FastPokeMap, a favorite Pokemon Go scanner, has been broken after the most recent Pokemon Go security update. A lot of other scanners and maps went down with it, including Quickmap, PokeAlert, OpenPokeMap, PokeEye, ScanGo, and more. Does anything still work? And do any of the options not violate TOS?
Here’s what you need to know.
All Scanners & Maps That Accessed Niantic’s Servers Are Down
Pokemon Go players sometimes used third-party trackers and scanners, like FastPokeMap, to locate nearby Pokemon. Problems with these apps and web maps first started cropping up when FastPokeMap developers disabled other scanners’ access to its API because the developers said it was draining their servers. This took a lot of apps down for a while, but they were just starting to restore service when a new problem emerged. Now Niantic has disabled access through a new forced security update that’s affecting almost all third-party scanners. The new Recaptcha security feature has shut down some players’ favorite maps and scanners.
Redditor Quickmap, who ran the web-based map quickmap.us, also confirmed the break via Reddit:
API is broken. All trackers are down until folks reverse it. Nothing we can do.”
The reaction to the scanners no longer working is mixed. On Reddit, MVP_Mike_Trout wrote:
Without FastPokeMap I wouldn’t have been playing this game as long as I have. I guess I’m done then, i am not going to mindlessly walk around looking for Pokemon that are on my sightings. Get serious. This company is just terrible imo.
But in the other threads, other trainers said they feel differently about the whole thing. They said that third-party maps and scanners are a form of cheating, so they don’t feel bad that the services no longer work. Dangerdave120 wrote on Reddit:
For me I Feel like it’s cheating. Not even close too spoofing, but I’ve heard some people say they had caught 5 Snorlax’s in one night on the app, which just gives you such an unfair advantage in gyms. I get that in new areas some Pokemon are impossible to find without it, but damn. I feel like it’s abused too much.”
It’s worth bearing in mind that any third-party app that accesses Niantic’s servers is likely breaking TOS. If you use one of these, your account might be softbanned or perma-banned, especially if you use a service that requires a Pokemon Go login to work.
Do Any Alternative Scanners & Maps Still Work?
FastPokeMap is working on getting back online so trainers can start using the service again. They said on Twitter it would take at least two weeks minimum to come back, but the developer later tweeted that he found some people to help and might have the service up sooner than expected:
The message is the same from most other developers. All scanners are down and fixing the API is going to take a long time.
However, scanners that do not access the API do still work. The Silph Road’s Nest Atlas is one option. For this atlas, trainers send in the locations where they find Pokemon. You can see a detailed description on how it works on Reddit here.
Other maps that are crowdsourced, rather than API-based, also still work. These apps intercept data sent to Niantic and record where players are finding Pokemon. These maps work best when a lot of people are using them.
There have also been some unconfirmed rumblings that some apps may be fixing the captcha issue, including PokeAlert. On Reddit’s PokemonGoDev subreddit, some players said that they were allowed to solve a captcha and then the app started working. Other apps may be working on pushing the captcha question to the users themselves.
Many people disagree with using scanners at all, as they view it as a form of cheating in Pokemon Go. Third-party scanners that access Niantic’s servers are against TOS. If you want to scan for Pokemon in a way that is in line with TOS, you’ll just need to use the “sightings ” panel that comes with the game. Or you can manually “track” Pokemon using methods such as the protractor method, described in the video below. (Read more about manual methods to track Pokemon in Heavy’s story here.)
Methods like this, however, don’t really meet the reasons that many people use radar and tracking third-party apps. Some like getting notifications on their phone about when a certain Pokemon is nearby. Others like being able to travel to a new area and know approximately where to go in order to catch a Pokemon that’s rare to them.
The “Sightings” panel that works within Pokemon Go is still the best alternative that definitely does not break TOS. But trainers are hoping Niantic will eventually release its “Nearby” panel that is available in the San Francisco area. This panel shows people which Pokemon are at Pokestops and directs them to their locations. It’s a much more accurate tracker than currently available, but it still doesn’t solve the problem of tracking Pokemon that are just in the wild.
Players who used Pokemon Go back when it was was first released prefer that Niantic reinstate its original footprint tracker. On Reddit, PygoscellsAdelle worded it this way:
Right now, Niantic should be focused on fixing the ORIGINAL tracker (not the new PokéStop based version that further cuts us rural players out). Player retention over the long term is far more lucrative than the one-time quick-hit gained by adding more countries in a month. Otherwise, it will be similar to Microsoft pushing a not-ready-for-market product like Windows 10 (initially frought with a bunch of broken features and functions) out to the world.
Others wish that Niantic would bring back the tracker they were using in the beta version, before the game was publicly released. That tracker didn’t have footprints, it actually told you how many meters away Pokemon were. One Redditor shared a photo of the original tracker:
Have you found a tracker that works? Let us know in the comments below.