Here Are Some Tips For Playing Pokemon GO

Here Are Some Tips For Playing Pokemon GO

Australia went absolutely nuts for Pokemon GO yesterday, so much so that it overtook the election and became the hottest trending topic on social media for the country.

But while a lot of people have just experienced Pokemon GO for the first time, there were plenty — myself included — fortunate enough to get some time in the closed beta. So if you’re just getting started with Pokemon GO, here’s some tips to help you out.

Image: Supplied

Get A Battery Pack, Or A Second Phone

Walking around with high accuracy GPS enabled is going to chew up your battery life, but Pokemon GO seems to amplify that tenfold. Myself and the Gizmodo team had our phones plugged into USB ports yesterday with Pokemon GO’s battery saver option disabled, and the game still drained the battery.

[related title=”Pokemon GO” tag=”pokemon go” items=”3″]

It’s something that Niantic has acknowledged in their FAQ. “Some devices may experience battery drain while playing Pokémon GO for prolonged periods of time,” the developer says.

For a lot of people, prolonged periods of time is more like 20 or 30 minutes. That’s especially true if you’re walking outside with the brightness turned up (because of the glare). So if you’re thinking about going for a Pokemon GO picnic, make sure you take plenty of power packs with you.

If that’s not an option, however, Gizmodo’s Campbell Simpson points out that you can continue to level the same account over two devices:

I’m a bit cautious to recommend this given the recent server ups and downs, but I know from experience that it’s possible to log into your Pokemon Go account on more than one device to play the game. Not simultaneously, though, because that might stuff things up royally, but if you’re playing on one phone and it runs out of battery, you can log in on a separate phone or tablet — as long as it can run the game, as long as it has GPS and a mobile or Wi-Fi connection.
I’ve got the game installed on about six different phones and tablets right now, and I feel like maybe I could get through a full day of playing the game. It’s actually a lot more fun in augmented reality on a big tablet display — you can see a lot more, and it looks more real. It’s worth trying it out on different phones and tablets to see what runs the best, lasts the longest and is the easiest to carry around.

Hopefully Niantic improves the game’s battery usage soon.

Learn How To Throw Poke Balls Properly

If you want the highest chance of catching a Pokemon, you need to wait until the ring inside the circle is at it’s smallest. That’s the advice straight from the developers. You can get away with throwing the Poke Ball whenever you like at the easiest difficulties. But when you start seeing orange and red rings, you’ll want to maximise your chances of success as much as you can — especially once you start trying to capture Pokemon with Great and Master Balls.

Once you get to a higher level you can also start to pick up berries at Pokestops. Berries can be fed to wild Pokemon to increase your chances of capturing them.

It Doesn’t Matter What Starter Pokemon You Choose

Image: Supplied

Choosing a starter Pokemon in the handheld games is a big deal. In Pokemon GO, that’s not the case at all because you’ll need to catch 20, 30, 40, 50 or more Pokemon to evolve it into something good.

Take Magikarp, for instance. Everyone struggles with Magikarp so they can get the dragon fury that is Gyarados. But you only get three Magikarp candy every time you catch one — and you need 400 candies before you can evolve a single Magikarp into a Gyarados.

Even if you just want to power up your Pokemon, you still need candies to do it — and you only get those from catching Pokemon. So don’t worry about what starter Pokemon you pick, because unless there’s 40 or 50 of them hiding in the suburb you live in, chances are you’ll be spending your time levelling up everything else.

Eevee Evolutions Are Random

This is a basic tip, but useful to know: if you get enough candies to finally evolve an Eevee, you won’t have any say in its final evolution. It’ll get a big bump in combat power regardless of its final form, but you don’t have any influence over the process. So don’t fret about it.

Pay Attention To Your Special Attack Meter

Given that most people’s Pokemon are fairly weak, gym battles don’t tend to last long enough for a special attack to charge up. Once the meter is filled enough — and you can see on the stats for each individual Pokemon how much charge is required — you simply press and hold (or long press) your Pokemon to unleash a special.

Don’t Waste Your Money Buying Pokeballs

While your area might not be filled with the Pokemon you want, you can always get a regular supply of Pokemon thanks to lures and incense. And if you’re going to spend money on anything, those are the two items that are the most valuable starting out.

Catching Pokemon, especially new Pokemon, is one of the most efficient ways to level up. Pokestops are pretty generous when it comes to giving out Poke Balls, potions and even the odd revive, but incense and lures are as rare as hen’s teeth. So save your hard earned Pikachu gold for those instead.

Get Used To Transferring Pokemon

Image: Supplied

If you’re looking to level or evolve Pokemon as fast as possible, the best way to do it apart from catching Pokemon en masse is to transfer them back to the Professor. You’ll get a single candy from that Pokemon every time you do so, which is immensely helpful given the amount of Pokemon you’ll need to catch to evolve anything valuable (like a Gyarados).

Keep Pokemon GO Open If You Want To Hatch An Egg

Getting annoyed every time you look at your eggs, wondering why they’re not hatching? It’s because the Pokemon GO app doesn’t track distance walked when the app is closed. To ensure that your exercise is being properly monitored, keep the app open — and active — for the most efficient hatching.

Sure, it won’t do wonders for your battery life but then the game is so thirsty you should probably have a power pack regardless.

Don’t Waste Time Waiting For Pokestops To Give You Items

Little lifestyle tip: once you’ve spun a Pokestop’s icon, you don’t need to wait for the items to spawn in order to collect. You can just press the “X” and all the items will automatically be deposited into your inventory.

It’s a useful trick to reduce repetition. But where it becomes really useful is if you’re on a train, and you only have a small window of opportunity for when you’re in range.

Don’t Just Claim New Gyms, Defend Your Team’s

If you walk past a gym that’s already claimed by your team, it might be tempting just to leave it and continue on to claim new gyms. However if a gym is claimed by your team, you can leave another Pokemon there to defend it. Try to leave a Pokemon of a different type to the ones that are there already, to create more of a challenge for anyone who wants to claim it from you.

If you rock up to one of your team’s gyms and the icon to leave a Pokemon doesn’t appear, that means that gym will have to be leveled up before you can defend it. To level it up, just ‘train’ at the gym by pressing the boxing glove icon — though you’ll have to defeat the gym in order to level it up. Gyms can host up to 10 Pokemon if they’re at maximum level.

Dump Your Pokemon At All The Gyms For The Most Coins

Whenever you enter the Pokeshop, you’ll see a small shield icon at the top right of the menu. It’s a bonus that you can activate once a day, and the more Pokemon you have defending gyms the more coins you have enabled.

It’s not particularly efficient unless you’re, say, a courier who has a route that goes past several gyms every day. But for those of us who live their lives on the road, it’s worth remembering. Wait until you’ve dropped off as many Pokemon as you can, and then activate the bonus for the most coins. You’ll also get a special defender bonus if you hold a gym for more than 21 hours, but that can be pretty difficult to do when you’re just starting out.

Keep An Eye On The Footprints

Image: Supplied

Pokemon GO doesn’t explicitly tell you where you can find Pokemon in the wild. But you can gauge roughly where they are by looking at the number of paw prints underneath their name on the Nearby chart.

No footprints means that the Pokemon is in your immediate vicinity. One footprint means it’s close. Two is a little further away and three is further still. It’s not as helpful as the distance that was listed in the beta, but if you walk in a direction and refer back to the footprints, you’ll know whether you’re going in the right direction.

That’s our advice for getting started with Pokemon GO. If you have any tips or advice, let everyone know in the comments below!


    • then back up!
      then back down

      It’s to be expected of a wide release though for the first few days

      • Yep after a full 24 hours of crunching my way to level 5, catching 24 pokemon and evolving a pidgey i was asked to log back into my account again this morning and greeted by a empty screen of pokemon caught and a blank trainer level.
        Really hoping i haven’t lost all my progress made so far…..

        • it;ll laod your stuff back up, i just had this and now its loading just fine 🙂

        • Lvl 5 is not that hard to get, got it after a few hours of logging in at work here and there. Evolving a Pidgey is no great feat either. Sign up with Google and it will save your progress.

        • known issue check the help page. There are now 2 methods to login, one using Google and one using he “The Pokemon Club” whatever that is. Just logout and log back in using the other method

        • You haven’t lost anything, the game just takes time to reload after logging back in sometimes. Don’t worry 🙂

  • Things I’m trying to work out:
    Does the CP of an unevolved pokemon influence the CP of an evolved pokemon?
    Is there a real difference between the teams? The introduction to the teams implies that yellow, blue and red are somehow focused on hatching, evolution and combat respectively, but I’m not sure whether or how that translates to gameplay.

      • I disagree. If you don’t pick yellow, you will forever feel like you made the wrong decision. You’ll have to live the rest of your life with that regret hanging over you, eating away at your soul.
        Pretty big difference.

    • bondles! Excellent question that I’ve been wondering myself about the CP points and their relevance to evolution. Please let me know if you find out the answer!

    • Yes, CP does make a difference. You need to evolve the Pokemon that has the highest CP.

    • Yes there is¡¡ The more powerful the original pokemon is, the better its evolution will be¡¡ thats why i prefer catching smaller pokemon and making them stronger than simply catch their evolutions which are harder to train and catch. 🙂

  • Another one: if you want to track down one particular near by pokemon, open the “Nearby” screen and click on it. Now rather than showing you the three closest pokemon on the main screen it will show you the distance to the selected one.

    • I figured this was the case while playing yesterday but the game offers no visual confirmation that is what is actually happening when you do so.

  • Would be good if it cached some of the local area data, especially on say memory card. Cause its seems to be refreshing the location images and names constantly. Data and power usage.

  • Is there any word or mention for when you can switch teams? It’s kinda lame how the team select was one-tap select with no confirmation dialogue. The office is now split because some people tapped other teams to see what they were about and joined the wrong teams.

  • rustling leaves on your map are also an indication of nearby pokemon i believe.

    • If i have a pokemon within my vicinity (no footprint), does it mean i only have to wait until it appears or i still have to walk around?

      • walk around. i had leaves on my map, wen to the area, waited for a bit and nothing. went for a walk about 50 meters up the road and came back and bam! 2 pokemon in a row in the original spot i was waiting at.
        i have a sneaking suspicion that it has a higher frequency of spawning pokemon once you have clocked up some distance in moving.
        i notice this in the car, when i stop at traffic lights, bam, 3 or 4 spawn at the intersection near each other. not all the time, but frequent enough that there seems to be some sort of pattern.

        • I foresee the police getting calls about strange people hanging around in front of their house, walking back and forth along the street and staring at their phone.

          • yup, especially seeing they put some points and a gym at one of the schools up the road from where i work…

          • I spent over an hour last night explaining the game to the paranoid people in my local suburb. So many of them swear it is just an excuse for people to case houses and watch little kids.

            I gave them the sites of the gyms and the pokestops hoping it might ease them a little bit until i realised they are all near playgrounds.

    • This is a negative. It’s just game animation with no relation to having any pokemon in the vicinity.

      • really, because if you tap on the pokemon vicinity button at bottome right and specify a particular pokemon you want to track, the leaf animations change position on the map depending on the specified pokemon.

      • When you click on the vicinity you pick the Pokemon you want, it will show 1-3 footprints; 1 as in you’re very close to him and 3 being the least. As you walk closer to the desired Pokemon the grey rectangle vicinity area will blink a green line around the box and inform you that you are going the right way. Once you’re one footprint away he basically right next to you.

        I did this method twice and caught myself a pidgey and a slowpoke.

  • Hatching eggs nets you a big lump of candy. I got 20 from a 5km egg that turned into a Paras.

  • For people in the Melbourne CBD area, seems like we’re in a cave. Nothing but Zubats up the top Collins St end. That said, go up to the Treasurey Gardens for Eevee’s. Found 5 of them on my lunch walk.

    • I’ve had a good variety up at Flagstaff. Mostly zubats but the occasional eevee. I’m literally across the road from the gardens and it seems to be brimming with life that’s just outside my 9-5 reach

    • I managed to get 8 different types in a 15 minute walk around south melbourne

    • I’m a bit out of town, working across from Luna Park in St Kilda. Lots of variety out here; Squirtles, Poliwags, Pidgeys, Weedles, etc… so much! 😀 That and Luna Park is a GYM lol

  • Collecting pokemon isn’t fun. Walking around while draining your battery isn’t fun. The battles (which I’ve yet to be able to do) don’t look very fun. The whole game is grind and no rewards? I was hoping for a Pokemon MMO and this isn’t it. I’ll give it a pass

    • So you don’t enjoy trying to catch ’em all? Or being the very best?

      • Well if I could actually do something with the pokemon I’ve collected apart from mince them into candies catching pokemon might have been more rewarding. I spent something like 250 hours in Pokemon silver and then went onto play Sapphire and LeafGreen. The core battle and collection mechanics of the regular games is rewarding. This? Not so much. AR doesn’t add anything apart from weird jankyness

        • Fair enough, I understand the thought of it being unrewarding; I thought that after playing it for a day too. I tried my first gym today though and it does show you how rewarding the game can feel, it really shows off the training element that needs to be done by the player to increase the CP of Pokemon. I personally feel, after playing a gym and learning more about the game, that there is more to it and a rewarding experience too. I recommend jumping in to a battle or two at a gym before you give it a pass, maybe it’ll change your mind too (you can turn off AR if you prefer as well).

          • I found a gym yesterday and had a battle. It was fun enough but not fun enough to drag me outside into the cold when I could be playing or watching pretty much anything else. I’m going to keep it installed and check it every now and again as everyone in the office is doing it. Still though can’t see much longevity in it

    • Once the novelty of catching pokemon wears off, there’s not much substance here.
      I had the same problem with Ingress (which is almost exactly the same as this).

      Not only does it suck if you don’t have any points of interest around your workplace or home, but then once you get a bit further the grind takes forever.

      It’s a free game so I’ll enjoy screwing around for a few days but I uninstalled the beta and Ingress pretty quickly. I doubt this will be different.

    • for me, it actaully encourages me to get outside and walk. im not overweight, but im not fit and could benefit greatly from daily walks. BUT i hate exercising for the sake of exercising, so this gives me a good excuse to get out and go for a walk while doing something. each to their own though, all the pokemon games i have played on gameboy or emulator since the original Red, i give up on about 50 – 60% of the way through, because i find it a grind. the random battles stopping me from getting where i want to go, the breeding, the feeding, the training, the picking the right moves. pretty much the only thing that keeps me going through early game, is that i like to see them evolve. then i get bored. but hey, thats just me.

      • I’m the same! I got it last night and already used it as an excuse to take the dog out for a 20 minute ‘bedtime’ walk instead of just putting him outside for 5 minutes to do his business- then today i walked to the dairy get the milk, walked my dog to a park further away from home, then walked to drop off a letter on the way home from work rather than leave it at reception for the postie to take. It’s fun, and a novelty, but all games can be branded ‘useless’ if you think abut it long enough.

      • We just started with the game today be well mixed it up by having Pokemon Go on one phone running with Geocaching on another and then heading to the parks where the Geocaches were and having one person find the caches and another person find the Pokemon then swapping over at the next park. Fun.

  • As a beta player and an Ingress player, here’s the best advice I can give – Uninstall Pokemon GO, install Ingress.

    Enjoy a much better game that can keep you going for more than 2 weeks.

    • But Ingress doesnt have cute pocket monsters. And for many that is enough, once the hype is past PGo will be a more casualol game for many while being cuter and more familiar

    • I don’t know. I’m also an Ingress player and this game looks like it’ll keep me entertained for longer. I got to level 9 in Ingress and my interest quickly dropped.

    • You need to have the game running/open, not just in the background or with the screen off. The Powersaving option works to keep it in your pocket (upside-down) with the screen (mostly) black but even then the app is still running, chewing up your battery/data.

  • And if you’re going to buy extra incubators, use them on the 5 and 10 km eggs, and use your infinite incubator on the 2 km eggs. The premium incubators break after a certain number of uses, so you’re best off making those uses last as long as possible.

  • i wish it had some battle system like the transformers battle game used to. right now all you do is walk around catching pokemon then when you are at home you can’t do anything? i also don’t like how you need the app open to see pokemon, would be nice if it ran in the back ground then alerted you when one was near, or even let you set wich pokemon you are looking for and it’d alert yo ufor them

    • Once you hit level 5, you can battle at the gyms you find spread around the place. In the beta you could access them right from the start, but I guess they felt it would be better to get people used to catching pokemon before fighting with them.

      With that said, I never found the gym battles particularly satisfying during the beta. I haven’t really tried them yet in the general release.

      As far as some kind of background alert thing, they are planning to release a “Pokemon Go Plus” device that would do something like that. There aren’t many details on exactly how it would work though.

        • It’s called Pokémon Go, as in you’re supposed to get out and go places. Smart idea really. Makes walking my dog more fun and now I have a reason to just randomly bike around town

          • and the core of the game is still to go out and catch\find pokemon just with some content you can do when it’s raining/night time or you don’t want to go out side. quit being a jackass, jackass.

          • how was he being a jackass.
            he merely stated a fact as to why they called it pokemon go. if any one was being a jackass, that was you, just now, by being rude. chill out bro.

  • I think something people need to understand is that this WILL NOT be perfect. Expect down times, expect crashing here and there. This is the initial worldwide release of a game that is going to be swamped with heaps of users pretty quickly. As time goes on, there will be optimisations, there will be updates and things will get a lot better. Just look forward to that and enjoy what ya get now.

  • Tip:
    Select the specific Pokémon you want to catch in the Nearby bar. Zoom as close to your trainer as possible to minimize your visible range. Try walking around in different directions (N,S,E, or W) for about 7-10 steps. If you’re facing the right direction, the Nearby bar will let out a quick green glow. Keep walking in that direction and if you are walking in the right direction, the bar will keep glowing green as you walk. If the bar is still glowing green and the paws beneath the Pokémon minimize, then you’re going in the right direction.

    • Tip no. 2

      Each paw/foot print next to a pokemon is worth 50 metres, so 1 paw is 50 metres away, 2 is 100 and 3 is 150 metres.

  • I know it’s only the first day but the 5 nearest gyms around me are all blue. I controlled one by myself hoping that someone from yellow would help but not a single one

  • I have got to level 14 up here in Cairns I have been getting many water pokémon tentacool, goldeen and a lot of magicarp. Have been having problems with the gym battles crashing alot about 90% of the time when I start a fight it will just exit out to the main gym screen, apart from that I have been enjoying it more than ingress

    • Keep getting Gym battles where I get them to 1 health but they won’t die and wipe out my party

      • I have also had that same problem. Today it worked for a little while a gym went from red to blue back to red and then I came in and made it yellow. I got to see how fun it can be if it works properly

      • same 5 battles so far 3 did this where at 1 health i couldn’t hurt them any more and 2 just locked up completely on me.

    • Hey I’m in Cairns too, currently level 6 but teamless. Do you know the locations of the Pokestops/Gyms? Haven’t been able to go out yet to look for them, and I’m really curious where I should be heading if I want to run into a lot of stuff. Thanks!

  • i agree with the battle bit.. perhaps use your pokemon to weaken wild pokemon and then capture.. id like to see a “trade” option so you can trade with your friends like you used to be able to do on the gameboy with your wicked cool “USB” connector..

    a background option would be great but if you have the powersaving option on if you turn your phone upside down (as if was in your pocket) the screen goes very dim, and then you will get alerted when something happens (i think.. im currently testing that out)

  • The beta official info clearly said that you should throw at the largest circle. Can you source your info about throwing when it is smallest?

  • Yep same here. Blue all around but low level CP. does anyone know if pokemon weaknesses are in effect like flying vs bug and water vs rock or elec vs rock etc????

    • Yes there are super effective attacks and resistance along the Pokemon paper scissors rock formulas. I planned out a gym attack yesterday with weaker pokemon but aligned to the occupants weaknesses.

  • The ring indicator is so arse backwards and unintuitive. Name one game whit that mechanic where it isn’t about trying to match the rings? Stupid stupid stupid and completely unexplained!

    • In case you haven’t found or figured it out yourself a quick rundown.

      To hit you just need to hit the pokemon in the white circle.

      The coloured circle does a couple of things.

      It’s colour shows difficulty.

      If your ball hits inside the coloured ring as well you get a bonus to XP.

      The smaller the coloured circle gets the better your capture chance.

      • Yeah, figured it all put, but it shouldn’t of been trial and error, as I said that unintuitive, and making it so the rings match up is how it usually done and wouldn’t of required and more or less skill than the way it’s done now, the ring could of grown out instead of in and that would of made perfect sense from the get go “I want to try and get the rings to match for best results”

      • Yeah, that makes sense. Explains why I often get a “Nice!” bonus when the green circle overlays the white one – because there’s a much larger chance of getting the Pokeball inside the green circle when it’s larger.

  • I’m yellow although I’m the only one in my area that I’ve noticed it seems most picked red.

  • Tip: Dont bother playing between 8:00am and 5:30pm AEST… the servers cant handle peak hour loads at the moment.

    They really need to add a local area cache cause the same 10 Pokestops I walk pass everyday were blank and loading… and then I walked to far. Seriously bad they didnt expect this server load or code it to cache local area or last 100 pokestops.

  • Does anyone know if you can catch starters in this game? I chose Bulbasaur at the start but I’m wondering if I can catch the others.

      • Cool. Now there’s the small problem of where the HELL you find fire types.

        • Despite what you might think they are pretty random as to where they show up, i had a Squirtle in my front yard and i live no where near water, i did see a charmander near my work (suburban area) so just wander around and you might get lucky.

    • I think the basics are meant to be intuitive…if you want anything more in depth or to min-max each mechanic then read about it on the Niantic site.

      • I literally wasted a bunch of pokeballs to catch the starter cuz I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Also my first gym battle I didn’t know I had to spam tap… So my pokemon sat there doing nothing haha

        • You’re not meant to spam tap…the game tells you how to attack and dodge. It also explains how to throw pokeballs.

          Not the game’s fault if you don’t follow the tutorial.

  • I wish the Candy used to level up Pokemon was based on Type and not the individual Pokemon. It should be made so that I can Capture any Normal Type and use the Normal Type Candy to level up the Normal Type of my Choosing. I understand why they chose to do it the way they did but I would have appreciated that touch more freedom and choice.

  • Agreed . I think the best thing about this game is how interactive it is making people. I live across the road from a memorial park and each day i see more and more people walking around catching pokemon and interacting with eachother. Since its release i have walked 14km catching pokemon. Even if I hate it tomorrow it will all still be worth it.

  • Holy crap, reading the tips without having played yet… the game is basically Ingress!



    Listen, I don’t ever do this but whoever can do so, please upvote or reply to this comment so that Pokemaniac Alex sees this for Monday:

    Can Kotaku please round up the best tips into a new article for next week?

    I promise I will never beg for anything else on here again.

  • I caught 2 eve’s and a ratatat while laying in bed. I also caught an evolved pigey.

  • So glad I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4: large screen, portable, and replaceable batteries on the Go!

  • ive finally got my hands on all three starters now. im happy, but also unhappy about how rare they are, evolving and leveling is going to be a bitch.

    • I’m just missing Charmander. I sw a silhouette of what I think was a Growlithe. I hunted that thing all night with no luck.

  • had an egg vanish on me. was close to hatching then next time i checked my phone it’s gone from the incubator and no new items/pokemon as far as i can tell.

  • Ha! I just had my first battle (and win) at a gym.

    Some guys already have crazy powerful pokemon defending gyms. I wish I had that much time to wander the streets. 🙁

  • Landing your pokeball inside the green circle provides a huge bonus to the capture rate, as well as a small bonus to EXP gained. The smaller the green circle is when your ball lands INSIDE, the bigger the bonus to both capture rate and EXP.

  • Start Pokémon GO with Pikachu, when the Professor ask you to choose your first Pokémon, wak away 5 times and Pikachu will appear! ?

  • Last night, I hit 100 pokemon pokedexed achievement, pretty happy about that 😀 There is an interesting story I have tell about, a a charizard hat, a deadpool costume, pokemon go, and the local police as well. Maybe another time.

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