Pokemon GO: 9 Essential Tips, Tricks & Answers To Your Questions

On iOS & Android: Get a better understanding of Pokemon GO with 9 tips, factoids and nitty-gritty details you need to know about this ambitious AR app.

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Pokemon GO has landed, and if you’ve got questions about this free-2-play augmented reality spin-off game, then we’ve got answers.

Capturing and collecting Pokemon in GO isn’t exactly identical to the classic games, and while this is not a complicated app (yet!) there are still tons of features that aren’t easy to grasp for even the oldest Poke-fans. We’ve been fumbling around, trying to wrap our brains around this ambitious step into the iOS / Android market, and hopefully our suffering will help you understand all that Pokemon GO has to offer.

[UPDATE 7/7: Pokemon GO is now available in the US]


#1: Be Safe! GO Notifies You Of Nearby Pokemon

Exploring your neighborhood for Pokemon is always a good idea, but always be aware of your surrounding. Riding a bike and staring at your phone isn’t such a good idea — same for a car, but you can always pocket your phone and wait for the notifications to beep.

Pokemon GO will notify you with vibration or sound (depending on your settings) if there is a Pokemon nearby. You won’t need to keep the app on and active at all times. Just wait until you get a notification, then stop and go for one of those sweet captures.


#2: How to Capture Pokemon

To move your avatar, you’ll have to move too — in the real world! The GPS map will show your movement, and the app will vibrate to notify you if there are nearby wild Pokemon. When you see a wild Pokemon, you’ll get a chance to catch it. Here’s what you need to know:

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  • Use the Item bag to toss Pokeballs or use items (like Razz berries) to make capturing a Pokemon easier. Improved Pokeballs such as Great Balls, Ultra Balls or Master Balls will also improve your chances.
  • The targeting circle tells you how tough the capture will be. A green circle is best, following by a yellow, orange, and red circle. Yellow circles, in our experience, are a pretty tough capture — orange and red? Wait until you’ve got the right items to make capturing easier.
  • Wait until the targeting circle is at its smallest before flinging a Pokeball. The smaller the circle, the better your chances of capturing will be.

There’s one other way to get new Pokemon — incubators and Pokemon Eggs. At the start of your game, you’ll only have access to one incubator, but more can be unlocked later. Place a Pokemon Egg in the incubator and wait until it hatches — you can only place one egg per incubator.

  • Can’t Find Any Pokemon?: Applying the Incense item will attract more wild Pokemon to your area. If you’re not seeing many, use it!

#3: Evolving Pokemon – What’s Up With CP?

Once you’ve got a Pokemon, you’ll want to power them up or evolve them, right? Pokemon evolve based on their CP level. CP level is the most important stat for a Pokemon — weight doesn’t seem to affect things at all — and there’s only one way to get more CP. Feeding Pokemon Candy or Stardust is how you’re going to raise their CP, and there are a few ways to get these valuable items:

  • Transferring duplicate Pokemon to the Professor
  • Rewards at Pokestops
  • In-App purchases

CP isn’t raised through fighting in Pokemon GO. This game is all about getting those items — grabbing identical Pokemon to your favorites will provide Poke-specific candies.


#3: Catching Evolved Pokemon – Is It Possible?

Catching Pokemon that have already evolved is difficult, but not impossible. Regular Pokeballs have an extremely low chance of capture — watch for the colored circle. Using basic Pokeballs on Evolved Pokemon produces a Yellow Circle.

For a better shot at getting those upgraded Pokemon, use a Greatball. These upgraded balls produce a Green Circle, indicating that you have far better chances at capturing the Evolved / Rare Pokemon.

Still, it is possible to capture with a basic Pokeball. The odds do not improve over time like the regular titles in the series, so there’s no guarantee you won’t waste all your Pokeballs trying to capture a high CP Pokemon.


#4: How To Play in NA

[UPDATE: Pokemon GO is now available in the US.]

Pokemon Trainers in Australia and New Zealand already have access to Pokemon GO. Check here to see if Pokemon GO is available in your region. If you’re in North America and want to get in on the action early (and you’re on Android) then download this simple APK.

Download Here.

The rollout is still on-going. It might release today, or tomorrow, or in the next five minutes in your area. Keep on your personal smartphone device to see when the game pops up in your region.


#5: Pokestops – How They Work

Pokestops are special places where you can earn a nice item reward. Just spin the picture and tap the item to get your prize. Look for little blue diamonds on your map — some lucky people have a Pokestop right in their home! These locations are randomly generated, but it seems the goal is for reward locations to appear in public places.

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You’ll get tons of useful items from Pokestops. Here’s a sample of what’s available:

  • Pokeballs (Common)
  • Revives
  • Potions
  • Pokemon Eggs (Uncommon)
  • Candy
  • Stardust

Pokestops can also attract Pokemon to capture with a special module.


#6: Date Usage & Battery

Pokemon GO will drain your batteries if you’re not careful — but it will not drain your data.

After testing, players have found that Pokemon GO uses about 10MB of date per hour of dedicated play. That’s about .01GB per hour — keep that in mind if you’re running on a tight data limit, but otherwise it shouldn’t be a problem for casual play.

The battery issues are another story. To help keep your phone (and app) running longer, use Pokemon Go’s in-app Battery Saver Mode. This mode keeps the app’s GPS running and will notify you if Pokemon are nearby.


#8: Gym Battles, Teams, and Gym Leaders

You won’t battle Pokemon in the wild, but you can face other trainers in Gym Battles. Gyms are special nodes that can be claimed by one of the three teams; red, blue, or yellow. They look like tall towers with multiple spinning circles on your GPS map. Tapping them allows you to initiate a Gym Battle.

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Unclaimed Gyms are gray and can be acquired by whichever team gets to them first. You can also kick other teams out of a Gym by ‘attacking’ the gym — you’ll send your Pokemon to face the Gym’s, always facing the lowest CP Pokemon Trainers first and making your way up the ladder.

Defeating the Gym trainers multiple times will lower the Gym’s Prestige. Once the Prestige Level hits zero (0) then the opposing team will vacate the Gym, turning it gray and allowing anyone to take the location for themselves.

Learn even more about Gym Leaders (like how you can become one) right here.


#9: Everything Else – Q&A

Here we’ll cover everything else. If you have a question, let us know in the comments and we’ll try our best to bring you an answer.

  • Is There A Trade System?: 
    • Not yet, but we’ll let you know once this planned feature has been implemented.
  • How Do I Heal Pokemon?:
    • Currently, Potions or Revives are the only items that can heal a hurt Pokemon.
  • How Many Pokemon Are Included?:
    • Currently, the original 151 Kanto Region Pokemon are available in Pokemon GO.
  • Can I Catch Pokemon On the Train / Bus?:
    • Yes! As long as you’re not moving too fast. You’ll only get one or two chances to catch them, though. They’ll leave once the app recognizes you’ve moved out of the area.
  • How Do I Know If My Device Is Supported?:

Pokemon GO is sure to grow as the audience expands. We’ll keep you updated with all the changes, new features, and additional (we hope!) Pokemon here on Gameranx.