Raid and Gym perks will be.

To see the exact progress remaining, go to your Friend in your Friend feed, tap on their avatar, and then the Hearts. It'll then tell you how many days are remaining until you can become a Great, Ultra or Best Friend.

pokemon_go_friendshiplevel_1
pokemon_go_friendshiplevel_2
pokemon_go_friendshiplevel_3
pokemon_go_friendshiplevel_4

We're recently seen October Field Research and new Shiny and Spinda forms, alongside new Deoxys EX Raids and word of new Hex Nut Pokemon Meltan. We've also recently seen the arrival of Mewtwo in regular raids, and for a limited time, region exclusives in 7km Eggs. Looking to the future, there's the next Community Day and the eventual arrival of Pokémon Go Gen 4 Pokémon. Can't be long now, right?


What else you need to know about the Friends feature in Pokémon Go

There are many quirks to the Friends feature you should know about:

  • There is a Friends List cap of 200 in Pokémon Go - which is more then enough to start building Friendship Levels with both close friends and several Raid groups.
  • If you copy the Trainer Code message received from a Friend and paste it into the Trainer Code box, it'll just post the code itself. Handy!
  • A red dot will appear in the home screen, above the Trainer icon in the bottom left of the screen, to notify you a Gift or Friend request is pending. Notifications for Friends and Gifts can be turned off in the settings, if you don't want them showing up.
pokemon_go_add_friends_2
  • The Friend feed takes a random recent activity and sends it to your friends. There's no way to 'push' a specific update to your Friend feed at present.
  • There are no leaderboards available in the Friend feed, so if you want to compare stats - such as level, distance walked and creatures caught, then you must enter each Friend entry manually.
  • As of the July 2018 Lucky Pokémon update, it is however possible to assign nicknames to friends, and filter and sort them by Name, Nickname, Friendship Level and Gift.
  • There is currently no way to 'opt out' of your Friend feed being updated, or the information you share. Select your Friends carefully if this is a concern!
  • Similarly, unlike Gyms, the chosen nickname of your Buddy Pokémon will appear for your Friends, as opposed to the Pokémon's actual name. In short, this is a custom text field that Friends can see, so again, choose your Friends carefully as you might see something possibly unsavory.
  • There is a Medal associated with being Best Friends - the highest tier of Friendship. One Best Friend is Bronze, two is Silver, and three is Gold.
  • Removing then re-adding a Friend will reinstate the Friendship Level and bonuses you had accumulated before.
  • There used to be a 1,000 XP reward for being Good Friends with someone (the lowest level of Friendship), but it was rumoured to be removed to stop players getting masses of XP easily, by adding new Friends and sending and opening gifts.
  • Changing your Trainer nickname after adding someone as a Friend can affect the bonuses being applied. Niantic recommends you remove and add your Friend again to help relieve this issue.
  • There's also the tease of some interface changes when you increase Friendship Levels. "In the game, you'll notice the interface shows the growth of a friendship, building incrementally and deliberately as it unlocks rewards that are even more meaningful," says Niantic.

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About the author

Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Guides Editor

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

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