The Ultimate “How To Play Pokémon Go” Guide


In an earlier article, we mentioned how Pokémon GO doesn’t really offer much in the way of teaching you how to play. Apparently, you’re expected to just find out as you go along, or look online. If you’re reading this, you’re obviously doing the latter – and you’ve definitely come to the right place.

Read on for the web’s most comprehensive Pokémon Go guide yet.

Starting up



Alright, so for those who haven’t actually downloaded the game yet, this is for you. There isn’t actually much to say, as everything at this point is pretty self-explanatory. But hey, we did promise to be the most comprehensive guide.

So, upon loading up for the first time, you’ll be asked to sign-in using either Google or Pokémon club. You’ll be guided through finding your first Pokémon by Professor Willow, a dashing, white-haired fella.

The thing is, he guides you through finding your first Pokémonbut the way in which you find it is completely different from how you’d find them from that point onward.

So, follow his lead, and do as he says. Moving on.

Moving around



This is fairly simple, and I’m really hoping pretty much all of you figured this out yourself. You have to use the map on your phone to navigate, by walking to wherever you need to be. There’s more to it than that, though, and that’s why there’s a dedicated section.

Sometimes, you’ll show up as being somewhere you actually aren’t. The best way to fix this is to quickly switch location services off and on, and your location should update to represent where you actually are.

The little compass in the top right is used for centering your view in the direction you’re facing, so if for any reason you might need to do just that, then tap it.

You can rotate around using your fingers/thumb, or using two at a time, you can move closer and further from your character as you wish.




So, once you’ve got the hand of actually moving around, you’ll likely be heading to the nearest Pokéstop, as instructed by our dear friend Professor Willow.

These are important. When you’re near one, be sure to visit it. Pokéstops will give you valuable items like potions, Poké Ballswhich are used to actually capture Pokémon, and sometimes, eggs. Click on the blue square-like image on your map that represents the Pokéstop, and a circle should appear on your screen showing you the location of the stop. It’s usually a landmark of some sort, such as a statue, chruch, or fountain. Spin the circle to have it spit out a few goodies.

Pokéstops refresh every few minutes, so if you’re at, say, a restaurant and it’s a stop, you may as well farm it.




You’ll be finding these at Pokéstops, as mentioned above, so you’ll want to know what to do with them.

Basically, each egg will hatch a new Pokémonbut in order for it to do so, there’s few steps you’ll need to take. Firstly, incubate the egg. Tap on the Poké Ball at the bottom of the screen, then on Pokémonthe leftmost icon.

From there, tap on eggs – it’s at the top right of your screen. You can see all the eggs you’ve collected there, and this is where you can incubate them. Just tap on them, the rest is simple.

There’s also a distance attached. Once you start incubating, you’ll need to travel that distance with the game open.

I’ve currently got a 5 kilometer one, which I’m 1 kilometer away from hatching. I walked about 13 yesterday, but I didn’t have the app running the whole time, so it wasn’t recorded. This is a massive problem considering how fast the game drains battery… More on that later.

Keep in mind the fact that you only have one incubator to start off with, and it can only be used on one egg at a time. You can buy more incubators on the store, if you really desire. You can also earn them from just playing, which is probably more convenient for most of us.

Oh, and try to avoid the eggs that take less distance to hatch – they’re usually pretty shitty. Prioritize the longer distance eggs. 

Catching ’em all



Finally, we’re getting to the good stuff.

You should have a ton of Poké Balls from starting off, leveling, and Pokéstops.

What you’ll want to do first is look in the bottom right corner of your screen, whilst on the map. You should see a tab, with a Pokémon silhouette and some footsteps on it. If there aren’t any footsteps, you’re close enough to catch one.

The number of footsteps determines how close you are to whatever Pokémon they represent. Walking around will make some closer, and some further away, and you’ll have to use this to find out where to go. Tap on the tab to expand it and get a better idea of what’s around you.

You can also keep an eye on the grass – where you see leaves flying out the ground every so often, you’ll be able to (possibly) find a new Pokémon.

Once you’ve followed the above steps, your phone should vibrate, and you’ll want to tap on the Pokémon that just appeared on your screen.

You’ll then be able to use your camera to look around for it. If your phone doesn’t have a gyroscope, however, you’ll need to switch off augmented-reality mode to see it. This makes it easier, but it’s upsetting to not have access to one of the biggest selling points of the game.

Surely you know what to do next. Throw Poké Balls at it by flicking them at the Pokémon until you capture it – try and get them within the green circle that appears, which is guaranteed to catch them. And there you have it – you’ve caught one!

Level up!



You’ll need to level up to become more powerful, find more powerful Pokémonand so on. You can do this by playing, as is with most games. Nothing new there.

You can also level up your Pokémonthough. For that, you’ll need stardust, and Pokémon-specific “candy.” Here are a few ways to obtain each:


  • Every time you catch a Pokémonyou’ll obtain 3 of its corresponding candy pieces.
  • You can send extra Pokémon to Professor Willow to receive 1 candy piece for that PokémonDo this by scrolling to the bottom of your screen while looking at a specific Pokémon you’ve captured.
  • Eggs give you candy, for whichever Pokémon they hatch.


  • Every Pokémon you capture grants you 100 stardust.
  • Pokémon defending gyms will generate stardust, which you can collect roughly once a day from the shield icon, in the top right of the shop interface. More Pokémon defending gyms = more stardust.



You’ll need to reach level 5 to take part in any gym activities, so focus on that first. Refer to the previous section for more on leveling. Once you reach level 5, you will be prompted to join a team. There will be a brief introduction for each team, and you will then decide if you want to play for the yellow team, Team Instinct; the blue team, Team Mystic; or the red team, Team Valor.

To claim gyms, you’ll need to assign Pokémon to them. When you do this, they’re removed from your collection and assigned to the gym until defeated. When a gym is claimed, it will reflect which team is currently defending it. Each gym can have up to five Pokémon defenders.

You’ll need to battle other Pokémon defenders multiple times before being able to claim gyms, as they all have a “prestige” attribute you’ll need to chip away to truly defeat them. If there are multiple teammates trying to take over a gym in a battle, teammates can fight together.




When you’re trying to claim gyms from enemy Pokémonyou’ll want to keep the following in mind.

Make sure you go into battle with your most powerful Pokémonin terms of CP – the higher the CP, the more effective you’ll be in battle. Also pay attention to which Pokémon you will have to fight. You can do this by swiping to the left when the gym screen is pulled up. Certain types of Pokémon fight better against others, and some offer attacks that do little damage to another type of Pokémon.

You’ll be attacking by tapping your screen as fast as you can, and by waiting on the blue boxes that fill up during battle. (These are located at the top left of your screen, underneath your CP.) When they do, tap and hold the screen for a second to trigger a special attack, which will use up one of the boxes.

What did we miss?



That’s all I feel is really worth mentioning, the rest is pretty self explanatory. By all means though, if we’ve missed something important, let us know on Facebook, and we’ll update it.

Hopefully we’re all a little more successful then we were to begin with, now – but it’s early days for Pokémon Go, and there’s still much to be seen.

Keep an eye on Fraghero for all the best on Pokémon GO.