Pokémon Go: The ultimate guide

If you're here, it's because you want to become the best Pokémon trainer that you can be. If you're just getting started with Pokémon Go, then you should check out our guide to getting started before diving in here. This guide is for those of you who are grinding levels, capturing Pokémon and taking over Gyms.

As you know by now, there is a lot going on with Pokémon Go, and we're going to detail most of it out for you here.

Are your kids playing this game? Check out our Parent's Guide for some helpful tips!

Dealing with bugs

Pokemon Go

This game has grown at a pace never before seen in the history of mobile games. It has been truly incredible to watch as Pokémon Go became larger than Twitter almost overnight, with the average person using the app longer then most people use Facebook each day. The upside is there's a ton of people playing and loving this game with you. The downside is it's basically impossible to anticipate so many people using a game all at once, which means the game isn't always the smoothest ride ever. Unfortunately, these issues can only be fixed by waiting. Niantic is working hard to keep the servers up, but it's a lot of work to support so many people all at once.

On top of occasional game freezes and offline messages, many people encounter a repeating error regarding the GPS on their phone or problems with the app failing to wake up when you put it in Battery Saver mode. Here's a quick list of the most common issues and how to triage them!

Pokémon Go for Android: Problems and Solutions

Level Up

To become the best Pokémon trainer out there you'll need to level up not only your Pokémon, but your avatar as well. You'll level up by earning experience for actions you take in the game. This means everything from checking in at Pokéstops or Gyms, to catching and evolving Pokémon. This means that most actions will give you at least a little bit of XP, but after the first few levels you'll see that it starts to take much longer to get to the next level.

That's when using a few tricks to get as much XP as possible come in to play. To do this you'll need to use a few different items to maximize the XP that you can earn. The first item that is essential for grinding through a level is a lucky egg. When you activate a lucky egg, your XP earned is doubled for thirty minutes.

Read More: Tips and tricks for Pokemon Go

Read More: How to level up your trainer{.cta .large}

Read More: The definitive list of unlockable items (sorted by level) in Pokémon Go

Now while you earn XP for checking at Pokéstops, it isn't particularly substantial. Especially when compared to the XP earned for catching and evolving Pokémon. There are two easy ways to make that lucky egg even more useful. Waiting to evolve your Pokémon until you have several that are ready to go will get you enough XP that you can make serious headway into the next level. Likewise, if you set off a lucky egg at a Pokéstop with an active lure you'll reap the benefits.

By wandering through areas that are swarming with Pokémon activity and Pokéstops, you can also make the most of your time. That's because more Pokemon will appear in areas with a lot of activity, and areas with lots of places to check in attracting droves of players. It shouldn't be hard to find an area that has several Pokéstops and a Gym all within close vicinity of each other.

Working with your team

After you hit level 5, you'll be able to join a team. While there isn't any serious difference between the three teams, you'll be working with your team members to win and hold Gyms. That means that communicating with your team members can make taking over a gym much, much easier.

As of right now there isn't a way to speak with other players inside of Pokémon Go, which is a serious shame. What you can do is reach out on other social media, or take a walk with your real friends who are members of your faction. While communicating with other players isn't mandatory it's a fun way to enjoy the game and make new friends at the same time.

More: Which team should you choose?

By communicating and working with your team, you can easily take over multiple gyms and make them much more difficult for opposing teams to take back over. You can also find out where specific Pokémon are spawning, or where Pokéstops that you didn't know about are located.

Check out RazerGo, a chat app for Pokémon Go

Become a Gym master

So you've collected some Pokémon and now you've got your eye on the Gym around the corner, eh? Well there are definitely a few things that you ought to know before you decide to head over and challenge that level 5 Gym. The first thing that you need to consider is the strength of the Gym that you plan on taking over.

A Gym's level indicates how many Pokémon are currently holding it. You can see this by tapping on the nearby Gym. When the Gym opens up on your screen you will be able to see the Pokémon and trainer currently holding the Gym. If multiple Pokémon have been stationed here, you can see each of them by swiping from side to side. You'll also be able to see the CP (Combat Points) of each individual Pokémon who is inside of the Gym, and that's the important part.

More: How to capture a Gym

Before you decide to challenge a Gym you need to make sure that both you, and your Pokémon are ready for the challenge ahead of you. Your roster of Pokémon needs to be strong enough to take on the Gym's defenders. This means taking a look at both the type of Pokémon that you're planning to use and whether they will be effective, along with whether their CP is up to snuff. Additionally, making sure that you have potions to bolster their HP, and revives for after the battle are also key.

When it's time to fight for the Gym, a separate mini-game will open up. It's here that you'll need to attack with your Pokémon of choice, hopefully defeating the defender and taking the Gym for your team. It's here that your choice in Pokemon really matters. That's because certain types of Pokemon are vulnerable to other types, or specific types of attacks.

By being able to see exactly which Pokémon you're up against, you can tailor your roster to be most effective.

If you can launch attacks that are super effective against the Pokémon you are battling, then even a Pokémon with a lower CP can end up coming out on top. Unlike in the original Pokémon games where many of your battles would be random, Pokémon Go trainers have a leg up. By being able to see exactly which Pokémon you're up against, you can tailor your roster to be most effective.

Don't forget that you get a pretty awesome perk for holding a Gym for 24 hours. Each 24 hour cycle that you manage to hold on to a Gym, you'll receive Pokécoins. Since these coins are how you purchase extra items and upgrades from within the shop, getting them without shelling out your hard earned cash is fantastic. Just remember that after the battle, whether you win or lose you'll need to use a Revive on any of your Pokémon who fainted.

Tracking Pokémon

Pokemon Go Sightings

It won't take long before you end up seeing a photo of a Pokémon that you desperately want in your roster. Whether you're after a Vulpix because of how cute it is, or a Snorlax for that fantastic CP, tracking Pokémon will pop into your head soon enough. Now, at the bottom right of your screen is a box that shows nearby Pokémon and you can use this to figure out where Pokémon in the area are. To a point, anyway.

If you head to a nearby pond, lake or beach, then you are going to find more water type Pokémon.

Early versions of the game showed Pokémon inside of the box a set of tracks underneath it, but as of version 0.33.0 that is no longer the case. Instead, you'll see up to nine Pokémon that change position from bottom right to top left depending on how close they are.

As well as using the nearby Pokémon, you can find specific types of Pokémon in areas that are similar to their Pokémon type. For instance if you head to a nearby pond, lake, or beach then you are going to find more water type Pokémon such as Horsea or Magikarp. There is also a lot of conversation going on in groups online about where to find specific Pokémon spawning.

More: How to unlock Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals for everything in Pokémon Go

Get the most out of your items

There are plenty of items that are in the game to help you out in various ways. Getting the most out of the items that you collect will make sure that you aren't wasting your precious resources. Now some items, like Pokéballs or revives, are going to be used and refilled on a regular basis just by playing the game. However, making sure to time when you use items like Razz berries, lures and incense will make sure you get the most out of them.

More: How to use a Razz Berry{.cta .large}

More: How to buy and use Pokecoins

Using an incense while you are sitting in the living room watching Netflix might make your movie night more amusing, but if all you draw are low level Pidgeys and Rattatas then you aren't really getting the most bang for your buck. Instead wait until you're in an area where there are Pokémon that you need to collect for candies, or unknown Pokémon nearby. Likewise, when using a Lure when you're in an isolated Pokéstop might not be as effective as using it at a Pokéstop with a lot of traffic already.

While you can get coins from holding a Gym for 24 hours to use in the shop, the easier way to get them is by checking in at Pokéstops. Each time that you check in, you'll get a variety of items. In the beginning it's usually just Pokéballs, and Eggs, but as you level up the type of items that you get will level up as well.

In closing

This isn't by far everything that you need to know about Pokemon Go, instead it's what you need to know to really get the most out of the game. As we continue to see updates there is only going to be more to do, see, and discover. This guide is meant to help you get the most out of your experience with Pokemon Go, so that you can be the best possible trainer you can be! Do you think we're missing something in this guide? Do you have some tips that we should know about? Be sure to let us know about it in the comments!

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

  • Eh, u seemed to have covered all the bases, no need to say anything else, bravo! Posted via the Android Central App
  • So complaining about people complaining on a forum that's accessible to the public interesting........ posted via the Pokémon Central app
    before you see the light, you have to deal with the darkness
  • Seriously funny how the few trolls drowned out all valid concerns we have, now we will be written off as whiners. Posted via the Pokémon Central App
  • Seems legit Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's because my comment is Posted via the Pokémon Central App
  • Well, I can only speak for my point of view, but I haven't written off the people who are consistently presenting the same sound argument in multiple posts, so long as it's done politely. I do think that the loud and obnoxious ones make it harder to hear y'all though, as is so often the case. I think the number of articles is excessive and a problem worth addressing (which Kevin has now done, woo!), but the loudmouths are a bigger problem and one that should anger the core reading/commenting base more than Pokemon articles. I think the priorities in the short term should have shifted a while back, and I hope they do going forward.
  • My guess is because some of the writers needed to get their numbers up for their yearly quota. ;)
  • YES11!! ONE ONE! 1!!1111 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah nice comment, man. You win the Internets! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I feel the same way. I stopped coming here daily because of all the Pokemon Go crap. If I want that info, I'll go to IGN, not a tech site. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The ultimate guide! So ultimately quit with the useless articles now.. S7 edge...Soon to be Note 7 edge
  • There will be at least one more article to explain how to use the ultimate guide effectively. I also foresee at least one article from each of the writers talking about how Pokemon Go has changed their lives from "pizza while camping laziness" to "able to run a marathon" fitness level. Maybe then we'll get video podcasts back... They are definitely not finished...not by a long shot.
  • I can't help but wonder how much longer the pokemon circle jerk is going to continue.
  • It won't be much longer they have covered everything imaginable..... But more than once... Posted via the Pokémon Central App
  • No they haven't scratched the surface yet.
    1. Article: how to walk and play Pokemon go. 2. Article: the dangers of walking and playing Pokemon go.. 3. Article: how to adjust your brightness on your phone to get the best possible View Pokemon go in the sun. 4. Article: the 5 things you want to ask about your Pokemon but were afraid to ask. 5. Article. Which sunscreen is the best to have when you go outside and play Pokemon go. 6. posted via the Pokémon Central app
    before you see the light, you have to deal with the darkness
  • And then a user poll asking if the article was sufficiently ultimate. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Android Central? More like Pokemon Central. Posted via the Android Central App
  • How original Posted via Xperia Z5
  • not so original as 999999 this pokemon articles on pokemoncentral
  • My comment implies zero sarcasm? Really? Posted via Xperia Z5
  • I have a question for Phil and whoever else has pics in this post. Phil, how do you have on-screen buttons with your S7 and how does that 6P have the older on-screen buttons?
  • I believe you can get it on the S7 through themes? Could be wrong there. Posted via the Pokémon Central App
  • Nope Posted via HTC 10
  • It looks like he's running a custom ROM, judging by the status bar.
  • Weird. Why would you give up screen real estate to have onscreen buttons?
  • I think it's just a screenshot from another phone Posted via the Android Central App
  • Let's see if I can do this without being accused of coming off poorly... I've been a pretty faithful reader of AC since a few months before the Galaxy Nexus rumors started to come out. I was watching live for the 100th podcast special. I really enjoy the device reviews, and still do. But I'm extremely concerned with how the site has been operating lately, and even more concerned with the attitude of some of the writers who have responded to the valid criticisms of other readers. I get it, guys. I really do. I had a short stint writing content over at the XDA portal, and a lot of times, readers are nasty, dismissive, entitled, and a bit whiney. It's easy to take the view of "snark in, snark out" when responding or addressing those readers. But I had always tried to remain professional when responding and chatting with others in the comments. If I had overlooked something, it was discussed. If I got something wrong, I would correct myself. The last thing I ever wanted to do was treat my readers poorly, even if some of their comments would be snarky and in poor taste. Now, this Pokemon business, while I think it is more than a bit absurd how you have presented it as a site, I understand totally why you've done it in this way. As a reader of the site, I would like to express that it's way over the top and annoying. Some of us still use RSS readers, and the insane number of Pokemon articles is an absolute feed clogger. The same goes for those of us who follow AC on social media platforms. I have had to unfollow on Twitter, G+, and Facebook, and stopped keeping up with the site in my RSS feeds due to what I consider to be spam. Now, it's your right to produce and distribute content however you see fit, but I hope those in charge of this matter take notice that this really isn't a great, or even good, way to operate. Yes, I am assuming it's driving clicks and ad revenue and popping your engagement statistics and what-have-yous. But sometimes, all of that stuff should take a back seat to what the product is offering. In my short editorial career, I have posted 20,000+ word articles, which were posted in one hotlink, and which I got compensated for the same as if I had written just 2,000 words. These articles had healthy discussions in the comments section, on reddit threads, and on social media. I am extremely proud of that work, still to this day, and of the discussion, sharing of ideas, and overall feeling of community that those articles contributed to. A question I would like to ask the person or people in charge of the direction of the content here is, in a year, two years, three years....will you be able to look at what you've done this week, and be proud of it? The other concern I have is one that should never happen, and that's your writers insulting and borderline threatening other readers. No matter what the reader has said, there is always a more professional solution. One of your writers had told a reader to go "play in traffic", among other many distasteful things this writer has said to others. This is beyond just petty and unprofessional...it's actually quite disturbing and gross. Other writers post snark and unprofessional things on their personal social media accounts about the reader base...I understand you can do and say whatever you'd like on your personal accounts, but realize that is a reflection not only on you, but on the site you write for. And lately, the writers are coming off more poorly than the reader base that enticed the snarky response and petty attitudes in the first place. I understand if this isn't the most appropriate place to vent these concerns, but I hope I was able to do so in a professional manner. If there is another outlet where I can discuss some of these concerns with someone higher up, please let me know where. Thank you for reading
  • Nonsense, apparently EVERYONE complaining is a troll. The best write up I've seen, hats off to you sir. Posted via the Pokémon Central App
  • You sir have won the internet for today posted via the Pokémon Central app
    before you see the light, you have to deal with the darkness
  • Mother of all text...
    Damn straight though Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hire him --new editor. . .
  • Thank you for saying this. We have all been trying to say this since AC started down this road last year, but we get dismissed as trolls or disrespected by the writers. I know you didn't name names, but I've found Russel Holly to be particularly bad when it comes to that. He even wrote an entire article dedicated to insulting the readers. Aside from all that I've found him particularly incompetent when it comes to the tech side of the things he writes about. I'm really disappointed by what this site has turned into. I've been coming here since 2012 for Android news, and it used to be a place for Android enthusiasts. Now it has turned into how to change your wallpaper and click bait articles.
  • Russel Holly is pathetic in his own right. Not a fan.
  • This is what I am concerned about: anyone know if below is relevant? We received this information and would like to pass it on for offices and for home computers and phones.
    IMPORTANT ADVISORY - Pokemon As you may have heard, it has been reported that Pokemon Go is creating a serious information security vulnerability. Only two days after its release, it has more users than all of Twitter. According to the reports, what makes the app risky is that it requires users to authenticate using their Google ID. Using Google ID enables the app to obtain full access to the user's Google account, which then enables the app to access Google docs, read the user's email, send email from the user's account, access any files stored on Google drive, review Google search history and everything else relating to the user's Google account. In addition, the app knows the user's location, can view streaming video from the phone's camera and can activate the phone's microphone to eavesdrop. To make matters worse, it has also been reported that the Android version of the Pokemon Go app has been compromised with a trojan that could give an attacker complete access to everything on the user's Android phone and potentially the ability to infiltrate a corporate network if the phone connects via wifi. T&M does not believe the iOS version has this same trojan vulnerability. Advice: In light of these reports, T&M recommends that the app not be used on a phone that contains sensitive information. If the app "must" be installed, users should do so using Google ID credentials from a new Google account that is created only for the purpose of downloading the app and playing the game.
  • Not relevant now as Niantic explained what the issue was Posted via the Android Central App
  • How does this Pokémon app make my phone faster, or battery last longer?
  • OK, AC, you are losing it (and with it, all respect.) Knock it off with all the Pokémon crap. Totally stupid (and dangerous and, in some places, illegal game.) Anyone over 19 years old should be ashamed to play it. Regardless, you have jumped the shark with all these Pokémon articles. So give it a rest already.
  • Rofl. Get a life man. Btw foil isnt made out of tin anymore so it wont block the signals from getting to you so you should quit using that normal tin from walmart it doesnt work. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The comment is two weeks old! Joke on you.
  • *erase
  • Ok, I'll bite on a week old article. AC, you have NO shame left! And here I thought Prisma was the new meme to take over. I'm so disappointed in you guys!!! #Prisma Central!!!
  • EXCELLENT - I was hoping for yet another article on Pokemon (sarcasm mode off) . This site has lost it's focus, Pokemon has nothing to do with Android other than it's one platform supported. Perhaps rename this to PokemonCentral?
  • Amazing game and most awaited game of the era i guess.
  • same article posted again? nice going Pokemon central Posted via the Android Central App
  • SEO at It's finest. They need to get their rankings up I guess. It's ClickBait Central. It's what they do now.
  • It's a shame. I used to come here for actual news, and the only reason I'm still here is the app. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yep, AC has officially jumped the shark and will NEVER get full respect back. It is impossible for many folks to forget how they sold out. It clouds each an every other article that they post with a shadow of disingenuousness.
  • Yep,the first 3 articles in the app listing are Pokémon.What a joke. Posted via the Android Central App And yes,I know how to not click on an article,save your breath/clicks.That is not the point.This is an Android centric site,or at least it claims to be.If you want to be a gaming site or Pokémon specific site,more power to you,say it outright,change Your name,change your theme,just do it.
  • Also,the reposting of quite a few articles,Pokémon and otherwise,over the last week or so,what's going on with that?Are you guys in the midst of some sort of upheaval?Have you lost half of your staff,or something like that?Are you bringing in lots of new writers,giving them a shot here and there? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just shows what people actually use their phones for. Dan's article from 3 days ago, about the new Google Docs features, didn't get a single comment and here we are with another recycled Pokémon article. Google really need to push their business apps more or Android will never be taken seriously as a business tool. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why are people ******** about the greatest cultural phenomenon????. I am in complete support of pokemon central. waiting for advanced, professional, elite, best guide ever, ultra guides. and yeah dont forget to post a guide on catching each of 150 pokemons SEPARATELY.
  • Pokemon go is a good thing for mobile because now manufacturers are forced to make screens visible in sunlight! If you ever looked at a Nexus 6P or LG V10 Flex 2 etc etc then you know exactly what i mean :) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Or they will finally add a camera to the phone's top side so it can feed in live video of what's in front of you while you're staring at your phone!
  • I can see my V10 easily in direct sunlight at around 70-100% though I don't use polarized glasses.
  • 3 of the 8 articles posted in the last 24 hours have been about Pokémon. Run that % you folks who love to troll the people that are complaining about all the PokeBullSh|t AC is so pathetic
  • Seems like every Tech Site has this obligatory "Ultimate" guide to Pokemon Go. Which one to choose???
  • I am so thankful you decided to bump this article for the 4th time. Using the search function on this website is just too hard. /s
  • I could use a guide for a real game on here ya know. Posted via the Pokemon Central App
  • Depends on your definition of what a "real game" is :P
  • Please keep posting these.. Comments are entertaining.
  • thaaaaank you so much for this www.pokemongotr.gen.tr
  • There's one flaw to this article. You don't actually have to wait 24 hours to collect Pokecoins when you place a pokemon inside a gym. You can go to shop and collect them right away (i.e. tap the shield icon on the upper right of the screen). In fact, I suggest you do them right away because who knows when you're getting kicked out of a gym (this will forfeit the reward)? If you want to gain more coins though, you can wait until you've placed pokemons in multiple gyms before collecting your reward. FYI, each pokemon you place in a gym will earn you 500 stardust and 10 pokecoins. But after collecting your rewards, you will have to wait another 21 hours until you can collect rewards again.
  • im playing pokemon go with nox app player
  • The game died off so quickly... probably by the time the article was done. I guess it'll still be useful if they launch it in a new country.