Pokemon Go Hints, Tips and FAQ

Pokemon Go Hints, Tips and FAQ by VisforVenom


First Time Beta Tips / Known beginning bugs:

  • You must sign up with the email address you received the invite for.
  • After signing in, you may occasionally find that the app asks you to “sign up” again, with no option to sign in. Simply select “sign up” and your beta email address again. This is the sign-in page as well.
  • If you get stuck at the name screen try deleting your name and retyping it, do not use Swype.
  • If you do not have pokeballs to catch your starter, force close the game and restart. If this does not work, delete data and cache from app settings and reopen, if it still doesn’t work delete data and cache and then unistall and reinstall. Beyond that you will have to contact niantic at the above links.

Beginner’s Guide:

  • Make sure to watch the “Quick Start” guide. If you skipped it, you can watch it again any time by selecting it from the settings menu in the top left corner of your main menu in-game.
  • Teams? You can select either the red, blue, or yellow team to start. This will decide what gyms you can join, and which ones you battle.
  • As of the latest update, you start out with the chance to catch one of the three gen 1 starters.
  • To activate the catch screen, tap on the pokemon you can see spawned on your map.
  • Once on the catch screen you will see a logo of a running man at the top left, this allows you to run from the “battle”. On the top right you will see the camera option, turn this off to make catching easier, and to save battery and processing power. On the bottom right you will have your bag, where you can select different types of pokeballs, or items (currently the only item useable in battle is the Razz Berry, which increases your chance of catching the pokemon.) And bottom center you will see the pokeball.
  • To catch a pokemon, hold the pokeball at the bottom center of your screen. You will see a shrinking circle on the pokemon. Your goal is to throw the pokeball into the circle by flicking your finger upwards towards the pokemon. This takes some practice.
  • Once your pokemon is captured, you will receive XP (100 per catch, and 500 per new pokemon) a candy for that pokemon and some star dust, then you will see a readout for the pokemon. CP stands for “Combat Power” and is a number averaged from the attack and defense power of the pokemon. It can be raised by using the “Power Up” option. You can also evolve it after collecting enough candies, which you get from catching multiples of the same pokemon. At the very bottom you will see the “transfer” option. This will allow you to permanently transfer the pokemon to “The Professor” in exchange for another candy. So you can net 2 candies per pokemon caught this way.
  • Now your goal is to roam around and find more pokemon to catch.
  • As you travel, new pokemon will appear in your “Nearby” list at the bottom right of the map. Expand this menu to show the distances, in meters, of pokemon near you. The distances change by a factor of 20m at a time. There is no direction signified, you must figure it out on your own.
  • You will also pass small blue locations called “Pokestops” that grant you bonus items by tapping them, and spinning the circle in the center. Pokestops restock every 5 minutes, so you can plan a route with several on it, and circle around to keep hitting them. They generally offer healing items, pokeballs and eggs. The big structures are gyms, please proceed to the following sections to learn more.
  • Every day you receive 2500 coins from the professor by visiting the shop. You will also receive a bonus of coins and stardust every day for each gym you hold, up to 10 gyms. You can claim this by tapping your avatar and selecting the “defender bonus” button at the top left. The timer resets from the time you claim, so don’t forget.


Known Bugs:

  • If pokeballs are bouncing off even when the pokemon is not lunging, you may have the “infinite cry” bug. You will have to run away.
  • If you see a patch of animated grass, or pink cloud, especially while using incense, and pokeballs are bouncing off without making contact, you have encountered the “incense bug” and must run away from the battle. Try walking away from the pokemon and reinitiating battle from a greater distance.
  • Game crashes tend to be more frequent when encountering a pokemon that you have not caught. Stay in the same place and keep relaunching the game, hopefully you will eventually be able to catch the pokemon without the game crashing, before it disappears.
  • Sometimes the nearby list can get stuck. Especially if you select an individual pokemon to track, and it disappears while you are tracking it. It will remain in your list, with an unchanging distance, until you close and restart the app.
  • If you find a pokemon from your nearby list and it runs when you attempt to capture it, it is gone. It will still show in your nearby list, but it will not spawn again.
  • There is a Pokemon stuck in pokespot glitch where Pokemon will occasionally spawn directly into a pokestop, making them impossible to click on without activating the pokestop instead. There’s really not much you can do about this. You can try zooming in as much as possible, rotating the map, and clicking the outer edges of the sprite if it a large pokemon. You can also try force closing and relaunching the app, hoping it spawns a little bit further from the pokestop. But odds are you’ll have to let it go.
  • Eggs not hatching even though the meter is full. Try walking just a little further, or going prone/stationary somewhere with a solid internet connection. Sometimes it just takes a few minutes for the hatching to register.
  • Some users report being unable to see pokemon with the AR camera active. The camera activates a gyroscope in your phone. If you are using an older phone it is possible this feature will not function properly. The Pokemon always spawns centered on the screen of where your phone was positioned when the battle started, or where the phone was positioned when it breaks free of a pokeball. Try moving around and looking up and down. If you can not see it anywhere you will probably have to use the app with the camera function turned off.

Throwing Pokeballs:

  • Use your index finger and try to swipe straight up. Speed and distance swiped affects the distance that the pokeball is thrown. It is easy to overthrow very small, close pokemon such as pidgey and caterpie. So short, gentle lobs work best.
  • Turn off the camera if you are struggling, or find yourself losing pokemon into the background. This turns off the gyroscope on your phone, and centers the pokemon in the screen regardless of what direction your phone is facing.
  • Aim for the center of the shrinking circle. The smaller the circle gets, the higher your chance of a successful catch if you land it inside the circle, but obviously the lower the chance of actually landing inside the circle. There will be a quick flash of a different size circle that shows where your pokeball landed, and what size circle would have been big enough for you to have landed inside of it.
  • Red circles mean very hard to catch, and green mean very easy. Try using a Razz Berry, and a better ball such as a great ball or ultra ball, you should see the red circle change to orange or yellow.
  • The higher CP the pokemon has, the harder it will be to catch.
  • Do not throw a pokeball while the circle is not showing, or the pokemon is jumping or lunging. You will almost always miss, or have your pokeball blocked.
  • You can get modifiers such as “Nice throw”, “Great throw” and “Excellent throw” for getting right in the center of the circle as it is shrinking. These presumably increase your catch rate, and offer an XP bonus if the catch is successful
  • You also get extra XP and possibly a catch rate bonus for “curve ball”. To throw a curveball, hold the pokeball and spin it around until it starts to sparkle, then throw it slightly to the direction you were spinning. For example: If you were spinning counter-clockwise, you should throw to the right, clockwise you should throw to the left. The bonus does not appear to be worth the added effort and difficulty.

Hunting Pokemon:

  • You can use incense, which is purchased in the store, to attract more pokemon. Even when stationary, this should spawn one pokemon every 5 minutes or so, for 30 minutes.
  • Early in the game, you should use incense in conjunction with lucky eggs. In fact, use lucky eggs any time you are going to be catching new pokemon. Lucky eggs (also purchased in the store) double your earned XP, and catching new pokemon gives the best XP rewards, so this will cause you to level up twice as fast.
  • Incense causes random spawns on your avatar’s location. It does not affect, and is not affected by your “Nearby” pokemon list. They are unrelated. But the pokemon produced by incense will usually be typical to the area, if a bit underleveled from what you’re used to finding.
  • Other players can not see your incense spawns, they are in your game only. However the pokemon that are “Nearby” are the same for all players in the area.
  • The Patch modifier is to be used at a pokestop. Like incense, it causes pokemon to spawn for a set time. But unlike incense, the pokemon are tied to the pokestop, not your avatar, and are visible to all players in the area.
  • Pokemon can be caught by every player in the area. If 2 players of the same level both find the same pokemon in the same spot, they will both catch an identical version of it. If the players are different levels, the CP will be different for each of them, accordingly, but they can still both catch the same pokemon.
  • The “Nearby” list appears to rotate every 30 minutes or so when stationary. It will populate and depopulate at random intervals while traveling because pokemon spawns are tied to geographic locations, and pokemon more than 200m away will not be displayed on the nearby list.
  • You can open the nearby tab and select an individual pokemon to have it shown by itself in the collapsed view, along with distance.
  • The distance changes 20m at a time. In order to tell which direction you need to travel, you will need to walk at least 20m and see if the distance has gone up or down, and change your direction accordingly. You can also triangulate a location by monitoring distance changes of every pokemon in the list, but this is time consuming and pokemon will often disappear before you find it, leaving you hunting a nonexistent pokemon stuck in your nearby list with an unchanging distance.
  • Eggs contain pokemon. They must be placed into incubators which you can buy from the shop. Once incubation has started, the eggs progress their hatching based on how many km you walk. If you select the “Pokemon” menu from your pokeball menu at the bottom center of the screen, and then scroll right (or select the right tab at the top) you can see your eggs’ progress and how far you have to go until they hatch. When hatched you will receive a pokemon, along with several candies for it, and a large amount of stardust.


Known Bugs:

  • “1 hp” invincible enemies are a common complaint. Many people struggle to even defeat their own gyms and it is very frustrating. This is presumably caused by a poor connection with the servers, creating a lag. The issue is that you will get an enemy pokemon down to 1hp and they will continue taking damage without fainting. All you can really do is keep dodging, hitting them one time every once in a while hoping it’s the one that does it.
  • “GYM IS TOO FAR AWAY” even when you’re right on top of the gym. Force close and restart, this is usually a connection/gps issue.
  • Pokemon goes down in CP after evolving. Not much is known about this bug, it’s not very common. Please report findings if this happens to you, and as always, report to niantic.

Raising Pokemon:

  • Candy, essential to the process of raising pokemon, is acquired by capturing pokemon. Each pokemon captured nets you one candy specific to its evolutionary line. So each pidgey, or pidgeotto you capture will yield one “pidgey candy” per successful capture. You can double this by transferring your lower CP duplicates to the professor, in exchange for one additional candy. Multiple candies are also acquired by hatching a pokemon from an egg.
  • Stardust, another crucial element to pokerearing, is received in small quantities from capturing pokemon. You can also get it from the daily defender bonus, at a rate of 500 stardust per each gym you control at the time of accepting the bonus (up to 10 gyms, or 5k stardust.) And you get it in large quantities when hatching eggs.
  • CP can be raised by selecting the “Power Up” function on a pokemon’s detail page. It costs a variable amount of stardust, and usually one candy per power up. Somewhere around 5-600CP the cost of candy will increase to 2, and the stardust cost will gradually increase over time as well. Powering up will raise the CP of a pokemon by somewhere between 6-10% of its current CP, and raise its HP by 2-5 pts.
  • There is a CP cap, represented by the white arch meter over the pokemon. This cap is set by the player’s level. When you level up, your capped out pokemon will be able to be powered up again.
  • Your player level progress is represented by the blue circle around your avatar’s face in the bottom left corner of the map screen. Click on your face to view detailed stats and badge information. You will see how much XP is needed to level up again. Leveling up grants access to more rewards from the pokestops, which appears to end with the very rare masterball unlocked at LVL 5. It also allows you to encounter stronger and rarer pokemon in the wild.
  • Evolving pokemon costs an amount of candy (supposedly) proportional to the benefit provided by leveling them up. Most tier 2 evolutions cost between 10-25 candies. However tier 3 pokemon often cost anywhere from 100-400 candies. Evolving pokemon gives a dramatic (often as much as threefold) boost to CP and several points of HP.
  • Evolving a pokemon is currently the only way to change its moveset. There doesn’t seem to be any way to predict what moves a pokemon will have when it evolves. Each pokemon has 2 moves, a primary and secondary. The secondary much be charged and does more damage. These moves can be viewed on the pokemon’s details page.


  • A grey gym has not yet been claimed. You can claim the gym for your team by depositing one of your pokemon into it. You will now be the leader of the gym, and other team members may also add pokemon to your gym to strengthen it. A pokemon must have full HP to be left at a gym. You can only place one pokemon at each gym.
  • A gym of the same color as your team is a “Friendly Gym.” You can drop off a pokemon at a friendly gym to help defend it, and raise its prestige and level, making it harder for enemies to defeat. You can “train” at a friendly gym by choosing one pokemon to battle the gym. If the pokemon you are training is at or below a similar level to the pokemon in the gym, you will earn XP and the gym will gain “Prestige.”
  • The trainer with the strongest pokemon at a gym will always be the “Gym Leader”, regardless of who claimed the gym initially. This is represented by a crown logo next to their image in the gym menu. The official rules state that a gym leader “decides” who fights first, but it appears to just send out pokemon in order from weakest to strongest by default.
  • A gym of a different color from your team is an “Enemy Gym.” You can battle enemy gyms to lower their prestige. When the prestige of a gym reaches 0, all of the pokemon are “kicked out” and the gym becomes grey again. At this point you can claim the gym as your own. You may have to defeat a gym several times to lower its prestige this much.
  • Prestige is based on the number of trainers who have pokemon at a gym, as well as how much training has been done there by team members. Raising a gym’s prestige will level it, which will allow more team members to join the gym, making it stronger. A gym can have up to 21 pokemon, but can only hold one pokemon for each level. So you can not join a level 3 gym that already has 3 trainers until you train there enough to raise it to level 4, opening a new spot.
  • Each player can only have one pokemon at each gym. Once you deposit a pokemon at a gym, you will not be able to retrieve it, trade it out, power it up, evolve it, or interact with it in any way until a rival player defeats your gym and the pokemon is returned to your inventory in need of revival. So choose your drop-offs wisely, as they may be there for a very long time.


  • While training at a friendly gym only allows you to use one pokemon, battling an enemy gym grants you a roster of 6. When selecting the battle option, you will see your roster randomly populated with pokemon from your storage. If you would like to use different pokemon you can either reshuffle, or select specific pokemon by tapping each one individually. They will be automatically deployed in the order they are displayed.
  • This has been confusing for many people. The battle system in this game can be quite hectic and confusing. There is a tutorial in the “Quick Start” guide that will prove more useful than this post. I’m going to space each concept out into a different bullet point for ease of understanding.
  • You attack the enemy by tapping your pokemon (I prefer to tap the enemy, because it helps differentiate taps from swipes.) The quick tap uses your primary attack.
  • As you attack, you will see a blue bar filling up. This is your secondary attack, you must long press to use it once the blue bar is full. Some pokemon have a broken blue bar, allowing them to use the attack multiple times, off of a single charge, or with less charge.
  • When the enemy is going to attack, a red “Wi-Fi” type of symbol will appear above their head. Start swiping immediately. You will see a red or black crosshair on your pokemon, keep swiping until this goes away and their attack has finished to dodge. Then continue attacking.
  • Type advantages function the same way in this game as the main series. You can have an attack type advantage, a defense type advantage, or both. Before initiating battle you can view all of the pokemon at a gym by swiping on the main page, take the pokemon types into account when picking your roster.
  • The only way to revive or heal your pokemon, currently, is with healing items such as revives and potions acquired at pokestops. Powering up a pokemon may also revive or heal it just a little.
  • You can view your attacks on the details page of each pokemon. Remember, attacks change when you evolve the pokemon.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is this? How do I? Does anybody else? etc:

– What is this shiny stuff on the ground?

  • The pink, green, white or purple sparkly blobs are “tall grass” areas that are meant to represent a concentration of pokemon (higher spawn rates). However, most users report no change in spawn rates while traversing these areas.

– How do I level up my pokemon?

  • The only way to “level” a pokemon is to power it up with candies acquired by catching more pokemon from the same evolution chain. You can get a second candy from each catch by transferring it to the professor at the bottom of the menu for each pokemon. This includes starters.

– When I hit transfer my pokemon disappear until I exit the menu and come back?

  • If your pokemon menu goes blank after transferring to the professor, just scroll it a little, it should show again.

– How can you level a starter or legendary without candies?

  • Starters can be found in the wild, just like anything else. They are very rare spawns. Some people have reported finding legendaries as well, but this is unconfirmed and there are most likely no legendaries available in the beta.

– Are people stealing pokemon out from under me? Can I catch them first?

  • Spawn locations are linked to the geographic position. Multiple users will find the same pokemon in the same spot, and if you pass by, you can return to the location within the 30 minute “rotation” window and it will still spawn there. Someone else can NOT “catch your pokemon”.

– Are the Beta Testers going to have an unfair advantage?

  • All data will be wiped after the beta and before official launch. You will not keep anything, pokemon, items, gyms, even usernames. And it may be wiped periodically throughout the beta. Just be aware.

– How do I get my pokemon out of the gym to switch it?

  • Again, you CAN NOT get your pokemon back from a gym until it is defeated by an enemy trainer and kicked out of the gym. They must lower the gym’s prestige to 0 for this to happen. You can’t do anything with your pokemon until then, you can’t trade it out.

– How do I know if I’m still holding gyms?

  • You will not get a notification that your gym was taken. The only way to tell is to visit the gym and see for yourself, or to check your pokemon list and see if your pokemon has been returned to you. If you keep all of your pokemon at full health at all times, you can sort your pokemon by HP by clicking the sort icon at the bottom right, this will show any fainted pokemon at the top of the list. Hopefully you remember where you placed that particular pokemon.

– Will I get banned for calling my Weepinbell “Fleshlight”?

  • You are the only person who can see your pokemon’s nicknames.

– Where are the pokecenters? How do I heal my pokemon? I’m about to white out!

  • Currently the only official way to revive and heal pokemon is with revives and lotions from pokestops. You may also be able to revive fainted pokemon by powering them up.

– No matter how much I train him my pokemon doesn’t get any stronger!

  • Training at your own gym, according to most reports, does not have any effect on the CP of any pokemon involved. It should only offer XP and raise your gym prestige. And this is only if the pokemon you’re training is of similar or lower CP to the pokemon at the gym.

– Why is this so easy? Incense, lucky eggs and unlimited pokeballs are too easy!

  • Every day you receive 2500 coins from the professor by visiting the shop. This is most likely not an actual game mechanic, but rather a beta exclusive so that we can test purchasing from the shop (and also to collect data on shop usage.) So stop requesting pokeballs to be rarer or pokemon to be harder to catch. This is almost certainly not representative of release gameplay.

– What’s the point of holding a gym?

  • You will also receive a bonus of coins and stardust every day for each gym you hold, up to 10 gyms. You can claim this by tapping your avatar and selecting the “defender bonus” button at the top left. The timer resets from the time you claim, so don’t forget.


  • There is currently no other way to earn gold besides the daily shop and defender bonuses.


  • There is currently no other way to buy items that are not in the shop, other than finding them at pokestops.


  • You didn’t receive a master ball at level 5. You unlocked the ability to find one at a pokestop. They are extremely rare.

– Can I cheat the game’s clock?

  • Setting your system clock forward will speed up the rewards claim timer, HOWEVER trying to claim rewards with a system time different from the game’s servers appears to lock the reward button so that nothing happens when it is pressed. So no go on that sneaky cheat, all you angry birds/candy crush veterans.

– Can I earn more stardust and candies somehow?

  • You also receive stardust and bonus candies from hatching eggs that you receive from pokestops and place in incubators (select the Pokemon screen from your menu and swipe right to view eggs.)

– My steps aren’t being counted when I’m driving/riding the bus/riding a bike! What gives?

  • If you are moving faster than ~10mph your steps will not register towards hatching eggs. You will know if you are moving too fast when your avatar appears to be jogging rather than walking. The more km required to hatch an egg, the higher chance for a rare, seemingly.

– Can I pause the game by closing it?

  • Incense and lucky eggs timers will continue to run down even when the app is closed, so only use them when you plan to be playing for the next half hour.

– How do I hatch a lucky egg? I can’t put it in my incubator.

  • Lucky eggs double all XP earned for 30 minutes, so they are especially useful in the beginning when catching new pokemon, as you generally get at least 1000 xp per each new pokemon caught, and 200 per catch. As opposed to 500 and 100 respectively. This is the fastest way to level up. I have noticed that even with the lucky egg active pidgeys and caterpies have dropped to 100xp per catch. Not sure if this is tied to how many you have caught or what. Pokestops, gym battles, and training also give you xp. Evolving a pokemon is probably the highest single xp reward you can get. Keep these things in mind when maximizing benefit of Lucky Eggs.

– Should I power up my pokemon and then evolve? Or evolve first before powering up?

  • The consensus seems to be that evolving your pokemon before powering up yields marginally higher CP results and powering up pokemon who were stronger upon capture is ideal both for higher CP caps and lower overall cost of powerups. Second tier evolutions are not uncommon in the wild and aren’t usually difficult to capture, so hold off on evolving tier one pokemon if you can. Tier 3 evolutions are very expensive and you want to save every candy you can. CP is capped by your player level. A maxed out pokemon will be able to be powered up again after you level up.

– Why am I not earning prestige or XP when I train at my gym?

  • As stated in the “GYMS” section, you must train with a pokemon similar in level, or lower level than the strongest pokemon at the gym in order to earn prestige for your gym and XP for your trainer. When using a pokemon of a similar level you can expect around 45 prestige per win.

– How often can I use a pokestop?

  • Pokestops restock every 5 minutes. You do NOT have to pop all of the bubbles. You can simply open the pokestop, spin the circle, hit X, and you will acquire the contents of the store. You can select the pokestop as soon as you see it, but you must be within ~5m – 15m of it before spinning the circle or it will not produce items, and you will have to exit and reselect it to get it to work. Not ideal for traveling at speed.

– I can’t see where I’m going or what I’m doing!

  • You can zoom in and out on the map to change perspective. This can be useful when riding public transportation or other high speed passenger applications. Turning to face backwards can also help you catch pokemon at high speeds And avoid the “this pokemon is too far away” message. You can also tap the compass to change the map to a static NESW orientation.

– I played for five minutes and my battery died and my phone exploded and now I have no hands?

  • Battery saver mode is active by default. Turning your phone upside down (tilting the top of the screen below the bottom) will turn off the graphics processor and black the screen, but the phone will still vibrate (and make noise if you have sound on) when you encounter pokemon. The screen is still active though, and your leg may interact with it in your pocket. Try facing it outwards. Other battery saving methods include turning off sound, lowering brightness all the way, closing all other apps, and initiating whatever battery saver mode your phone may have. The app is only active while open. Switching to a different app, closing the app or locking the screen will all cause the app to stop functioning, no steps will be registered and no encounters will occur. Multi window does not work with PoGo either.

– I almost drowned in the river trying to find a magikarp and all I got was this lousy meowth

  • All evidence suggests that location based spawning is not yet implemented in this version of the beta. Common pokemon seem to be the same for everyone regardless of location or terrain. This does not mean that will be the case in the final release, or even later on as the beta is updated.

– When do I get to play!!?!?!?!?

  • No one knows when more Field Test invites will go out. No one can answer that for you. Nor does anyone know how likely it is that you will be selected in the future, if there even are future invites. Nor does anyone know when the game is going to be released. Stop asking.

– HOW much data does the app use?

  • About 10mb per hour actively used.

– Are there any cheats yet? I hate playing by the rules!

  • USE AT YOUR OWN RISK – DOES NOT WORK FOR ALL USERS – I have found, anecdotally, that every single time the app crashes or is force closed while a wild encounter pokemon is presently inside a pokeball, reopening the app shows the Pokemon to have been captured and sitting in my inventory. I’ve only tested force closing on lower level commons out of fear, but I have successfully caught high level red circle rares with the first pokeball due to app crashes. This may just be luck, and is not a confirmed exploit, but feel free to test it out. All this data will be wiped after the beta anyways so what do you really have to lose?

Hard Numbers:

Daily Defender Bonus:

  • 500 Stardust per day per gym up to 10 gyms
  • 10 coins per day per gym up to 10 gyms
  • max daily reward of 5k stardust and 100 coins.
  • claimed by selecting avatar face on bottom left corner, then “defender” at top left.
  • can be claimed again 21 hours after claiming.

Daily Professor Shop Bonus:

  • 2500 coins
  • claimed by opening the shop at least once per day.
  • likely a beta exclusive, used for testing the shop and gathering spending habit data.

Catching Pokemon:

  • 50 stardust
  • 100 XP per successful capture
  • 500 XP per new pokemon captured
  • stacks for a total of 600 XP when capturing a new pokemon.
  • 10 XP for “Nice Throw” bonus
  • 50 XP for “Great Throw” bonus
  • 100 XP for “Excellent Throw” bonus
  • 10 XP for “Curveball” bonus
  • 200 XP for hatching an egg (plus capture XP)
  • 1k stardust for hatching an egg
  • XX candies for hatching an egg
  • 500 XP for evolving a pokemon (plus capture XP)


  • 100 XP per gym level for defeating an enemy gym (so 100 XP for defeating level 1 gym, 200 XP for a level 2, etc.)
  • 275 prestige removed for defeating a gym.
  • XX prestige earned for training at a gym (the lower your Pokemon’s level the higher the prestige earned.)
  • XX XP earned for training at a gym.

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