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4 months ago

Pokémon GO and your privacy

19

You might have noticed that Pokémon GO is sort of popular. Like a gajillion people are playing it, and the demand is such that the servers themselves are being crushed. Seems like most everyone wants to catch them all ...

But one important aspect to consider is how Niantic — the people who wrote the application and are actually collecting the data about how you use it — is handling your privacy. We had a look at the Pokémon GO Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and here's the quick and dirty breakdown. And if you're playing on your iPhone, you at least need to be aware of some real but not exactly harmful account concerns.

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4 months ago

Do not fake your location in Pokemon Go

15

That random dude on the internet does not care if you get banned.

Pokemon Go is a location-based game, where you have to go to a physical location in the real world in order to accomplish a task and do better in the game. Or is it? Pokemon Go forums are lousy with super secret ways to fake your location in the game so you can more easily get the things you want. Here's the thing, though. The folks that make Pokemon Go have been doing this for a while, and if you follow this one weird trick to score all the Pokemon without leaving your home, you're account is going to be banned in a hurry.

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4 months ago

Pokémon Go Android settings you need to know

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Pokémon Go Android settings you need to know

What are the Pokémon GO Android settings you need to know?

Welcome back, Pokémon! We've been waiting ever so patiently. Well, not patiently, if we're being completely honest. Now that Pokémon Go lives on your Android device, you need to know how to navigate the settings before jumping in and playing the game.

Accessing the Main Menu

  1. Launch the Map View of Pokémon Go.
  2. Tap the Main Menu button. It's the Poké Ball at the bottom of your screen.
  3. Tap Settings at the top right.
  4. Tap the menu item you wish to select.

    Tap Main Menu, tap Settings, select a setting item

Music

The music is enabled by default, so don't be alarmed when you head out to play and you suddenly have your own Junichi Masuda soundtrack accompanying your walk. You can toggle it off here.

Sound Effects

The game sound effects are enabled by default, and as awesome as they are, you may not always want them on. You can toggle them off here.

Vibrations

Vibrations are enabled by default, and they are useful for letting you know about nearby Pokémon. But if you don't want them, they can be toggled off here.

Battery Saver

This is your battery life optimization feature. The reality is that this game is going to drain your battery mighty quickly. While the Battery Saver is enabled, your display will be disabled when your device is pointed downward. You'll still be able to track distance in this mode, and you will continue to be notified if Pokémon are nearby.

More: How to save your battery while playing Pokémon Go

More: Best external battery packs for Pokémon Go

Quick Start

This will launch a gameplay tutorial. If you're brand new to the Pokémon Go experience, this is going to be tremendously helpful.

Help Center

The official Help Center gets launched in your web browser to answer any more detailed questions you may have.

About Pokémon GO

If inquiring minds want to know, here is where you'll find the copyrights, Terms of Service (seriously, consider reading it), Privacy Policy, and license information regarding the game.

Sign Out

Well, that one pretty much explains itself... and you probably won't be using it very much.

Pokémon Go

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4 months ago

How to claim a Gym in Pokémon Go

53
How to claim a Gym in Pokémon Go for Android

How do I get a Gym in Pokémon Go?

Once you hit level 5 in Pokémon Go, it's time to hit up a gym, join a team, and start conquering the rest of the gyms in your city.

How you claim a gym will depend on whether or not it's already occupied. If it is, you'll have to fight!

Here's how to claim Pokémon Gyms in Pokémon Go!

How to claim an unoccupied Gym in Pokémon Go for android

You have to hit level 5 before you can even think about joining/taking over a gym, so go and catch a bunch of Pokémon first.

  1. Find a Gym on your map. They may be gray, which means they're unoccupied, but that's not likely at this point. At this point, most gyms will either be blue (Team Mystic), red (Team Valor), or yellow (Team Instinct).
  2. Tap the Gym and choose your team (Valor, Mystic, or Instinct).
  3. Tap the Add Pokémon button at the bottom of your screen. It looks like a Pokéball with a little plus sign next to it.
  4. Tap the Pokémon you'd like to use to defend the Gym.

When other people on your team want to help bolster your Gym, they can drop their Pokémon on it as well. They can then battle your Pokémon to raise the Prestige of your gym. The higher the Prestige, the more Pokémon you can have defending your Gym, making it more difficult to overtake.

Remember that your Pokémon won't be returned to your collection until it's knocked off the Gym.

How to claim an occupied Gym in Pokémon Go for Android

If you happen upon a Gym and it's not the same color as your team, you'll have to battle to knock the other team's Pokémon off.

  1. Tap the enemy Gym to enter.
  2. Tap the battle button on the bottom right of your screen. It looks like two Pokéballs.
  3. Tap the Pokémon you want to use to battle.
  4. Tap Go.

Now you'll have to battle by tapping to attack and swiping to dodge. The trick is to keep battling to lower the Gym's Prestige. The lower the Prestige, the fewer the Pokémon that team will be allowed to have defending their Gym.

Pokémon Go

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4 months ago

Pokémon Go developer working on a fix for iOS account permissions

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You might have seen some security concerns about the Pokémon GO app being talked about on social media. These are very valid issues — the application can use its own webview container for login from your Google Account, and once approved it gives itself full access to all of your data.

We reached out to Niantic — which developed the Pokémon Go app. It issued a response to the media late Monday evening. ABC News was among the first to share it on Twitter — and Niantic then issue the same response to Android Central.

The statement reads thusly:

We recently discovered that the Pokémon GO account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user's Google account. However, Pokémon GO only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected. Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access. Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon Go or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokémon GO's permission to only the basic profile data that Pokémon GO needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.

Original post follows:

The good(?) news is that this appears to be an iOS-only issue. On Android, the app appears to use the "right" way to log in with your Google credentials, and it doesn't ask for access to your sensitive account data. You can check for yourself right here. In fact, when we check on an account that hasn't used an iPhone to sign in, the Pokémon GO app isn't even listed as having any access. Don't be alarmed if you see the same thing.

The first concern — the webview container login page — isn't too troubling. Apple has secure methods for apps to do this sort of thing (though Google would rather the user be directed to the default web browser so the URL can be checked) and every app is vetted by Apple staff before it's published. Yes, even Apple can let something slip through, but the account authorization page is legit. We checked. And millions of users have checked.

The second concern — access to all of your Google account data — is much more troubling.

This level of access means that the publisher can see everything. According to Google:

When you grant full account access, the application can see and modify nearly all information in your Google Account (but it can't change your password, delete your account, or pay with Google Wallet on your behalf).

Certain Google applications may be listed under full account access. For example, you might see that the Google Maps application you downloaded for your iPhone has full account access.

This "Full account access" privilege should only be granted to applications you fully trust, and which are installed on your personal computer, phone, or tablet.

And more. Basically, anything you've ever done while signed in with Google, and everything you've ever saved in Drive or Photos is wide open to Niantic and the app itself.

Now we don't think Niantic or Nintendo is going to pore through your account data or look at your photos. But what happens if someone out there finds a way to hack Niantic? With access to the right database, any attacker can have a token that gives them all your "stuff." That's not good. Not good at all.

What we recommend is that you use a separate Google account if you're going to play Pokémon Go on your iPhone. Or you can decide to not play at all and delete the permissions from your Google security page.

The important thing is that you know what's going on.

Pokémon Go

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4 months ago

Five things you should do first in Pokémon Go

94

Yeah, yeah, we get it. Gotta catch 'em all! Hold on a sec, though. Do these things first.

Jumping headfirst into a game like Pokémon Go is a fantastic way to miss some of the things early on that are going to make your later experience in the game go a lot more smoothly. The beginning tutorial is great, especially if you're a fan of watching images of Professor Willow slide in and out of frame, but it turns out there's a lot more to this game than tossing Poké Balls and walking around your town. Here are some quick starter tips for anyone looking to get the most out of their Pokémon Go experience!

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4 months ago

Did you manually install Pokémon Go? Re-enable this important Android security setting

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Pokemon Go

We don't recommend installing APKs from outside the Play Store — but if you do, it's worth unchecking 'unknown sources' afterwards.

Maybe you wanted to play Pokémon Go in a country where it's not officially available yet. Maybe you installed an APK from somewhere that's not the Google Play Store to do that. We're not gonna judge you.

In order to install your illicit Pokémon APK, you'll have had to enable the "Unknown sources" toggle under Security settings. That's the switch which is disabled by default on all Android phones and prevents apps from being installed from places other than the Google Play Store.

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4 months ago

How to use a Razz Berry in Pokemon Go

100

What do I do with all these Pokemon berries I have?

One of the items in Pokemon Go that doesn't get explained quite as well as it probably should have is the Razz Berry. In the Nintendo games, Razz Berries are used quite differently from how you're going to use them in Pokemon Go. The good news is it's actually easier to use Razz Berries in Pokemon Go, and when used correctly can make things a lot easier for you in the game. Here's what you need to know!

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4 months ago

Modified Gear 360 Manager app works with non-Samsung phones

3

One enterprising developer has built a modified version of Samsung's Gear 360 Manager app that works with non-Samsung phones, as well as older Galaxy handsets. It allows those phones to control Samsung's Gear 360 camera without the need for one of the latest Galaxy devices.

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4 months ago

Use a Galaxy S7 edge for the best Pokemon Go experience

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Ready to upgrade your phone for a better Pokemon Go experience? Look no further than the Galaxy S7 edge!

There's no doubt that Pokemon Go has had an explosively popular start. The game is being played by folks of every age, and that means there are a lot of users who were perfectly happy with their phone but are now starting to see the need to upgrade. Maybe your battery doesn't last long enough for a full Pokemon Go session, or you're struggling to see the game in sunlight because your display is a little on the old side.

There are plenty of reasons Pokemon Go users are considering an upgrade to make playing the game a little more fun, and after testing the game on all of the current Android phones, it's clear Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge is the best phone to use for Pokemon Go. Here's why!

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4 months ago

Gym Battle freeze in Pokemon Go? Here's how to deal with it!

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That feeling when you realize the last little red sliver of health isn't going away? Yeah, we know those feels.

Is there anything worse than the realization that a Gym Battle has frozen and all of your hard work is now totally wasted? Yes, of course there is, but that's not what we're talking about right now. Niantic is having a lot of trouble keeping up with the demand Pokemon Go users are putting on their servers right now, and when combined with unreliable cellular data connections you get a Gym Battle system that is filled with problems. The most frustrating of those issues is when the health of the Pokemon you are fighting stops going down at 1% remaining, and when the timer for the battle counts down to zero the game just sort of freezes. It's a pain, but there's two things you can do about it right now.

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4 months ago

Are all Androids created equal? Software makes a big difference

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Software is the brains of your phone. And just like brain surgery, fixing it isn't easy.

We've talked about how the hardware inside your phone can make a difference when it comes to the user experience. Now it's time to talk about the software.

Software is the single-most important piece of any computer. Whether we're talking about the small computer you keep in your pocket or the room-sized clusters that do things like manage space missions, without software all of those circuits and wires and chips would do nothing. It even takes software to turn your phone on and start it up before you can see it doing anything. No matter how expensive or new the hardware inside your phone is, it would be useless without all the work that went into programming it to do something.

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4 months ago

The ultimate Pokemon Go trick — score a Pikachu as your starter Pokemon!

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Thanks for nothing, Professor Willow.

It takes about 20 seconds of playing Pokemon Go for your starter capture to become mostly worthless, but that doesn't mean everyone who played the original games didn't think long and hard about choosing between Squirtle, Charmander, and Bulbasaur when going through the initial tutorial in Pokemon Go. The decision is of far less consequence than it seems initially, and that's because you have no way of knowing there's a fourth option waiting for you. That's right, if you know what you're doing you can catch a Pikachu as your starter Pokemon instead of the classic three, and this is how you do it!

  1. Create your Pokemon Go account and Log In.
  2. Create your character and outfit
  3. Walk away from the three Pokemon Professor Willow asks you to choose.
  4. Keep walking until you see Pikachu appear beside you, next to the others.
  5. Tap on Pikachu and capture it.

As you walk away from the classic three, your phone will vibrate and those Pokemon will jump to your location. Just keep walking, and they'll keep jumping to your side. After the fourth or fifth time, Pikachu will pop up next to you. This means you'll get a block or two of walking in before that Pikachu shows up, but it's guaranteed to happen and well worth rubbing it in everyone's face when you capture your first Pikachu!

Pokémon Go

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4 months ago

How to get a curveball bonus in Pokemon Go!

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Squeeze every last drop of XP out of your Pokemon captures!

Capturing Pokemon of every power level and classification in Pokemon Go requires a little bit of finesse, especially as you reach the higher levels. You need to throw the ball when the colored ring is at its smallest to increase your chances of a successful capture, or you're going to be spending a lot of time hitting PokeStops to make sure you don't run out of Pokeballs.

Once you've mastered capturing using the standard flick of the screen, and most of your captures earn you Great or Excellent bonuses, it's time to give curveballs a shot. Curveball captures earn you an extra 10XP per successful capture, and that can add up quickly especially in the early levels. Here's how you nail a successful curveball while trying to capture a Pokemon.

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4 months ago

Looking for Pokémon Go outside official launch countries? Beware of fake apps

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Pikachu

Everyone's going nuts about Pokémon Go on Android — but be careful to download the right Android app from the right place.

Update, July 16, 2016: The game has now launched in many new countries, including Canada and the UK!

Pokémon Go, the latest real-world-exploring, monster-catching game from Nintendo and Niantic, has taken the world by storm. That hype machine has been fed in part by the fact that Pokémon Go isn't available in all parts of the world yet, and on Android the only workaround involves tracking down the APK from shadier parts of the Internet.

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