Skip to main content

Common Pokémon Go problems and how to fix them

Pokémon Go is a lot of fun... when it works. To the game's credit, every update brings fixes to existing problems. To the game's detriment, every update also brings new bugs, issues, and other frustrations. These bugs run the gamut from GPS and networking errors to failure, to log in or populate, to freezes and crashes to, yes, minor text that requires fixing. While we're waiting on the next round of updates, here's some fixes you can try on your own!

Repeated crashes

Every once and a while, a Pokémon Go update comes out that just crashes repeated. Sometimes killing and restarting the app can help, or rebooting the device.

The current version of Pokémon Go is causing repeated crashes for many people. The only solution that's working to fix it is:

  1. Delete the Pokémon Go App
  2. Go to the App Store.
  3. Re-download and install Pokémon Go for iOS
  4. Launch Pokémon Go

You'll have to re-create any teams you have for Raids or Gyms, which is super annoying, but at least the crashes will be fixed.

Missing Nearby and Sightings / false speed lock-out

Pokémon Go, for a long time now, as been experiencing a bug where Nearby and Sightings are black even when going well under the 30 KMPH (~20 MPH) speed limit. You'll be walking around, playing, and suddenly the radar will go blank and spawns will stop happening or disappear. It's maddening to say the least.

Some people claim to have had success restoring it by opening and closing the Journal or by killing and relaunching the Pokémon Go app entirely. These might just be time killers, though, since Nearby and Sightings typically return after a few moments when the false speed lock-out stops.

Again, maddening. This is one Pokémon Go needs to fix and asap.

How to stop Pokémon Go from draining your battery

Pokémon Go battery drain is back with a vengeance. Sometimes it's heavy power usage in the app, sometimes it looks like rogue background processes. Either way, it's making phones get hot and draining them fast. Hopefully this gets fixed and fast, but in the mean time...

Kill Pokémon Go when you're not playing it

High battery consumption is one thing when you're out playing with the screen on, GPS going, data moving, and you're actually having fun. It's quite another when you've finished playing and just need your phone to stay powered on and, you know, work as a phone. So, until Pokémon Go gets its background act together, you can kill it just to watch its process die:

  1. Double-press the Home button to enter the multitasking screen.
  2. Swipe to the Pokémon Go card, then swipe up on the card to force quit the app.
  3. Relaunch Pokémon Go.

There are also a few things you can do while you're playing.

Use battery saver and low power mode

Pokémon Go has a built-in "battery saver mode" that you can turn on in Settings:

  1. Tap the Pokémon button at the bottom middle of the screen.
  2. Tap the Settings button at the top right of the screen.
  3. Tap Battery Saver.

Your iPhone also has a system-level Low Power Mode that'll reduce networking and other activity to try and save on battery life:

  1. Launch Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap on Battery.
  3. Switch Low Power Mode to On.

If you have an iPhone 7 or iPhone 6s you can also press firmly (3D Touch) on the Settings icon to get a home screen shortcut straight to the battery page.

You can also:

  • Turn down screen brightness
  • Stick to areas with good Wi-Fi and cellular data signal
  • Turn off the sound or use a headphone

Get a battery case or power pack

It's not the best nor the cheapest solution, but a battery case or power pack will go a long way to keeping your battery from exploding while hunting for Pokémon or battling at gyms.

Best Battery Cases for: iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE/5s/5.

For even more power, get a battery pack.

Best Battery Packs for iOS and Android.

Blue screen of death

It's not the classic, dark blue Windows version, but every once and a while Pokémon Go is launching — and promptly freezing — on a bright, sky-blue screen. Luckily, it's intermittent. So, to "fix" it, you just need to restart the app.

I'm not a robot

Although the dramatic increase in CAPTCHA interceptions in Pokémon Go seem to be over, you may still get one on occasion. That's where the computer system, for some reason, believes you may not be a human being playing but rather a "bot", "spoofer", or some other form of automated cheating.

When that happens, it asks you to prove you're human by checking a box and then solving an image problem, either choosing all the pictures in a grid that have street signs or water or chairs or some other distinguishing feature a program would have a harder time distinguishing.

Just answer the question and try not to leave the game playing without you actually playing it. GPS drift is a way to cheat some extra distance, but it's also a way to make Pokémon Go think you're a bot.

<name="restart">

How to fix PokéStops, Gyms, Buddies, and Pokémon not appearing.

Sometimes you start Pokémon Go only to find your buddy blanked out or reduced to a sparkle and all the PokéStops, Gyms, and Pokémon gone for the virtual landscape. Unfortunately, this bug keeps getting fixed only to come back, time and again.

You can fix it by force-quitting and re-launching Pokémon Go, though sometimes you'll need to do it a couple or even a few times before it starts working.

  1. Double-press the Home button to enter the multitasking screen.
  2. Swipe to the Pokémon Go card, then swipe up on the card to force quit the app.
  3. Relaunch Pokémon Go.
  4. Repeat until everything is working (can take 2 or 3 times.)

How to fix Incense and Lucky Eggs not working

If you try to use Incense or a Lucky Egg and nothing happens, there could be a couple things going on. First, you could have a bad network connection or be in the middle of switching from Wi-Fi to cellular data (for example, when you're leaving home or work).

You can either get a little more distance and try again, or you can switch Wi-Fi off temporarily.. (You can't leave it off because it could prevent your location from being detected — something Pokémon Go requires to function.)

Incense and Lucky Eggs not working could also be caused by the clock on your iPhone being left on manual or not set correctly.

If you've messed with the clock to try and score some extra Lucky Egg time in Pokémon Go or for some other game or reason, you'll need to set it back to automatic for everything to start working properly again. Just like Pokémon Go requires proper location, it requires proper time.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Date & Time.
  4. Switch Set Automatically to On.

How to fix PokéStops not spinning or "Try again later" error

There's a speed limit imposed by Pokémon Go: If you're traveling more than 30 KM an hour (~20 mph) you're locked out of PokéStops. It's designed to prevent people from playing while in a car.

So, if you're in a car or bus and you get a "Try again later" error when spinning a Stop, you need to slow down and try again. You can tell you're going slowly enough when you see Pokémon in your Sightings. The same lock that prevents Stops from spinning also prevents Sightings from working at speed.

There's also a bug where a PokéStop spins but doesn't change color from Blue to Purple, so you think it hasn't spun. If you attempt to re-sping, though, you'll get the "Try again later" error.

Right now this bug is self-correcting and, if you wait a few seconds, you'll see the proper change take place. If not, or you want to force it, you can kill Pokémon Go and restart.

How to fix other issues

Maybe you're not running into crashes, per say, but you've found glitches with items, trainer progress, or location: If so, you might want to check out Niantic's known issues page, which offers solutions for several of the more prominent glitches and bugs in the game.

Any Pokémon Go problem-solving questions?

Have any other problems with Pokémon Go? Let us know in the comments.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

57 Comments
  • The battery saver option doesn't reduce brightness or refresh rates. It turns on an option where if you turn your phone upside down, the screen darkens with a faint Pokemon Go logo on the display. Sent from the iMore App
  • When the logo appears, the screen dims and the refresh rates for things like nearby Pokémon are reduced. Updated the article to clarify, thanks!
  • Windows 10 mobile support coming soon?
  • Very doubtful, especially as Windows Phones have taken a further drop in the markets where Pokémon Go is currently available, i.e the US. Besides there's enough issues with the iOS and Android version so if it were to happen, I recon fixing the current versions would be priority now
  • On the 1hp at the gym bug. I've found a fix (kinda) I always used to get this bug when I'd rapidly tap in a gym battle. If however, I wait, and only tap when an attack is ready, I don't get the issue. I think it's a server side queue thing. IE every tap is being added to the queue, enemy death event is being added to the end of the queue, so it has to process every tap before it processes the death event.
  • It doesn't work in the Caribbean.
  • Hi Serenity, Thanks for sharing all in one solution about Pokemon Go. You give the best tricks to fix the random issues of Pokémon Go on Android device.
  • I thought it was a real fix lol. These steps are exactly what I've been doing 3 out of 4 pokeball throws. Iphone on this game is FUBAR. Thought Had to buy an Android to play stable, at least now it is 1 out of 20 pokeball throws that crashes app. Seen this android also having issues...?
  • I keep seeing what look like fireflies around my avatar, I also see what looks like debris or leaves kicking up in a wind further out. What are these and what do they signify?
  • The leaves are displayed where the Pokemon spawn and I think the fire fly thing you're talking about is just added so that the map doesn't look plain dumb and to let you know the game is active.
  • When ever I create my character it says onboard_character_player _set. And I've tried Uninstaller it and closing and reopening it but none of it works I'm currently using a Samsung galaxy tab 4
  • I hate to say it but I accidentally clicked on log out & cant remember what my login info was tried a cpl different ones and I get in like they were brand new but not my account. I had 159 total and 6 eggs, How can I find out my initial registration?
  • check the email sent by them to verify your account. They will also send a "forgot username" email to you
  • Look I have noticed a weird thing about the Pokemon go app. I installed it for two days now and noticed that the app literally drains my phone Battery overnight. First night I had around 20% battery So I wasn't that shocked when found out that the phone was turned off in the morning. But last night I charged it 100% before sleep and the app fully drained it overnight!!!! And I have not even launched the app!!! My phone battery is alright and well calibrated.
  • I assume you're on an iPhone, the app doesn't receive any permissions to do anything until you've ran it at least once, it wouldn't make any sense. Most likely you encountered some weird wakelock bug when downloading the app or with bluetooth etc, I doubt it has anything to do with Pokemon
  • I can't see the Pokemons in the real world or during a battle. What should I do? I'm afraid to loose data if I reisntall the game. Advice please!
  • You won't lose your data because it's saved on their servers, otherwise you'd have to catch all the Pokemon again every time you got a new phone
  • How many Pokemon Go stories are you going to publish. Enough with this stupid game.
  • You didn't have to read this article if you don't want to read anything that has to do with Pokemon Go. It's your fault for clicking on this article.
  • I know ! I love this site but at this rate they should just change the name from imore to morepokemon.....Jesus ! Sent from the iMore App
  • They aren't publishing that many. They just repost the same ones every two days. This is a good example.
  • The game isn't stupid, it's really well thought out, and it's incredibly popular and fun. It might not be your thing, but for many many other people it is, so let them post articles because they're gonna get a lot of hits
  • don't feed the trolls Sent from the iMore App
  • I won't play it because I have a life with responsibilities but I like that it culls the herd when people walk off cliffs, walk in front of vehicles etc.
  • Everyone that plays has a life with responsibilities, they play this during their free time
  • Hahahahahaha good one
  • Life is about balance, but everyone has free time at some point, some people play Pokémon Go in their free time, is it that hard to understand?
  • I just wonder why Niantic doesn't take advantage of the phone's features to minimize battery drain. The phone tracks your steps and distance. Yet the game has to be running and connected to the servers in order to hatch egss. So even though I walk 6KMs(whatever that is in miles IDK) it doesn't matter unless the game is on and draining my battery. Sent from the iMore App
  • It's bizarre but Niantic really don't seem to know what they're doing with this game. They've removed a lot of features in the new update.
  • I cannot overcome the error that says GPS signal not found. It's driving me NUTS. It says to click on the homepage and I can't find the **** thing! Please someone tell me where it is !!!!!
  • Wow I used to come here for some new info on iPhones. I've moved on to a new site a while back, now it looks like this site has turned into a Pokemon game site? That's ok, just glad there are other options available.
  • It's not turned into a Pokémon game site, it's the site it always was. It provides Apple product articles and popular things related to Apple products, as it turns out millions of people are playing Pokémon Go on iPhones, so it makes sense to have a lot of articles for it
  • When i press to catch a pokemon my screen turns completely blank
  • That's odd, try removing and downloading the app again. All your data is stored on your Pokémon Go account so you won't lose anything
  • Ok. I will. Thank you!
  • Often when I try to pick up items at a Pokestop it says "Your bag is full". Explain please.
  • It means your bag is full. Go to the pokeball on the bottom of the screen and go to your Inventory. Then, what you gotta do is just delete some of the items you dont use (revives, healing potions etc). Or just use some of the items to make space
  • When my husband and go pokemon hunting when rare or decent pokemon are on the nearby they pop up for him to catch but I only get the bats, rats and pigeys can you explain this. I am so frustrated with pokemon go that I am about ready to throw in the towel
  • The reason might be your trainer level -- at lower levels "cool" pokemon sightings are fewer and further between, but as you level up you come across bigger and better 'mons, on a more regular basis.
  • I don't think you can ever fix server errors...
  • Good point, we're at the mercy of the (not very good) developers
  • Love the Marvel based names of your Pokemon.
  • When I try to get the pokedex screen the tips screen shows instead - help!
  • When I try to access the pokedex screen the tips screen appears instead with that really annoying person - any ideas for a fix?
  • Does anybody have a fix for the volume lowering every time I launch Pokemon? If I can't play while listening to music or podcasts at full volume, I no longer want to play.
  • Wow, website error that won't let you click reply. May want to get that fixed.
  • The comments section has a fair few bugs, that have strangely never been fixed. - Upvoting/downvoting shows the vote incrementing/decrementing from 0, instead of the actual current vote, until you do a refresh
    - Pressing reply sometimes doesn't work
    - Editing a comment, saving, and then trying to edit again sometimes doesn't work Not to mention all the bugs in the iMore app for iPhone. Upvoting/downvoting doesn't even exist in the iPhone app, sometimes when you post a comment from the iPhone app it doesn't look like the comment was posted, and some articles don't display correctly in the iPhone app (missing images, bad formatting etc)
  • when i try to start the game, when it is loaded, pokemon go appears gray for a few seconds then crashes. please any help?
  • Sommeone please help, after the whole loading process it goes to a blue screen would should be the avator and all the other buttons. I press on the screen, does nothing. I have closed out and undownloaded and tried again, nothing as well.