Best Pokémon Go cheats — August update!

If you can't win, cheat. Hell, cheat anyway. That's how the saying goes. Whether you choose to apply that saying to Pokémon Go is up to you. If you prefer to earn your rewards honestly, through hard work and determination, then stop here and go check out my Pokémon Go tips and tricks instead. Otherwise, if all you want to do is win at all costs, here's how people are hacking and cheating their way to the top!

Warning: Stuff that can and should get your account banned

There are some cheats that are expressly against the Pokémon Go terms of service (ToS). People do them, and they seem to work, which is frustrating, so more people start doing them, and it creates a vicious cycle. They can also get you banned. Bans sometimes come in waves every month or so, but now they've also been joined by "slashing", which puts a line across illegitimately gained Pokémon and makes them useless in Gym and Raid Battles.

Before investing any time in this kind of cheating, consider you might end up losing that time completely..

  1. Spoofing: Some people fake their GPS location so that can go to where a 100% Dragonite or Tyranitar is and scoop it up immediately, drop onto any Gym and take it down and build it back up at any time, and otherwise travel the world at a whim. Pokémon Go is cracking down on this by randomizing stats on the server side for any player under level 25, so it's currently very hard to detect the IV of a Pokémon. On the Android side, spoofing is also being detected and locked out of the game. It's obviously something Pokémon Go cares about deeply and wants to prevent.

    Most recently, Pokémon Go has begun locking out teleporting, soft-banning people who previously jumped to engage but returned to catch Pokémon, and slashing out illegitimately obtained Pokémon, so they're useless in battle anyway.

  2. Botting: Botting is like spoofing but automated. With an army of fake characters and a bunch of scripts, botters travel the PokéScape collecting as many high-level Pokémon as possible. It's financed by online maps with ads and donation buttons, and by people who buy accounts online. Again, recent changes might make this harder and less useful than it was in the past. That includes shadowbans, which are preventing bot accounts (including those used for maps) from seeing anything other than common Pokémon, and slashing out illegitimately obtained Pokémon, so they're useless in battle anyway.

  3. Multi-accounting: Some people who don't bot or spoof still cheat by using multiple accounts. When they take down a Gym, they quickly fill it up with the accounts of their friends, families, and teammates — sometimes even if those people have long since stopped playing. Though "bubblestrat" — a way to quickly power a Gym up — is no longer useful since the big Gym update, filling up all the slots in a Gym still locks other legitimate players out.

  4. Shaving/cycling: Those who can't or simply don't want to take over new Gyms will sometimes switch to a second account for another team, knock a teammate's Pokémon off a Gym owned by their own team, and then replace it with their own Pokémon from that team. It's cannibalistic and doesn't help grow their own team and creates significant resentment as well.

  5. Multi-devicing: There used to be a glitch in Pokémon Go where hitting a button with multiple fingers triggered multiple actions. With it, you could evolve faster, heal faster, and even power up beyond the current legal limit (see below). Pokémon Go fixed the app but, if some people still log into the same account on three devices and hit the same button and the same time, still triggering the bug.

  6. Auto-IV checkers: Pokémon Go isn't just shadow-banning bots that abuse the API, they're banning accounts that have granted access to third-party apps like IV-checkers that absuse the API as well. Changing your Google password and revoking account access to these apps can help avoid and reverse the ban.

Most online forums are filled up with people complaining about all of these practices and more, and it's best to avoid them because the next time the banhammer comes, it could come down on anyone engaging in them.

1. See exactly where all the rare Pokémon spawns are

The goal of Pokémon Go is serendipitous discovery. You're out and about, maybe shooting some video in the words and then you look up and BOOM — Snorlax! OMG!

But the odds of that happening are so rare some people have tried to game the system by having bots walk around for them, discover the rare spawns like Dragonite, Lapras, Tyranitar, Blissey, Muk, Milktank, and more, and then either show you or alert you as to where they are, how long they're there for, and even what their stats are.

I've tried a couple and they're not my favorite. There's a rush to seeing a rare Pokémon and racing out to catch them. There's also a danger in overdoing it and a cost — you can't cross town in the 30-minute spawn window on foot, which means you end up driving, and that destroys the exercise benefit and a lot of the chill. Depending on traffic — or tickets — you can often miss the spawn anyway, which is a real waste of time.

If you don't care about that, though, check your local Facebook group and see what trackers people in your area are using. Some are online maps, others are apps, and still others are Twitter accounts or chat bots. Some just show you Pokémon, others want you to make multiple accounts and tap through multiple CAPCHA.

You might end up loving or hating them — or simply wishing Pokémon Go would fix Sighting so you wouldn't need them. I mean, there's a Snorlax 50 m away, Pokémon Go should absolutely show that before the 6 Pidgey at the PokéStop cluster down the street...

2. Find out exactly which Pokémon to evolve


You always want to evolve the best Pokémon possible. "Best" being defined as having the highest stats (IV). The better the Pokémon you evolve, the higher the CP (Combat Power) and HP (Hit Points) it'll have, and the better it'll do in Gym and Raid Battles.

Pokémon Go includes a built-in appraisal system but it's not very granular. The best you can get is:

  • Valor (red): "Amazes me!"
  • Mystic (blue): "A wonder!"
  • Instinct (yellow): "Battle with the best of them!"

That tells you your Pokémon has stats in the 80% to 100% range. But that's a big range. If you pay attention to how many stats are called out, Attack, Defense, and Stamina (HP), and add in:

  • Valor (red): "Blown away!"
  • Mystic (blue): "Exceeds my calculations!"
  • Instinct (yellow): "Best I've seen!"

You can narrow it down further. But even with some brain gym you won't get an exact number. For an exact number, you'll need a third-party IV app. Now, not everyone is into stats, not in Baseball and not in Pokémon, but if you are, they're available to you, and they'll make sure your every Pokémon you evolve is a monster.

Note: Never use any app that asks for your Pokémon or Google login in order to work. There are enough really good apps that don't, both for phones and on the web, that risking your credentials and potentially getting data stolen is never necessary. If you give your account up, you will likely be shadowbanned.

That way, you can evolve the 100% Magikarp into Gyrados and not the 82% one. (And pray to the random number generator it doesn't stick you with Twister as its charge move!)

3. Know exactly which Gyms belong to which team

Similar to the Pokémon scanner sites, there are sites that use their bot armies to scan and update Gym information, including which team any given Gym belongs to at any given moment. Under the old system, they could even tell you what level a Gym was, which specific Pokémon were on it, what trainer they belonged to, and even a recent history for the Gym. Under the new system, they can only show team control. At least for now.

Still, if you're out and looking to take down Gyms, they can help you see which Gyms are owned by other teams and ready to be taken down. There's no information on the maps that you couldn't get from walking or otherwise moving around and looking, but some people prefer to look first before deciding in which exact direction to head out.

4. Bulk evolve faster with a flick

The basic formula for leveling up as fast as possible is well known by now: Catch a ton of Pidgey, Caterpie, and Weedle, drop a Magic Egg, and evolve as many as you can before the Egg expires. That gives you a 30 min. to max out your XP. Given the evolution animation takes 20 seconds, assuming you're a precision tapping machine, you can hit up to 90 evolutions.

Some people believe, though, that if you force quit the Pokémon Go app and then relaunch it — which also finishes the evolution for you — you can squeeze in some extra evolutions.

Personally, I find it a lot more work for what is, in my ham-fingered case, little game. But if tap and swipe that a surgeon, you might just set yourself some new bulk evolution records.

Note: Some people try using multiple phones to make the bulk evolution process even faster. It's unclear if it works or still works if it once did, but it is clear it's a violation of the Terms of Service and could have consequences.

5. Get around the 'network error' preventing Gym battles

Gyms are currently plagued by a bug that, in some cases, prevent you from properly battling and taking them over. It's not known what causes the errors — some have theorized participating in Raids at the gym — but the result is you get a red "Network Error" banner at the top of the screen and either can't battle at all or can't finish a battle you've started.

Several work-around have been tried, and all seem to work once in a while but not consistently:

  1. Force quit and restart the app.
  2. Log out and back into Pokémon Go.
  3. Go spin another PokéStop or Gym and then return to the one you were battling.
  4. If in a group, have everyone quit out of the battle, wait for a minute or five, then have one person try again.

Although a violation of the Terms of Service (ToS), people with multiple accounts have reported success in logging out, logging into an alternate account, and then battling with the other account.

6. Dodge the driving lockouts

Pokémon Go does everything it can to prevent people from playing while driving and that's a very good thing. Unfortunately, it also prevents people from playing while being passengers in cars, buses, trains, and other forms of transportation.

There are different levels of lockout. The first is the 10 KM/H limit for egg hatching and Buddy candy walking. Go over that limit and Pokémon Go radically lowers the amount of distance it logs. The second is the 35 KM/H limit for spinning PokéStops, seeing Nearby and Sightings on your radar, and triggering spawns in your vicinity. Go over that limit and you log almost no distance, can't spin any stops, and can't see or spawn any Pokémon.

It's all absolutely for the best but there are also a couple ways around it. They don't always work but when they do, you'll rack up mega mileage and sometimes still get in a few spins and spawns.

  1. Got the egg screen on Pokémon Go. Hit the Home button so you return to the Home screen. Don't launch any other apps but don't let the screen go off either. Drive a short distance, something under 10 minutes. Then open Pokémon Go again and you might see some amazing distance gains. (I've had little to no luck with this but numerous people have sworn it works.)

  2. If you have an Apple Watch, start a Pokémon Go workout. Next, find some form of slow transportation. Whether that's an Uber/taxi or bus in traffic or a ferry, doesn't matter. Slower the better, though. While the workout is running, pat your watch hand lightly up and down while you're moving. You should get decent results, depending on your speed.

  3. Use Pokémon Go Plus. It's just a click, so it's easy to use, and it often catches things you wouldn't be able to use if you're being driven around in a car trying to do it directly in the app.

  4. Drop an Incense. Currently, Incense seems immune to the speed lock that affects everything else in Pokémon Go. So, even if you're a passenger in a high-speed car, bus, or train on the highway, a Pokémon should still spawn for you every few minutes. Almost all of them will be common but you may get a rare Pokémon once or twice.

DEPRECATED: Power up your Pokémon beyond the legal limits

Note: As of early 2017, double and triple tap cheats have stopped working, including the power up. It still works, however, for people who log into three devices at once, but that's a clear ToS violation.

Pokémon have levels, just like trainers. Every time you POWER UP a Pokémon you raise its level by 0.5. Pokémon Go official caps the power level of your Pokémon at 1.5 higher than the level of your trainer. So, if you're at level 30, you can power up your Pokémon to level 31.5. There's a way to go just a little bit — 0.5 — higher though.

  1. Wait until you're at exactly level + 1 on your Pokémon (0.5 under the cap).
  2. Tap POWER UP with two fingers instead of just one.
  3. Tap YES on the "Do you want to power up" confirmation dialog.

You're basically doing two power-ups at once. Some people say you only need to tap the confirmation with two fingers, others both. Some claim you can do three fingers for a triple power up as well. I've only been able to get the double to work consistently, but experiment as you like.

What's happening is, if you're at 1.0 higher than your level, you're sneaking in a full 1.0 more before the level gets capped. Essentially, you're sneaking in an extra 0.5 levels. The total cap remains the same, so you're really just stealing from the future. But, if you're desperate to max out your CP to make sure you're still on top of a Gym, this is a way to do it.

Deprecated: Get around the "The Gym is under attack!" error

Pokémon Go was recently experiencing a bug where the game would incorrectly throw up an error for people trying to add their Pokémon to a freshly claimed Gym. Basically, one person could go in fine, but anyone and everyone else had to wait 10 minutes before they could add their Pokémon and help defend the Gym.

It was super frustrating to players who attacked Gyms in groups. The bug has since been fixed but it did reveal an interesting tidbit about how Pokémon Go used local device time:

  • If you came to a Gym that was still locked out, you could set the time on your phone forward 10 minutes, add your Pokémon, and then set it back again. (You can't Raid unless your time is set to automatic.)

You don't need to do this anymore but you never know when something like that could prove useful again.

Your most cherished cheats?

If you've tried out any of these Pokémon cheats, let me know how they worked for you. If you have other cheats, tell me all about them. If you have any other questions, drop them in the comments!

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