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Can you use the Pokémon Bank with Pokémon Sword and Shield?

Pokemon Sword and Shield screenshot gym
Pokemon Sword and Shield screenshot gym (Image credit: Game Freak)

Can you use the Pokémon Bank with Pokémon Sword and Shield?

Best answer: Sort of. Nintendo's new trading and storage cloud service, Pokémon Home, is compatible with Pokémon Sword and Shield. You can transfer Pokémon from your Pokémon Bank account into your Pokémon Home account as long as you pay for the Premium subscription.Blue Sword: Pokémon Sword ($60 at Amazon)Red Shield: Pokémon Shield ($60 at Amazon)Pokémon Bank: Pokémon Bank for 3DS ($5/year at Nintendo)Pokémon Home: Pokémon Home (Price varies at Nintendo)

What is Pokémon Bank?

Pokémon Bank is a Pokémon storage service that was introduced on the Nintendo 3DS. For just $5 a year, you can store and manage up to 3,000 of your captured Pokémon from Pokémon Sun, Pokémon Moon, Pokémon X, Pokémon Y, Pokémon Omega Ruby, and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire. This way, players can trade Pokémon from compatible Pokémon games to get their ultimate Pokémon dream team. It is also a great resource for players who want to start their games over without losing rare Pokémon, or for gamers who compete in Pokémon competitions.

Pokemon Bank diagram

Pokemon Bank diagram (Image credit: Nintendo)

Can you transfer Pokémon from a 3DS game to Pokémon Switch games?

Players are still be able to store Pokémon caught on 3DS games into Pokémon Bank for the time being. Now that the new Pokémon Home cloud service has launched, players are able to transfer their Pokémon from Pokémon Bank to Pokémon Home, but it appears to be a one-way transfer. Whether they are in the Pokémon Bank or Pokémon Home, Pokémon initially caught on another game can, in turn, be transferred into Pokémon Sword and Shield only if that specific Pokémon is in the Galar region Pokédex. We've made a list of all of the pre-existing Pokémon that are featured in the Gen 8 games. We'll need to wait for Nintendo and Game Freak to release additional information to know the complete list.

Pokemon Bank screenshot

Pokemon Bank screenshot (Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

It's also possible to transfer Pokémon from all Gens to Pokémon HOME as long as you have the right versions, accessories, or services handy.

What is Pokémon Home?

Pokémon Home is a new cloud service for trading and storing Pokémon. It works with Pokémon Bank, Pokémon GO, Let's Go, Pikachu!, Let's Go, Eevee!, and the Pokémon Sword and Shield Switch games. This new app is currently available and has been created for Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android devices.

Pokemon Home transfer graphic (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

In 2018, during an interview, Pokémon director, Junichi Masuda, stated that the company was working on making it possible for Pokémon gamers to transfer Pokémon from older releases to the Nintendo Switch Pokémon games. Here are Masuda's words on the subject.

"I mean, obviously, people would be very sad if they couldn't use their Pokémon in a future game. So, it does get complicated when you talk about the details, and we're still figuring it out, but we do have plans to find ways to let players use their Pokémon in the next game."

At the time, we weren't sure if this meant that Pokémon Bank would survive in its current form or if Game Freak would create a new way for gamers to bring the previous Pokémon to the new Pokémon Sword and Shield Switch games. Now, we know that there is a new Pokémon Home cloud app that allows gamers to trade and store Pokémon from Pokémon Bank, Pokémon GO, Let's Go, Pikachu!, Let's Go, Eevee, Pokémon Sword, and Pokémon Shield. There's still much to learn. We'll post updates when we learn anything new.

How much does Pokémon Home cost?

Pokemon Home cost

Pokemon Home cost (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Only Premium subscribers are able to move Pokémon from the Nintendo 3DS into Pokémon Home. From the eShop, you'll be able to pay $2.99 for a 30-day plan, 4.99 for a 90-day plan, or $15.99 for a 365-day plan. The Premium Plan also gives you additional perks like being able to store up to 6,000 Pokémon or allowing you to place up to 10 Pokémon in a Wonder Box at once.

Are there any limitations with Pokémon Home?

By now, the news about Dexit has been overly debated. If you didn't already know, you'll only be able to transfer Pokémon into Sword and Shield from Pokémon Home if that Pokémon is in the Galar region Pokédex, which only has 400 Pokémon in it. This means that some of your old catches won't be usable in Gen 8. Here's what Junichi Masuda says on the subject:

In previous games that worked with the Pokémon Bank service, you were able to--for example, in Sun and Moon--bring over any Pokémon, even if they weren't in the Alola Pokédex. . . At Game Freak we really spent a lot of time thinking about what the best way to move forward was, really preserving the quality of all the different Pokémon while also taking into account the battle balance, having so many different Pokémon available, all within a limited development time, so we don't keep fans waiting too long for every new entry in the series. And after a lot of discussion, we decided to come to a new direction.

Pokemon Home chart

Pokemon Home chart (Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Considering that there are now over 800 Pokémon, you can see how creating the visuals and coding for each and everyone would delay the production of the Switch games further. We still aren't happy with it, but you can see why Game Freak has decided to only include some of the pre-existing Pokémon into Sword and Shield's Pokédex.

However, in a interview on November 10, 2019, Masuda revealed that this is the approach Game Freak will be taking for all future Pokémon games. Given that the generations to follow Sword and Shield will also have limited Pokédexes, the Pokémon Home service will be even more critical as a place to store Pokémon in between generations when they cannot be used.

Which Pokémon are in the Sword and Shield Pokédex?

Here are all of the pre-existing Pokémon that are in the Sword and Shield Pokédex. Any marked with an asterisk (*) have a Galarian form. This list is in alphabetical order rather than the Pokédex order.

  • Abomasnow
  • Accelgor
  • Aegislash
  • Araquanid
  • Arcanine
  • Aromatisse
  • Avalugg
  • Axew
  • Baltoy
  • Barbacle
  • Barboach
  • Basculin
  • Beartic
  • Beheeyem
  • Bellossom
  • Bergmite
  • Bewear
  • Binacle
  • Bisharp
  • Boldore
  • Bonsly
  • Bounsweet
  • Braviary
  • Bronzor
  • Bronzong
  • Budew
  • Bunnelby
  • Butterfree
  • Caterpie
  • Chandelure
  • Charizard
  • Charmander
  • Charmeleon
  • Charjabug
  • Cherrim
  • Cherubi
  • Chinchou
  • Cinccino
  • Claydol
  • Cleffa
  • Clefairy
  • Clefable
  • Cloyster
  • Cofagrigus* (Runerigus)
  • Combee
  • Conkledurr
  • Corphish
  • Corsola*
  • Cottonee
  • Crawdaunt
  • Croagunk
  • Crustle
  • Cubchoo
  • Cutiefly
  • Darmanitan
  • Darumaka
  • Deino
  • Delibird
  • Dewpider
  • Dhelmise
  • Diggersby
  • Diglett
  • Ditto
  • Doublade
  • Drampa
  • Drapion
  • Drifloon
  • Drifblim
  • Drilbur
  • Dugtrio
  • Duosion
  • Durant
  • Dusknoir
  • Dusclops
  • Duskull
  • Dwebble
  • Eevee
  • Electrike
  • Elgyem
  • Escavalier
  • Espeon
  • Espurr
  • Excadrill
  • Farfetch'd*
  • Feebas
  • Ferroseed
  • Ferrothorn
  • Flareon
  • Flygon
  • Fraxure
  • Frillish
  • Froslass
  • Gallade
  • Galvantula
  • Garbodor
  • Gardevoir
  • Gastly
  • Gastrodon
  • Gengar
  • Gigalith
  • Glaceon
  • Glalie
  • Gloom
  • Goldeen
  • Golett
  • Golisopod
  • Golurk
  • Goodra
  • Goomy
  • Gothita
  • Gothitelle
  • Gothorita
  • Gourgeist
  • Growlithe
  • Grubbin
  • Gurdurr
  • Gyarados
  • Hakamo-o
  • Haunter
  • Hawlucha
  • Haxorus
  • Heatmor
  • Helioptile
  • Heliolisk
  • Hippopotas
  • Hippowdon
  • Hitmonchan
  • Hitmonlee
  • Hitmontop
  • Honedge
  • Hoothoot
  • Hydreigon
  • Inkay
  • Jangmo-o
  • Jellicent
  • Jolteon
  • Joltik
  • Karrablast
  • Krabby
  • Kingler
  • Kirlia
  • Klang
  • Klink
  • Klinklang
  • Koffing
  • Kommo-o
  • Lampent
  • Lanturn
  • Lapras
  • Larvitar
  • Leafeon
  • Liepard
  • Linoone*
  • Litwick
  • Lombre
  • Lotad
  • Lucario
  • Ludicolo
  • Lunatone
  • Machop
  • Machoke
  • Machamp
  • Magikarp
  • Malamar
  • Mamoswine
  • Mandibuzz
  • Manectric
  • Mantine
  • Mantyke
  • Maractus
  • Mareanie
  • Mawile
  • Meowstic
  • Meowth
  • Metapod
  • Mew
  • Mime Jr.
  • Mimikyu
  • Minccino
  • Milotic
  • Morelull
  • Mr. Mime
  • Mudbray
  • Mudsdale
  • Munchlax
  • Munna
  • Musharna
  • Natu
  • Nincada
  • Ninetales
  • Ninjask
  • Noctowl
  • Noibat
  • Noivern
  • Nuzleaf
  • Octillery
  • Oddish
  • Onix
  • Oranguru
  • Palpitoad
  • Pancham
  • Pangoro
  • Passimian
  • Pawniard
  • Pelipper
  • Persian
  • Phantump
  • Pichu
  • Pidove
  • Pikachu
  • Piloswine
  • Ponyta*
  • Pumpkaboo
  • Pupitar
  • Purrloin
  • Pyukumuku
  • Quagsire
  • Qwilfish
  • Raichu
  • Ralts
  • Rapidash*
  • Remoraid
  • Reuniclus
  • Rhydon
  • Rhyhorn
  • Rhyperior
  • Ribombee
  • Riolu
  • Roggenrola
  • Roselia
  • Roserade
  • Rotom
  • Rufflet
  • Sableye
  • Salandit
  • Salazzle
  • Sawk
  • Scrafty
  • Scrappy
  • Seaking
  • Seedot
  • Seismitoad
  • Shedinja
  • Shellder
  • Shellos
  • Shelmet
  • Shiftry
  • Shiinotic
  • Shuckle
  • Sigilyph
  • Silvally
  • Skorupi
  • Skuntank
  • Sliggoo
  • Slurpuff
  • Sneasel
  • Snorlax
  • Snorunt
  • Snover
  • Solosis
  • Solrock
  • Spritzee
  • Steelix
  • Steenee
  • Stufful
  • Stunfisk*
  • Stunky
  • Sudowoodo
  • Swinub
  • Swirlix
  • Swoobat
  • Sylveon
  • Throh
  • Timburr
  • Torkoal
  • Togepi
  • Togetic
  • Togekiss
  • Toxapex
  • Toxicroak
  • Trapinch
  • Trainquill
  • Tevenant
  • Trubbish
  • Tsareena
  • Turtonator
  • Tympole
  • Type: Null
  • Tyranitar
  • Tyrogue
  • Umbreon
  • Unfezant
  • Vanillite
  • Vanillish
  • Vanilluxe
  • Vaporeon
  • Vespiquen
  • Vibrava
  • Vikavolt
  • Vileplume
  • Vullaby
  • Vulpix
  • Wailmer
  • Wailord
  • Weavile
  • Weezing*
  • Whimsicott
  • Whiscash
  • Wimpod
  • Wingull
  • Wishiwashi
  • Woobat
  • Wooper
  • Wobbuffet
  • Wynaut
  • Xatu
  • Yamask*
  • Zigzagoon*
  • Zwelious
Rebecca Spear
Rebecca Spear

Rebecca Spear is the dedicated gaming editor for iMore who loves playing games on Switch and iOS. She is a Zelda nut through and through and can also talk for hours about her favorite Pokémon games. She’s written hundreds of guides and reviews over the last six years to the point that if you get stuck in a game somewhere, she can help you out. On any given day, you’ll find her following the latest tech, digitally drawing with her iPad Air and Apple Pencil, reading a good book, or - you guessed it - playing video games. Follow her on Twitter @rrspear (opens in new tab) to see her post about her corgi, foster kitties, art, and favorite video game characters.