If you are like many, hopping on the Pokémon train, then you are likely trying to figure out the first things you should do as a new Pokémon GO trainer. With so many options at your disposal, it can be really confusing. You might even miss some features altogether!

But fear not, brave Pokémon GO trainer! We got you covered with this list of essential things to do when first starting the game. Read on to find them all!

#1. Visit PokéStops often and get some good stuff

Pokemon Go guide: essential checklist, visiting pokestops

This is important, as PokéStops give you items for free that you otherwise need in-game currency to purchase. There are PokéStops in various locations. You will need to look on the map for blue icons that look like floating squares, this is a PokéStop.

Usually, PokéStops are sculptures, landmarks, or places of interests. When you are close enough, the square will turn into a circle and you can tap it. Once it opens, you will be able to use your finger to swipe the PokéStop image.

How to use PokéStops step-by-step:

  • Get close enough to activate it
  • Tap on the blue circle icon
  • Swipe the image side to side
  • Click on item bubbles to collect or exit, and they will automatically be added to your bag.

Items at PokéStops appear at random and can include Eggs, Lures, various Pokéballs, and once you are level 5 you can get Revives and Potions that heal Pokémon when they’re injured in gym battles.

Remember that PokéStops regenerate in less than 10 minutes, allowing you to grab items often!

Note: You must be within range to collect items, making it a challenge to obtain PokéStops if you’re in a car.

#2. Use battery saver mode to play Pokémon GO longer

Pokemon Go battery saver guide & checklist

If you have played Pokémon GO at all, you likely noticed how quick it drains the battery. If you’re just planning a short hunt, the battery life may not be an issue.

However, if you are going to be out hunting Pokémon for a while, you will want your phone fully charged. Depending on the length of your hunt, you may want to carry power banks too.

Luckily, there is also a Battery Saver option that can be found in the Settings menu. This automatically darkens the screen and minimizes the app when your phone is upside down, such as in your pocket.

However, unlike with turning the screen off, it continues to track your movement and gives alerts of Pokémon appearing around you (and PokéStops as well).

A few tips to reduce battery drain and play Pokémon GO longer

  • Take a power bank or two. Ensure they are charged, of course.
  • Take extra phone battery.
  • Carry your charger. You may come across an outlet or charging port

Note: As servers are crashing, Battery Saver setting can be reset without you noticing it. You should check that it’s active now and then to ensure the Battery Saver mode is still on.

Want to prolong your phone’s battery life even more? Learn how to fix Pokémon GO battery drain issue on Android and iOS with offline Google Maps.

#3. Rename your Pokémon to add some personal touch to the game

Pokemon Go guide: how to rename pokemon

Not everything in Pokémon GO is brand new, as one popular feature from prior Pokémon games has been carried over – the ability to rename your Pokémon!

Once you have caught your Pokémon, simply go to the ‘Pokémon’ screen and tap on the Pokémon you want to rename. From here, you will be able to rename it as you wish, if curse words.

#4. Track the Pokémon with footprints and shapes

You will quickly notice one of the coolest features of Pokémon GO is the ‘nearby Pokémon’. It gives you the icons of which Pokémon are nearby in the lower right corner.

If you have not caught the Pokémon yet, it will be a shadow icon. It’s sort of like adventuring in the unknown of prior games. Adds so much fun to the game!

However, by knowing your Pokémon shapes, you can get an idea of which ones are around you. After all, the goal is to become the best Pokémon trainer ever!

Pokemon Go guide: nearby pokemon tracking footprints

The ‘nearby Pokémon’ feature will also tell you roughly how far away they are too, with the footprint icons under them.

  • 1 footprint – the Pokémon is closest to you
  • 2 footprints – the Pokémon is a little further away
  • 3 footprints – Pokémon is farthest away

Note: There’s a nasty bug in Pokémon GO that might not show the footprints to nearby Pokémon decreasing as you’re getting closer to it.

How to track a certain Pokémon type

  1. Tap on a Pokémon icon in the nearby list to track a certain Pokémon.
  2. After that, only that Pokémon will show up in the lower right box.
  3. If you get closer or farther away, the box will pulse to let you know of the change.
  4. Once there are no footprints under the Pokémon, it will shortly be summoned around you.
  5. Be ready to catch it at once!

#5. Transfer Pokémon doubles and get extra Candy

When catching Pokémon, you will catch the same type multiple times, but you can only hold a certain number of same-type Pokémon. That is where the feature of transferring them to Professor Willow comes in.

Pokemon Go guide: transfer to professor Willow for candy

Make sure you do this before transferring your Pokémon

You should compare your doubles prior to transferring as they will be gone forever. Review their stats and compare them with the one you already have. Determine which one has the highest CP, if the attacks are different, which Pokémon weighs more, etc.

The rule of thumb here is simple: in order to become the greatest trainer, you should transfer the weaker of the doubles.

Transferring Pokémon to Professor Willow

  1. Go to the Pokémon screen
  2. Tap on the Pokémon you want to transfer
  3. Scroll to the bottom
  4. There will be a Transfer button
  5. Tap it and confirm the trade.

Get some Candy to evolve or power up your Pokémon

Transferring your Pokémon to Professor Willow has another major bonus: after each trade, you will receive Candy for that particular Pokémon type.

When you get enough Candies, you can use them to evolve the Pokémon. Another option is to use Candy and Stardust to power up Pokémon combat points (CP).

Summing up

When just starting out in Pokémon GO, it’s easy to become confused and miss a few features as the game has enough complexity to it.

In this guide, we highlighted the most important features to get started, such as visiting PokéStops, tracking new Pokémon with footprints, renaming the Pokémon you already caught and transferring Pokémon to Professor Willow for Candy to evolve your Pokémon or power up their CP.

If you enjoyed our Pokémon GO starter guide, share it with friends by clicking on the social buttons!

Did we miss something? Tell us in the comments if other Pokémon GO features can seem confusing for beginners, and we will update our guide.