How to score the Expert Handler bonus in Pokemon Go

The single biggest reason to use that new AR+ mode in Pokemon Go right now is the Expert Handler bonus. Like throwing a curveball or nailing a Great or Excellent throw, this new bonus adds to the reward you get when a Pokemon is caught. Specifically, you get a bonus to your XP and a bonus to the amount of Stardust collected from the capture.

Stardust is the most valuable resource in the game, so by design it is always in short supply. That makes being able to score some extra Stardust on each catch a big deal, so here's how you make sure you nail that Expert Handler bonus every time!

Slow and Steady

When a Pokemon first appears in AR+ mode, there's a small indicator circle near its head. This is the Awareness meter, and it fills up as the Pokemon becomes aware of your existence. When it fills, it flashes red and the Pokemon could attempt to flee from you before you get a chance to throw.

In order to score the Expert Handler bonus, you have to get close to the Pokemon without tripping this Awareness meter. That means moving very slowly towards you target, and paying attention to how it moves around. You can sidestep to the left or right to avoid walking too close as it moves, but it's important to always do this as slowly as you can.

Once you have gotten close enough, without setting off the Awareness alarm, you will see the word Experts Handler appear on the screen. From here, you can throw PokeBalls just like you normally would, and when you land a successful catch you will have earned the bonus you are seeking.

Avoiding obstacles

The key to getting this bonus every time is making sure that Awareness meter stays as low as possible. Some Pokemon pop out of the Tall Grass with the meter already full, while others will trip the meter by getting too close to you. To diffuse these situations:

  • Stand perfectly still. This will cause the meter to decrease, making it possible for you to move again.
  • Avoid walking in a straight line towards your target if its movements are towards you.
  • Don't be afraid to drop a Nanab Berry to slow the Pokemon down.

If you see the dreaded puff and your Pokemon has flee, don't panic! In most cases, you can stand still for a moment when AR+ mode is enabled and you will see the Pokemon moving around in the Tall Grass again. Tap the the movement on the screen, and you'll see the Pokemon re-appear for you to try again!

Happy hunting!

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at iMore. He's a passionate futurist whose trusty iPad mini is never far from reach. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Reach out on Twitter!