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Pokémon Go 'tips' that are total nonsense

Everyone's looking for an edge in Pokémon Go. Maybe you don't get to play as much as your friend, and that level and a half gain they have on you is sending that competitive itch you have into overdrive. Maybe your co-worker's bike ride to work means they hatch eggs twice as fast as you because you drive. Maybe that little jerk at the end of your street has basically been playing nonstop because school is out and that makes it next to impossible to take and hold the local gym. Whatever the reason, we get it. Sometimes you need an edge, and the sudden popularity of Pokémon Go meant the internet was immediately filled with "hacks" to give you that edge.

We've been documenting these little hacks and testing them for ourselves. Some of them work. Surprise! Most of them are fake. To help you sort through these "tips" we've got everything that has been thoroughly debunked here, including an explanation for why people thought the trick worked int he first place.

No, Poké Balls cannot be recovered.

Poke Ball

Yeah, this is going to start with a "tip" that was started right here on Android Central. The first week of Pokémon Go had a ton of server-side bugs, and that included delays in showing you how many Poke Balls you actually had left after a throw. When combined with a perfectly synced disappear animation and re-appear animation, it looked like you could tap on Poke Balls that didn't hit their target and recover them.

Now that things have settled down a little, it's clear this is not what has been happening in the game. There is no way to recover Poke Balls in the game, so don't waste your time tapping behind that Porygon to and just get ready for your next throw. Maybe try a curveball throw this time?

Spinning your phone in circles is not hatching eggs faster.

Pokemon Go

You have to travel specific distances under specific speeds in Pokémon Go to hatch eggs, and players have been looking for shortcuts to this from day one. Some figured out that a skateboard or bicycle meant you could travel faster and hatch things quicker, but that's not fast enough for everyone. People started trying all sorts of crazy things to get some extra kilometers in on those incubation meters, but all of them are crap. We know, we tested them with multiple phones on multiple carriers just to be sure.

Pokémon Go egg hatching works on a fairly simple formula. The app pings your GPS location once every 60 seconds, and measures the distance between each ping as the distance you've traveled. If that distance can be traveled under 15mph, that distance is added to your eggs as distance traveled. Every four minutes that information is added to your incubators.

How many steps your travel isn't relevant, and if you're walking circles around the same block over and over again you'll find a lot of the distance you're actually travelling isn't being recorded because the GPS pings are only measuring in straight lines. Distance traveled is basically recorded "as the crow flies" because the game is only checking distance every 60 seconds.

To recap:

  • Taping your phone to a ceiling fan will not make your eggs hatch.
  • Shoving your phone between bike spokes will not make your eggs hatch faster.
  • Leaving your phone on a Roomba while it cleans your house might help you hatch your eggs, but only if you have a really big house and the Roomba can reach from one end to the other.

But I've seen it work!

What you're seeing when you go nowhere and traveled distance is still added to your incubators is GPS drift. When you see your character float around in the game while the GPS tries to lock down your actual position, there's nothing the game can do to confirm whether that's actual movement from you. As a result, GPS drift can count towards incubation movement. If your phone has a terrible GPS connection and you want to use that to your advantage, there's nothing stopping you. Just stop taping your phone to your ceiling fan, that's just asking for disaster.

Weather does not affect Pokémon spawns

Pokémon Go is not pulling data from weather services, and so cannot spawn Pokémon based on weather. As cool as it would be for Fire-type to spawn in greater capacity when it's 103-degrees out, that's not how the game functions right now.

Whether rain or snow or relentless Summer sun, the Pokémon that spawn around you are part of Niantic's location-based system. This means you'll find Water-type near water as it appears on your map, and an unhealthy amount of Rattata and Pidgey in the suburbs. There are some great tools available now to give you a better idea of where you can find what Pokémon in your area, so give this a shot instead.

Cemetaries do not have more Ghost-type Pokemon

Pokemon Go

Don't go looking for Pokémon in cemeteries, please. While this would make sense with the whole location-based thing, you will not find more Ghastly, Haunter, or Gengar in a cemetery. You may stumble across one or two during the day, but your best bet is to go looking for these and other Ghost-type Pokémon at night.

There are specific Pokémon that show up in greater volume after the sun goes down, so keep that in mind as you adventure!

There is only one way to control an Eevee evolution

Pokemon Go

In the regular Pokémon games, Eevee have many possible evolution paths and you have some control over those paths if you know the right combination of actions. In Pokémon Go, Eevee have an evenly random chance of evolving into the Fire-type Flareon, the Water-type Vaporeon, or the Lightning-type Jolteon after you tap the Evolve button on the screen. Rumors started saying you could control the evolution if you evolved based on attack type or at certain times of day or near specific locations, but none of that is true.

Currently, there's only one way to control an Eevolution and it's with an Easter Egg that hails back to the television series. If you change the nickname of your Eevee before you evolve it, you can control the kind of Pokémon it evolves into.

  • For Jolteon, name your Eevee Sparky
  • For Vaporeon, name your Eevee Rainer
  • For Flareon, name your Eevee Pyro

This is guaranteed to work the first time as long as you change the name before you hit the evolve button, so go have some fun!

We'll be adding to this list as we discover and test these "hacks" that find their way onto the internet. If you have any you'd like to share, toss them in the comments!

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

35 Comments
  • Great title, awesomely mature. If we can't swear in comments, why is it OK as the title of an article? Just saying Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hard to argue with that. Title changed.
  • Lol well played sir Posted via the Android Central App
  • I certainly wasn't going to turn swearing back on in the comments!
  • Aw **** :-P Posted via the Android Central App
  • **** that ****
  • ******************* Posted from my Moto X 2nd gen and my Nexus 9 both on Android Marshmallow
  • Oh I see I do not even write a "bad word" it randomly censored it Posted from my Moto X 2nd gen and my Nexus 9 both on Android Marshmallow
  • ******* **** Posted via Nexus 6
  • Wait you can't swear in the comments? I remember seeing swear words here though Posted from my Moto X 2nd gen and my Nexus 9 both on Android Marshmallow
  • "GPS drift can count towards incubation movement." This one definitely counts. I've "made" 5km to hatch an egg without bothering leaving the house. The GPS drifts were enough. Why do they happen? I don't know. I don't think you can blame an S7 for "terrible GPS connection". Not that I'd care though lol
  • Same here. S7 Edge. I noticed it mostly happens when connected to WiFi. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, it's a small sample size, but since you both have S7s and experienced the same phenomenon, it may indeed be your phones that are responsible in some way. Sounds like a feature not a bug to me Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nah, it happens with all phones. Usually when handing off from network based location to GPS, it vice versa. I've used it myself, but only when I get home and an egg is at about 4.9/5 km. It happens a surprisingly high amount. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Oh I've seen a tenth or 2 from GPS. But 5km with no actual movement? That's a different animal Posted via the Android Central App
  • It is, but neither of the above comments mentioned how long it took to rack that distance up. Posted via the Android Central App
  • True. But if it wasn't "terrible GPS reception" then was he just sitting in his house turning GPS on and off hundreds of times a day? If GPS lock is decent, you'll only gain maybe 50 meters at most. I've only seen reports of undercounting distance so far. I'm curious about this, I wish it happened to my son's phone. He's full up on eggs Posted via the Android Central App
  • Some answers:
    1 - I'm connected to WiFi 99% of the time. As Credo93 pointed out, it may be that.
    2 - The 5km egg took a few days to get those 5km this way. Probably around a week. I honestly don't remember and the journal doesn't specify it. But today I hatched a 2km egg pretty much the same way in conjunction with keeping the game turned on while driving (and I seldom drive below 80km/h)
    3 - I guess I could try it on the Z3C to see what happens but honestly...it's working awesomely like this so why bother? If the problem is crappy GPS lock on the S7, then thank you Samsung for it. At any rate, my car has a built in GPS so I don't really use the phone's for it or anything else lol
  • Hmm. Could be the WiFi, but why isn't it more common then? I'm on it whenever I'm home, I imagine many folks are, but I haven't heard about "overcounting" to this degree till now. Maybe I'm making too much of it. Obviously I'm jealous :-P Posted via the Android Central App
  • Another thing I've noticed is that the "crazy GPS" happens more when I have the phone on the Qi wireless chargers (all of them Nokia's so NFC enabled although the phone NFC is off). If I take it out the location is fairly stable. Put it on the wireless charger and off the avatar goes. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The rain GIF is hilarious.
  • What about the podcast tip that raspberries make your throws curve instead of being straight? Anyone notice this? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I haven't noticed this. My throws are more likely to curve than not, no matter how straight I think I'm flinging them, and regardless of whether or not I use razz berries (they aren't spelled 'raspberry' in PoGo, as I recall).
  • Yeah it auto corrected. I notice it curving more w AR going. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks for the info. I had told my son to try the recovery thing and he said it wasn't working. I suggested he wasn't tapping right on it. I just apologized to him and admitted that he was right and I was wrong Posted via the Android Central App
  • Changing Eevees name does not always work. It worked for me once for each type but not after that. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Correct. This Easter egg is only designed to work the first time for each name, so that players can ensure they get at least one of each type. After that, no matter what you name your Eevees, they will be randomized.
  • jeez! people are losing their minds over this lol! i know the feel, ive had great fun playing this as well. too bad high levels take ages. i just found out about this place which offers some cool items and services called pogomania.com i figured i could give it ago since it was cheap anyway and now im level 30 at last! brb gonna take over some gyms lol
  • I like to tap the microphone on my Google search bar and say "set Pokemon reminder for 21 hours." This helps me remember to collect my coins.
  • Wow you can actually do that? Virtually none of the gyms in Hong Kong last more than like 5 minutes. There's just too many people everywhere...so I take a gym, take 10 coins, then I just stop bothering about owning a gym for 21 hours.
  • The phone in the ceiling fan made me lol... Also, that "if you go to the cemetery you will find more ghost type Pokemon" thing sounds like a joke 4chan would make Posted via the Android Central App
  • PokeYawn.
  • If like me, you live close to a gym and Poke Stops, tap like mad on the compass making sure the phone shakes or bounces as you do this and you can walk to a close stop or gym providing your phone is facing in the right direction.
  • Recovering pokeballs has worked for not only me but some of my friends. I ran into a pidgeot once with 99 pokeballs. Walked away with 97. I did about 5 throws (I couldn't catch one because I had remembered the curve ball technique). Also, a few wrong things about the egg hatching. It's 10 kmph that's the maximum speed you can travel. (About 6 mph). I did a 5 mile bike ride yesterday in 35 minutes, and I didn't get any distance added to my eggs. However, one thing you can do to get more distance by going nothing is by putting your location services on battery saving ;)
  • Great article, some handy information regarding how egg distance is calculated. Posted via the Android Central App