Pokémon Go Gyms: How to defend, attack, earn coins, get stardust

Pokemon Go on iPhone: Red Gym
(Image credit: iMore/ Rene Ritchie)

While many aspects of Pokémon Go are fairly straight forward, such as finding and catching Pokémon and spinning Pokéstops for items, the Gym system is a little complicated and has changed quite a bit since Pokémon Go first launched. Every aspect from how you join Gyms to how you defend Gyms, how you attack Gyms, to how you get Stardust, Poké Coins, items, and — yes! — Candy can be confusing to keep track of. Fortunately, we've done the research and tested out every aspect of Pokémon Go Gyms. Here's what you need to know!

Pokémon Go Raid Battle Guide: Everything you need to know!

TL;DR: The current Gym system in bullet points

  • You can join any empty Gym at any time.
  • You can only join a maximum of 20 Gyms at any one time.
  • Gyms have 6 slots.
  • Gyms can only have one of each species of Pokémon on them at any given time. So, if you add a Blissey, no one else can add a Blissey to the same Gym.
  • Gym order is based on order joined. First in, first to battle, potentially first out.
  • There's no more prestiging (training). If a Gym is empty or belongs to your team, and one of the 6 slots is open, you can join it. If there's no slot, you can't.
  • Pokémon in Gyms have a Motivation meter that looks like a heart.
  • Pokémon lose Motivation the moment they're put in Gyms but the rate at which Motivation decays scales along with the Pokémon's max CP ranging from 1-10% with higher CP Pokémon decaying faster than lower.
  • Pokémon also lose roughly 28% Motivation for their first two losses.
  • The third loss in a row kicks a Pokémon out of the Gym.
  • You can increase a Pokémon from the same team's Motivation, including your own, by feeding it a Pinap, Nanab, or Razz Berry, or fill it up completely by feeding it a new Golden Razz Berry.
  • You can keep feeding normal Berries, even after it's full, until its been fed 10 Berries. You can feed up to 10 Pokémon up to 10 Berries each within 30 minutes.
  • There is no limit to the number of Golden Razz Berries you can feed a Pokémon in a Gym.
  • When you feed a Pokémon a berry, including your own, you get 20 Stardust, 20 XP, and, occasionally, a Candy of that Pokémon's type.
  • You can feed berries remotely to any Gym with one of your Pokémon on it.
  • You can attack any rival Gym within range at any time.
  • You still get a Battle Team of 6 Pokémon to attack with.
  • You can save your favorite Battle Teams for easy access at any time.
  • When you defeat a rival Pokémon, it loses Motivation and CP.
  • When its Motivation and CP get reduced to zero, and you defeat it, it gets kicked out of the Gym.
  • If you kick all the Pokémon out of a Gym, you can take over the Gym for your team.
  • Pokémon accumulate one Poké Coin per 10 minutes when they're in a Gym.
  • You can only collect Poké Coins when your Pokémon gets kicked out of a Gym.
  • You can only collect a maximum of 50 Poké Coins a day no matter how many Poké Coins your Pokémon have accumulated or how many are kicked out of a Gym on any given day.
  • A day starts at midnight, so you can get 50 coins at 11:59 pm, and another 50 at midnight.
  • You can spin the Photo Disc on a Gym once every 5 minutes to receive items, just like a PokéStop.
  • You get 2-4 items per spin, with a bonus item when you spin a Gym controlled by your team.
  • Spinning Gyms counts towards your daily streak bonuses.
  • The first time you spin a Gym on any given day, you also get your free Raid Pass for the day.
  • Pokémon Go Plus can spin Gyms just like it can PokéStops.
  • You get a Gym badge for every Gym you interact with.
  • It takes 500 points to get a bronze badge, 4,000 to get a silver badge, and 30,000 to get gold.
  • The most efficient way to get Gym points is to be in a Gym for long periods (1440 a day) and/or fight in a lot of Raids at the Gym (1000 per Raid).
  • You can see all your Gyms on the Map view.
Rene Ritchie

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.