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Pokémon Go for Apple Watch is out! Here's what you need to know!

Back in September Niantic, the developer behind the phenomenally successful Pokémon Go app for iPhone, spawned on Apple's keynote stage to announce Pokémon Go for Apple Watch, available by the end of the year. Well, that turns out to be now!

Despite some fears to the contrary, as you read this, Pokémon Go for Apple Watch is arriving. (If you're reading it immediately, it might take a short time to propagate, because servers, but you'll get it soon!)

How do I download and install Pokémon Go for Apple Watch?

Like any Apple Watch app, it's built into the iPhone app, so if you haven't got the just updated version, get it:

Rewind, what exactly is Pokémon Go for Apple Watch?

Here's what Niantic had to say:

For the first time ever, Pokémon GO can be played hands-free with the new Apple Watch app. Players will now be able to explore and experience the world around them directly from their wrists, whether they're tracking wild Pokémon or trying to hatch the new Pokémon from the Pokémon Gold and Silver video games. 

Apple Watch is the ultimate platform for Pokémon GO as it seamlessly combines gameplay and imagination with exercising and exploring the real world. Trainers can easily interact with Pokémon GO on Apple Watch using quick taps to discover nearby Pokémon and collect items. Once they encounter a Pokémon, they can catch it via iPhone. In the Niantic tradition of getting people moving, Trainers can log their play sessions through the Apple Watch app as a Workout that will count towards their personal Activity rings, while also tracking steps towards hatching Pokémon eggs. 

To recap the core features of Pokémon GO for Apple Watch, Trainers will be able to:

  • Log each play session as a Workout, with gameplay counting towards personal Activity rings 
  • Receive notifications about nearby Pokémon 
  • Count steps towards hatching Pokémon eggs and receiving candies via your buddy Pokémon
  • Receive notifications about PokéStops nearby and collect items from them
  • Receive notifications when eggs hatch and badges are awarded

This holiday season, Trainers can experience Pokémon GO and the world around them in a whole new way on Apple Watch. It's the perfect companion for taking bundled-up winter walks in the Northern Hemisphere and for fun summer activities in the Southern Hemisphere. And hey, you'll even get a head start on those New Year's fitness resolutions.

Hatch those eggs right from your wrist the next time you go on a run with your Apple Watch!

So Pokémon Go for Apple Watch isn't a port from iPhone? A virtual Pokemon Go Plus?

No, Pokémon Go for Apple Watch is something entirely new! It's not meant as a replacement but as a companion to help you get more out of your experience, both in terms of gameplay and fitness.

Are there Pokémon Go for Apple Watch complications?

Niantic has shown kilometers remaining for egg hatching as a complication on the Modular Watch face. So, 1.2/2.0 on that 2K egg, or 7.8/10.0 on the Dratini you're hoping for. We'll double check the shipping version to make sure it made it in, though!

What's in the app itself?

Pokémon Go for Apple Watch launches into an info screen that shows your team logo — Valor, Mystic, or Instinct — along with your level and the experience you've achieved compared to what you need for your next level.

It also has a huge START button on the front. Tap it, and you start a Workout.

Wait, Workout?

Yup, Pokémon Go for Apple Watch is a fitness app that ties into both the Workout system, so you get credit for your activity, and it syncs with HealthyKit, so it ties into your greater fitness and picture.

Just a little more complicated than your average game app...

So, what can I actually do with it?

Start that workout, start walking and catching, and you'll get the basics like Kilometers traveled, time spent, and calories burned. But you'll also get — wait for it! — NEARBY!

NEARBY?!

Right? You'll see the icons for known Pokemon and the outlines for new-to-you Pokemon right on the workout screen.

If and when a Pokémon spawns, you'll get a full screen notification — A wild Dragonite appeared!

Okay, more likely a Ratatta, but you'll get the notification!

Can you throw balls or catch Pokémon with the Watch app?

Not yet. For now, when you get the notification, it'll hand off to the Pokémon Go app on your iPhone and you can catch from there.

What about PokéStops?

You'll get a notification as you reach a PokéStop as well, including a Taptic, similar to the vibe you get on iPhone. You can spin the Digital Crown to read all about it, but what you'll really want to do is spin the PokéStop itself, with a swipe, just like you would on iPhone.

Apple Watch will show you what you collect, from balls to potions and everything else.

Any other notifications? Like for Awards? Hatches?

Yup! If you earn any medals for catching 'mon, spinning 'stops, or anything else, you'll get that pushed right to you as well.

Also, when an egg is ready to hatch, you'll know about it. The notification comes in, animates, and even shows you what's hatched!

Will I get credit for walking my Buddy?

Total credit! Same as you would if the iPhone app was open.

Doesn't the small Watch screen make it hard to keep track of everything?

When you finish a Pokémon Go workout, like any workout, you'll get a summary screen that shows not just how far and long you walked or ran, and how many calories you burned, but everything you picked up from PokéStops as well.

Sold, how to I download and install it again?

Download the updated Apple Watch app:

Once you have that:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone
  2. Scroll down and tap on Pokémon Go
  3. Switch Show App on Apple Watch to On.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about Pokémon Go for Apple Watch, drop them in the comments below!

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.

25 Comments
  • Um it's not in the App or Watch stores and doesn't show up in the Watch app. I'm in the USA. Sent from the iMore App
  • And....voila it's in the App Store now! Rene is just ahead of the curve. Sent from the iMore App
  • You have to update the Pokémon go app. it will dl to your watch if you have automatic downloads. if you do not you would have to manually download it in the Watch app on your phone. I'm in Ny I I got the update about 5pm est
  • I updated the app and steel not showing up for installing on watch.
    Uninstalled and installed again, same result.
    I have beta os version on iphone and watch, could pokemon have problem with that?
    I'm in the Sweden
  • Does the phone app need to be open for the watch to do all of these functions?
  • Yes
  • Seriously? It's almost 2017. These things should be headless by now. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Oh, and does it count physical steps, so you could use it on a treadmill?
  • Why is the watch in the picture upside down?
  • That's how I wear it too. I like using the crown with my thumb.
  • The picture is the right way round, you can use the Watch either way to your preference
  • Installed it 20 mins latter battery dropped from 98% to 12% yay Sent from the iMore App
  • The phone battery, or the watch battery?
  • Well I just did a 2K run on the treadmill with the phone in the tray and the screen off. I had opened Pokemon Go on the phone, then hit the home button, then turned off the screen.
    The workout screen on the watch app looked good, and gave info that would match the watch workout app, or Nike Run Club, at least from my experience.
    The egg hatch KM count was off by about half, not sure why yet, but I've always found it a little off. Pretty cool so far.
    The phone only took a minor hit on battery, probably when the watch told me a Pokemon was near, and I turned on the phone to catch it
  • I've been trying to keep PokemonGo open on the phone for my morning runs. It has always seemed to me that I get cheated. I feel like I get credit for 1km per mile.
  • I just walked w my Apple Watch on a treadmill and in the Pokémon app it says I have walked 3.17km but only .3 is counting towards my eggs! Why?! It shouldn't even show me who many Kms I've walked if it won't count toward my eggs or anything. Can someone help
  • Doesn't work for me at all. won't connect to my iPhone. only says i'm at level 1 on the watch. doesn't show me the eggs I'm hatching, pokestops when i'm standing next to them, nothing. Only shows me the steps and calories. They update ok in the health app on my iPhone 7 Plus fine.
  • I had the same problem, Had to open the app on my phone and watch at the same time for it to sync up properly.
  • i'm having all kinds of trouble with it. it reads my level fine, but doesn't see my eggs. and the workout keeps stopping on its own after a couple of minutes. it tells me to open the iphone app, even when the iphone is unlocked and the app is open :( Sent from the iMore App
  • Doesn't work at all on my series 0 steel Apple Watch. The workout kept stopping by itself and when it actually did work, it recorded 12 minutes of walking inside and out (which the activity app registered as around half a mile) as 0 steps. Does it require a series 2 watch to actually function? How on earth did Niantic fail at making a pedometer app on a platform with an API for getting distance and step data?!
  • Surely this should track your walking distance without the app running? So we walk 8kms during the day, but it doesn't count unless we have the app running, killing our battery
  • "Here's what you need to know!" That always reminds me of 'Chuck'.
  • Sorry for the long post but this is so frustrating and I'd appreciate some help:
    I’m having a lot of trouble with the Pokemon Go for Apple Watch app and hope maybe someone can answer these questions for me: My iPhone and watch are both fully up to date. I installed the app and checked all the health boxes off to track activity. 1 - When I tap Start on the app on my Apple watch is that only done when you are going out to walk or do you have to have that running all day in order for the app to work? 2 - When I tap Start, all I get is the workout screen timer and info. I cannot go back to my clock face and have that running in the background. Is that right? If I press the crown and go back to my clock, any time I move my arm up to see the time, all I see is the Pokemon Notification screen checkboxes on my watch. I have not touched the watch. If I press the crown to go back to the face, this process repeats over and over. 3 - This probably relies on point 1 above, but after I had everything installed, and the app open on my phone, mirror notifications on watch was on and everything was set up as directed, a Pikachu showed up on my phone and there was no notification whatsoever on my watch: no beeping, vibrating, pictures, nothing at all. It took a few tries to catch it and I did, but there was no reaction whatsoever from the watch to this event. 4 - In order to have this working, does the iPhone have to have the Pokemon Go app open and you be all day on the Pokemon go game screen on the phone and have the pokemon go screen active on the watch? If I go back to my home screen, I get no notifications when Pokemon appear. Is that supposed to happen? I’m pretty concerned that if you have to have all these apps open, running and in the forefront that my batteries on both the phone and watch are going to die in no time. It also means every time I get a text or an email and go to read it, I have to keep switching back to the Pokemon app or I don’t get any notices. Thanks for any suggestions. I can't find a straightfoward description of how exactly this is supposed to work.
  • Both my phone and Apple Watch are up to date but it does not show Pokémon go on my Apple Watch which it should have automatically downloaded it. I tried troubleshooting it back to the source and as far back as I could go was Pokémon Go does not show up in the health part in my setting on iPhone. How do I allow it to do this? Thank you, hope someone can help who might have had same problems!
  • Go to your watch app on phone.... scroll down to find available apps, you will see Pokémon Go .... click on it and select to install... good luck!