From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Pokémon can be caught in the wild or hatched from an Egg.
- Wild Pokémon can be found just by walking around in their habitats: Water-type Pokémon are more likely to appear near bodies of water, for example. Depending on your level, stronger Pokémon may appear in the wild.
- Eggs may be found when spinning the Photo Disc after tapping on a nearby PokéStop, and can be hatched after putting it in an Incubator and walking the necessary distance. You can read more about Eggs here.
- Pokémon that you've obtained can also be evolved with a certain amount of Candy. You can read more about evolution and powering up Pokémon here.
Finding wild Pokémon
Incense has attracted a wild Rattata
Up to nine wild Pokémon that are close to you are listed in the "Nearby" feature, which can be accessed using the bottom-right button. Pokémon you've encountered before will be in color, while silhouettes of Pokémon will appear for Pokémon you haven't encountered. The number of footprints below a Pokémon show how close or far away it is from you. For example, a Pokémon with no footprints below it is very close by, while a Pokémon with three footprints below it is farther away. You can keep the list open while walking around to try and find a Pokémon. If a Pokémon moves up the list, you're getting closer to the Pokémon; if it goes down the list, you're getting farther away.
If you don't see any nearby Pokémon, you can search for Pokémon somewhere else, like in a park. It is also easier to find Pokémon near PokéStops and Gyms. Pokémon that appear in a location can often be caught by multiple players in the same spot, so try playing with friends and see what Pokémon you encounter.
You can use Incense to attract Pokémon closer to your location. It won't work well if there aren't any Pokémon nearby, so walking around in search of Pokémon will increase the chance that a Pokémon is lured to you. Using an Incense near PokéStops and Gyms, where Pokémon tend to spawn, may lure more Pokémon as well. Rustling leaves might also indicate a Pokémon is nearby. You can also place a Lure Module in a PokéStop to attract Pokémon for 30 minutes. Unlike Incense, other Trainers can also experience the effect of the Lure Modules, so if you see a PokéStop with pink petals falling around it nearby, you can approach it to experience the Lure Module’s effects.
Keep the app open while searching for Pokémon as the app otherwise doesn't send notifications when a Pokémon is nearby. When your device vibrates, a Pokémon may have appeared! Find the Pokémon on the map screen and tap it. You'll be able to try and catch it.
When catching a Pokémon, your goal is, similarly to the Safari Zone in the core series games, to catch it inside a Poké Ball before it runs away. Like in the Safari Zone, you can't use your other Pokémon in combat against wild Pokémon in Pokémon GO.
To run away from the Pokémon and end the encounter, tap the icon in the top-left corner. The Pokémon will still be present on the map in the case you change your mind. The toggle in the upper-right corner controls whether AR mode will be enabled. When enabled, the Pokémon will appear in the real world as shown through the camera on your device. The Pokémon's name and its Combat Power (CP) will appear above the Pokémon.
The Bag icon in the bottom-right corner allows you to access items. Razz Berries make the Pokémon easier to catch, and using Great Balls, Ultra Balls, and Master Balls increase the chance of catching a wild Pokémon. The Camera icon above it lets you take pictures of the wild encounter.
If you can't see the Pokémon, try turning off AR mode or tilting your device up and down until you find the Pokémon. Touch and hold the Poké Ball. A target ring will appear in front of the Pokémon; its color shows your chance of catching it: green for an easy Pokémon to catch, orange for intermediate, and red for extremely difficult. When the ring is at its smallest size, throw the Poké Ball at the Pokémon by swiping up on the screen and lifting your finger. If you hold the Poké Ball and drag it in a circular motion, the Poké Ball will go on a curved path towards the Pokémon. If you miss or if the Pokémon escapes, throw another Poké Ball at the Pokémon.
If the Pokémon runs away, don't worry. There are other Pokémon of that species to catch and more places to explore. If you caught the Pokémon, congratulations! You've got some XP, Stardust, and Candy for catching a Pokémon and a new partner for your Pokémon GO journey.
Encountering a wild Rattata
Top: Large target ring
Bottom: Small target ring
Left: 10 XP was earned for a curveball
While finding and catching Pokémon, keep in mind general safety measures. For example, don't trespass onto private property while searching for Pokémon. If you find a Pokémon on or near private property, remember that tapping on the Pokémon will start an encounter even if you're not right next to it on the map. Even if you're 40 or 50 meters away from the Pokémon on the map, you may still be able to tap on it and start an encounter. A guide regarding additional safety tips can be found here.