Pokémon can be caught in various situations including:
- finding it in the wild,
- luring it with either Incense or a Lure Module,
- getting it from a Daily Encounter,
- being encountered by it after it photobombs in GO Snapshot,
- encountering it via Bonus Challenge after Raid Battle or Rescuing Shadow Pokémon after battle with any Team GO Rocket member,
- or as a reward from Research tasks or GO Battle League.
In case of the last two points, Pokémon encounters do not involve seeing Pokémon in the Map View in order to enter the encounter screen.
- 1 Pokémon in the wild
- 2 Encounter screen
- 3 Capture rate
- 4 Flee rate
- 5 Avoiding Poké Ball
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Trivia
- 8 External links
- 9 References
Pokémon in the wild
Obtaining Pokémon in the wild involves two main steps:
- Tracking them down and approaching them in the Map View, then
- Catching them with a Poké Ball in the Encounter Screen.
There are a few kinds of spots in which Pokémon can appear:
- Natural spawn points - they are random spots in the real world, mostly next to the roads and paths seen in the Map View. Such spots can be clearly seen in Ingress, as spots of Exotic Matter share the same geographic points in the real world.
- Pokémon spawning in these spots can be seen as Sightings in the Nearby tab, if there are no Pokémon Nearby the PokéStops.
- Spawn points nearby PokéStops - these are spots in vicinity of selected PokéStops, as not all of the PokéStops have regular spawn points of Pokémon.
- Pokémon spawning in these spots can be seen in Nearby Tab.
- Pokémon Nests - these are areas in specific geographical locations, where an increased number of the same species of Pokémon appear for a short duration. They can be both natural, wild spawn points and spawn points nearby PokéStops.
- Spawn points around PokéStops with an activated Lure Module - these are temporary spawn points for Pokémon lured with Lure Modules. Their location is in the PokéStop's vicinity, but lured Pokémon do not appear in the Nearby section of the Tracker.
- Spawn points around a Trainer with an activated Incense - these are temporary spawn points for Pokémon lured with Incense. Their location is in the Trainer's vicinity and lured Pokémon do not appear in the Nearby Tab and are also only accessible for Incense's user - therefore other Trainers cannot catch Pokémon lured with an Incense used by another player.
Moreover, Pokémon that are boosted by weather, appear with swirling, bright ring around them.
Tracking wild Pokémon
There is a Nearby Tab accessible from the bottom right corner of the Map View and it allows Trainers to track down wild Pokémon that are either nearby PokéStops or are just somewhere in the wild in Trainer's closest area.
Daily Encounter is a feature that spawns a Pokémon next to the player once per day after Trainer logs in to the game after midnight local time.
Once Pokémon from the Daily Encounter spawns in a specific location it will be available only there. Pokémon from Daily Encounter has a special, pulsing, white ring on the ground below them in the Map View and they do not appear in the Nearby Tab.
Once a Pokémon appears in the Map View the player can tap on it, which will lead to the encounter screen.
The same Pokémon catching mechanic is shared for various game features involving:
- catching wild Pokémon (including Pokémon lured with a Lure Module or an Incense) from the Map View,
- Pokémon that spawn besides the Trainer in the Map View after a photobomb in GO Snapshot,
- Pokémon being a reward for a successful defeat of Raid Boses, known as the Bonus Challenge,
- rewards for completed Research tasks and Research Breakthroughs,
- rescuing a Shadow Pokémon after successful battle against Team GO Rocket members.
However, there are some different mechanics and features to these encounter screens between some of these methods, as some of them involve using Premier Balls instead of owned Poké Balls.
Encounter screen features
The picture to the right shows the encounter screen that appears when attempting to catch a Pokémon. Each encounter screen feature is listed with a description below:
- 1 Leave the encounter button
- Trainer can leave the encounter screen with the Pokémon at any time.
- Trainer can re-enter the encounter screen for an individual Pokémon after previously leaving it as long as the Pokémon has not disappeared from the Map View. Pokémon stay up for a maximum of 30 or 60 minutes after they spawn.
- 2 Camera button
- This button allows player to hide any other GUI elements and take a photo of the encountered Pokémon.
- The picture is saved in the player's mobile device storage only if appropriate permission are given to Pokémon GO app.
- The camera view works in both AR and non-AR modes.
- 3 AR camera mode switch button
- This switch controls Augmented reality mode. Switching this to the On position will utilize the device's camera to show the Pokémon in the "real world".
- The device may need to be oriented to so that the Pokémon appears in the field of view.
- Leaving it off will keep it on the default park scene, shown in the image to the right, and moving the device will not have an effect on the Pokémon's image.
- 4 Type Medals
- It displays Medals for specific-types that apply appropriate catch bonus.
- 5 Label with Pokémon’s name and CP
- The label that displays various general information such as the Pokémon's name and CP.
- CP sometimes appears as "???" which means that the Pokémon species has not previously been seen and registered in the Pokédex or its CP is higher than any currently owned Pokémon.
- A small white Poké Ball icon will appear on the left side of the label if the Pokémon species has been owned before.
- For the first few second of entering the encounter screen any type-bonus medals icons appear above the label which indicate what levels of medals are currently owned for catching Pokémon of the type relating to the encountered Pokémon.
- In the top-right corner of the label the weather icon is displayed if the Pokémon is currently boosted by the weather.
- If Pokémon is shiny, there will be also an icon displayed in the top-right corner of this label.
- 6 Target ring
- This ring appears, when player is holding down on the Poké Ball.
- Its size repeatedly shrinks and expands.
- The smaller it is when the ball is thrown into it, the better the chance of catching the Pokémon.
- Its colour indicates how difficult the encountered Pokémon is to catch. Bright green being the easiest, and red being the hardest.
- Using a higher quality Poké Ball, Razz Berry or Golden Razz Berry makes Pokémon easier to catch and therefore changes the color of the target ring towards the bright green hue.
- 7 Owned Berries access button
- This reveals a panel from the left which allows the trainer to quickly choose any owned type of Berry from their bag.
- 8 Currently selected Poké Ball or Berry from Item Bag
- It is a 3D model of the currently selected type of Poké Ball or Berry from the Item Bag ready to be used on the encountered Pokémon.
- To use Poké Ball player has to tap and hold the Poké Ball and then swipe and release it in the direction of the Pokémon.
- In case of Berries, the player only needs to tap on it, as aiming and throwing is not necessary.
- 9 Owned Poké Balls access button
- This reveals a panel from the right which allows the trainer to quickly choose any owned type of Poké Ball from their Item Bag.
- 10 Number of currently selected item in bag
- This number displays the amount of the selected item they have left.
- Trainer can catch Pokémon without any Berries in their Item Bag but they cannot without any Poké Balls.
- If Trainer runs out of Poké Balls while in an encounter they are directed to the shop where Poké Balls can be purchased.
Bonus Challenge encounter screen
The encounter screen of Raid Battle or Team GO Rocket Bonus Challenge differs from the regular encounter screen in that the Trainer can only use Premier Balls rewarded for performance in battle instead of their owned Poké Balls.
Pokémon in such encounters cannot flee away from the trainer until there are no Premier Balls left to use.
There is a special glowing animation for Pokémon that flee due to a lack of Premier Balls in a Raid Battle Bonus Challenge.
Reward encounter screen
The encounter screen for catching Pokémon awarded from GO Battle League or completed Research tasks (Field, Special or Timed Research tasks) does not differ from the regular encounter screen regarding its interface. The only difference is that the Pokémon never flees and the trainer can always return to the encounter from the Battle page or Research Tab respectively.
Mythical Pokémon encounter screen
The encounter screen for Mythical Pokémon, rewarded for Special Research tasks, differs from the regular encounter screen. In case of Mew and Celebi, it requires using AR mode that can be disabled only if there is no gyroscope sensor in the device (or it does not work properly so the game cannot assess the position of the device).
Moreover, there is no option to choose or use Poké Balls or Berries from the item bag. The player instead has an infinite number of regular Poké Balls to use and the First Throw bonus is always given, regardless of the number of throws used.
In case of capturing Jirachi there is no AR feature required, few other Pokémon appear in the background behind sleeping Jirachi and they start singing before Jirachi wakes up and is ready to be caught. These background, singing Pokémon are: Chimecho, Kricketot, Bronzong, Loudred and Jigglypuff.
In case of Victini encounter, the encounter screen is closest to the regular Pokémon encounter screen, as only difference is the infinite number of Poké Balls, no Berries access and First Throw bonus given regardless of the number of the successful throw and catch.
There is an option for using Augmented Reality (AR for short) and Augmented Reality Plus (AR+ for short) in the encounter screen. This mode allows for viewing and catching encountered Pokémon with the background from the real-world environment.
Moreover, using AR+ gives the opportunity for a more complex Pokémon encounter, involving sneaking and Expert Handle bonus.
- Main article: AR Plus
Color of the target ring
The capture rate of a Pokémon can be identified by the color of the target ring seen in front of the Pokémon in the encounter screen. The color of the ring can change during the same encounter when a Berry or better Poké Ball is used to change the capture rate variables. (See section below.) 
The capture rate of Pokémon is the chance for successful capture of encountered Pokémon.
The capture rate factors in the CP and base capture rate of the Pokémon along with the type of Poké Ball used and any multipliers that are applied, for example: throw style bonus or used berries. 
- BCR - Base Capture Rate, defined in Game Master for each Pokémon species
- CpM - CP Multiplier
- BF - Ball Factor (described below)
- M - Multipliers (product of all multipliers; described below)
The following variables and multipliers are used in calculating the Capture Rate of a Pokémon.
|Ball type||Poké Ball||1.0|
|Silver Pinap Berry||1.7|
|Golden Razz Berry||2.5|
|Nice!||1.0 – 1.3 (1.15)|
|Great!||1.3 – 1.7 (1.5)|
|Excellent!||1.7 – 2.0 (1.85)|
The flee rate is the chance for the Pokémon to escape from the Trainer after breaking out of the Poké Ball.
Avoiding Poké Ball
Most of Pokémon will try to avoid being hit by Poké Ball, thus they randomly perform action that prevents Poké Ball from capturing them. There are two different actions during encounter, that Pokémon can perform - attack and dodge.
Pokémon can Attack by performing its attack animation. For the duration of the Pokémon's attack , Poké Balls are ineffective and even if they properly hit the Pokémon, they will just bounce off of them. The same animation can be seen when a Pokémon performs a Fast Attack or when it is Powered Up.
Dodge is the second of a Pokémon's actions during an encounter. When a Pokémon dodges, it moves from its initial position for a shorter or longer while. Unlike attacking, when a Pokémon dodges, it can still be hit by a Poké Ball and caught. There are a few different kinds of dodging:
- Jumping - the most common dodge type among Pokémon that move on the ground. This dodge kind lasts the shortest. (e.g. Pikachu and Mewtwo)
- Hovering - the second most common dodge, seen in Pokémon that are hovering, flying or levitating above the ground. While dodging, the Pokémon hovers to the left or the right and stays there for some time. When the encounter is out of AR, Pokémon can partially hide to the edges of the screen. (e.g. Shuppet and Kyogre)
- Flying - another common dodge style, mostly used by Pokémon with wings. While the Pokémon is dodging, it raises high above its initial position. (e.g. Swablu and Rayquaza)
- Electric - despite the name, this dodge kind is common for Bug- and Flying-type Pokémon. The movement of these Pokémon involves sharply changing position in the air - mainly sideways and diagonally. (e.g. Zubat and Magnemite)
- Psychic - the least common dodge type. The movement of this dodge is similar to electric as the Pokémon flies around, but instead of sharply changing position in the air, it follows a smoother, 8-shaped trajectory. (e.g. Gastly and Misdreavus)
- None - some Pokémon do not have any dodge type, mainly because of their build (e.g. Diglett, which is sticking out of the ground). Pokémon without dodging styles can only perform attacks to avoid being captured by a thrown Poké Ball.
Idle animations can occur during the capture process. They only slightly alter the hitbox of the Pokémon in some cases.
- The encounter screen and whole catching wild Pokémon mechanic differs a lot from other Pokémon games, as:
- there is no battle engaged with the wild Pokémon,
- wild Pokémon appearing in the Map View do not force encounter, and instead the player can choose whether or not they want to encounter Pokémon that pop out in the Map View,
- catching Pokémon is focused on aim and technique of throwing Pokéballs rather than combat with the encountered Pokémon.
- The mechanic of throwing a Poké Ball on the wild Pokémon is a bit similar to the Facebook's Messenger basketball hoops game that used to be one of two popular, easter-egg games in the app before the official launch of Pokémon GO.
- /r/TheSilphRoad - How Pokémon GO determines the target ring color. Retrieved on 2016-08-24.
- /r/TheSilphRoad - Great Ball catch rate formula finally determined. Retrieved on 2016-08-24.