It’s oftentimes human nature that if rules exist, we’ll find a way around them. The worldwide sensation that is Pokémon Go seems to be no exception to that. Players everywhere are finding unique ways to bend, or flat-out break, the game’s rules. Some of these methods are fairly harmless, while others can earn you a ban. Want to know more? Of course you do, or you wouldn’t be here.
The easy gym-claiming hack
This hack has generated a lot of angry comments from trainers on Reddit and in social media. When a player attacks a Gym and brings its prestige down to zero, the Gym will become neutral until a player places a new Pokémon into it as a defender. Generally, it will take the trainer who defeated the Gym a few moments to slot their Pokémon in as a defender, because you can only place creatures there who are fully healed.
If you don’t have creatures that are strong enough to take over a Gym yet, but you still want to get the defense reward for owning a Gym, those few seconds are your opportunity. While the other trainer is busy reviving and healing their Pokémon, watch for the Gym to turn neutral, then immediately tap on it and place one of your Pokémon in there as a defender. Next, go to your Shop menu and tap the shield icon to claim your daily defender bonus award of Pokécoins and stardust. You’ll claim a Gym for your team and earn some currency to use in the Shop, without having to attack even once.
Hatching eggs more efficiently
Are you too tired or lazy to walk around and hatch those eggs you’ve had forever? No problem—just use something else to do it for you! Creative Pokémon Go players have tried all sorts of things, like attaching their phones to their ceiling fans, record players, dogs, and probably children. Also, we probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but don’t use your microwave for this method. Despite the memes going around that show a phone safely spinning inside a microwave, all this will give you is fried eggs and a fried phone.
To efficiently hatch eggs, you need to know how the location tracking works in Pokémon Go. AndroidCentral‘s Russell Holly explains it best: "The app pings your GPS location once every 60 seconds, and measures the distance between each ping as the distance you’ve traveled. If that distance can be traveled under 15 mph, that distance is added to your eggs as distance traveled."
Since your distance "traveled" is only being calculated in straight lines, your best bet is to always move in straight lines and move as far as possible in 60 seconds—but remember to keep your speed under 15 mph! If you want to hack this, you might try to find a large, empty parking lot where you can drive slowly and in straight lines. Or maybe you like model trains. If you build a long track and time it properly, you can strap your phone to the caboose and have a blast. Or you could, you know, just walk.
Get the Eevee you want
While more of an Easter egg than a cheat, this is still an effective trick to use in the game. If you want to control the final form your Eevee will evolve into, name them after the original Eevee trainers from the Pokémon anime series! Naming your Eevee "Sparky" will net you a Jolteon upon evolution. Naming him "Rainer" will get you a Vaporeon, while naming him "Pyro" will result in a Flareon. Make sure you restart your app after naming your Eevee, to ensure the new name went through correctly before proceeding with the evolution process. This method is guaranteed to work for at least one of each "Eeveelution" type. Personally, we’ve had it continue to work for every Eevee we’ve tried it on, as long as you remember to change the name of the previous "Sparky/Pyro/Rainer" before giving another Eevee that same name.
Finally, we’ve come to the big bad cheat that’s being used in Pokémon Go. Put simply, GPS spoofing is making your device pretend to be at a location that you are not. Some trainers have gone to some extreme lengths to do this, like strapping their phone to a remote-controlled drone and flying it around while playing the game via their laptop at home.
Others have used the somewhat-easier method of faking their location via a virtual Android device on their PC. While we won’t go into details (you can Google for them if you absolutely must know), here’s the basic premise: Players install the Bluestacks program on their computer, which creates a virtual Android environment on your PC that acts just like the real thing. After rooting the device to give them more control over the system settings, they install a modified APK file of Pokémon Go, as well as a GPS faking app. Once everything is set up, cheaters can set their "location" via the fake GPS app on the device, open up Pokémon Go, and then catch creatures or collect items at Pokéstops without leaving their home.
Obviously, this method of cheating is not only against the spirit of the game, but it’s also against Niantic’s TOS. As with their other augmented-reality game, Ingress, Niantic can and will ban players that they catch spoofing their GPS. Early reports indicate that cheaters are only being given a soft ban thus far—locking them out of the game for an hour or two at the most. As the developers get a handle on the massive popularity of the game, and can turn their attention to GPS spoofers, it will only be a matter of time before the permanent bans begin to fly.
Getting the perfect straight throw
One of the most important parts of the game is throwing Pokéballs, and there are several strategies for achieving the best throw. First, the basics. As you hold down your Pokéball and prepare to throw it, the capture circle repeatedly shrinks and grows. The smaller the capture circle is when you release your throw, the more XP you get if you can hit the circle—up to a 100 XP bonus if the circle is really small (an "excellent" throw).
When you’re throwing straight (rather than an intentional curveball), if your finger wobbles to either side during your delivery, you’re not going to hit the circle.
If you’re struggling to throw accurately, you can use physical overlays that have cutouts for your finger to follow. Some of the smoothest are phone cases that flip over to cover your screen when you need them. Others easily clip to the front of your phone. If you don’t have access to a 3-D printer or you don’t feel like shelling out cash for a case, you can also put two thin strips of masking tape on your phone, leaving a lane for your finger. (This has obvious drawbacks.)
If you’re looking for something a little less bulky or labor-intensive, consider downloading an app that draws a line down the middle of your screen. There are even apps that let you record and play swipe motions on cue. Once you record a perfect throwing motion, you can just activate the app and get the same thing every time. You can even record different throws to use when Pokémon are standing farther away.
For pure strategy, try starting your throw in the middle or top of your screen. This gives you a better angle and takes less power to get your Pokéball to the Pokémon.
Throwing the perfect curveball
Another strategy for throwing Pokéballs is to use a curveball. Successfully capturing a Pokémon with a curveball awards 10 XP, in addition to any bonus you might get for hitting the capture circle. Using a curveball also slightly increases your chances of catching the Pokémon you’re facing. Curveballs are inherently more difficult, but don’t worry—there are ways to hack the curveball, too!
Just like for the straight throw, you can pick up a plastic screen overlay that helps direct your finger for the perfect curveball. And you can always use the assistive touch apps to record and swipe curveball motions, including the start of a good curveball, a quickly spinning Pokéball.
There’s a pure strategy angle here, too. Imgur user LollipopKABOOM diagrammed his theory for the perfect curveball. Check out the diagram to get the full effect, but you’re basically starting in the bottom corner of the screen, dragging your finger across the front of the Pokémon, and then releasing your spinning Pokéball and letting the spin do the curving for you.
A big part of Pokémon Go involves walking around and finding Pokémon. But the game doesn’t tell you where to find certain Pokémon, and it can take one person a long time to figure out hotspots for different creatures.
But if you don’t mind removing all the mystery and guessing from the game, the power of crowdsourcing is here to help. Poké Radar is currently only on Apple devices. (Most of the Android versions seem like spam apps, based on reviews, other than the well-reviewed Go Tools for Pokémon Go.) Or you can just visit the website, at Pokeradar.io.
Using this tool, you can mark the locations of Pokémon you find. You can also see where other users have marked Pokémon, and users can upvote or downvote marks as a measure of quality control.
Lucky Egg evolution strategy
Experience points are pretty important in Pokémon Go: the XP required to level up goes through the roof starting around Level 20, so there’s absolutely no excuse for throwing XP away. Items called Lucky Eggs grant you double XP for a 30-minute period. Lucky Eggs are awarded to players when they reach certain levels; otherwise, they must be purchased in the app. Most players use a Lucky Egg when they’re walking around or when they’re about to hatch a Pokémon. Then they make sure they battle at a gym or check in at a Pokéstop to gain some more XP.
But this is really a waste of a Lucky Egg. You get 500 XP for evolving Pokémon in your inventory, no matter which Pokémon you’re evolving. Lower-level Pokémon, like Pidgey, take just a few candies to evolve, so the idea is to stockpile a ton of candies and as many Pidgeys or low-level Pokémon as you can. If you don’t get distracted during your 30-minute window, you can probably evolve about 60 Pokémon. (Depending on your phone’s processor, it can even be faster to restart the app after evolving the Pokémon rather than waiting for the animation to complete.) This would usually give you 30,000 XP, but with the Lucky Egg active, that doubles to 60,000 XP. With a total of 20 million XP required to reach the current top level, Level 40, double XP is nothing to sneeze at.