Everyone is playing Pokémon GO, but if you’re new to the game, you may need a little help getting started. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t really have a tutorial, so you’re left to figure things out on your own. But no more. We’ve outlined some of the basics for new players. If you’ve already got the basics down, you can take a look at our more advanced tips and tricks to the game.

  1. You swipe across a blue Pokéstop to get items, and it turns purple after you use it, but you can wait about 5 minutes for a Pokéstop to turn blue and spin it again.
  2. You can save battery life by touching the Pokéball at the bottom of the main screen, then touching Settings, then checking Battery Saver. (You might want to turn off sounds while you’re there, too.) But some people say using this option causes the game to crash more often.
  3. You can turn the alternate-reality feature (camera icon) off to save battery life, but only when you’re in the middle of catching a Pokémon. You have to be in a battle to turn the AR on or off. When the camera is off, you don’t have to point your phone at the Pokémon in order to catch it. (That’s nice when you’re trying not to point your phone at a private home or business.)
  4. You can lurk near a Pokéstop and just play if there’s a Lure in effect—the Pokémon will come to you. Lures look like pink confetti on the map. You can buy and activate Lures yourself, or you can take advantage of other players’ Lures.
  5. Once you get into a battle with a Pokémon, you can give it a Raspberry to weaken it and make it more likely that you’ll get a successful capture. Or, if you have the stronger (blue) balls, you can use them.
  6. Catch them all—even if you already have a particular Pokémon—and later on Transfer the weaker duplicate Pokémon to consolidate them. Do this by touching the ball, touching POKÉMON, and touching the green circle in the lower-right hand corner, then touching NAME. This sorts them by name. Pick the weaker duplicates, scroll down to the bottom of the screen, touch TRANSFER, and touch YES.
  7. Periodically check your Pokémon to see if you can Evolve them (the Evolve button will turn green.) Your Pokémon will evolve into a completely new type of Pokémon.
  8. Put eggs in incubators. You get one incubator to start out with, then they’ll get dropped by Pokéstops or you can buy them. The app has to be open and running for your steps to count for egg incubation. When eggs hatch you might get some pretty cool new Pokémon.
  9. You don’t have to participate in Gym battles, but if you want to, you can join a team (red, yellow, or blue) once you reach Level 5.

This article was written by

Linda learned to play video games as a way to connect with her teenaged kids, and then she learned to love video games for their own sake. At Pixelkin she wrangles the business & management side of things, writes posts as often as she can, reaches out on the social media, and does the occasional panel or talk. She lives in Seattle, where she writes, studies, plays video games, spends time with her family, consumes vast quantities of science fiction, and looks after her small cockapoo. She loves to hear from people out there. You can read more about her at her website, Linda Breneman.com or her family foundation's website, ludusproject.org.