So you've started on your Pokémon journey with Pokémon Let's Go, and you want to start your Pokémon GO adventure! Awesome! As you may know, Pokémon GO has been on mobile devices since 2016, so there is a bit to catch up on. Don't worry though, this guide will walk you through all the key features of Pokémon GO and how you can start off the right way.

This is intended to be a comprehensive guide. To make things easy, it will be broken up into the following categories that you can skip to at any stage by clicking on the topic.

What is Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO is an augmented reality (AR) game where you can catch all of your favorite Pokémon when you're out and about, as opposed to Pokemon Let's Go, where the only thing you play with in the real world is the Poké Ball Plus!

Amazon's 12 Days of Deals is here with big discounts for all

PSA: Always be safe when playing Pokémon GO. Be aware of traffic when crossing roads and be wary of dark alleyways in pursuit of Pokémon. There will always be another time to catch a Pokémon.

How do you play Pokémon GO

Creating an Account

  1. Open the Pokémon GO app.
  2. Press the New Player button.
  3. Choose a login method.
  4. Read the Terms of Service and tap Accept.
  5. Read the Privacy Policy and tap Accept.

You'll then get an introduction to the Pokémon world from professor Willow and choose an avatar. Don't worry. You can change this at any time. After you're finished customizing your character, you'll be prompted to confirm that you're ready. If you are, tap yes.

Catching Pokémon

You'll then be prompted to catch your first Pokémon by Professor Willow. You will be able to catch either a Bulbasaur, Squirtle or Charmander. Catching Pokémon works the way it does in Pokémon Lets Go. You will still have the same screen as you did in Pokémon Let's Go, and it'll all be a very similar experience.

Catching Pokémon is an important aspect for both Pokémon GO and Pokémon Let's Go. You can use your Pokémon GO account to help your Let's Go Pokédex. While this only applies to the Pokémon from the Kanto region, it's a great way to boost up those entries that you're missing.

  1. Tap the screen to catch the Pokémon you'd like to capture.
  2. Swipe the screen to catch Pokémon (instead of using your Joy Con or Poké Ball Plus).
  3. Keep throwing Pokéballs until you catch 'em!

Setting a nickname

Much like when you start Pokémon Let's Go and are asked to pick a name for your character, you'll be asked to give your Pokémon GO trainer a name. Keep in mind, like all usernames, it'll need to be unique. So, make something that you know you'll remember.

After you've selected your nickname, you'll be asked to confirm. When you're satisfied, tap ok.

Teams

One of the differences between Pokémon Let's Go and Pokémon GO is that teams have no bearing on your Pokémon Let's Go adventure. Nothing will change in terms of the Pokémon you collect. When playing Pokémon GO, you must pick a team.

What you need to know about teams

  • They are unlocked after you reach level 5 and go to a local Pokémon Gym.
  • There are three teams to choose from; Mystic, Instinct, and Valor.
  • Once you pick a team, you can't swap afterward.
  • Right now, there isn't a substantial difference between the bar color. So don't worry too much about it.
  • If you interact with the same color of Gym (e.g., yellow Instinct gym and you're also on team Instinct), you can get a team bonus that gives you items.

Team Valor

Its symbol being a Moltres, it is lead by Candela. She primarily focused on strength.

Pokémon are stronger than humans, and they're warmhearted, too! I'm researching ways to enhance Pokémon's natural power in the pursuit of true strength. There's no doubt that the Pokémon our team have trained are the strongest in battle!

Team Mystic

With its sigil being an Articuno, it is lead by Blanche. She is focused on wisdom.

The wisdom of Pokémon is immeasurably deep. I am researching why it is that they evolve. My team? With our calm analysis of every situation, we can't lose!

Team Instinct

Team Instinct sigil is a Zapdos and is lead by Spark. His approach is always about focusing on a Pokémon's intuition.

Pokémon are creatures with excellent intuition. I bet the secret to their intuition is related to how they're hatched. Come and join my team. You never lose when you trust your instinct!

Pokémon

About Pokémon

Pokémon are creatures you can collect and battle with. They are captured through using Pokéballs!

Moves

In battle, a Pokémon has two types of moves: Fast Attacks and Charged attacks.

Fast attacks are primarily used in Raids and battles. They build up your Charge attacks, which deliver significant damage to your opponent.

About Stats

Statistics are streamlined in Pokémon Let's Go thanks to Pokémon judgments. To unlock the feature, you'll need to capture 30 unique Pokémon, and then talk to Professor Oak's aide in Route 11, to the east of Vermillion city.

In Pokémon GO you can find out how well-stacked your Pokémon is, but they are known as Appraisals. Tap on the Pokémon tab and then tap on your desired Pokémon for it to be appraised by your team leader. They are a little bit cryptic about what the statistics mean for your mon, but we have a guide for what each team leader means to help you.

CP

CP or Combat Power is what determines the strength of your Pokémon, which is calculated by your Pokémon's base stats for Attack, Defence, and Stamina.

IV

Individual Values or IV for short, are the additional points that a Pokémon gets on their base stats (attack, defense, and stamina). This can range from 0 - 15 for each stat. This means that no two Pokémon are the same.

Weather Boost

Weather Boosts have a more significant effect on Pokémon than just how many of a particular type spawn in one place. You can keep an eye for the following boosts as well:

  • High IV/CP values
  • Bonus Stardust
  • Bonus damage for moves of the weather type

Buddys

Much like in Pokémon Let's Go, you can have a partner out to run about with you. Your Pokémon partner will accompany you and will collect candies based on the number of steps you've walked.

  1. Tap your avatar picture.
  2. When you get to your trainer screen tap the buddy icon.
  3. Select your desired Pokemon.

Candies

As you may have seen in Pokémon Let's Go, when you catch a Pokémon and send it to Professor Oak, you'll get candies in return. In Pokémon GO, it works similarly when you send them to Professor Willow, except you'll get Pokémon specific candies (e.g. sending a Pidgey will yield Pidgey candies), which can be used to power up your Pokémon with Stardust.

Stardust

Stardust is a currency in Pokémon GO used to power up and evolve your Pokémon. iMore's resident Apple analyst and Pokémon expert, Rene Ritchie, has a wonderful guide on how to get the max stardust.

PokéStops

What is a PokéStop?

PokéStops are circular blue icons on your map that appear at common or popular locations in your area. These stops will give you free items when you interact with them. They refresh every five minutes, and you can use lures or other items at a Pokéstop to entice more Pokémon spawn at that point.

While this has no bearing on your Pokémon Let's Go game, it's a fun part of your Pokémon GO experience. Going to stops, seeing new sights, and getting rewards in the game is a big part of your Pokémon Go adventure. It's also the best place to collect more Poké Balls.

How do you find PokéStops

You find PokéStops by walking around your local area, these stops tend to pop up in more densely populated areas. However, if you're struggling to find any near you, there are resources that you can use to find Pokéstops. Pogo Maps is a great place to start.

How to interact with a PokéStop

A PokéStop is usually denoted by a cube on top of a platform. When you get close to the cube, it'll turn into a Poké Ball symbol. At this stage, you can interact with it to receive your items.

Gyms

There is a lot to cover when it comes to Pokémon Gyms as they work differently in Pokémon GO than how you would experience them in Pokémon Let's Go.

Rene Ritchie has done a great job giving you all the details you need to know about Pokémon Go Gyms. From Defending your Gym to earning coins, take a look at his article to find out more.

Raids

Raids happen when a powerful Pokémon takes over a Gym. It's up to you and your fellow trainers to take down this powerful Pokémon and then capture it! Trainers can come together from all over, irrespective of the team, to battle in a raid. All participants of a raid get the opportunity to catch the raid Pokémon, regardless of whether it's a legendary Pokemon or not!

It's an excellent opportunity for Pokémon Let's Go players to have a second chance of catching legendaries they may have missed during their first playthrough! Raids are also a fun way of getting into your local Pokémon GO community. So, they're always fun to take part in.

There are a couple of things to note about raids

  • Their difficulty is denoted by the skulls that display on the screen after you tap on the raid (one being the easiest).
  • These skulls recommend the minimum amount of people that should be in the raid. (e.g. with a group of two people, a one skull raid should be easy, a two skull raid should be a normal difficulty, and a three skull being difficult).
  • You'll need a Raid pass to join a raid. These come in three varieties.
  • Raid Pass - found at the raid by spinning the Poké Stop, it gives you access to the one-to-five tier of raid battles. Can only be used once a day.
  • Premium Raid Pass - Can be bought at the shop if you would like to participate in another raid on the same day. This gives you access to the one-to-five raid tiers.
  • EX Raid Pass - This is a gym specific Raid Pass that can only be used at a particular time and place. You can get this Raid Pass by completing a raid where an EX Raid will be taking place.

How to Join a Raid

A Raid is similar to how a Pokémon Gym battle works in Pokémon GO. You'll need to find an ongoing raid at a gym to join it. You can either attempt the raid solo or with friends.

We already have an in-depth guide on what you need to know about raids to answer all of your questions.

Eggs

  • Pokémon Eggs can be found by going to Poké Stops or through friends gifts.
  • They come in step variants of 2 km, 5 km, 7 km, and 10 km. They are colored differently to make them visually distinct.
  • They are hatched using incubators, and you need to walk a specified distance in order to hatch the egg.
  • There are yellow eggs with pink spots that denote an Allan variant.

Items

Here is a list of all the items found in Pokémon GO :

  • Poké ball: basic Poké ball
  • Great Ball: more significant chance of catching a Pokémon than a Poké Ball
  • Ultra Ball: more substantial chance of catching a Pokémon than a Great Ball
  • Raid Ball: used for catching Raid Pokémon.
  • Golden Razz Berry: greatly increases your chances of catching a Pokémon
  • Silver Pinap Berry: combined effects of a Pinap and Razz.
  • Razz Berry: makes it easier to catch on your next throw
  • Pinap Berry: doubles the candies of the Pokémon if caught on the next throw
  • Nanab Berry: will slow the movement of the Pokémon
  • TMs: Technical Machine used to teach Fast Moves or Charge Moves
  • Dragon Scale: used to evolve Seadra
  • Kings Rock: used to evolve SlowPoké and Poliwhirl
  • Sun Stone: used to evolve a Gloom
  • Metal Coat: used to evolve Onix and Scyther
  • Upgrade: used to evolve Porygon
  • Incense: used to lure Pokémon out when you're out and about
  • Lure: used on a Pokéstop to attract Pokémon to a place.
  • Lucky Egg: increases your XP gained for a set amount of time
  • Egg Incubators: hatches Eggs
  • Super Incubators: hatches Eggs quicker (e.g. a 2 km egg hatches in 1.3 km)
  • Mysterious Box: used to increase the spawn rate of Meltan
  • Revive: revives a Pokémon after it's fainted and returns half of its HP
  • Max Revive: revives a Pokémon after its fainted and returns it to full HP
  • Potion: restores 20 HP
  • Super Potion: restores 50 HP
  • Hyper Potion: restores 200 HP

Friends

Making friends from your neighborhood or around the globes is one of the great appeals of Pokémon GO. People from all walks of life come together to play and to raid together. It can be a beautiful thing indeed.

From how to find your friend code to how to find and give gifts, we have all you need to know about friendships in Pokémon GO.

TMs

Technical Machines or TMs come in two variants in Pokémon GO: Fast and Charged. These TMs can only be acquired through completing raids. This makes TMs in Pokémon GO very different compared to how TMs are used in Pokémon Let's Go.

We've got a great guide on best Pokéon movesets to change with Technical Machines (TMs) in Pokémon Go.

Research Tasks

Research Tasks are exclusive to Pokémon GO, but they are an exciting challenge for Let's Go players. They offer a great way to learn the mechanics of Pokémon Go; from learning how to throw curve balls to taking down gyms, but they reward you greatly with rare Pokémon or items.

Research Tasks have three categories:

  • Field Research: goals like spinning a PokéStop and/or catching a specific type of Pokémon (could be an item and one "stamp" per day)
  • Special Research: story based multi-objective goals, such as catching and transferring Pokémon for a reward
  • Research Breakthrough: rewards from a collection of stamps of Stardust, items, and a Pokémon encounter

Phew! That was a lot to take in, but hopefully, it's helped you navigate your start in the Pokémon GO world. We have a whole host of Pokémon GO knowledge here at iMore, so take a peek at our full coverage for everything else you need to know about Pokémon GO, including the upcoming Battle Modes.