‘Pokemon Go’: Red Error Message When Trying to Catch Pokemon

A Pokemon Go player catches Geodude in Mexico City. (Getty)

Although the majority of Pokemon Go‘s glitches have been ironed out by Niantic Labs in recent weeks, that’s not to say the game is totally free of bugs. One that remains, for example, makes the process of catching Pokemon particularly confusing.

The issue as experienced by most trainers is that a Pokemon will appear on their map, but as soon as they tap the creature, a red bar and an “error” message pops up. What’s going on here? Why can’t some people catch Pokemon?

What appears to be happening is that those who are getting this message actually tapped on a Pokemon that has since despawned. Normally, when a Pokemon despawns, it should automatically be removed from your map. But in cases where a player’s connection to the game’s servers is a bit spotty, it takes longer for the app to register that the Pokemon is gone.

Therefore, the despawned Pokemon will still appear on the map for longer than it’s actually there; when you tap it, you get an error message because in reality, there is no longer a Pokemon in that area.

There doesn’t seem to be an obvious fix to this issue, although one Reddit user suggested making sure your phone’s clock is correct. In theory, the fact that the time on your phone and the time on the game’s servers are different could result in issues with syncing up to the spawn clock.

Although the glitch still makes for some frustrating moments, it should come as good news that it’s basically just a visual bug and not a case where you’re missing out on Pokemon. After all, it’s not as if what you’re seeing is there and the game just isn’t letting you have access to it; it’s more that you were teased into thinking something was still nearby long after it left. You won’t lose an opportunity to catch something rare because of this, then, although it will probably result in a lot of ill-placed excitement.

Pokemon Go‘s servers have mainly been fixed since the game’s initial release, when it was quite common for the app to be down for several hours at a time. Still, some connectivity issues exist, but overall Niantic has done a fine job of tweaking the game and creating a better experience.

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