How to add a buddy Pokémon to get more candy in Pokémon Go

Amidst the many iOS 10 app updates, Niantic snuck out its latest: It introduces Buddy Pokémon to Pokémon Go, letting you choose one of your pocket monsters as a companion while you walk the world.

How can you get a buddy Pokémon of your very own? Read on.

Why would you walk with a buddy?

I mean, let's get one thing straight: You don't have to pick a buddy Pokémon. You can continue letting your character live a sad, solitary pixelated existence on a never-ending walking journey across the world.

But it's the heart of the original Pokémon series: You pick a starter to be your friend and travel the world with you, because it's no fun to go alone.

And, as a bonus, in Pokémon Go that buddy will also earn you some excellent Candy bonuses as you walk with it. (Depending on the Pokémon, you'll have to walk in 1km, 3km, or 5km increments for candy bonuses.)

How to add a Buddy Pokémon

  1. In Pokémon Go, select your Trainer avatar in the lower-left corner of the screen.
  2. Tap on the More button (looks like three horizontal lines).

  1. Select the Buddy option from the menu.
  2. Choose your buddy from your list of Pokémon. (You'll be able to choose any Pokémon that hasn't been assigned to a Gym.)

Your chosen Pokémon is now your Buddy! Though they won't walk next to you on the map, they will have a tiny avatar to the right of your portrait, and you can tap on your Trainer screen at any time to see how far you've walked with your Pokémon.

How to swap Buddy Pokémon

  1. In Pokémon Go, select your Trainer avatar in the lower-left corner of the screen.
  2. Tap on your current buddy inside the Trainer screen.
  3. Select the Transfer button in the lower-right corner of the screen.

  1. Press Yes to swap your buddy. You'll lose any in-progress walking experience (though not the candy you've accumulated).

I heard there's a Pikachu easter egg!

Yup! If you decide to travel with Pikachu, the tiny Electric Pokémon starts off your journey next to you on the ground, but will ride on your Trainer's shoulder after you walk 10km together.

I don't want a buddy anymore! Can I be alone again?

Nope. The Pokémon Go developers don't want you to have to be alone. Once you've picked a buddy, you'll forever have to travel with at least one Pokémon by your side. (It is kind the heart of the series, to be fair.)


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Serenity Caldwell

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.