intelligentwatchreview How to get started in Pokémon GO in 2022

A handbook that won’t go out of print

Niantic’s beloved child, Pokémon GO, has been available on Android since 2016, and it’s not going away anytime soon. It’s free-to-play with monetization. The monetization model rakes in a ton of cash, keeping the game updated and running, with many events each year. Pokémon GO has generated over $5 billion in revenue since its launch, and content is added all the time to keep people playing (and spending). But this is ultimately a game about fun, so let’s not shy away from enjoying ourselves.

Whether you are new to Pokémon GO or a returning player, expect a bit of a learning curve. Information is slung at your face within minutes of playing. The worst part is that some of this info is never mentioned again. The game honestly shouldn’t be that overwhelming, and yet it is. We, here at AP, aim to help fix this by easing everyone into the game. So we’ve compiled a helpful and detailed starter guide for beginners, covering essentials like an intro to the game's mechanics, some helpful how-to’s, and useful tips to take on your Pokémon journey in GO.


Check out the above 30-second teaser from Google Play for a preview of Pokémon GO's in-game features.

PokéStops and Gyms

PokéStops are landmarks players visit to get free items. Once you spin for items at a stop, wait five real-time minutes to spin again. You can do this infinitely if you have lots of time on your hands! Plan outings at parks and set up shop next to a PokéStop. You can install lure modules to attract wild Pokémon at a PokéStop for 30 minutes.

Freebies from spinning PokéStops:

Note: the item rarity obtained depends on your trainer level.

Like PokéStops, Gyms are another landmark that players can visit (requires trainer level 5). You can spin the Gyms and partake in gym battles. Sometimes special events, ‘raids’ can be encountered at a gym: any gym activity gets put on hold while a raid happens.

Leaving your Pokémon to defend the gym gets PokéCoins for your account. Niantic uses PokéCoins as the in-game currency, you can acquire more with real money, but that's not needed. You can earn 50 PokéCoins per day (6 PokéCoins per hour). The 50 PokéCoins per day is a hard cap, so if you brought three Pokémon to three different gyms, you wouldn’t get 150 PokéCoins if all three return on that same day.

Farming candies and experience points efficiently

Part of the fun is seeing your stable of Pokémon grow. Pokémon can't evolve without using candies, stardust (power up currency), items, and sometimes they even need to meet unique conditions.

Neglecting your trainer level is a big no-no. The best goodies come from the leveling rewards you earn as you level up. Important tip: hoard your incubators and never throw them away. To replenish your stock, you need PokéCoins – and that's extra work for free-to-play players.

Walking your Pokémon buddy is how you earn candy. The distance (in kilometers) isn't fixed – it's based on who your assigned buddy is.

Navigate to your buddy’s page and check under walking progress to find which tier your Pokémon falls under.

Expand How to get started in Pokémon GO in 2022

In general, the distance is tied to a Pokémon's rarity. Legendary Pokémon fall under Tier 4. Keep in mind walking your legendary Pokémon is inefficient – just use rare candies instead.

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Trainer Levels 1-40 (data from TheSilphRoad)

Looking at the aggregate data, the numbers grow exponentially. The higher level you are, the longer it takes to reach the next level. Note: levels are not capped at 40.

Practicing space management

Let’s be honest, Niantic does a good job incentivizing players to upgrade space early – only having access to 350 bag space, effectively 348 is on the cheap end. Don’t be fooled. You won’t need to buy any upgrades on day 1, and since some items can be disposed of, you can easily clear out some space.

Eventually, you acquire PokéCoins for upgrades, but pre-level 20 trainers shouldn't feel pressured to rush.

Consistent item management is a good skill to have in every game. The below list is made up of commonly collected items – if your item is not on this list, do not throw it away.

You're not done yet, either. Clearing your item bag is only one step. Pokémon storage management is next. You only have 300 storage bases to work with. Even with 700+ Pokémon to catch, Niantic does a good job controlling the spawns every week, meaning you won't be filling your Pokédex in a single sitting.

Getting new Pokémon takes time. However, managing your many duplicates is another story. Your storage fills up fast if you keep catching Pokémon unfiltered. Prioritize checking quality and rarity when filtering for your catches. Don't just go out there catching 'em all, choose wisely.

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The three-star symbol under CP indicates the Pokémon is shiny. Shiny Pokémon are harder to get – keep them if you can!


Some tasks require you to evolve certain Pokémon.

Final tip: always favorite Pokémon you keep. This way, you won’t accidentally delete important Pokémon.

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Research tasks are your best assets

Research task rewards can be very handy for your account. You can get higher quality Pokémon (better IVs), higher rarity items, and lots of XP/stardust.

Stop procrastinating on your research tasks – some are limited time only, and others take multiple steps. Pay attention to the type so you can plan ahead.

Developing a routine

At the end of the day, Pokémon GO thrives on the sense of progression. If you aren’t doing activities daily or weekly, you just don’t get the most out of playing. What you choose to do is entirely subjective, so figuring out what you enjoy the most in Pokémon GO is part of the experience: are you an avid Pokémon collector, a PVP and PVE battler addict, or maybe you're a Research task completionist? There are many hats to wear, and the choice is yours.

Follow the approach below if you aim for a balanced experience:

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Turning on adventure sync means any steps you take without having the app open will count towards steps later on. This is great when you can’t actively play as you can still progress while doing other things.

Over time your routine may change and tailor what you can do that day. Always check ahead when special events are happening so you don’t miss out!

Post-Release features to care about

The pandemic has forced Niantic to rethink its core mechanics. A game that promotes social gatherings during raiding and the required close distance to interact with PokéStops and Gyms (40 m) clashes with COVID-19 health regulations. Niantic made an effort by increasing the distance to 80 m – this change was once rolled back briefly in 2021, but an enormous outcry from the public led to the decision being reversed. As a result, some excellent features to help players through the pandemic have remained, so let's check them out.

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Faith studied chemistry and later pursued technical writing and gaming journalism. While being morphed into a seasoned gamer, she obsessively yearns to stay connected with the latest tech. Now with an android phone in one hand, and her deep analytical mind in another, Faith is ready to embark on her ultimate quest for knowledge.