When I first heard about Pokémon Go, the idea of a real-world augmented reality game was exciting. The concept sounded like something straight out of science fiction – and it’s true to say that this game is based on some pretty cool technology. But just because it’s futuristic doesn’t mean it’s easy or without its pitfalls.
I’m a huge fan of Pokémon Go in all its forms – from playing the games to watching the TV show – so when I discovered the AR tech behind the app, I really got excited. It felt like we were living in a future where augmented reality would become even more prevalent than it already is thanks to smartphones.
But there are downsides to having an augmented reality game (AR) on your phone too. When you start using AR apps, they can be a bit tricky at times and they don’t always work exactly how you expect them to.
If you’re new to AR apps and Pokémon Go, here are five things you need to know about the game before you get started:
1. You need to have the latest version of Android or iOS
The official Pokémon Go site says that you need either Android 4.3 or iOS 8.0 or later. If you use an old version of Android or iOS that’s not up to scratch, you won’t be able to play the game properly.
This could lead to crashes or other problems, so if you haven’t upgraded yet, make sure your device is running the latest version of Google Play Services and Apple’s iOS software.
2. You need the right hardware for Pokémon Go
Pokémon Go requires a high-end smartphone with two cameras for GPS purposes. Most phones these days have one camera, so you’ll need a dual-camera handset to enjoy the full experience. Some of the best examples include the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6S Plus.
In addition to this, you also need a powerful processor and enough RAM to run the augmented reality game smoothly. This is important for smooth gameplay and for the game to look great. As a general rule, the higher the screen resolution, the better the graphics quality.
Most modern handsets have screens with a minimum of 1080 x 1920 pixels, but more power means higher resolutions. Check out our guide on the best phones for Pokémon Go for more information.
3. You need to enable location services
To get the most out of Pokémon Go, you definitely need to allow the app to access your location data. You should do this by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and ticking ‘Location services’ as well as ‘Apps using my location’.
You might have to allow the app to use your location for other reasons, such as making calls, accessing notifications or displaying weather forecasts – so it’s worth checking what else is using your location to see why the app needs access.
4. You need to download the latest version of the game
Pokémon Go is constantly updated with new features and changes, and sometimes, new versions come out quite quickly. In fact, it’s been a few months since the last major update. So if you want to benefit from all the latest improvements, make sure you’ve downloaded the latest APK file on Google Play Store and installed it on your phone. This will ensure that you’re getting the latest version of the game.
You can find the latest APK file on the Nintendo website or directly on the App Store after you’ve logged into your account. Alternatively, you can visit the Pokémon website and follow the instructions to install the latest version of the game.
5. You need to download a PokéStop locator
It’s possible to track nearby Pokémon Gyms and Pokestops through a program called PokéStop Locate, which you can download from the Google Play Store. It works by tracking down these places automatically, so you don’t actually have to go looking for them yourself.
There are three different methods available:
Track Pokestops –
this is handy if you’re travelling abroad and you want to find Pokémon near your hotel room or airport terminal. You can check which stops are close to you at any time.
Track Gym Locations –
similar to the above, this feature helps you find Pokémon gyms around you when you’re out walking. Once again, you can check which gyms are close to you at any time.
Track Your Own Route –
this is useful if you’re exploring a certain area, such as a park or countryside. You can then set up your route and track your progress as you walk along it. There’s no way to do this manually, though, but you can simply set up a route and let the system do all the work.
Download: PokéStop Locate on Google Play Store
Note that this isn’t yet available on iPhones, so if you want to track nearby Pokémon, you’ll need to rely on a PC instead.
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