The Download.com crew been tracking Pokemon for nearly two weeks, and we'd like to share tools and a few hard-earned tips for finding the popular pocket monsters of Pokemon Go.
Yelp (iOS, Android). Yelp's crowdsourced recommendations can guide you to a nearby PokeStop, where you can find items and -- if a Lure Module is running -- wild Pokemon. On the Web version of Yelp, a PokeStop Nearby filter helps you narrow your choices.
In the Yelp app, turn on the PokeStop Nearby filter to limit your search.
Poke Radar (iOS). A community-generated map, Poke Radar displays Pokemon locations discovered by Pokemon Go players. Through the app, players can submit found Pokemon, much like drivers can submit traffic and road information with Waze. The website version of the tool is often unavailable because of heavy traffic, but the app is probably more practical anyway for tracking down Pokemon. An iOS version is available now; the developers say an Android version is due any moment.
Nearby Pokemon. When working properly, Pokemon Go (iOS, Android) can help you track specific wild Pokemon. Tap the Nearby Pokemon box in the bottom-right corner of the map to see nearby Pokemon and their proximity, based on the number of pawprints displayed under each one (from none to three).
With the box open, you can also tap a Pokemon to select and track it. The Nearby Pokemon box should pulse when you are heading in the direction of the stalked Pokemon. However, the Nearby Pokemon tool can act erratically -- recently, it would only display Pokemon three pawprints away.
The distance each pawprints represents is also confusing, with users doing lots of field research on the subject. (For what it's worth, we tracked one three-pawprint Pokemon for a mile before it disappeared from the Nearby box, while we found another three-pawprint Pokemon just two and a half city blocks away.)
Spawns. A flutter of leaves or a rustle of grass appear to signal that you are near a Pokemon spawn point. Not that a wild Pokemon has spawned right then, but one may shortly.
Likewise, an active Lure Module will attract Pokemon to a PokeStop for 30 minutes. Users have reported that using an Incense item while a Lure Module is active has led to an increased Pokemon spawn rate.
We've noticed that concentrations of Pokemon Go users appear to drive up spawn rates, and Redditors report something similar. One Redditor, however, speculates that spawn rate is based on data usage, not number of users in an area.
August 3 update: Over the weekend, Niantic pushed out an update to Pokemon Go intended to address a few confusing aspects of the game. First, Niantic removed the three-step tracking display that was designed to help you hunt Pokemon but which many users found more confusing than helpful. It may return, as Niantic said it intends to improve the tool. Next, Niantic said it limited the ability of third-party developers to access the game, which directly affects location apps. The website PokeRadar, however, is still up and running. Pokemon forums lit up after the update, with many users speculating that with the update, the catch rate changed. A redditor wrote up a detailed post on capture rates and determined the rate hasn't changed in the update, although other factors, such as a Pokemon jumping or attacking, may affect how many balls you need to toss to capture a Pokemon. The post is worth checking out. Other changes include a reminder when you launch the game to not play Pokemon Go while driving and to not trespass while playing. One welcome addition: Trainers can now change the look of their avatar through their profile screen.
Download.com staff Michael Gonterman, Benjamin Kramer, and Tuong Nguyen contributed to this article.