Everything you need to know about Pokemon Go – tips on downloading the app, gyms, teams and more

By Alex Donaldson, Wednesday, 13 July 2016 10:05 GMT

Everything you need to go catch ’em all, all in one place.

pokemon go

Pokemon Go has in a matter of days become an internet phenomenon. It made $14 million for its creators since launch, and it’s breaking all sorts of records and topping download charts. But why? What is it? How can you get it?

Here’s the lowdown on everything you need to know about Nintendo and The Pokemon Company’s latest smash hit in one page that’ll be updated regularly with the latest news and developments. Let’s start with the most obvious question of all:

What is the Pokemon Go Game?

All of a sudden it’s like we’ve travelled back in time to the mid 1990s. Everybody has Pokemon fever again, and people are quite literally out on the streets catching Pokemon, which is something of a bizarre thing to think about. But: what is it?

To break it down to its simplest description, Pokemon Go uses your mobile phone’s satellite GPS systems and built-in clock to figure out where and when you are when the game is open. When you’ve got the game open, the game then populates the world around you with Pokemon. You end up looking at the world through your phone’s screen and camera, and the Pokemon are dropped onto the top of the real world in a semi-convincing way – this is augmented reality.

What happens then is much like the rest of the Pokemon games – you can catch various creatures and do battle with others, training Pokemon and working to ‘catch them all’ as well as build your strength in battle. The gimmick is that thanks to the GPS and augmented reality, the Pokemon available to you change based on your real-world location and the time of day, so players are encouraged to move around.

There’s not any multiplayer battles or trading (though they will be added later), but the core of the Pokemon experience is there. Real-world locations are even marked as PokeStops (think the in-game PokeMart shops) and Pokemon Gyms, meaning you have to travel to them if you want the benefits of those locations. It’s pretty cool stuff.

Sold yet? Read on…

Where to Download Pokemon Go, the Pokemon App that’s taking the world by storm

Pokemon Go started its international roll-out at the start of July, but the game still hasn’t launched in all regions – a couple of countries aren’t part of its initial release, and others, such as the UK, have to wait to get their hands on the official release.

The first thing you want to do to download the game is head to the Apple App store or the Google Play store and search for ‘Pokemon Go’. Or you can just hit this link for iOS and this link for Android. If you’re lucky, it’s out in your region – all you have to do then is hit that big old download button and away you go, you’re a Pokemon trainer.

If the game isn’t out in your territory and you’re on Android, there’s a workaround. See the next heading for more on that.

pokemon go guide catching pokemon

Pokemon Go APK – The install work-around for Android

All you need is the APK file which you can download and install directly onto your phone. Be careful where you get this, as there are some fake Pokemon Go APK files out there trying to cash in on the game’s popularity. We’ve got you covered, though: here’s an APK file we know to be safe.

Once it’s installed, you’ll be able to play and catch ’em all like anybody else. A full launch in all countries should follow in the coming days anyway, but if you can’t wait this is your best shot.

Get Pokemon Go on iOS and iPhone early in the UK, Europe and Japan

If you want to get your hands on Pokemon Go on iPhone, iPad and other iOS devices ahead of time, it can be done. That’s a bit more complicated a process than the downloading of a file that can be done on Android, but it’s doable.

On iOS you can get around the regional restrictions by changing the region of your device and creating a new Apple ID. Here’s a step-by-step process of what you need to do:

  • Open the App Store, scroll to the very bottom, hit your Apple ID and Sign Out.
  • Open the Settings App. Head to the General Heading, then Language and Region.
  • Change the region to the US, Australia or New Zealand – your pick.
  • Create a new Apple ID for the new region. If you do this on a computer, you won’t have to put in any credit card details – so do this on a PC, then head back to your phone and log in. You’ll need a second email for this, so be prepared to create a burner with Yahoo or somebody similar.
  • Verify the account and log in on your iOS device. If asked to enter a credit card, decline to do so.
  • Head into the App store, and search and Download Pokemon Go.
  • Once the App is downloaded, log out of your new account and back into your old one. Reset your Language and Region settings as necessary; the App will remain on your device all the same, and you’re ready to play.

pokemon go gym

When is Pokemon Go’s release for iPhone, iOS and Android in the UK, Japan and Europe?

If you’re not interested in jumping through various hoops in order to get your hands on Pokemon Go and start catching Pokemon early and are based in a country where it hasn’t officially launched such as the UK, Europe or Japan, you’ll be waiting for the official release. So… what about that?

[Update July 14]: Pokemon Go is out now in the UK. Here’s the link to the official iTunes UK page, and here’s the same but for Android. Go get ’em!

[Update July 25]: Pokemon Go is out now in Europe, Japan and the USA. More territories will follow.

Old Information: The Pokemon Company informed The Wall Street Journal, who suddenly began reporting on the game when it became a cultural phenomenon, that the launch in territories such as Japan, Europe and the United Kingdom would follow “within days”. That was already a few days ago at the time of writing.

Later one of the bosses of Niantic, the company behind Pokemon Go’s development and technology, said launch in more territories was paused until the company was “comfortable” , so you shouldn’t have long to wait. We’ll update this page when the situation changes.

As of July 13, a European launch appears to be slowly underway: The game has now launched in Germany, but other European countries are still twiddling their thumbs.

1 pokemon go getting started

Pokemon Go Tips and Help – Our Comprehensive Guide

Pokemon Go is still in its earliest days, and as such the game isn’t always 100% clear on what should be done and where. Don’t panic, though – we’re here to help. We’ve got a comprehensive and growing guide on how to do some of the key things any Pokemon Trainer should, so read on and be assured:

Be sure to bookmark this page or the guide pages – there’s lots more guides to come.

Pokemon Go Tips – How Teams, Gyms and Gym Battles work

Early on, Pokemon Go is all about travelling around and finding creatures to catch and make part of your Pokedex. Doing so will raise your Trainer Level, and every level you accumulate brings you a little closer to being able to participate in one of the largest goals of any Pokemon Trainer: the battle for gyms.

In Pokemon Go, gyms take on a different form than in the traditional Pokemon games like the upcoming Pokemon Sun and Moon. When you reach Level 5, you’ll unlock the ability to participate in the gym-battling side of the game.

The first thing you’ll have to do when you reach Level 5 is choose a team. You’re to pick from Team Instinct (yellow), Team Mystic (blue) or Team Valor (red), the colours likely a tribute to the original three Western Pokemon releases. Choose carefully: the team you pick will have a direct impact on which gyms you can join and which ones you’ll fight. It might be a good idea to check your map and see what gyms are nearby before choosing.

Once you’ve picked a team, you then have a simple goal: Defend friendly gyms, and aim to take over the gyms of your rivals. Here’s how you do that:

pokemon go teams

Pokemon Go: Defending Gyms

First of all you need to find a gym that’s the same colour as your team. Tap on a gym’s icon to see if there’s room for you to join, and if there is, do so. Grey gyms are a rarity, but if you see one, grab it – it means that gym is unclaimed!

Once you’re part of a gym either as a trainer or as the gym leader, you’ll have to assign one of your Pokemon to defend the gym on your behalf while you’re off adventuring. This Pokemon will endure an onslaught of players from rival teams, so you want to pick a strong one. As gyms fend off invaders they level up, and when they level up more slots for trainers and Pokemon to join the gym will open up.

If you’re unable to join a gym because it’s full, that doesn’t mean you can’t help out a friendly gym – you can send a Pokemon to train there. These slots are also limited, but it helps everybody – you gain points and experience from your Pokemon training there, and it’ll help the gym to level up also.

Pokemon Go: Attacking and taking over Gyms

There’s two sides to any coin, and the other side of the gym defence metagame in Pokemon Go is the opposite – attacking gyms held by rival teams with the aim of weakening them and eventually claiming them for your team instead.

You’ll want to look for gyms coloured in your rival’s colours, and when you find one mount an attack on it. You won’t be fighting an actual live trainer, technically – you’ll be fighting the Pokemon real players have left behind to defend the gym, as detailed in the last heading of this page. The aim is to push through the various Pokemon left behind by the gym’s members until all have been beaten – at that point, you’ll be able to take over the gym.

It’s important to head into gyms fully prepared, and so there’s some key things to keep in mind so you don’t just see your Pokemon cruelly KOed without a chance. Here’s some pointers for that:

  • Pokemon Strength
    The strength of a Pokemon is measured in CP, Combat Points. Through playing the game and catching Pokemon you should have obtained Candy, and this item is used as a primary way of strengthening your Pokemon. Pokemon you don’t need can be transferred back to Professor Willow in order to get more Candy and Candy is additionally obtained by catching Pokemon and hatching eggs. Don’t hold on to Pokemon you don’t need – trade them in and use the Candy to strengthen your favourites!
  • Pokemon Evolution
    Another key thing to consider is evolving Pokemon: evolutions will change the ability set of a Pokemon and so you need to be wary of what evolving will do, but generally speaking an evolved form is always broadly more powerful than its previous form.
  • Pokemon Types
    While the battle system of Pokemon Go is vastly simplified from the traditional Pokemon games, one thing that remains is the Pokemon typing. Be sure to use these to your advantage when you head to attack a Gym – if you’re facing off against Grass Pokemon, send in your strongest fire type, and so on.
  • You can find a whole lot more on Battling, Levelling up and Strengthening Pokemon over in our more in-depth Pokemon Go Guide.

pokemon go

Pokemon Go App News – All the latest app updates

Everything is moving a bit fast around Pokemon Go. All over the internet and beyond people are writing an absolute shed load about it – and that goes for everything from in-game revelations to real-world pranks and unfortunate incidents thanks to the game.

We rounded up many of those earliest stories in one great big news story, but even that’s getting a bit long in the tooth now, so here’s a link-based round-up of individual stories, right from when the game was announced:

Pokemon Go Reviews – what the media think

Pokemon Go has pretty much instantly become an international phenomenon, with a wide variety of people around the world – veteran Pokemon trainers and otherwise – getting involved with and getting addicted to the new mobile app.

A lot of the press is now also weighing in on the game with their verdicts, with the game getting scores that range from middling to outstanding. “I’m not even sure I ‘get’ it,” The Jimquisition’s Jim Sterling wrote in his 5/10 review, but PockerGamer raved that it is “an immensely enjoyable experience” and “the Pokémon game I always wanted.” So, yes – thoughts are pretty broad.

We’ve done a round up of the reviews that we’re updating as more land over on another page, so if you want a broader look at the critical consensus, here it is. You can of course also find review round-ups on MetaCritic.

pokemon go trainer levelling

Pokemon Go Updates – Where to learn about what’s new and changing

Pokemon Go is an evolving game as a service, and that means that the game is constantly changing and growing based on the needs and desires of its absolutely huge player base. If you’re a doting would-be Pokemon Master, you’ll want to follow along with the latest developments. One thing we recommend you do is bookmark this page, as we’ll be regularly updating it – but what about beyond that?

Follow along with the official Pokemon Go Twitter Feed @PokemonGoApp, for up-to-the-minute availability on updates and the like. You can also follow the developers of the game on Twitter @nianticlabs.

The official Pokemon Company can be found at @pokemon, of course, and the Pokemon Go section of the official Pokemon site is also packed with information, as is the Ninatic Labs Pokemon Go page and PokemonGo.com.

The best place to probably follow along the brand is on their twitter account – since it’s the fastest – and if you want a webpage, well, bookmark us here! We’re constantly updating.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments

Headlines

Niantic Labs

Pokemon

Pokemon Go