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Huge Pokémon Go update adds avatar re-customization, removes Pokémon footprints

Pokémon Go is picking up a big update today on Android that makes a couple of big changes to the game experience and joins with them a pile of bug fixes. The big change that's rubbing players the wrong way is that now you'll no longer see "footprints" of nearby Pokémon, meaning you won't be able to rely on those hints as to where the monsters are waiting to be caught. After seeing plenty of anecdotes about Pokémon Go players trespassing and generally going places they shouldn't just to track down Pokémon, Niantic has made this change and also added various new start-up warnings to hopefully help people make some better decisions.

On the upside, you can also now re-customize your avatar, so if you're like me and rushed through the setup process on Day 1, you can now go back in and tweak your character to your personal preference. Niantic has also tweaked some Gym animations, modified battle damage calculations and adjusted battle move damage for some Pokémon.

Here's the full list of changes, from Niantic:

  • Avatars can now be re-customized from the Trainer profile screen
  • Adjusted battle move damage values for some Pokémon
  • Refined certain Gym animations
  • Improved memory issues
  • Removed footprints of nearby Pokémon
  • Modified battle damage calculation
  • Various bug fixes during wild Pokémon encounter
  • Updated Pokémon details screen
  • Updated achievement medal images
  • Fixed issues with displaying certain map features
  • Minor text fixes

Now this definitely won't help with all of the ongoing server issues, but at least when you're connected you'll hopefully have a better overall experience in the game. Beyond the connectivity issues Pokémon Go has been a pretty buggy game, so it's great to see these maintenance-type fixes rolling out. Go grab the latest version — v0.31.0 — in the Play Store today.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

32 Comments
  • Now how are we supposed to know if we're going the right way to catch that Haunter... Niantic, fix pls
  • All footprints were doing was confusing people anyway, I'm more annoyed that I can't play with my location on battery saving anymore :( The ability to go back into the customisation menu is nice, all the options are still terrible though! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm all for the removal of footprints. For me I always had three even when the Pokemon was right there to catch! Posted via the Android Central App
  • You probably just got caught by the so-called "three-step bug", where all pokemon were 3 steps away, regardless of how close you were from them. Originally, the steps-feature was a very reliable way to track pokemon provided you knew how to use it. 1 footprint meant the pokemon was about 100m away, 2 footprints about 200m away and 3 footprints about 3-400m away. Just had to walk in the direction whereby the footprints decreased. There's a whole lot less fun with footprints gone, since now the encounter of pokemon just seem random and deems the 'nearby' feature pointless.
  • We've had the game for a week, and that feature never worked. We ended up all relying on Pokevision all the time so the update is making no difference. Still I wish we had the footprints (working).
  • The feature did work for almost the entire first week of release.
  • Happy that you can change the avatar style now. And good riddance to the footsteps. Sent from my Sony Xperia XA
  • Footprints have been broken for a long time now. They probably just took them out until they can fix the three footprint bug. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hope they bring it back though. That was one of the fun parts of the game.
  • I can't trade my Pokémon in for candy anymore Posted via the Android Central App Edit I worked it out
  • When you go to the Pokemon you want to transfer. Press the hamburger button at the bottom right. The option is in there now. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's an extra step but i think its better now because you don't have to scroll all the way down, which was annoying tbh.
  • You can still but it's an extra step as mentioned by the user above me that replied to you. They have it hidden in a menu now. Edit: Great that you found it! #TeamFrosty Nexus 6P
  • When an app gets popular I tend to download it to see what all the fuss is about. But not this one for some reason. I don't see the draw in having to go alot of places in order to get characters. And for the record, I'm not ******* the game. Never played it so I don't know what I'm missing. Just seems like work to me. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Then why even comment. Just move on and put work into some other game you play? If you play any game you have to put some sort of time/work at it.. This one just so happens to make you move your arse a little more... Lol main thing is if you are not down loading it and really don't care to. Then why even ask any questions about it? That's like me asking about candy crush. Won't and dont play it. Also would comment on an article about it either... Lol... People... Pshhh Posted via the Android Central App
  • So... You're basically saying nothing then. Moving on? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes... If you like to sit on the couch and play candy crush this isn't for you. Walking, exercise, sight seeing and social interaction is work to some, so steer clear of Pokémon. /s
  • Just repeating my G+ Comment
    They have mapping data as the base layer of the game, why not add a "no spawn" layer for private vs public land, so that Pokemon Don't spawn on private property or within say 5 meters of highways and freeways? Some Pogo players have shown a blatant disregard for common sense in regards to suitable play locations, Niantic should not ignore this problem.
  • People are just stupid. Can't blame Niantic for that. And only the ignorant media blame the company. I have Pokemon Go with me as I commute to and from Uni everyday. Pokemon don't spawn on the motorway - unless the motorway crosses very close through an established suburb or township. And while Pokemon do indeed spawn on private property, you can access it well away from it. Stupid people are stupid - there's only so much that can help them.
  • And update to fix things that didn't need to be fixed and things that needed to fixed just removing it is not a fix. I get you are suppose to be walking, biking around but now it is impossible to even track things other than wandering around and hope you walk in the right direction and something spawns. Meh, kinda losing interest in this game fast and I'm sure as well for plenty of other people. Niantic seems to be bent over backwards to breaking the game rather than improving it. Too bad.
  • The footprints weren't "bugged" they can't be fixed with an app update. The servers can't take the load. I know, I know, "add more servers" right? Don't worry I'm sure the boss at niantic is hitting the big red "more servers" button on his desk because we all know that's all it takes... I know it's frustrating, and we're all used to instant gratification, but this is a slow iterative process. Sorry. And how did "Various bug fixes during wild Pokémon encounters" not need to be fixed? That:s one of the biggest issues. Posted via the Android Central App
  • In all reality the foot prints where broken anyways they never worked for me hopefully they'll come out with something more reliable Posted via the Android Central App
  • In addition to not fixing the 3 step bug, Niantic/Nintendo also killed Pokevision and other sites that provide tracking info. You could say they were cheating, but I would argue they were fixing what Niantic broke and won't/can't fix. Now there is no way to know where they're at, you just have to walk around till one pops up. In cities, this is only an inconvenience, but in suburban and rural locations this will lead to frustration and quitting. Not everyone can wander around aimlessly for hours. I think they've underestimated how annoying this is for people in lower spawning areas Posted via the Android Central App
  • While the three footprint thing wasn't a bug, I totally agree about mapping sites and apps. I know they want us to just walk the length and breadth of the world constantly searching, but that's unrealistic. Never got round to using pokedetector, but bring back pokedetector! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wonder if this crackdown is in order to sell more of the bracelet thingie. I certainly hope they're not avoiding fixing the step locator issue (how is that not a bug?) for the same reason. It's cynical reasoning but not outside the realm of possibility Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'd had the same thought to be honest... Though if it is it's a little ridiculous being that the damn thing isn't available until September! I suspect it's ostensibly to stop spoofers, or just to make it "fair"... Whatever that means. I think they just want to slow game progress in reality... It's not a bug because the initial glitches were because the servers couldn't handle the load, which is why they intentionally implemented the three footprints thing... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well if it still isn't fixed by Sept I'll be pretty suspicious. They did disable it intentionally, but that was because they couldn't make a primary function of the game work correctly. I still call that a bug, but I see your point that it isn't a software error per se. Semantics, I suppose. I'm hearing that some UK users had their game reset to the beginning after the update. Have you seen this? Posted via the Android Central App
  • It is semantics really, whatever we call it, I think we can agree it'sa pretty poor situation. No, haven't heard about it, I'm in the UK and none of my friends who play have mentioned anything (either directly or through the angry social media comment which should inevitably ensue). I did hear the iOS folks were having login trouble...i don't if that's related? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hey Andrew, is that the Note 7 you're taking screenshots on?
  • Haven't been out to play with the new version yet. Has anyone noticed if they killed the annoying bug where any sound from another source killed the sound in Pokemon Go? Drives me crazy. It's not just notifications - even the little sound my Galaxy makes when you plug it into power is enough to silence PG unless I force close and reopen.
  • Usually play with the sound off, but turned it on just for you! It survived a few fb messages but got killed by a timer going off. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This article omits the fact that the update also removed the XP bonuses for nice, great, and excellence throws. Niantic also thoughtfully left this bit out of the list of updates to the app in the Google Play Store. Makes one wonder what other nefarious updates Niantic made to the app that they have kept secret. >_>