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 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