‘Pokemon Go’ Sightings: What Happened to the Sightings Feature?



If you’ve noticed that the “Sightings” feature in Pokemon Go is suddenly gone, you’re not alone. It’s part of a new change that Niantic has recently made to the game. Many Pokemon Go trainers now have the “Nearby” tracker enabled, which they’ve been waiting on for a long time. The only problem is that right when this new feature was enabled for almost everyone, many trainers are reporting that they can’t find the Sightings feature anymore. What happened?

Here’s what you need to know.

The tracking system has always been a problem for Pokemon Go players. It seems that Niantic can never quite get the feature right. Now, a “Nearby” tracker that was once only available in San Francisco has been enabled for almost everyone. This feature is a lot of fun and trainers are really enjoying it.

The only downside is that this feature only shows Pokemon who are at nearby Pokestops. The Nearby feature drills down to exactly where they are, showing you on a map. But the “Nearby” feature doesn’t show Pokemon in the wild.

That’s where the Sightings panel comes into play. This one shows you Pokemon that are near you but in the wild. This feature was enabled for everyone who did not have the Nearby tracking feature. And for people in San Francisco, they were able to see both: the Nearby tracker on top, the Sightings tracker below.

But now that the Nearby tracker has been enabled for almost everyone, it appears that the Sightings feature is now either severely diminished or completely gone.

In Niantic’s official announcement about the Nearby tracker being released in more regions, the company also noted:

We have changed the feature to only show the Nearby feature if a PokéStop is close to your location. In addition, we have also made changes to the way Sightings now works.”

“Changes” appears to mean that some people no longer see the Sightings panel at all or only if the Pokemon’s close enough to show up on their screen. This makes finding wild Pokemon a lot tougher.

One Redditor, nepbug, noted that the closest Pokestop was 1/2 mile from his home, but nothing shows on the Sightings panel unless it’s already close enough to show up on his screen anyway. Trainers are complaining that this isn’t a very helpful feature. If there are only a few Pokemon for the “Nearby” tracker, then it shouldn’t force out all the Pokemon on the “Sightings” tracker. In fact, when the Nearby tracker was first launched in San Francisco, it appeared to work this way. As you can see in the photo below, there’s room for more “Sightings” Pokemon. Today, many trainers aren’t seeing the Sightings panel at all:

pokemon go sightings


In other words, it appears that you can only see Pokemon in your Sightings panel if they are also on your screen, and thus less than 40 meters away, according to trainers using the feature. Another problem with the changes is that trainers who used to track Pokemon through other means, such as via triangulation, now can’t use those methods.

Another problem is for people who live in rural areas. Some of them can now only see Pokemon at stops that are miles away via the Nearby feature, and aren’t seeing any Pokemon in the wild around them through Sightings anymore.

This isn’t the first time that Niantic changed its tracking system and angered players. In fact, many trainers really preferred the infamous three-step tracker that was available when Pokemon Go first launched. And some early adopters, who played when the game was only available in limited beta, remember a much better tracker ones that actually showed you how many meters away a Pokemon was. It looked like this:



How do you feel about the new Sightings and Nearby tracker changes? Let us know in the comments below. Then take a moment to let Niantic know. The company is seeking feedback on all its social media accounts.

Ditto in ‘Pokemon Go’: Where & When Was He Captured?

Ditto has been found in Pokemon Go. Find out all the details about his first capture here.

Click here to read more

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  1. The new nearby works great if your around stops. If your not the only Pokemon you see in sightings are already within reach, nothing to go looking for it sucks.

  2. Very disappointed in new nearby tracking. I used to be able to see 7 – 9 unique pokemon in sightings from my house , but now only see 0 – 3 at
    a pokestop about a 1/2 mile away from home. Players should be able to choose between a nearby screen and a sightings screen to make playing
    enjoyable for more players. Not everyone lives near a high density of pokestops. This will force me to play less. too bad because pokemon go was
    a lot of fun.

  3. It’s awful. I live in a rural town with only one pokestop. I don’t live close enough to get nearby Pokémon. However I do have several spawn points near my house, but without the sightings feature I have no clue when or what is spawning. No chance I’m walking around every hour in the middle of winter just to find out what’s around the block. We sometimes get rare Pokémon spawning but we can’t even get a heads up to go looking for them now. How are we supposed to find any Pokémon unless it’s just by chance?! This is so lame. We KNOW there are Pokémon by stops so we will go there anyway. It’s the ones in the wild that we need to be able to track down. I actually found the sightings tool very usable before

  4. Just back from Sydney for thanksgiving with hundreds of pokestops around which was super fun to use this tracking system. However when back home a rural place today, there is only 1-3 Pokemon in Nearby and they are all at 1 mile away at pokestops, which is super big disappointing to me. Should be more thoughtful Niantic, the tracking test had been ongoing for months and they didn’t even think about us who live in places with no pokestops around and most of the time hunting for pokemons around their houses.

  5. I have No sightings ~ No nearbys. This is really terrible to go from Extra Everything for the Thanksgiving Event down to NOTHING now!

  6. I do not like this new tracking features since I don’t find anything good at Poke Stop and most in the wild. I don’t live close Poke Stop either. I really don’t want to play anymore.

  7. The new tracker is a joke! So bad.
    Live in a small town with 1 pokestop 200-300 meters away and next 2-4 0,5 km away. So bad that the new frackers just show the pokemons that are around pokestop! Sometimes a Pokémon shows about a mile away. Byt not these that are there i walk… 2 different has been great, 1 nearby pokestop and 1 sightings. More events please :)

  8. Since the new server update the game crashes when it just loaded the map. Then I have to restart the game till it works. I live in a villga and now I can’t track any mons because I only see the one and only water mon nearby a pokestop, wich is 3 miles away from me. They presented us the feature with the nearby and sighting list and now we got shit again… These days are cold outside and now we are blind again. Most players made a system to find the mons on the sightings list… Well its no surprise that niantic once again made the wrong move…

  9. With no sightings and only showing pokemon by poke stops it really sucks.
    I hate it and about to quite the game all together.

  10. I live in a village and enjoy walking around with my granddaughter chasing sightings now all we have is nearby which are half a mile apart, this has drastically spoilt the enjoyment.they should roll it back to how it was

  11. Im having this problem it sucks. I now cant see if any valuable pokemon are down the street because there is a pokestop 3/4 of a km away from my house and only pidgey, rattatta and spearow show up any more. Thanks niantic again another fail by you guys MASSIVE FAIL

  12. The new tracker is a TERRIBLE. I go running in the mornings, I used to see 9 pokemon in my sightings, now I only see 1 at the pokestop along my route. With the old sightings, I would know whether or not to run up into parking lots to try and catch things. Now I have no idea what’s around me. I really HATE this new tracker. I love to play pokemon, but this new tracker is killing the game.

  13. Of course, not surprising again, Niantic has made the game so much tougher to play one more time! There used to be about a dozen people walk back and forth around a Dratini nest. No only 1 showed up. I had not been able to see any Dratini at all near the nest on my sighting/nearby panel AT ALL! I caught one only because it popped up on my screen while I was walking. Why Niantic has been wanting to control the game the way they want people to play? People who are playing the game should be in the driver seat!!! Will more people playing the game not bring more profits to Niantic?! Niantic has been driving people away from the Pokemon GO game! Maybe they are seeing more profits from their own data :) but what I’m seeing is that there used to be tons of lured PokeStops all over the places in the city, now you’ll see one once in a good while. Go figure Niantic. I have been wondering are they all middle school drop outs that making them keep making wrong decisions?!

  14. As a rural person, I am 100% unimpressed with the Nearby tracker. Will post this comment and then delete Pokémon Go from my apps.

  15. I live in Copenhagen near a metro Pokestop an NOT so far from an art pokestop, the problem is that even through they seem to spawn Pokémons, they’re not shown on my nearby tracker, the nearest is a hotel 2,5 km away. And since all sighthings are gone, I really can’t be bothered playing, even my kids and my neighbors (who also have kids that used to play) now all stopped playing. I found a Lapras, a Ditto and a Chansey in the wild, and those things are not shown anymore.
    The fun is gone.

  16. The change to only nearby at pokestops takes all the fun out of the game since almost all the Pokemon at stops are ones everybody has already caught1000 times and loses the ability to find anything good. Why did you test it with both wild sightings and nearby and then roll it out a different way. Makes me wonder if any of the decision makers actually play the game as finding pidgey a mile away at a pokestop is not what anyone would want.

  17. As I live in a more rural community, it has become nearly impossible to enjoy walking and hunting pokemon in the wild, since pokestops are far apart. Many of my co workers are experiencing the same problem. It was quite the competition between my co workers and me but this change nearly has us at a halt in playing. BRING SIGHTINGS BACK AT LEAST !!! Would be bettter yet if the 1st version of tracking came back. Without change myself and I believe many others will be spending far less time enjoying the game if at all.

    • I don’t play much anymore because I have no idea what pokemon are near enough to seek. I only know what is at the few pokestops in the small town 1/2 mile away. I WAS doing well and having so much fun, and was also spending money to buy incubators. I have 132 pokemon in my pokedex and am on Level 26, but have neither seen nor caught anything I NEED since this tracking update. I want to know what is near ME wherever I am! Even if I go to the hot spots where I used to go, all I see in tracking is what’s at the pokestops rather than what is near ME. WORTHLESS! The game has come to a standstill for me. :(