Pokémon Home transferring guide: How to transfer between Sword and Shield and other Switch games, plus 3DS using Pokémon Bank

And even Pokémon from the Game Boy Advance era.

Pokémon Home is the latest version of an online deposit box for your Pokémon - a service started many years ago on the Game Boy Color with Pokémon Silver and Gold's Time Capsule, through to the most recent Pokémon Bank on the 3DS.

Though it's designed to easily work with modern Pokémon games on Switch (and eventually, Pokémon Go) it also supports Pokémon from previous generations with some careful planning thanks to Pokémon Bank.

Though your Pokémon from original Game Boy cartridges are unfortunately off limits (unless, of course, you've been playing the Virtual Console versions) it's possible to take Pokémon from the Game Boy Advance all the way through to Sword and Shield.

Most likely, however, you'll just want to know how to transfer Pokémon from Sword and Shield and Let's Go to Pokémon Home - which this page also explains.

On this page:

If you're looking for more info on Pokémon Home as a whole, from features to pricing, our dedicated Pokémon Home explained page can help.

What you need to know about transferring Pokémon to and from Pokémon Home

Before we get started, here are some basics about transferring Pokémon to - and from - Pokémon Home.

  • Though Pokémon Home can transfer Pokémon all the way from the Game Boy Advance era with a bit of planning, it's worth knowing the directly compatible games with Pokémon Home ahead of time, which you can see at a glance with this image (with Pokémon Go coming at a later date):
pokemon_home_transfers_bank
  • As the image shows, Pokémon Sword and Shield is the only game that allows transfers to and from Pokémon Home. The only exception is Let's Go, which can be moved between different Let's Go versions and Home, but once it's appeared in Sword and Shield, it cannot be used in Let's Go again.
  • As for everything else, it's a one way trip - so you have to be certain you want to transfer them first, as there's no going back.
  • There are some other restrictions on what can be transferred. For example, only Pokémon available in the Sword and Shield Pokédex can be moved to those games, while Pokémon in your current team in any game cannot be moved to Home or Bank until you move them into a box.
  • Though the smartphone and Switch apps broadly have the same transfer functionality (they can both connect to Pokémon Bank) they do offer different features that make worth both getting. The Switch app is the only way to get Pokémon from the Switch era, and offers (in our opinion) an easier way to browse your Pokédex. Meanwhile, the iOS and Android Pokémon Home app allows you to trade directly with other Pokémon Home players.
pokemon_home_transfers_21
  • Though Pokémon Bank is free until March 12th, 2020 with the launch of Pokémon Home, you still need to have a Premium subscription to Pokémon Home to complete the final move from Bank to Home. A little sneaky, but still an offer worth taking up if you want to bring everything up to date.
  • Pokémon Home requires a Nintendo Account whether you're logging into the Nintendo Switch and mobile apps, and as a result, allows you to view your collection on either. Also, since Bank requires a Moving Key to link accounts, in theory your 3DS doesn't need to share the same Nintendo Account to bring them across - though it's likely your Switch saves do.

How to transfer Pokémon from Switch games Sword and Shield and Pokémon Let's Go to Pokémon Home

Transferring Pokémon from Switch games are the easiest of all transfer options available, and requires just the use of Pokémon Home software on Switch.

Load up Home on Switch and on the main Pokémon Home menu there are two main options - Pokémon and Pokédex.

pokemon_home_transfers_1

Selecting 'Pokémon' will display your save files from any local Switch games, as well as your online Pokémon Home box.

pokemon_home_transfers_2

Choose a save file to reveal two boxes side-by-side - Pokémon Home on the left, and your Pokémon Sword and Shield or Let's Go Pokémon on the right. Simply drag and drop your Pokémon, then once done, press the + button to save your settings.

pokemon_home_transfers_5

It's broadly as simple as that, though there are some additional restrictions in place:

How to transfer Pokémon from 3DS games with Pokémon Bank

Transferring Pokémon from 3DS games - such as X and Y, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Sun and Moon, Ultra Sun and Moon - requires the use of Pokémon Bank on 3DS, as well as access to Pokémon Home on Switch or on a smartphone during the move process.

First, get Pokémon Bank on 3DS. If you're like us and you haven't used your 3DS in a while, make sure the system firmware is fully up to date, allowing you to then download it.

If you're doing this within the free Pokémon Bank window, you'll receive a notification of the offer within the system menu, which contains a direct link to the Pokémon Bank listing in the eShop. Otherwise, go to the Pokémon area of the eShop to find Pokémon Bank there.

Next, make sure you've moved all the Pokémon you want from the supported games through to Pokémon Bank. (Only a handful allow direct transfers - anything that isn't strictly a 3DS Pokémon game requires another step which we'll explain in the next section.)

pokemon_home_transfers_37

To move Pokémon from a 3DS game to Pokémon Bank, select the top-most option on the main menu. From there, this operates much the same as it does moving Pokémon in Home - by scanning the save files found locally, then allowing you to access them by dragging and dropping Pokémon between a box from the save file to Pokémon Bank.

pokemon_home_transfers_39
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Once your desired Pokémon are in Pokémon Bank, then select 'Move Pokémon to Pokémon Home' from the main menu. After the warning about it being a one-way trip, select the Pokémon boxes you want to move across.

pokemon_home_transfers_44
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Now, you need a Moving Key.

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This is where Pokémon Home comes in. Though both the Switch and smartphone app can connect to Bank, they are found in different locations.

Note - you need a Premium Home subscription to use this, even during the free Bank promotion during Pokémon Home's launch.

How to get a Moving Key on Pokémon Home on Switch

From the main menu, there are four icons along the bottom right. Select the 3DS one named 'Home'.

pokemon_home_transfers_11

How to get a Moving Key on Pokémon Home on iOS and Android

From the main menu, press the Menu button at the bottom of the screen, then Options, where you can find the 'Move' button at the bottom of the 'Account' page.

pokemon_home_moving_key_1
pokemon_home_moving_key_2
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Once you have a Premium Home subscription and found the Move button on your respective app, select 'Begin Move', then agree to the warning Pokémon Home will be unavailable during the move process.

pokemon_home_transfers_12

The Moving Key will be displayed. This expires in three minutes, so it's worth having your 3DS at hand ready to input the code.

pokemon_home_transfers_14

Once you have inserted this code into the 3DS, the two apps will be paired and will reset. As warned, you cannot use Pokémon Home until this transfer is complete - you'll be told if it's too soon with the message 'A move is currently in progress'.

pokemon_home_transfers_20

When enough time has passed (for us it was just a few minutes - though we only tested one Pokémon in a single box!) the next time you log into Pokémon Home on Switch you can finalise the transfer by selecting how to bring the Bank boxes across.

pokemon_home_transfers_23

Finally - your Bank Pokémon are in Home!

How to move Pokémon from Black and White and Virtual Console games using Pokémon Transporter

There are a handful of non-3DS Pokémon games playable on the 3DS that can be transferred to Pokémon Bank, and in turn, Pokémon Home. These are:

  • Pokémon Black and White
  • Pokémon Black and White 2
  • Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow (3DS Virtual Console)
  • Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal (3DS Virtual Console)
1

To do this, you'll need to use the Poké Transporter app. This comes bundled free with your subscription to Pokémon Bank, and like Bank is accessed via your 3DS home screen like you would a standard game. You can find it within the 3DS eShop - or via a shortcut from Pokémon Bank's main menu.

Once you have Poké Transporter downloaded, you must:

  1. Open up your copy of the game you want to transfer them from, and fill the first box in your in-game PC with only the Pokémon you want to transfer.
  2. Open the Poké Transporter app, and use it to transfer all of the Pokémon in the first box over to the Pokémon Bank's transfer box.
  3. Head to the Pokémon Bank app now, and transfer those Pokémon in the transfer box to the other Pokémon Bank boxes of your choice.
  4. Make sure that transfer box is empty before you repeat the process, to avoid any unwanted complications!
  5. Use the Pokémon Bank to transfer these Pokémon into Pokémon Home (or if you prefer, move them to supported 3DS games within Bank if you want to use them there first!)

So what if you wanted to go back even further?

How to move Pokémon from Game Boy Advance and DS Pokémon games to Pokémon Home

Though not officially supported by Pokémon Bank or Pokémon Home, it is possible to get creatures from the other games in the series, such as Ruby and Sapphire or Diamond and Pearl, over to modern games.

The following games require a much more convoluted process to transfer Pokémon to either the Pokémon Bank and beyond. Again, note that all of these are one-way transfers only - meaning you cannot get these Pokémon back onto their original games once transferred.

2

Here's what's supported from older generations:

  • Gen 1: Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow (physical, non-virtual console versions) - not possible
  • Gen 2: Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal - not possible
  • Gen 3: Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, FireRed, LeafGreen - transfer to Gen 4 (Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver) by inserting the Gen 3 (Game Boy Advance cartridge) into a DS, then using the Pal Park feature. See the Gen 4 step below to continue.
  • Gen 4: Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver - transfer to Gen 5 (Black and White or Black and White 2) by connecting two DS or 3DS systems together using the Transfer Station. You can now use the Poké Transporter to transfer to Pokémon Bank.

Here's a YouTube video by YellowSuperNintendo with a step-by-step of this process:

Pokémon from the original, cartridge-based games from the first and second generation games are, unfortunately, impossible to get beyond Generation 2.

From Generation 3 onwards however, it is possible, and thankfully that includes versions of the games such as FireRed and HeartGold, which hark right back to the originals.

The Virtual Console versions of Red, Blue and Yellow - as well as Gold, Silver and Crystal - are also supported via Pokémon Transporter as well.

Other things to know about using Pokémon Bank and Pokémon Home

The above steps are the broad strokes on how to move Pokémon over from previous generations all the way to Bank and Home. Here's some extra considerations worth noting:

ditto1
Before in Red, Blue and Yellow...
  • If you're transferring creatures from the Virtual Console versions of Red, Blue and Yellow, stats such as Abilities, Natures, Special Attack and Special Defence will be added.
  • Items cannot be carried over via Pokémon Bank - if you attempt to, the item it's holding will be sent back to the original game.
  • Remember, any transfers from an older generation to a newer one are one way - including Pokemon coming from Gen 6 - X and Y, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire - so download wisely.
ditto2
...and after in Sun and Moon.
  • Pokémon Bank is a premium service, costing Ł4.49 / €4.99 per year, if you're using it beyond the free trial period with Pokémon Home's launch. If your subscription expires, you can still withdraw your Pokémon - but only for a set period of time. here's the official message:

    "If your trial pass or annual pass expires and you do not purchase a new pass, you can still withdraw your Pokémon from Pokémon Bank for a set period of time. However, once that set period of time ends, any Pokémon remaining in your Pokémon Bank Boxes will be lost. Be sure to withdraw your deposited Pokémon as soon as possible, or purchase a new annual pass."
  • Meanwhile, if your Pokémon Home subscription expires, your Pokémon will be safe - though anything beyond the first 30 you deposited (which is the amount you get in the free version) cannot be accessed.

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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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