How do you nail the curveball in Pokémon Go? It's easier than it looks!

Update: Recent research by Gamepress shows using curve balls increases the likelihood of catching a Pokémon by x1.7. That translates to to x2.55 for Great Balls and x3.4 for Ultra Balls. So, get curving!

If you've been playing Pokémon Go for more than a few days, you'll likely have gotten "catch bonuses" — these give you bonus Trainer XP when you catch a Pokémon after throwing the Poké Ball in the center of the Pokémon's surrounding big, medium, or small radar rings.

You may also have seen what looks like a strange bug: Throwing the Poké Ball, only to have it spin and veer away from the Pokémon off the screen.

What's happening is this: When you toss the Poké Ball, you're accidentally triggering a special throw, the Curve Ball. But if you can conquer this move, curving your Poké Balls can actually give you a better advantage for catching Pokémon and a higher chance for those higher-XP catch bonuses. Here's how.

Catch bonuses in a nutshell

When you try to catch a Pokémon, the goal is to toss your ball inside the shrinking ring around them and have it land on the Pokémon's head or nose. But there are special catch bonuses that can help improve (though not guarantee) your chances of keeping that Pokémon locked inside that Poké Ball rather than breaking free.

There are four catch bonuses: Nice, Great, Excellent, and Curve.

Nice is when the ball lands at the moment the radar circle is at its widest, and gives you 10XP.

Great is when the ball lands in the middle of the radar circle when it's half-size, and gives you 50XP.

Excellent is when the ball lands in the smallest radar circle, and gives you 100XP.

Curve is when your ball curves, and gives you 10XP — and a better chance of catching the Pokémon.

Whatever bonus you're going for, remember to tap and hold on the Poké Ball to start the ring cycle so that you can wait to toss your ball until the ring is at the correct point.

Why Curve Balls are awesome

Before I figured out Curve Balls, I lost many a Poké Ball on bad throws, watching the ball fly off the screen after thinking I was throwing straight. I've cursed the Curve Ball's name, but the throw can actually be really powerful if you do it correctly.

Why? Because when thrown correctly, Curve Balls are more likely to land in the center of the radar ring and nab you the Great and Excellent bonus — which also increases the likelihood that your caught Pokémon will remain in its Poké Ball. The Curve Ball bonus itself, though a paltry 10XP, also gives you a higher chance of catching Pokémon.

How to throw a perfect Curve Ball

There are two ways to throw a perfect Curve Ball: The super spin, or the arc.

The "Super Spin" Curve Ball

For the super spin, you'll want to spin the Poké Ball in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction with your finger until it starts vibrating and sparkling. Which direction you spin largely depends on which hand you're using — I find spinning counter-clockwise easier with my left index finger, and clockwise easier with my right index finger. (I don't recommend using a thumb, because you won't have enough power for the actual throw.)

Once your Poké Ball is vibrating, you're going to want to flick your finger up the left (clockwise) or right (counter-clockwise) side of your screen; how far up and the speed at which you flick depends on the Pokémon's distance. If you want to picture it, you're basically tracing a J (counter-clockwise) or L (clockwise) on the screen.

This move takes a bit of practice, but once you master it, you'll find you rarely waste Poké Balls in throwing.

Personally, I find the Curve Ball more useful for long-distance Pokémon; for closer Pokémon, I use the method below: the arc.

The "Arc" Curve Ball

This is a slightly harder Curve Ball to master, but you're far more likely to get the 10XP "Curve Ball" bonus and a higher likelihood of Pokémon capture.

To achieve the arc, you're going to use the side of your index finger or thumb, rather than a straight-on throw. When you flick, you're going to flick your finger at an angle toward the left or right edge of the screen, but at the last second, twist your arc toward the Pokémon.

Cheat your way to a perfect Curve Ball

There's one other way to throw Curve Balls if you're on an iPhone or iPad: The cheater's way. If you use Apple's Accessibility features, you can "record" a Curve Ball and throw gesture to play back at any time — including, yes, while catching a Pokémon. (Hat tip to a Reddit commenter on The Silph Road subreddit for this trick.)

  1. Visit the Settings app and tap General > Accessibility.
  2. Under the Interaction header, tap AssistiveTouch.
  3. Turn AssistiveTouch On. You'll see a small glowing circle appear in the corner of your screen.

  4. Tap Create New Gesture.
  5. Inside the New Gesture box, perform the Curve Ball (either Arc or Super Spin gesture) with the same speed you would inside the game, then give it a name.
  6. Return to the Pokémon Go app.
  7. When you encounter a Pokémon, tap the AssistiveTouch glowing circle.

  8. Tap the Custom star.
  9. Choose the custom gesture.
  10. Move the targeting circle to properly start on your Poké Ball. When you release, the gesture will execute.

Note: You may have to try recording a couple of different variations on the gesture to execute it perfectly.


Still having trouble with the Curve Ball? Let me know below.