Introduction: Pokemon Go Beginner's Guide

Picture of Pokemon Go Beginner's Guide

As a 20 year fan of Pokemon, I have quickly become addicted to Pokemon Go. I've spent the past few days wandering around and trying to learn everything I can about the game. I've also read waaaay too much about it. :D

Pokemon Go is VERY different from previous Pokemon games. There are no more fights with Pokemon to capture them - you just throw Poke Balls at them! The only time you fight is at gyms, but these fights are not turn based like previous games, and instead use a poke-and-swipe-the-screen fighting style. (And I won't cover gyms here as I have not figured it all out yet.)

In this instructable, I wanted to cover the things I've figured out so far in Pokemon Go. I hope you enjoy this beginner's guide to Pokemon Go! Once you've finished reading this, I highly suggest you go check out the Pokemon Go subreddit - loads of great info about the game and the current bugs it has!

P.S. Found out something neat about the game? Share it in the comments :D

P.P.S. The game is VERY buggy so far. Servers are always down, the app freezes and lags, features don't work, and sometimes it's pretty much impossible to throw the Poke Ball correctly no matter what you do. So keep that in mind. I haven't really gotten to the gym bit of the game because of the technical issues. :P

Step 1: General Tips for Playing the Game

Picture of General Tips for Playing the Game

You Have to Stay in the Game with the Screen On

Everything that happens in Pokemon Go happens in real time. If your screen is off, or the app is running in the background, the game is not registering any activity. You must have the app open and the screen on to ensure the game is tracking your movements and location.

What Do I Do if My Phone's Battery Dies Super Fast?

If you go to the "settings" menu you can enable "Battery Saver" mode that allows the screen to go black with a dim "Pokemon Go" logo on it when you're not actively looking at it. I suggest enabling this - it's helped increase my battery life!

Also, turn off wi-fi if you're away from your home signal. If you have wi-fi on walking around, your phone will constantly be searching available wi-fi networks and using power that way. (I'm curious to see how much data this game uses in the long run, too - unsure about that right now)

Turn Vibration On

This makes it so much easier to know when a Pokemon is nearby! The alert sounds in the game are often drowned out by the music, or hard to make out.

I've turned my sound and music off and turned on vibration - this way I can walk and listen to music but still get alerts.

What to Do if Your Phone Freezes and Lags

My phone and my partner's phone have serious issues with lagging. This mostly happens when fighting Pokemon with the camera enabled to show a real-time photo of the scene in front of you as the background. You can disable the photo view when in a fight with a Pokemon - there's a toggle in the upper right hand corner to turn it off.

Much faster, and I like the animated backgrounds better anyway. :D

Step 2: How to Find Pokemon

Picture of How to Find Pokemon

Rotate your map around and look for tiny green leaves floating up from the ground. Walk towards these areas - there's a good chance Pokemon are nearby.

When on the map, click the bar in the lower right side of the screen. This will take you to a menu allowing you to see all the Pokemon that are nearby.

Greyed out Pokemon are ones that are not in your Pokedex.

The footprints underneath the Pokemon show how far away they are from you. 3 is far, 1 is near. If no feet are shown the Pokemon will likely spawn near you very soon! The most recent update removed the footprint tracking system.

You can also use Incense and Lure Modules to attract more Pokemon to you. Both increase the amount of Pokemon you'll see for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Capturing Pokemon

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As I said in the intro, this Pokemon game involves no fighting!

Instead, you simply throw Poke Balls at any Pokemon you come across. Pokemon can still escape, so act fast and aim well!

Throwing the Poke Ball

Throwing the Poke Ball can be a little complicated at first, but you'll get the hang of it. Make sure to keep the hand holding the phone completely still - moving that hand can cause the ball to veer right or left even if you aimed well with the flicking hand. :P

I like to "arch" the ball by flicking up at various speeds - it seems to work best. I start at the bottom of the screen and drag my finger almost to the top of the screen and then release.

What Do Those Colored Circles Mean?

Pokemon's ease of capture is shown by the colored lines that show up inside the aiming circle - green is easy, while orange and yellow are harder!

Spoils of Battle - Candy and Stardust

When you capture a Pokemon, you'll receive three "candies" of that Pokemon type. These candies allow you to evolve and power up the Pokemon. You will also receive Stardust, which is used for powering up Pokemon.

RUN AWAY (sometimes)

Note that you shouldn't catch EVERY Pokemon you run across, even though I know that's what the theme song says.

I frequently run from battles with common Pokemon that are weaker than the ones in my box. If I don't need their candies and they aren't strong, I just run to save a Poke Ball. You only get 100 XP for every Pokemon, which is not enough to motivate me to catch them. :P

Step 4: Managing and Transferring Your Pokemon

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You don't have to keep every Pokemon and you shouldn't!

I like to sort my Pokemon box by "name" and then favorite the strongest of each Pokemon I have. These are the Pokemon you want to keep, and you can get rid of any extras by transferring!

To transfer a Pokemon, click on it in the box and scroll down until you see the "transfer" button.

When you transfer your extra low powered Pokemon to Professor Willow, he'll give you 1 candy in exchange. It's a great way to get extra candies to evolve your most powerful Pokemon!

Before I started managing my box like this I had over 100 Pokemon and hardly any of them were evolved. Once I started using this way of organizing them, I have around 40 Pokemon and have been able to evolve quite a few of them. :D

Step 5: Evolving and Powering Up Your Pokemon

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I only evolve and power up when it will make the most sense to save resources. Technically you can evolve and power up a Pokemon whenever you want, but the way I describe below is more cost effective since it takes so long to get the candies you need.

To evolve a Pokemon, you use candies! Basically, you need to catch a ton of the Pokemon you want to evolve to get that type of candy, and transfer any low powered Pokemon of that type to Professor Willow for even more candy.

You will need between 12-100 candies (well, that I've seen so far) to evolve a Pokemon - it all depends on the Pokemon type and how evolved it is already. For example, a Pokemon that's already been evolved once or twice may require 100 candies the second time you evolve it.

Don't evolve your Pokemon right away. You want to evolve Pokemon that already have really high CP points. In most cases, you only want to evolve Pokemon with 200+ CP points. Essentially, the higher the CP points the better.

Otherwise, you'll be evolving a low-powered Pokemon and will get a weak Pokemon in return once it's evolved!

I evolved a couple Pokemon (Pidgey and Rattata) too soon so their evolved forms were really low powered - both under 200 CP. I actually caught the evolved versions later on when I was a higher level and they were so much stronger! And then I felt stupid for wasting so much candy on weak Pokemon. Don't be me! :P

Once a Pokemon is in its final form, feel free to power it up, especially if it has a good base CP! I never power up Pokemon before then.

Step 6: All About PokeStops

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PokeStops are locations all over the map that you can visit to receive free items!

Get close to a PokeStop and click on it. Once the PokeStop screen comes up, swipe left or right to spin the circle in the middle. Items will pop up in bubbles: click on them to take them!

Once you get items from a PokeStop, you have to wait for a few minutes before you can do it again. The PokeStop icon will turn from purple back to blue when it's ready. (This takes about five minutes)

Items I've gotten so far at PokeStops:

  • Pokemon eggs
  • Potions
  • Revives
  • Raz Berries
  • Poke Balls
  • Super Potions

I've also read that as you level up, more items will be unlocked, like Great Balls. :D

You can also do some serious Pokemon hunting at PokeStops with the help of Lure Modules. (When I hit level 8, I got a Lure Module for leveling up.)

Lure Modules can be affixed to PokeStops and increase the amount of Pokemon that spawn in the area for 30 minutes. Any other players around the PokeStop at the time are able to get this benefit, too!

Step 7: Leveling Up Your Character & How to Get XP in Pokemon Go

Picture of Leveling Up Your Character & How to Get XP in Pokemon Go

To level up your character, you need to get XP. Leveling up will allow you to fight stronger Pokemon and receive new items. Here's a list of the XP and items you receive for levels 1-20.

Once you reach level 5 you'll also be able to pick a team (Mystic, Valor or Instinct) and begin to fight at gyms.

Ways to get XP in Pokemon Go:

  • catch Pokemon
  • hatch Pokemon eggs
  • battle at gyms
  • check in at PokeStops
  • evolve Pokemon

You can also use Lucky Eggs to double the amount of XP you get for 30 minutes!

Step 8: Hatching Pokemon Eggs

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Pokemon eggs must be hatched by walking, much like the old Pokemon games. :D

Note that the game knows if you're going too fast to be walking and won't count it. (For example, driving in a car with the game open - though I think it does track the movement as walking if the car is going slow enough sometimes!) The game must be open and the screen must be on for your walking to count!

So far I've seen eggs that require 5 km and 10 km distances to be covered before they hatch.

To hatch an egg, you need to use an Incubator. You have one Infinite Incubator, and one Incubator with 3 uses when you start the game. You can also buy extra Incubators in the shop for 150 coins if you have lots of eggs to hatch!

When the egg hatches, you get a Pokemon and some XP!


Jedi_zombie85 (author)2016-07-19

personally I find the 2k and the 10k eggs the best, but that's just me, found this guide on what you can get from each egg if it helps anyone :D

Lol you get eevees from 10k eggs? Well I guess the candies would make it worth it... Thanks for sharing. :)

yea had about 4 of them so far and each time got about 15+ candies with is good as it only needs 25 to evolve into the 3 final forms, so far had Eevee's, Hitmonlee, jynx, electrabuz and the creepiest pokemon Mr mine from the 10ks lol

Oh, nice!! That's super helpful. :D

Thanks for sharing.

DavidG561 (author)2016-07-18

Quick level up trick...set two or more lures off at pokestops within touching distance (close enough that you trigger both)...then use your lucky egg to get double xp...this is when you can evolve all your minor pokemon (i have tons of pidgey and rattata both cheap to evolve - 12 and 25 candies respectively)...sit back, catch them all and level up!

jessyratfink (author)DavidG5612016-07-18

So smart! Sadly I live in the middle of nowhere, so I won't be able to do this since the Pokestops are so far apart! But I know loads of other folks will find it helpful. :D

kruth1 (author)jessyratfink2016-07-19

I thought this, too, but we live in the middle of nowhere and have LOADS of Pokemon and PokeStops around! In fact--there are more than in the part of the nearby city where my son works!

I'm thinking it just depends on what part of the world/country you live in.

killseabass (author)kruth12016-07-19

I think the pokestops are mapped after a previous game's map (from the same dev, I think), where there were something like portals there are now pokestops. Like it was translated directly or something. Might be wrong.

Surferdude (author)killseabass2016-07-21

Yes, all Pokestops are portals in Ingress (I've been playing Ingress for about a year and a half). However, not all Ingress portals are Pokestops. If you sign up for Ingress (choose the Resistance faction!), you get access to the intel map which allows you to see the portals anywhere without going there. It appears that about 75% of Ingress portals are also Pokestops. You can play both games at the same time, but I keep Pokemon open to hatch eggs as I walk. If you go to your app store, Ingress will show up as a suggested app with Pokemon Go.

I've found that Ingress still works just fine when Pokemon isn't. Just a more mature codebase and probably fewer server issues as well due to heavy loads.

jessyratfink (author)kruth12016-07-19

Lucky! I'm in Colorado way up in the Rocky Mountains, Can't wait to take a day trip somewhere else to try it out. :)

ranwithjesus (author)DavidG5612016-07-21

I heard if your near a lake this is the way to catch a Gyarados! Just put on an incense instead of a lucky egg

Lorddrake (author)2016-07-18

the 2km eggs have common pokemon. the 5km eggs have uncommon pokemon. the 10km eggs have rare pokemon. there are no eggs that contain legendary pokemon (so far)

Corasaurus Rex (author)Lorddrake2016-07-19

My 2km egg gave me a squirtle which was pretty awesome, Working on a 10km now

jessyratfink (author)Lorddrake2016-07-18

Ohhhhhhh 2km eggs! I had no idea. :D

tcman2006 (author)2016-10-04

u can also deposit the armys of pidgeys and ratattas for candys to evolve the rest

Simran Sharma (author)2016-08-07

Happy friendship day Jessy :)

cankoray21 made it! (author)2016-07-31

Thank you for everything

3rdiii (author)2016-07-22

How would you recommend me use this for my brick and mortar business?

ronanry (author)2016-07-19

I don't understand this "love" for this game...
I'm a pokemon fan since a lot of years (i'm 33...hum...34 if i'm correct :( ) and I have played every pokemon game since gameboy !

Pokemon involve FIGHTING ! It's all about this ! To catch a pokemon you have to lower his life enough but not too much ! That's why I make MY game ( ...Of course, it's not pokemon, I am not allowed to use the image (copyright) but the general is here (i'm an indie, so I only develop in freetime don't be too hard with me in your comment ;) ... but i will really appreciate any comment :) ! )

ClanR (author)ronanry2016-07-19

Pokémon Go is also all about fighting.

The difference between this game and all the past ones is that, in order to fight, you need to get off your backside and actually go to a gym.

ronanry (author)ClanR2016-07-20

I'm sorry but i can't let you say that ...
The FIRST difference is that you can CATCH pokemon without fighting... (the 2nd difference is you need to move to catch them, i'm ok with you, but the very first one is that there is no fight, and I can't accept this. no challenge, except the %age of luck for every ball...)

ClanR (author)ronanry2016-07-21

Sure, technically, one could wander around, catching Pokémon, without fighting. One could also play Ingress without ever building fields, or play Geocaching without ever actually looking for caches. But in both those examples, those players would be aberrations. Individuals playing outside the primary scope and intent of the game.

With Pokémon Go, the primary objective is combat.

ronanry (author)ronanry2016-07-19

My game run the same system (and it's more than 4 years old ! so, NOOooo! I have not copy the system !) but you don't have to get your phone running everytime, you don't have to use "data" (i mean no 3G/4G required), and, as i mentioned, you have to fight to catch a pokemon...i mean a phonster...

ClanR (author)ronanry2016-07-21

I can't comment on your game, because I haven't played it. My only relevant comment was to disagree with you when you claimed the shiny new version was not fight based. The whole reason folks capture Pokémon in the new game is so they can build up their combatants, and duke it out.

FN64 (author)2016-07-19

Jess.. A question for you and the Pokemon community..

I've read several news reports where police escorted players out of cemeteries after dark and of folks trespassing on private property and a couple fell over some cliff face jut not paying attention to their surroundings...

How do these game pieces get placed?? Is there no permission from landowners required for the PTB behind Pokemon to place a game piece on private property?

My wife and I are both involved in Geocaching and one of the requirements for placing a cache is to have permission.

I can see someone getting hurt, sued, locked up or possibly shot by an irate landowner as they sneak about trying to capture a game piece.

It is not my intent to disparage the game or anyone who enjoys it.. Just to air a major concern for the safety of all.

AlistairB (author)FN642016-07-19

all the game pieces were seeded by the ingress community. ingress is niantic's other geolocation game which has been running for a few years now. all the locations were user submitted and then reviewed (like setting geocaches requires reviewing). For pokemon they only used about 60% of the ingress database. basically the most popular ones (and likely not on inaccessible locations) there are a few in less than ideal locations but it seems to have worked for the most part

ClanR (author)AlistairB2016-07-19

Just to clarify Alistair's answer:

In the game Ingress, players could submit locations for portals. In order to get approved, the proposed location had to meet certain guidelines. Specifically, each location had to have either a social value, like a church or mosque, a recreational value, like the entrance to a park, artistic value, like a sculpture or mural, or an historic value, like a pioneer house. These portals should also be in locations which the general public can visit. Part of the Portal submission process involved taking a picture of your suggested location, and submitting a name for the Portal. These pictures and names are identical to those submitted as Portals.

When Niantic rolled out Pokémon Go, they used the same locations for Pokestops and Gyms. I'm guessing they incorporated some sort of proximity regulations, as areas which had Portals every hundred feet or so, don't have the same number of Pokestops. They will still have a bunch, just not as much.

FN64 (author)ClanR2016-07-21

I'd like to thank Jesse and all the others who replied.

My primary concern was safety for all involved and your responses helped me understand many aspects I was not aware of..

Although I'm not a PG player I find these games interesting and may pursue it at some future date.

All to best and do be safe out there..


Surferdude (author)FN642016-07-21

The terms of service note that people should not trespass, etc. People are getting escorted out of cemeteries because they are violating the posted open hours. It's usually fairly easy to find out what those hours are. If you cannot find a sign, look up the location online. Most cemeteries are dusk to dawn, though some are 24/7. Sometimes the hours shown on a website are the office hours, not the cemetery visiting hours. And then you'll fimd some police officers who just don't like the idea of people playing a game in a cemetery: they claim it's disrespectful and harrass people. To be fair, I've found that police officers are VERY polite if you are polite to them and don't try to make their job more difficult than it already is with every night being National Night Out now (because of PG).

Not all portals that were submitted and approved in Ingress meet the criteria. Even though invalid portal requests were submitted, Not all were removed, and there are some in the wrong place because some Ingress players on either faction voted them up to give their own player(s) a "couch" portal or "work" portal. Niatic is no longer accepting portal submissions in Ingress, but you can still submit invalid portal reports. I don't see a way to do this in PG.

jessyratfink (author)FN642016-07-19

Because of the scope of the game, the Pokestop and Gym info was simply pulled from map data by the developers. Most of these ARE public locations (things like churches, local waypoints, parks, etc), but there was essentially no way for the developers to vet each location. So therefore there are some problems.

It also does not improve the situation that the game was released without a proper guide to playing it. I think if the developers would have simply explained more about how things work we wouldn't have so many confused people trespassing to get right on top of the spots. :P

My view on this whole thing is that if people are not mature enough to make good decisions about where and where not to go, it's their fault and not the game's. I know there have already been loads of news stories about the "danger" of Pokemon Go, but meh. Anyone doing stupid things with this game probably does stupid things in their day to day life, too. ;)

SaraG49 (author)jessyratfink2016-07-20

I agree with you Jess 100%.

deluges (author)2016-07-21

Thanks for this guide jessy! I can hope to stay ahead of my coworkers with your help ;) Lvl 4 and going

kruth1 (author)2016-07-19

A question for you all:

(I haven't played the game as yet)

My son is able to hatch eggs while driving--I know because, while he doesn't do this while by himself, he DID ask me to keep his phone screen open to see what would happen. The app showed him as running (while driving the speed limit on the freeway!) and his egg hatched.

Is he an anomyly? Is it the phone he is using?

I'm thinking of trying the game on MY phone (same brand, different model) to see if that happens for me, too.

PowellMade (author)kruth12016-07-21

When your car is traveling from 0-25km or 0-16Mph it registers as walking or running. If you open the app and have it in your pocket it will clock your eggs up.

kruth1 (author)PowellMade2016-07-21

He was travelling the speed limit--50-60 mph on that stretch of freeway.

jessyratfink (author)kruth12016-07-19

Huh! Maybe the game bugged out? I have only been able to see the game registering being in the car as walking when my partner was driving reeeeeallly slow.

I'm definitely curious to know how it actually tracks the walking. Very confusing!

Flyboyron (author)2016-07-19

Does anyone of the self-confessed addicts here have any idea just how much information is streaming out of your phone to "someone else", (no one knows or seems to care who)?

When you install that app, you have to give it a ridiculous set of permissions, and you are basically dumping all the information on your phone, as well as your real-time location, to some third party who does God knows what with it.

It's a HUGE security threat, and as usual, gamers seem to be oblivious to that. I'll bet you all have Facebook accounts that dumping the REST of your private lives to strangers, too!!

Wise up, and GROW UP! It's a little kids' game from many years ago!

A year from now, I expect we'll find out this is the largest "hack" of your private information in history, and everyone will be whining about how much money has been stolen through identity theft, etc. But you'll have enabled it yourself, and will have no one to blame but yourselves.

Talk about a wolf in sheep's clothing...

I wouldn't have the thing on any device I controlled.

Surferdude (author)Flyboyron2016-07-21

I partially disagree here. BEcause of the way permissions are grouped, many apps seem to wany access to things that are not intuitive. I choked on giving Pokemon Go access to Contacts, and still have not come up with a reason why it would need that, though. However, you cannot know from the poermissions whether or not an app is a Security threat. I think what you're trying to say is that they are a PRIVACY threat. Yes, you're constantly giving up your position in real time. But other players (so far) don't have access to that information. So it can't be used to stalk you or harrass you. I've heard rumors about person-to-person interaction, like trading, coming out in the future, but the current game doesn't do that. Ingress, also by Niantic (as spinn-out from Google), DOES make it possible to track other players. Some user have built apps used by both sides that scrape the log and build maps of where other players are. They cannot track you constantly, only certain actions like destroying / capturing portals and linking / fielding portals.

There are certainly things to give on pause, but I haven't seen anything that's a true security risk.

PowellMade (author)Flyboyron2016-07-21

That's why you make a google account just to play this game. Privacy is a good point though and people need to remember not to get complacent about it. ???

ranwithjesus (author)PowellMade2016-07-21

Haha that's what I did

TheMoms (author)Flyboyron2016-07-20

Realistically, there is no such thing as privacy or security. Something or someone watches us all the time. Might as well enjoy the ride.

Flyboyron (author)TheMoms2016-07-20

Well, if you don't try, you certainly prove that's true. But I'd rather see people take control of their own security.
If you'd rather accept whatever is thrown your way, enjoy your game.

patricia.ackerman.90 (author)2016-07-19

Pokemon Go was created to distract people from reality. Reality is the condition of our country going down the tubes while ya'll act like rats being led by the pied piper over the cliff. If you don't wake up from this idiotic foolishness, then enjoy the socialism of the Godless new world order....

I disagree. My (adult) children have actuallt met and interacted with MORE people in their communites than ever! I think this game has the possibility to create the kind of communities I recall when I was growing up!

We got together to play and that is what thye are doing!

ranwithjesus (author)kruth12016-07-21

I know! I've met like three new people in my town so far, they're all super nice!

I have met more people, seen more places and made more friends then in any other game I have played. Meeting people who potentially are introverted and wouldn't leave their house but to play this game, has helped bring up many topics that has brought people together. Love not fear has been the fruits I have seen. ??


You do realize it's possible to focus on more than one thing at a time, right? Plus, I couldn't possibly play this game 24 hours a day - it's too buggy. ;)

deluges (author)jessyratfink2016-07-20

Isn't life itself a little bit glitchy sometimes ? ;)

I for one am quite looking forward to the socialism of the godless new world order, it's going to be a whole lot better than the religion based capitalism of the current one.

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