After years of catching hard-earned Pokémon from different games and wondering if we'd ever be able to use them again, the Pokémon Company has come through with a new trading and storage system called Pokémon HOME. In case you didn't know already, there's a Nintendo Switch version as well as a mobile version of Pokémon HOME, which both link to your Nintendo Account. And yes, the 3DS storage system, Pokémon Bank, can transfer to the Switch version.
Give your favorite Pokémon a home
Proud of the creatures you've been able to capture in various Pokémon games? By storing them in Pokémon HOME you can keep them safe or trade with others online to get monsters you don't have.
What is Pokémon HOME?
Pokémon HOME is a service that houses Pokémon you've caught in various games and allows you to trade them with others online. It is currently live and ready to use.
Does Pokémon HOME have a subscription and how much does it cost?
There is a free basic plan that offers a limited number of features. However, to get the full package, you'll want to pay for Pokémon HOME's Premium plan. It costs $3 for 30 days, $5 for 90 days, or $16 annually. You can purchase your preferred plan through the Nintendo eShop.
How do you trade?
The paid version of this service allows you to trade with other Pokémon players around the world or trade with people nearby using a smartphone. Players have access to the GTS (Global Trading System) as well as new Wonder Boxes. Trading is limited to the mobile version of Pokémon HOME.
What games are compatible with Pokémon HOME?
Pokémon HOME works with the Pokémon Bank, Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu!, Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!, Pokémon Sword, Pokémon Shield, and Pokémon GO. If it's been a while or if you aren't familiar, the 3DS handheld system's Pokémon Bank allowed you to store up to 3,000 monsters from several games. This means that if you have a 3DS and use Pokémon Bank, you can move Pokémon into Pokémon HOME from the many Pokémon games available on 3DS, as well.
Games that work with Pokémon HOME
- Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu!
- Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!
- Pokémon Sword
- Pokémon Shield
- Pokémon Brilliant Diamond*
- Pokémon Shining Pearl*
- Pokémon Legends: Arceus*
- Pokémon Bank
- Pokémon GO
Note: Any games marked with an asterisk (*) will be able to transfer with Pokémon HOME once the service receives its 2.0.0 update.
PSA: Pokémon Bank will no longer be downloadable once 3DS eShop closes
The 3DS eShop will be shutting down in March 2023, meaning 3DS owners will no longer be able to buy digital Pokémon games on 3DS after that date. Though Pokémon Bank has historically required a subscription to access, anyone who currently has the service downloaded on 3DS will be able to continue using it for free past the closure date. On the flipside, this means that if you don't have Pokémon Bank downloaded before then, you won't be able to use this service on 3DS going forward.
Now the thing is, Pokémon Bank has been the only way to transfer Pokémon from older-gen games to HOME so unless The Pokémon Company puts something new in place on Switch, we could be losing the ability to transfer certain gen-exclusive Pokémon to Pokémon HOME.
It's important to note that although Pokémon Bank worked with several games from the 3DS system including virtual console versions of the earliest games, some of the games could only deposit into Pokémon Bank but couldn't receive transfers from the storage service. Something similar is in place for Pokémon HOME. You can trade most Pokémon into Pokémon HOME, but you can't always transfer them to other games.
Games that work with Pokémon Bank on the 3DS
- Pokémon Black
- Pokémon White
- Pokémon Black 2
- Pokémon White 2
- Pokémon Red (Virtual Console)
- Pokémon Blue (Virtual Console)
- Pokémon Yellow (Virtual Console)
- Pokémon Gold (Virtual Console)
- Pokémon Silver (Virtual Console)
- Pokémon Crystal (Virtual Console)
- Pokémon X
- Pokémon Y
- Pokémon Alpha Sapphire
- Pokémon Omega Ruby
- Pokémon Sun
- Pokémon Moon
- Pokémon Ultra Sun
- Pokémon Ultra Moon
As you can see in the image above, several games allow you to transfer a Pokémon into Pokémon HOME; however, only Sword and Shield allows you to transfer a Pokémon from Pokémon HOME to the game. That means that anything transferred to Pokémon HOME from a different Pokémon title won't be able to go back into its original game.
There are also limitations on which Pokémon can be transferred into Gen 8. You can only transfer a Pokémon into Sword and Shield if that Pokémon is in the Galar region Pokédex. Even with the DLC Expansion Passes, Isle of Armor, and Crown Tundra, there are still many Pokémon that cannot be transferred into Sword and Shield. This means that many Pokémon will be stuck in Pokémon HOME until a new title is released.
With the addition of Pokémon GO to the games supported by Pokémon HOME, there are a number of Pokémon that cannot be transferred from GO to HOME. Any costumed Pokémon cannot be transferred. Spinda cannot be transferred and, according to data miners, Kyurem Black and Kyurem White — upcoming fused Legendary Pokémon — cannot be transferred either.
Differences between the free and premium versions
Those who pay for a premium subscription will be able to deposit up to 6,000 Pokémon, whereas free users can only deposit 30. Additionally, premium users will be able to place up to 10 Pokémon in a Wonder Box for surprise trading with other players rather than just the three limited to free users. One of the other big differences is that paid players can host room trades to find specific players to trade with. While free users can participate in these room trades, they cannot host them.
Differences between Switch and mobile versions
While you can link your mobile version of Pokémon HOME with your Switch version, the features you can access differ depending on which version you're using. One of the most basic things is that when using the mobile version, you can't move Pokémon into Pokémon HOME from Switch games including Pokémon: Sword, Shield, Let's Go, Pikachu!, and Let's Go, Eevee! Additionally, mobile users cannot exchange Battle Points since this is something used in Switch games.
When accessing the mobile version of Pokémon HOME, players have access to global trading with other users, being able to receive Mystery Gifts, and can check news and battle data. For more information on these features, continue reading.
How to transfer Pokémon from Gen 1 through Gen 8 to Pokémon HOME
Players must use different means to bring all Pokémon from various Pokémon RPGs and remakes into Pokémon HOME. Since there's a lot to it, we have a separate guide on how to transfer all Pokémon from Gen 1 through Gen 8 to Pokémon HOME. Depending on the consoles and versions of the games you might have to rely on cables or the 3DS service Pokémon Bank. Once a Pokémon is on the 3DS, you'll need to use Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter to get those games into Pokémon HOME.
With the 3DS eShop closing in 2023, this ability will soon only be available to handhelds that downloaded the two apps before the 3DS store shut down its servers for good.
Pokémon HOME What features are available?
There is an array of features included with Pokémon HOME, including all-new surprises and things we're already familiar with.
A new feature in Pokémon HOME is the Wonder Box. For those who played the Gen VI and Gen VII Pokémon games, this sounds very similar to Wonder Trades (also known as Surprise Trades in Pokémon Sword and Shield). These special Trades are randomly matched up with players all across the globe. Premium subscribers can place up to 10 Pokémon in the Wonder Box at a time, directly from their mobile phones. Basic subscribers are still able to utilize the Wonder Box but are limited to three Pokémon at a time. The Wonder Box is limited to the mobile version of Pokémon HOME.
The GTS or Global Trading System is available through Pokémon HOME as well. This global network allows players to trade almost any Pokémon by listing exactly what they would like in exchange. Premium subscribers are able to list up to three Pokémon in the GTS at a time, while basic subscribers are limited to one at a time. The GTS is limited to the mobile version of Pokémon HOME.
Players are able to participate in Trading Rooms. These rooms can hold up to 20 players interested in directly trading with each other. Any subscriber is able to participate in Trading Rooms but Premium subscribers can create and host these rooms. Trading Rooms is limited to the mobile version of Pokémon HOME.
Another feature supported by Pokémon HOME is direct trades with friends. Any subscriber over the age of 16 can directly trade Pokémon with their friends. The friend list is unique to Pokémon HOME, allowing any Pokémon HOME subscribers over the age of 16 to add other Pokémon HOME subscribers to their friend list. Friend trading is limited to the mobile version of Pokémon HOME.
While Pokémon HOME is only able to transfer Pokémon from the Galarian Pokédex into Pokémon Sword and Shield, it can hold any Pokémon in the National Pokédex. This includes Mega Evolutions and Gigantamax Pokémon. This National Pokédex includes far more information than just the Pokédex entries, with all possible moves and abilities.
Mystery Gifts are a feature Pokémon games have been using since Gen II. Also known as Pokémon Distributions, these are free Pokémon and items that The Pokémon Company gives out to players, either through a code or through logging in during a specific time period. Pokémon HOME will have its own Mystery Gifts, allowing players to build up an even greater collection of Pokémon and items. Mystery Gifts are limited to the mobile version of Pokémon HOME.
Another feature new to Pokémon HOME is the Judging feature. This allows players to evaluate their Pokémon stats compared to the best possible for each species. Judging is available on both the mobile and Switch versions of Pokémon HOME.
At the center of your Pokémon HOME account, you have a personal room. In this room, you can see information about events, as well as the games you've connected to Pokémon HOME. You can decorate your room with stickers you've earned by completing challenges in Pokémon HOME.
Pokémon HOME also has a News section where players can keep up to date on the latest Mystery Gifts, competitions, and more. This News section is limited to the mobile version of Pokémon HOME.
Players can access Battle Data through Pokémon HOME. This includes information about Ranked Battles and Online Competitions being held for Pokémon Sword and Shield, as well as rankings of all Pokémon being used in those battles and competitions. Battle Data is limited to the mobile version of Pokémon HOME.
Pokémon HOME Points
Using Pokémon HOME to store various Pokémon earns players Pokémon HOME points. Players can exchange these points for Battle Points or BP in the core games, much in the same way Poké Miles work in the Pokémon Bank. Pokémon HOME point exchange is limited to the Switch version of Pokémon HOME.
Give them a HOME
With the ability to store and trade Pokémon from various games all in one place, you can try to get rare creatures you haven't caught yet. I myself have been able to trade for a number of shiny Pokémon, which has been very rewarding.
If you're ready to venture out and explore other fun Pokémon titles, be sure to check out all of the best Pokémon games on Nintendo Switch.
Updated May 2022: With information about 3DS eShop closing.
Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.