‘Pokemon Go’ Plus: Does it Work With Your Phone Off?

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Pokemon Go Plus, the new wearable accessory from Nintendo, is about to be released in stores, and we’re now learning much more about how it works.

This new product, which can be worn around the wrist or attached to a belt or shirt, is pitched as a way to more easily play Pokemon Go without having to constantly stare at your phone. Since it was announced, one of the biggest questions has been whether Plus will work without the player’s phone being on and unlocked. Does it function independently, or is it entirely dependent on the mobile app?

There has been conflicting information about this, but according to some users of The Silph Road Reddit community who have gotten their hands on Pokemon Go Plus, the device does indeed work even if your phone is locked. Your phone does have to be on, and the app needs to be running. But once you log on via your iOS or Android device, you can lock your smartphone, slip it into your pocket, and completely forget about it, mainly relying on your Pokemon Go Plus throughout the day.

Weirdly, this feature was not marketed by Nintendo at all. In fact, Nintendo’s product page still states that “Pokémon GO does not track distance walked when running in the background.” But multiple players have reported that this is not true, and Plus does indeed measure distance when the app is running in the background. Assuming they’re right, this will be great news for those who find it annoying to constantly have their app open and running just so that their distance traveled counts towards hatching eggs. Now, you can simply strap on Pokemon Go Plus, go about your day, and have your walk measured. Plus will also reportedly work if you have your phone unlocked but are using another app other than Pokemon Go.

So what else can you do with Pokemon Go Plus? Another feature is that the device will vibrate whenever you pass a Poke Stop, and you can then click the button to collect its items. You can also use Plus to catch Pokemon, but only species you have previously encountered, and only using regular Poke Balls.

Pokemon Go Plus will be available on September 16th, though it is currently sold out in most online stores. It costs $34.99. Via Reddit user zeus_pl, here are some images of what the product looks like right out of the box: