How to trade Pokémon in Pokémon Go
Trading has always been a significant part of Pokémon. In core games, you simply cannot "catch 'em all" without trading. Although it isn't quite as necessary in Pokémon Go, Trading does allow you to exchange your extra Pokémon with other players for the Pokémon you still need or simply want. But, it's the way you trade Pokémon in Pokémon Go — especially Legendary, Mythical, Shiny, perfect, and new Pokédex entries — that's so interesting... and expensive. What does that mean? Read on!
What has Pokémon Go said about trading Pokémon?
From Pokémon Go:
So you have to be level 10 or higher to trade Pokémon in Pokémon Go?
Yup. That's the cutoff. And we shouldn't be surprised. Pokémon Go has implemented minimum levels for in-game mechanics since it first launched.
How do you trade Pokémon in Pokémon Go?
Assuming both you and the person you want to trade with are level 10 and higher:
- Become "Friends" with the person you want to trade with. (Ask for their Trainer Code and use it to send them a Friend request. Once they accept, you're friends.)
- Meet up with the Friend you want to trade with. (You have to be within 100 meters of each other for trading to become available.)
- Select the Pokémon you want to trade and have your Friend select the Pokémon they want to trade for it.
- Review the Trade Details and make sure you're happy with them, including the CP and HP ranges. (IV is re-rolled when you trade, so it's better to trade low IV Pokémon in hopes of improving them, and never trade a 100% Pokémon because you'll almost certainly lose those stats.)
- Tap Next.
- Review the Trade one last time.
- Tap Confirm.
How much Stardust does Trading cost?
It varies depending on the Pokémon and the friendship level between the two players making the trade. Some Pokémon like Pikachu and Squirtle can be Traded between Best Friends for tiny amounts of Stardust — 100.
Special Trades, which involve Legendary, Shiny, and new (for your Pokédex), are another story. They could start at one million Stardust with a Good Friend. Yes — 1,000,000! The 1,000,000 number is just for new friends. Once you work your way up to best friends (which takes 90 days of interactions,) you can trade a Legendary, Shiny, or New-for-you Pokémon for "just" 40,000 Stardust.
Friendship Level is fundamental to Trading as each increase to your level gets you a discount.
- Good Friend 0% Stardust discount
- Great Friend 20% Stardust discount
- Ultra Friend 92% Stardust discount
- Best Friend 96% Stardust discount
Any other restrictions to Special Trades?
Yup! You can only make one Special Trade a day. Not one per Friend. One total.
Can you trade mythical Pokémon, like Mew?
No. Mythical Pokémon, most of which are limited to one per account, cannot be traded at all. Of the Mythical Pokémon to be introduced to Pokémon Go, only one was not limited to a single Pokémon per account. Darkrai was part of Legendary Raids over Halloween, but Mew, Celebi, and Jirachi were all introduced as part of Special Research. Because every player can earn a single copy of these Mythical Pokémon, Niantic does not allow them to be traded.
Both people making the Trade pay the same amount of Stardust, or is it split between them?
Both players pay the same amount of Stardust. Even if you're only trading a Pidgey, when a special trade happens, you will still have to pay the higher Stardust cost.
IVs change when you Trade?
Almost certainly to discourage cheaters, Pokémon traded in Go get a change to their IVs and stats. This prevents players from "selling" 100% IV Pokémon, while the limits on Trading prevent players from constantly "rerolling" for better IVs.
However, the higher your Friendship level, the higher potential IV you can get from a Trade. This, along with the reduced Stardust cost encourages Trading between actual friends.
Can you keep trading Pokémon back-and-forth until you get high IVs?
No. Pokémon Go has stated:
So it's one-and-done, to prevent exactly that.
What's a Lucky Trade?
In Pokémon Go, some Trades are better than others, and they come with a huge benefit. A Lucky Trade is guaranteed to have high stats, and it costs half the Stardust to power up. While the odds of most Trades being Lucky Trades will seem random, there are some ways of increasing your chances.
First: the fewer Lucky Pokémon you have, the higher your chances of getting another. Pokémon you've had for a longer time are also more likely to be Lucky when traded, with Pokémon as old as the game almost always being Lucky. The most important thing you can do to get Lucky Trades, however, is keep playing with your Best Friends. Every day you continue to interact with your Best Friends, you have a chance of becoming Lucky Friends. When you're Lucky Friends, the next Trade you make together is guaranteed to be a Lucky Trade.
What's Trade Evolution?
In the core Pokémon games, there have always been certain species of Pokémon that require Trading to evolve. In January 2020, Pokémon Go incorporated a Trade Evolution mechanic into the game. Now, a select few species will benefit from being Trades. While you can still evolve these species without Trading, by Trading them first, you can evolve them for free.
These species include:
Any other questions about Trading in Pokémon Go?
Do you have any questions about how Trading works in Pokémon Go? Want to show off your latest Lucky Trade? Drop us a comment below, and be sure to check out our many Pokémon Go guides, as well as our complete Pokédex to up your game!
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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.