Pokemon Go: 11 Tricks You May Not Know

Pokémon Go - 11 Tricks You May Not Know

“Pokémon GO is about blending gameplay and imagination with getting exercise and exploring the real world around you,” says The Niantic Team. I can certainly attest that it’s gotten me out of the house and exploring my neighborhood and beyond. While still newbies to the world of Pokémon Go  – not that the game is that old – and having no previous knowledge of Pokémon, my husband and I have learned a few tricks, and found a few Easter Eggs, while hunting Pokémon the last few weeks. Here I pass them on to you: 11 tricks you may not know about Pokémon Go.

1. Play Pokémon Go in Landscape Mode.

Pokémon Go in Landscape Mode

Pokémon Go in Landscape Mode

While the screen on your mobile device may not automatically rotate when you’re playing Pokémon Go, you can switch to a landscape view. I particularly like the landscape view on my iPad. You can see so much more of the world that way.  Here’s how to get into landscape mode:

  1. Turn your device sideways like you normally would to switch to Landscape Mode. Yeah, yeah, I know, the image on the screen doesn’t rotate. Keep reading.
  2. While keeping your device turned sideways, tap the red and white ball.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Tap Help Center.
  5. When your web browser opens – note it should open in Landscape mode. If it doesn’t, make sure your device’s rotation lock is off.
  6. Press your device’s Home button and switch back to Pokémon Go.

VoilàPokémon Go in Landscape Mode. To get back to Portrait mode, simply close the app and relaunch it.

2. How to Get a Real Haul at a PokéStop.

Reward for 10th Differentp PokéStop

Reward for 10th Different PokéStop

Find an area with lots of PokéStops in close proximity. In Summerville, near Azalea Park, there are oodles of churches, plus the park has bunches of PokéStops, too. So that’s our go-to place for this trick. Visit 10 different PokéStops within 30 minutes. Result: your 10th PokéStop should net you 10 items!

3. Activating a PokéStop while Riding as a Passenger in a Car.

PokéStop Too Far Away

PokéStop Too Far Away

I don’t know about you, but I am constantly running low on Poké Balls. So, I try to take advantage of every PokéStop I see, even on the ride to work – my husband usually drives. Don’t try this unless you’re a passenger. 

Here’s a trick I’ve learned to activate PokéStops on the fly: tap on the PokéStop while it’s in still in the distance. The screen will say it’s too far away. That’s ok. Just wait until that message goes away, then spin that sucker, but not too hard or fast, you don’t want it to spin for long. If you’re quick enough, and the car isn’t going too fast, it’ll spill its goods before you get out of range. I’ve gotten quite good at this – often on two devices: my iPad and our iPhone. DO NOT try to do this if you’re the one who’s driving. This is a tip for PASSENGERS ONLY!

4. Evaluating a Pokémon’s Battle Prowess with the Appraisal Tool.

In Niantic’s August 22, 2016 Pokémon Go update, they added a new feature: the Appraisal Tool.

Trainers will now be able to learn about a Pokémon’s attack and defense capabilities from their Team Leader (Candela, Blanche or Spark) to determine which of their Pokémon have the most potential for battle.

Valor (Red) Team Leader Candela Appraising an Exeggcute

Valor (Red) Team Leader Candela Appraising an Exeggcute

You see, not all Pokémon are created equal and their CP (Combat Power) isn’t the only thing that determines which have the best potential. While their CP is immediately evident, their true Individual Value (IV) is not. The new Appraisal Tool gives you a better idea of the latter.

  1. To access it, open your Pokémon collection and tap on a Pokémon you want to have appraised.
  2. Tap the menu button in the bottom right corner.
  3. If you’re at least Level 5, there are three options: Favorite, Appraise and Transfer.
  4. Tap Appraise. Your Team Leader will appraise your Pokémon. Tap to read their notes.

You can learn what their cryptic evaluations mean at Game Press’ Pokemon Appraisal web page. Each team leader uses a different set of words to say the same thing. I printed the ones for my leader and my husband’s so we could keep them handy for easy reference when culling our Pokémon.

While a good IV is, well good, a high CP is also important. You might also want to look at your Pokémon’s attacks. Some do more damage than others.

5. Keep Hunting Pidgeys, Rattatas, Caterpies, and Weedles.

Pidgey targeting

Catch that Pokémon! Even if he is just a Pidgey.

Whenever my phone vibrates now, I excitedly look to see what spawned. Oh, it’s just another rat|pidgey|weedle|caterpie is often my reaction. Sigh. But you know what, it’s a good idea to catch them anyway unless you’re running particularly low on balls.

Why? Because they’re cheap to Evolve. Cull them periodically, or as you acquire them, transferring the ones you don’t want to the Professor in exchange for more Candy. Save the best to Evolve – whether you ultimately keep them or not. Then go find a place by a PokéStop – or preferably two. My husband and I like to go to Azalea Park. Activate a Lucky Egg and evolve those babies for double the XP. Since you’re near a PokéStop, you can also get 100 XP (200 XP if you’re next to 2) every 5 minutes as well. When you run out of Pokémon to evolve, activate a Lure or Incense to attract more Pokémon. Or activate the Lure or Incense when you crack your Lucky Egg and alternate between evolving, catching Pokémon, and grabbing the loot from the PokéStops.

Tim and I power-leveled from 12 to 15 doing this. The results aren’t quite as spectacular at higher levels, but with enough Pidgeys you can put a big dent on the 25,000 you need between 19 and 20 or 20 and 21.

6. Catch Everything!

Given what I just said in trick #5, you can extend that advice to Catch Everything! A Pokémon’s there, you have balls, catch it! Because they bring you Candy and are covered in Stardust – two commodities always in short supply. You need Candy to Evolve Pokémon and both Candy and Stardust to Power Up Pokémon. Evolved Pokemon, typically, are more powerful than Wild Pokemon of the same species. So catch everything in the name of evolution.

7. Open Every PokéStop that Blooms – Even If Your Bag Is Full.

Pokémon Go PokéStop: Your bag is full

Pokémon Go PokéStop: Your bag is full. It’s still worth at least 50 XP!

Walking or driving by a PokéStop, but your bag is full? You should activate that blooming PokéStop anyway. It’s worth at least 50 XP. You earn the XP whether you get the goods or not. I’ve noticed that some PokéStops give extra experience, usually when their spitting out more than three goods.

8. Visit and Revisit Places at Different Times of the Day.

Pokémon are like people. They each have their preferred schedules. Some are morning Pokémon up at the break of day and rarin’ to go, others are late risers, and still others are night owls. For example, I’ve noticed that Zubats usually come out in the evening. I suspect they hole up in a dark cave and sleep through the day.

So, try playing at different times of the day. You’ll soon see that even in the same area, different species of Pokémon put in an appearance. Note: we’ve seen some of the strangest Pokémon at the Goose Creek Walmart at all times of the day.

9. Cast a Lure or Burn Incense to Attract Pokémon.

Pokémon Go Incense

Pokémon Go Incense

When you’re hanging near a PokéStop, maybe having a bite to eat, cast a Lure or burn Incense to attract more Pokémon to the area. Both last for 30 minutes, so only activate them when you can hunt for awhile.

Lures only work on PokéStops. To cast a Lure, open the PokéStop and tap the white horizontal pill shape above the framed photo. You can tell it’s active because little flurries of fairy dust and hearts will swirl around it enticing the Pokémon to come closer – so you can nab ’em!

When you cast a Lure, all Trainers in the area benefit – so it’s also a really nice thing to do. Might even make you some friends. Many businesses near PokéStops have taken to casting Lures to lure in more customers.

Incense also attracts Pokémon, but only to you. It’s like you put on Pokémon Love Potion #9, enticing Pokémon to flock to you wherever you should roam. It stays with you for 30 minutes and should attract at least 3 to 5 Pokémon in that time.

10. Claim Your Reward After Taking Over a Gym.

This was my reward.

This was my reward.

Pokémon Go Shop right after I tapped the shield in the top right corner to claim my reward.

Pokémon Go Shop right after I tapped the shield in the top right corner.

One thing I learned the hard way has to do with the related rewards you can earn, in terms of Poké Coins and XP, for taking over a Gym. Someone told me that if you take over a Gym and are still in that Gym 24 hours later, you’ll automatically receive a reward. Not true.

You need to claim your reward by going into the Shop and tapping the Claim Shield in the top right corner. You can only activate the Claim Shield once every 21 hours.

11. Watch For Gyms with Openings.

Once you hit Level 5, you can enter Gyms. Of course, at that lowly level, it’s unlikely you’ll have a powerful enough Pokémon to wage battle there or even train there. However, it’s still possible to get in a Gym and claim a reward.

Gym successfully entered

Gym successfully entered. And he didn’t even have to battle anyone! Don’t forget to claim your reward.

Red Valor Gym with an opening

Red Valor Gym with an opening. Note open circle under “Gym level 2”. Tap arrow in bottom left corner to enter.

Whenever you’re near a Gym that’s controlled by your team, check it out. Sometimes there’s an opening and you can leave one of your Pokémon there, grab your reward and who cares how long he’s able to defend the place. You nabbed a reward with zero effort. You will have to Revive your Pokémon when he gets kicked out and returns to you. Give the little guy a drink (Potion) for his efforts to heal him up the rest of the way, too.

Keep a Lookout for Neutral (Grey) Gyms, Too!

A neutral, grey Pokémon Gym.

A neutral, grey Pokémon Gym.

Empty Pokémon Gym

Inside the Gym. Quick! Tap arrow in bottom left corner to enter it!

Also be on the lookout for neutral, grey Gyms. Anyone can take those over. I haven’t ever run across any. The only time I’ve seen a Gym go grey is when a rival Trainer just took it over. There’s always a few seconds between their victory and their insertion of a Pokémon to hold the fort. Don’t be a jerk and jump in ahead of them, they did all the work. Sometimes, however, the Gym will have an extra opening when they’re done. By all means, step in to fill the void.

As you reach higher levels, you can battle and train for placement. Pokémon Go allows you to defend up to 10 different Gyms at the same time. The more you hold, the bigger your reward when you hit that Claim Shield. Thus far, I’ve never been in more than two at the same time.

Because you can only claim a reward once every 21 hours, if you think you’re up to taking on multiple Gyms, grab as many as you can, then cash out quick! The maximum reward you can get is 100 Poké Coins and 5,000 Stardust for defending 10 gyms at the same time, once every 21 hours. I’ve been settling for 10 Poké Coins and 500 Stardust once a day. Now that I’ve got a few more powerful Pokémon in my backpack, I intend to improve on that.


So there you have it: 11 tricks you may not know for Pokémon Go. I hope you picked up at least a few new tricks from reading this. Here’s a new statistic, you’ve surely not heard yet:

In the last eight weeks, Pokémon GO surpassed 500 million downloads around the world and players have collectively walked 4.6 billion kilometers, which is the distance from Earth to Pluto.

See what all that Stardust does to people. We’ve reached the stars, mon!


Copyright © 2016 by Tina G. McDuffie. All rights reserved.
Photo rights retained by their respective copyright holders.










Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *