If you’ve had your eyes and ears directed towards the wide world over the past several weeks, you’ve no doubt heard about the phenomenon that is Pokemon Go. The mobile app has swept up the world with its addictive gameplay and social interaction, but the app isn’t yet without its very obvious bugs and glitches. Among the most prominent is the PokeRadar, which thousands of users aren’t quite sure how to use. Further complicating this fact is that the feature isn’t often working as it’s intended to–a glaring problem that the app’s developer, Niantic, has already made mention of. That doesn’t mean it’s entirely useless, however, so Appamatix has cooked up a guide that will show you the ins and outs of this crucial feature to the most recent golden child of mobile gaming.
To say that Pokemon Go is a landmark title is something of an understatement. It’s one of the highest grossing mobile apps of all time, and it is still shattering records on a daily basis. It caused a surge in Nintendo’s stock prices (which were previously suffering from a painful slump) and has provided a common social experience for people of all ages and demographics to engage in. A huge number of the people that are now playing Pokemon Go have never touched a Pokemon game in their lives, and many don’t even consider themselves to be gamers.
Given that technology is still widely accused of causing our culture to become more insular and less outwardly social, Pokemon Go stands as a fairly stark rebuttal. Apart from some of the hacks that people are employing (more on that, shortly), Pokemon Go players are out in the wide world, interacting with each other, and getting exercise!
The premise of the game, if you’re not familiar with it, is that you travel the world collecting Pokemon. Using augmented reality made possible through the use of your smartphone’s camera, you interact with a fictional world laid out over our real world by way of GPS. Visiting actual landmarks can provide you with items to use in the game, and areas where people typically gather appear on your map as “gyms,” where you can battle Pokemon. You’ll represent a chosen team and expand your territory, all while collecting more Pokemon and making them stronger.
Of course, there’s far more nuance involved than can be summarized in a single paragraph, but if you understand the basic premise, it’s enough to get you started.
Rather than move down the list of all of Pokemon Go’s features, however, we’re going to hone in specifically on one crucial element. The PokeRadar is the tool that helps you to explore your surroundings in a compelling way, all in the effort to search out and find newer and stronger Pokemon.
Using the PokeRadar
If you look to the bottom right of the main Pokemon Go screen, you’ll see a small white box. If tapped, it usually reveals a list of Pokemon and a bunch of little track-like symbols. This is your Pokemon Radar, and it’s the most efficient means that the app gives you to hunt Pokemon.
Sometimes, you’ll be surrounded by Pokemon that you’ve already seen and caught. Other times, you’ll end up with something rare, in the form of a silhouette that isn’t yet discernable–this indicates a Pokemon that you haven’t caught, yet! Each little graphic will be accompanied by one, two, or three tracks.
The tracks are how you use the radar, but it doesn’t exactly tell you anything with regard to direction. The tracks serve to indicate how far away you are from a particular Pokemon. One track means that it’s only a few yards away from you, two tracks is slightly further, and three tracks mean that you might have a short walk in store for you if you want to find that Pokemon. As you move around the world, the app uses your GPS to update your position. This is reflected in the way that the tracks change as you roam around.
For example, if you’re heading in the right direction to find a three-track Pokemon, you’ll slowly see the number of tracks next to its image shrinking, until you find it! If you’re moving in the wrong direction, the number of tracks will grow until, eventually, the Pokemon disappears from your radar.
When you do find a Pokemon with your radar, it will show up in your avatar’s immediate vicinity, like always. On the off chance that the Pokemon runs away, there’s a chance that it will remain on your radar, waiting to be found again! Do know, however, that just because a specific Pokemon is on your radar right now doesn’t mean that it’s going to stay there; they’ll regularly enter and exit your radar’s range, so if you want to catch new Pokemon, be sure to check it often!
Problems with the PokeRadar
The reason that so many users are asking about the Pokemon Go radar feature, lately, is because it’s quite thoroughly broken! Though the exact reason behind its inability to function correctly isn’t yet known, there’s a 50/50 chance that when you open up Pokemon Go and check the radar, it’s going to give you some odd results.
Under normal circumstances, there will always be Pokemon close to you. A few will only be one track away, some will be at the distance of two, and there are always a few threes hanging out in the distance. When the radar glitches out, however, all of the Pokemon on your radar appear to have three tracks next to them.
Further complicating this issue is the fact that many of these Pokemon might be much closer than the radar is trying to tell you, which is perfect proof that it’s not working as it’s supposed to be. As you might imagine, this causes all kinds of trouble for people that are trying to catch certain Pokemon through the use of the PokeRadar. When you don’t know how far away a Pokemon is, or even if you’re heading in the right direction to eventually find it, the feature becomes relatively useless.
Fixing the PokeRadar
Before we look at potential fixes, it’s important to first diagnose the problem. While the PokeRadar glitch is most certainly a real thing, it isn’t the only reason that some players might have a problem.
If you’ve occasionally seen a spinning, white PokeBall at the upper left corner of your screen, this means that you’ve witnessed the Pokemon Go app trying to reach the servers that make it accessible. There are quite a few ways that the app can lose connection to its respective server. Occasionally, your GPS signal might fluctuate. In other circumstances, a spot of bad cell phone signal coverage might cause the app to lose its connection to the server. Other times, the app might just bug out, and need to be forcibly reset (more on this, later.)
If you’re having trouble with the PokeRadar, first look for that little symbol. If you see it for a prolonged amount of time, then you know that your Pokemon Go app is having difficulty in connecting to the server. Once the connection is reestablished, there’s a good chance that your PokeRadar will start working again.
Alternatively, there are a couple of ways that you can try to “fix” it if your connection to the Pokemon Go server isn’t the problem.
The first thing that you should try to do is forcibly reset the app. If you’re on an iOS device, this is accomplished by double-tapping the Home button. Once you have a swipeable list of your open apps, swipe up on Pokemon Go to close it. Wait a few moments, and then boot the app up fresh. Hopefully, the Pokemon Go radar will be working! If you’re on Android, on the other hand, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. This should bring up the taskbar, from which you can tap the icon that shows your active apps. Wait for a small “X” to show up in the corner of the Pokemon Go window, and tap it to close the app. Wait a few moments, and then boot it up again to a hopefully functional PokeRadar.
Apart from these techniques, you can also try moving around at your location to see if your GPS will get caught up to the communications between Pokemon Go on your device and the servers it needs to reach. Nine times out of ten, I’ve had to force-restart the app, but occasionally, the PokeRadar manages to fix itself when I begin to move away from my current location.
With any luck, the “fix” portion of the guide will become less relevant when Niantic gets around to fixing some of the glaring issues with the PokeRadar. Until then, we’ve not only shown you how to use it, but also how to fix it when the PokeRadar decides that it’s going to get in the way of you and your Pokemon! We’d love to hear your thoughts about the feature and the game itself, so chime in through the comments below!