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Illustration by Max Fleishman

How to use Pokémon Go’s buddy system

You only need to catch an epic Pokémon once to power it up.


Dennis Scimeca

Internet Culture

You’ve caught a Snorlax. You can’t catch another Snorlax. You’re tired of not being able to power up your Snorlax. The new buddy system in Pokémon Go has solved your problem.

The latest update for Pokémon Go should finally be available for Apple device users if they update to iOS 10. It would have been nice for Niantic to advertise that iOS 10 was required for the latest update, but oh well.

Update 0.37.0 includes Pokémon Go’s new buddy system. You can choose any Pokémon from your collection to pal around with, and earn candy for that Pokémon as you go on walks together. You’re going to have to walk three miles per reward for some Pokémon, however, so you’ll want to choose your buddy carefully. 

Pokemon Go/Dennis Scimeca

To select a buddy, first tap on your trainer portrait on the main Pokémon Go game screen. Then, tap on the button in the lower-righthand corner, and tap “Buddy” in the pop-up menu to open your list of Pokémon. Tap the Pokémon you want to buddy up with, and you’ll see your new buddy standing with your trainer.

Any time you go through the same menus and tap on “Buddy,” you’ll be able to track how far you’ve walked with your buddy and how close you are to earning a piece of candy for it. It’s basically the same system as hatching eggs. Walk far enough, and you get the reward. 

The Silph Road

How far you need to walk to earn a piece of candy varies by species of Pokémon. The Silph Road has added a “KM per candy” chart to its research page. This information is subject to updates, of course, as some Pokémon Go users still may not have access to update 0.37.0, and therefore the data set for this new buddy system will continue to increase.

Generally speaking, the highest KM per candy costs seem reserved for extremely rare Pokémon, like Lapras and Snorlax, or for Pokémon that are powerful gym battlers, like Eevee and its three evolutions or Dragonites and the two lower Pokémon species that evolve into Dragonites.

Pikachu only requires 1km of walking for a piece of candy, which is odd as Pikachu are rare and highly sought after. Pikachu is also the mascot for the entire Pokémon universe, so perhaps Niantic and the Pokémon Company just want to see as many pictures of Pokémon Go players showing off their Pikachu buddies on social media as possible. 

Pokemon Go

Be aware that if you change your buddy before you’ve walked enough distance to earn a piece of candy that you will lose all the progress you’ve made. You can’t walk 2.5km with your Snorlax, switch your buddy to some other Pokémon, and then switch back to the Snorlax and pick up where you left off. You probably want to make sure you’re committed to your buddy, at least until you finish walking the distance needed to earn a piece of candy, before selecting it.

If you’re excited about the new buddy system because Pokémon Go has grabbed you for the long haul, check out our guides on the smart way to level up and how to properly appraise your Pokémon to become a Pokémon Go power player. 

WATCH MORE: Our beginner’s guide to Pokemon GO:

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