How to catch Pokémon in Pokémon GO?

At the core of the game is, of course, catching Pokémon. Here’s everything you need to know to catch them all.

Catch a Pikachu


Like the original games, when you start playing Pokémon Go, you can choose one of three Pokémon as your first companion: Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle. But there’s a hidden fourth option, too: Pikachu. To get a Pikachu, you just need a little patience. You have to ignore the first three Pokémon presented to you by Professor Willow and simply walk away. The three Pokémon will follow you around for a bit and then disappear before reappearing. On the fourth time, a Pikachu will eventually show up. Then you capture it.

Find nearby Pokémon:

Pokemon nearby

To see what Pokémon are lurking nearby, look at the bottom-right corner of your screen. Clicking that menu will show outlines of up to nine nearby Pokémon, along with one to three footprints underneath each of them. The fewer footprints there are, the closer the Pokémon is. The Pokémon in this menu are also sorted by distance. The one on the top-left is closest to you while the one on the bottom-right is farthest.

Throw a Pokéball:

Unlike the original games, you don’t battle wild Pokémon in Go. Instead, you jump straight to capturing them, which really just means flicking a Pokéball on your phone screen at a Pokémon. Toss it too near or too far, and the Pokéball won’t do anything. You have to get it just right by actually hitting the Pokémon. When you press on a Pokéball, a ring shows up around the Pokémon. A green ring means the Pokémon is easy to catch, while a red one means it’s tougher to catch. The rings also change in size as you hold down a Pokéball. Your odds are improved, especially for harder-to-catch Pokémon, if the ring is smaller when you release the Pokéball.

Pokemon Pokeball

Throw a curve Pokéball:

Pokemon Curve Pokeball

Curve balls aren’t just stylish, they also increase a player’s experience points if the technique results in a capture. To initiate a curve ball, move your finger in small circles on the screen while touching the ball and then toss it. It’s still unclear if curveballs actually increase the chances of capturing a Pokémon, though they do definitely give you an XP bonus. Some players say that’s the case, while others report it’s harder.

Turn off AR:

Turning off the camera (the augmented-reality layer) has helped some players capture Pokémon more successfully. With AR off, Pokémon are shown in the middle of the screen, making them easier targets. It’s less fun, though.

Pokemon AR

Lure out Pokémon:

The items Incense and Lure Module draw Pokémon out from hiding. The Lure Module is more potent and can be attached to a specific location for a period of time. A PokéStop with an attached Lure Module is marked by fluttering pink petals. Lure Modules make PokéStops good places to find and catch Pokémon. As you wander around, you’ll see Lure Modules put down by other players, and you’ll probably see lots of other people hanging around them.

Pokemon Lure