When Pokémon GO burst onto the scene in 2016, millions upon millions of people started walking around their local areas catching Pokemon and spinning PokéStops and battling at Gyms.

As crazy as it is, in many countries, going out isn’t something you can do right now as the world battles the coronavirus. Whether you’re in lockdown or are severely restricted on your movements, there are still some ways to play Pokemon GO.

The game’s developer Niantic has already implemented quite a few changes which make it easier to play without leaving home, including the following:

  • More Pokemon are spawning everywhere
  • Lures last 1 hour instead of 30 minutes
  • PokéStops drop more items, including PokéBalls
  • Eggs require only half the usual walking distance to hatch
  • You can store 20 Gifts and open 30 per day
  • 1-coin boxes in the shop which rotate each week
  • Bundle of 30 lures for 1 coin

In a blog post, Niantic explains that it is also working on quickly implementing a feature where Trainers will be able to raid together from home. A few details about how this will work have been announced along with other changes coming to the game for easier play without going out:

  • A Remote Raid Pass allows you to access Raid Battles you can see on the Nearby screen.
  • At midnight each day you will be given a Field Research task without having to spin a PokéStop (if you have a space).
  • When you run low on Gifts, your Buddy will visit nearby PokéStops to get more Gifts.
  • You can queue up multiple Star Pieces, Lucky Eggs or Incenses to make them last beyond the usual 30-minute limit
  • You can bulk power up your Pokémon to the desired CP instead of having to use the current time-consuming method.

These changes will be implemented in the next game update, Niantic posted extra information in another blog post that the new remote passes will be included in one of the weekly 1 PokéCoin bundles but you will also be able to buy them at a discounted price of 100 PokéCoins. Images from the updated version (including the blue remote raid pass) can be seen in the official images below.

How to play Pokemon GO at home

Also, only a certain number of the maximum of 20 players will be able to join remotely, suggesting that some players need to be physically present at the gym. This agrees with information posted on The Silph Road Reddit following a datamine of the forthcoming game update which also says that you'll do less damage to the raid boss when raiding remotely.

However, when the feature launches, Trainers will do the normal amount of damage and it's only when the world gets back to normal that the reduced damage will be introduced. Niantic says it will be adjusting remote raiding over time, and may even allow you to invite a friend to remotely raid regardless of their location.

Other updates on the way include:

  • Better Adventure Sync so your indoor exercise is tracked
  • A feature to visit and share real-life places, but virtually
  • Pokemon GO Fest which is playable at home
  • Improved battle screen

The biggest problem with gameplay if you are stuck at home is a lack of PokéBalls, since you can’t get more by spinning PokéStops. And that's why there are more of these essential items dished out in Gifts, so start opening them and sending them to friends when the new update arrives.

Gyms and PokéStops are still present and functioning and the interaction distance for gyms has been doubled to help players stay the required 2m / 6ft apart.

You should still abide by any local restrictions, and that may preclude gathering in groups at all.

But in the UK, at least, you can still plan a walking or cycling route which takes in some Gyms and PokéStops, so long as you are only going out once per day.

To help lower-level Trainers, the first catch of each day will award three times the usual XP and Stardust.

What can I do at home in Pokémon GO?

Pokémon GO Battle League now free to enter

One recent addition to Pokemon GO is GO Battle League, an online PvP system which allows you to battle other players remotely even if you aren’t friends with them. This is ideal timing, as you can participate from the confines of your home.

How to play Pokemon GO at home

Originally you had to walk a certain distance and pay to enter, but these requirements have been lifted until 13 April so everyone can battle straight away. (If you were already walking to unlock a set of battles, unfortunately you will have to complete the distance.)

If you’d rather battle with friends, then there’s more good news: until 1 May you can remotely battle with Good and Great Friends - they no longer have to be Ultra or Best Friends.

And if you want to battle against AI, then you can scroll down to the bottom of the Battle screen and tap one of the team leaders. Winning will build up your Trainer medal and you'll also get rewards, so long as your item bag isn't full.

Play Pokémon GO with family members

If you can persuade others to create an account, or revive one they haven't used for a while, there are things you can do once you are 'friends' with them in the game. We've already mentioned battling, but once you are Good Friends - which takes just one interaction - you can begin trading.

When trading, there is a chance your traded Pokémon will become lucky, and even if they don't this is a chance to swap Pokémon for others you don't have and also a chance that the traded Pokémon's IV will increase.

Use this downtime to clear our your Pokémon box and change moves

With events running practically non-stop in Pokémon GO now, it can be tough to find time to go through hundreds or thousands of Pokémon and sort out the good ones from the bad.

Pokémon GO now has a decent built-in appraisal system so you can see exactly how good or bad a Pokémon is for Attack, Defence and HP (hit points).

You can sort Pokémon in various ways, such as recently caught, or by their Pokédex number. The latter can be useful to quickly see if you have lots of duplicates.

You can also filter out the bad ones by searching your collection using these IV filters: 0*, 1*, 2*, 3* and 4*. Only those with 3* and 4* appraisals are usually worth keeping. However, confusingly, the stats for PvP battles are different, so you can't rely on the appriasal screen. So before you ditch any Pokémon, it's worth checking their IV for battles by using a separate app such as Pokegenie which is available for both Android and iOS. 

How to play Pokemon GO at home

Find out more in our guide to using the Pokémon GO search bar.

If you have a Nintendo Switch and Pokémon Let's Go, you can transfer Pokémon from your phone to your Switch, and also get a Mystery Box as a bonus. This is another way to free up space in your box on your phone.

Once you have sorted your collection, you can look at our guide to the best movesets and use some of the Fast and Charged TMs to change the moves of your best (or favourite) Pokémon to make them handier in battle. And you can also add a second Charged Move now.

How to play Pokemon GO at home

Cancelled events

To ensure you’re not missing out, and also to dissuade groups of players meeting up, the weekly Raid Hour has been cancelled until further notice. Community Days are also cancelled, as are Safari Events.

However, ticket holders are receiving bonuses such as 8-hour incense and tasks which can be completed at home.

New Today View in Pokémon GO

Although not a great help when playing from home, but the upcoming Today View will help you keep tabs on which events are happening currently in the game, your progress towards your weekly catch and spin streaks, plus a list of your Pokemon currently defending gyms.

Visit Home Hacks for more top tips and advice on dealing with the new normal.