Pokémon Go has already become one of the biggest gaming phenomenons of the decade. A week after its launch, millions of players are flooding their cities and towns hoping to catch them all and be the very best. But for all its positive qualities, the game sure doesn’t make everything clear to newcomers.
Indeed, there are dozens of tips that will help you succeed at Pokémon Go but that are not immediately clear. Plus, there exist some cheats and tricks that savvy gamers have already uncovered, such as the fact that you can actually get Pikachu as your starter Pokémon.
Here are 10 Pokémon Go tips, tricks and cheats you need to know.
1. You Can Use a GPS Spoofer, But…
If you’re trying to get some more Poké Balls or just generally play the game without walking around, there are ways to bypass the system. But doing so is extremely tricky, and it puts you at serious risk being banned by Niantic, so it really is not recommended.
If you’re on an Android device, you’ll first want to root your phone, and then use an app like Hide My Root to prevent the game from being able to tell you’ve done so. You can then download a GPS spoofer app like this one, and theoretically you should be able to use that app or others like it to make your phone think you’re somewhere else on the map.
With an iPhone, it’s a similar process, except you’ll want to jailbreak it instead of rooting, and download Location Faker. But Niantic is constantly staying on top of all the cheats people are using, and they have been quite vigilant about handing out bans, so there’s a solid chance that by the time you implement one of these strategies they will have figured out a way to prevent it from working. Playing the game fair and square really is your best option.
2. You Can Get Pikachu as Your Starter
When you first start up the game, you’re given the starter options of Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur. But if you aren’t happy with those choices, there’s actually a way of getting Pikachu as a starter instead.
When those three starter Pokémon spawn in the beginning of the game, don’t select any of them. Instead, physically walk away from the area (in real life). As you keep walking, the same three starters will continuously spawn next to you. But if you keep on walking in the same direction and force them to spawn four times, Pikachu will finally appear as an option.
That totally sounds like a bogus Internet rumor, but in this case it happens to be true. It takes a little effort to actually get right, and it requires you to walk around aimlessly like an idiot, but Pikachu is worth it. Learn more about getting Pikachu as a starter in Pokémon Go here:
3. Get Coins by Placing Pokémon at Gyms
New players will find themselves running out of coins, which are used to buy items, fairly quickly, and that’s why being in control of gyms is so important.
Once you reach level five, you’ll want to either take over a gym or join an existing one that has been claimed for your Pokemon Go team. Then, choose one of your Pokémon to place in the gym and defend it.
That’s all you need to do, but not everyone realizes at first that you get coin bonuses from this. Check back in to the shop about once every 21 hours, click on the shield icon, and as long as you still have a Pokémon defending the gym, you will get 10 new PokeCoins. You can station Pokémon at up to 10 gyms, meaning you can really take advantage of this bonus to secure yourself 100 coins every day.
Or, if you don’t mind dropping some actual cash, you can purchase additional coins at the shop (using real-life money).
Learn more about how to find Pokémon Go gyms here:
4. Your Throw Affects the Likelihood of Catching a Pokémon
The way that you throw your Poke Balls carries much more significance than players might at first think. In terms of ensuring the best likelihood of a proper capture and the most XP possible, timing is everything.
When you’re ready to catch a Pokémon, hold down on the PokeBall, and a circle will begin to envelop the Pokémon in front of you. The color of the circle indicates how difficult of a capture it is, with green meaning easy, orange meaning medium, and red meaning hard.
You’ll notice that the circle will be continuously shrinking. If you can manage to hit the center of the circle when it’s as tiny as possible, this decreases the likelihood of the Pokémon being able to escape, and it will also give you extra points. But of course, the tinier the hole is, the more difficult it will be to make the throw.
Also, don’t be afraid to vary up the way you throw the ball; if you are able to execute a curveball by spinning the Poke Ball (as demonstrated above), you’ll get more XP.
5. Catch Everything, Even if You Already Have It
When you see a species of Pokémon in the wild that you have already captured, don’t just ignore it. That might be your inclination when you first start playing, but when you capture duplicate Pokémon, you can bring these to Professor Willow and trade them for candy.
Make sure you are only transferring your low CP Pokémon, though, not the ones you actually need to hang on to. Once you’ve given Willow your Pokémon, you can’t get them back.
This candy, of course, can be used to evolve Pokémon, so it’s quite a valuable resource to have. You also get some candy when you initially capture the Pokémon, so spending some time capturing Pokémon and trading them in to Willow is a pretty nice way to rack up a lot of candy.
6. Can’t Move Around? Use Incense
If you want to play the game at work, school, or in some situation where you can’t easily walk around, there is a solution: make use of Incense.
Using Incense items will make Pokémon spawn near you, even when you remain in one place. A single use of Incense will last about 30 minutes and will bring five or six Pokémon to you. Everyone starts the game with two Incense items, and you can purchase more after that with coins (or with real money).
Be advised, though: You probably shouldn’t use your Incense unless the game’s servers appear to be quite stable, as if they go down two minutes after you active your Incense, you’ll lose those remaining 28 minutes.
The other option is to use lures; this is basically the same thing as Incense, except it can be used by everyone in your area, not just by you, and it attaches itself to a Poke Stop.
Learn more about how to get more Pokémon Go Incense here:
7. Pay Attention to the Footsteps Graphic
UPDATE: This footsteps feature has been temporarily removed from the game, but now, nearby Pokemon can be tracked via the “sightings” feature.
When a Pokémon is nearby, you’ll notice a graphic in the bottom right of the screen with a Pokémon silhouette. Click that button and it will pull up a menu showing all the Pokémon that are in your immediate area. Each one has a footsteps graphic bellow it, but notice that the number of footsteps varies depending on the creature.
This is actually valuable information about how close any given Pokémon is to you. If there’s only one footstep, it’s pretty close by, whereas three footsteps indicates it’s much further away.
Use this in conjunction with the green leaves, which demonstrates where Pokémon typically spawn, in order to track down that elusive creature in your area.
8. You Can Revive a Pokémon by Evolving It
As you continue to partake in gym battles across the map, you will likely see your Pokémon continuously lose health and need to be healed or revived.
The main way to do this is by using a potion or revive item, which can be obtained by visiting Poké Stops.
But there’s also a workaround: if you were thinking of evolving the injured Pokémon anyway, keep in mind that doing so will restore them to full health, so it may not be worth wasting an item in this situation. To evolve a Pokémon, hit the Pokéball, go to Pokémon, select the Pokémon, and hit evolve.
Learn more about how to find Poké Stops here:
9. Turn on Power Saver Mode
Pokémon Go players will often have the game open for hours at a time, which can be a real drain on your phone’s battery. Luckily, there is an in-game solution to this problem.
Hit the PokeBall at the bottom of the screen and head over to the settings button in the top right. From there, simply select “battery saver mode.” Now, whenever you have your phone upside-down, i.e. in your pocket while you’re walking, the screen will dim and show only the Pokémon Go logo. This way, you’re saving battery by not having all the game’s graphics loaded at once, but you will still be notified when a Pokemon or Poke Stop is nearby.
In addition, turning off Augmented Reality mode will help save battery. If you plan to play the game quite regularly, investing in a portable battery also wouldn’t hurt. Find more tips for saving battery life in Pokémon Go here:
10. Use Lucky Eggs Wisely
If you want to gain a lot of XP quickly, Lucky Eggs are your best friend. Once you activate this item, you will get an XP boost over the course of the following 30 minutes.
The game doesn’t really give you much of an explanation about what the heck the Lucky Eggs are, though, and so new players might accidentally waste them. You’ll want to use these strategically; for example, you could make use of your Lucky Egg and an Incense item at the same time, or perhaps activating your Lucky Egg while near several Poke Stops and then activating a lure. Finally, waiting to evolve a Pokemon until you deploy a Lucky Egg will net players quite a bit of XP.
In addition to the eggs the game gives you after reaching level 9, you can also purchase additional eggs in the store. Learn more about Pokémon Go Lucky Eggs here: