How to use incense in Pokémon Go

There are loads of techniques for capturing Pokémon in Pokémon Go; one method is to use incense to lure nearby critters. Here's everything you need to know about using the smelly stuff.


When you first start playing Pokémon Go, the game gives you two incense pots to get you going; you can find them in the items menu (tap the PokéBall at the bottom of the screen).

Incense will draw in nearby Pokémon by emitting a mysterious fragrance.

Each incense pot lasts 30 minutes. Timing is everything — once you activate the incense, a timer starts counting down and keeps counting down even if you leave the app.

How to activate an incense pot

  1. Tap the Poké Ball at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Tap Items.
  3. Tap Incense.
  4. The incense pot will appear on your main screen. Tapping it again will activate the luring effect for a period of 30 minutes.

NOTE: You'll know you've successfully activated your incense when a purple-pink cloud encircles your character.

How to activate incense in Pokémon Go.

How to buy more incense

If you run out of incense, you can buy some from the shop. Here's how:

  1. Tap the Poké Ball at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Tap Shop
  3. Tap to choose the number of incense pots you'd like to purchase.

NOTE: Incense costs money, so you're going to need some Pokécoins if you want to re-up. You can win Pokécoins in game, or buy them via in-app purchase.

How to buy incense in Pokémon Go.

Pokemon Go Buy Incense (Image credit: iMore)

Lure 'em in!

Whether you're avoiding getting active or hunting down rare Pokémon, incense can be of service. Any questions, tips, or tricks? Let us know in the comments!

Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.

  • I've noticed Incense is more effective when activated and walking around rather than just sitting in one place... if you stand still (say in bed, house or couch) you'll probably get 4 to 5 pokemons top in the 30min window, however, if you walk around (at least in my experience) you may get 10 or more depending on the area, not to mention that if you stay still you'll only find common pokemon and not rare ones... still, I'm not sure if this only happens to me :/
  • I've seen the same! I popped an incense while I sat on my couch and I got a whole ton of pidgeys and rattatas. When I went for a walk with my dog I popped another one and I found a rhyhorn and a scyther which I haven't seen at my local gyms.
  • I didn't get any pokemon at all! I did all the steps and I had purple smoke but absolutely nothing came! Does I not work or something if u r upstairs?
  • I found a cool thing u can do with the incense. If you use the incense for 10 min or so, go to time/date in ur settings, and u can set back the time. This will restart your incense and allow you to have more time. Your able to do this as many times as you want. It really is awesome, you can have an unlimited incense. It does ruin the point of the game, but if you are feeling lazy one day, you definitely should try it out.
  • ty bro u rock
  • Can confirm, THIS DOESN'T work Game still knows the time check the jourmal and compare... EDIT: i reset it after ~20mins, should it be less than 10 mins reset time for it to work?
  • This totally works! Thanks man
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  • I've done the step but there is no purple smoke???