Pokemon Go is a fairly simple game, but there are several tips and tricks that will help you level up faster, win more gym battles and catch ‘em all. With a user base larger than most industrialized nations, it’s attracted a host of players who don’t know a Tangela from a Magicarp but are having fun discovering many of the original 151 Pokemon for the first time.
Here are some tips to getting the most out of Pokemon Go:
1. Find high-density spots to play.
Not only will you catch more Pokemon in urban areas, you’ll meet more people playing the game. This is first and foremost a social game, and it’s more fun seeing dozens of people run to find a rare Pokemon than walking by yourself through a Pokedesert. Also, graveyards can be full of Pokestops.
2. Traveling to new cities will surprise you.
I made it to level 20 in Atlanta without ever seeing a Cubone, a Doduo, a Growlithe, a Sandshrew, a Mankey or a Rhyhorn. Then I went to San Diego for Comic-Con, and most of those were more common in the Gaslamp Ditsrict than Rattata back home. They call it Pokemon Go for a reason.
3. Save your evolutions until you crack that Lucky Egg.
When you get enough candies to evolve into a new Pokemon, it’s hard to wait. But save those, along with all your Pidgeys, Weedles, Rattattas and other common Pokemon in your area to evolve in bulk once you use a Lucky Egg that will double your XP. Even better, find a spot with a lure, use some incense and frantically spend the next 30 minutes jumping levels. With higher levels come higher-CP Pokemon and better rewards from Pokestops.
4. Use Incubators wisely.
Don’t waste limited-use incubators on 2km eggs. Save those for 10k or at least 5k eggs and use your unlimited incubator for the 2km eggs to clear room for better ones. If you get three uses out of an incubator, better to use it for 30km than 6km. Those 10km eggs will give you some of your best and rarest Pokemon.
5. Time your gym battles for max rewards.
Having Pokemon in gyms is a great way to both Stardust (for powering up) and Coins (for buying incense, lures, lucky eggs, Pokeballs, etc.). Once you’ve got a few Pokemon into gyms, collect by going into the Shop and looking in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. You can only collect once every 21 hours, so get as many Pokemon into gyms right before it’s time to reap the spoils of war.
6. When you crack open the incense, don’t stand still.
Parking yourself at a Pokestop with a lure and burning incense may be tempting, but you’ll encounter more Pokemon if you continue to move. Jogging is even better than walking.
7. Choose your own Eevee evolution.
A fun little Easter egg for Pokemon fans: you can predetermine what Eevee will become by changing it’s name before evolving. “Sparky” gives you Jolteon. “Pyro” gives you Flareon. And “Rainer” will give you Vaporeon, one of the most powerful Pokemon in the game. The names are a nod to the Eevee Brothers, who were their trainers in the original show.
8. Use those Razz Berries.
When you hit level 8, you’ll get Razz Berries to make catching Pokemon easier. Use them liberally. You’ll likely never run out and may resort to deleting some to free up space in your bag.
9. Pidgey is your friend.
You’re probably already tired of seeing Pidgeys pop up on your screen, but always catch them. It only takes 12 candies to evolve a Pidgey, and evolutions are the fastest way to level up. The same is true for Weedle and Caterpie.
10. Clear space in your bag.
You don’t need all those Revives. This is always the first thing I delete from my bag so that I don’t miss out on rewards at Pokestops. Razz Berries are the second. And once you unlock Super Potions and Hyper Potions, regular Potions are also expendable.
11. You can dodge in the gym.
I battled a lot of gyms before realizing that swiping left and right would dodge attacks. Also, when at least one bar of blue is filled, you can touch and hold the screen for your special attack.
12. Save some of that Stardust for higher levels.
Leveling up is pretty quick early on, but slows way down once you get into the 20s. For example it costs 10,000 XP to get from level 10 to 11, but 150,000 XP to get from level 25 to 26. Once you get into the 20s, you’ll want to start powering up your best characters, which will make the Pokemon you had at level 10 look adorable.
13. Turn off AR when capturing Pokemon.
It’s much easier (and much less awkward in public) to capture Pokemon after you’ve disabled AR. There’s a toggle switch on the capture screen. The virtual reality is cool for taking photos or showing your friends, but it can make it hard to actually catch Pokemon and (I believe) will be a bigger drain your battery.
14. Turn on Battery Saver Mode.
When you click the Pokeball on the map screen, you’ll see Settings in the top right corner. This is where you can select the battery-saver mode. On iPhone, if you turn it upside down, the screen will go dark, but you’ll still be alerted with a vibration when a Pokemon pops up on your map, and you’ll still get credit for walking to hatch your eggs.
15. Check the server status.
The most maddening thing about this game is the enormous server downtime. Instead of trying for the 10th time to get the game to load and watching that same loading screen over and over, check the status of the servers at places like Down Detector.