Pokemon Go Beginner's Guide




About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!



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89 Discussions


3 years ago

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

4 replies

Reply 3 years ago

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


Reply 2 years ago

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


3 years ago

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!

6 replies

Reply 3 years ago

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


Reply 3 years ago

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.


Reply 3 years ago

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.


Reply 3 years ago

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.


Reply 3 years ago

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. :)


Reply 3 years ago

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


3 years ago

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)

2 replies
Corasaurus RexLorddrake

Reply 3 years ago

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


2 years ago

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

Simran Sharma

2 years ago

Happy friendship day Jessy :)


2 years ago

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


3 years ago

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 (www.myphonster.com) ...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 :) ! )

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

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.