Catching Pokémon is one of currently three methods of obtaining Pokémon, the others are hatching Pokémon Eggs and trading.

Pokémon can be caught in various situations including:

In case of the last two, encounters don't involve seeing Pokémon in the Map View.

Pokémon in the wild

Nearby Tab 1

Obtaining Pokémon in the wild involves two main steps:

  1. Tracking them down and approaching them in the Map View, then
  2. Catching them into 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 Tracker view, 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 as Nearby in Tracker view.
  • 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 Module. 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 section of the Tracker and are also only accessible for Incense's user - therefore other trainers cannot catch Pokémon lured with an Incense used by another player.

Tracking wild Pokémon

Encounter screen

Once a Pokémon appears in the Map View the player can tap on it, which will lead to the encounter screen.

The encounter screen allows the player to catch the Pokémon with currently owned Poké Balls.

The same encounter screen is used for catching wild Pokémon, Pokémon lured with a Lure Module or Incense, and Pokémon encountered in Bonus Challenges and Research tasks. However, there are some different mechanics and features between some of the encounter screens.

Encounter screen features

Encounter Screen

The picture to the right shows the encounter screen that appears when attempting to catch a Pokémon. Each item is listed with a description below:

  1. Leave the encounter button - The trainer can leave the encounter screen with the Pokémon at any time. The 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 or gallery. The camera view works 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. 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 panel 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.
  5. Target ring - This ring appears when 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Currently selected Poké Ball or Berry from bag - It is 3D model of the currently selected type of Poké Ball or Berry from the 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 it; aiming and throwing is not necessary.
  8. 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 bag.
  9. Number of currently selected item in bag - This number informs the trainer of the amount of the selected item they have left. A trainer can catch Pokémon without any Berries in his bag but they cannot without any Poké Balls. If a 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 unless 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.

Research task reward encounter screen

The encounter screen for catching Pokémon awarded from completed Research tasks (both Field and Special 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 Research panel.

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 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.

Additionally, in case of catching Mew, the Pokémon becomes invisible and can be slightly seen between throws, and in case of catching Celebi, it teleports between various random spots. 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.

Augmented reality

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.) [1]

Capture Rate Color Difficulty
~100% Green Very-easy
~75% Lime-green Easy
~50% Yellow Average
~25% Orange Difficult
~5% Red Very-difficult

Capture rate

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. [2]

$ CR ~ = ~ \frac{BCR ~ \times ~ BF ~ \times ~ M}{2 \times CpM} $


  • CR - Capture Rate
  • BCR - Base Capture Rate
  • 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.

Type Name Multiplier
Ball type Poké Ball 1.0
Premier Ball 1.0
Great Ball 1.5
Ultra Ball 2.0
Berries Razz Berry 1.5
Silver Pinap Berry 1.7
Golden Razz Berry 2.5
Throw Curve Ball 1.7
Nice! 1.0 – 1.3 (1.15)
Great! 1.3 – 1.7 (1.5)
Excellent! 1.7 – 2.0 (1.85)
Type Medal Bronze 1.1
Silver 1.2
Gold 1.3

Flee rate

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.

Attack is basically Pokémon performing its attack move. For the duration of the Pokémon's attack animation, Poké Balls are ineffective and even if they properly hit Pokémon they will just bounce off of them. The same animation can be seen when Pokémon performs a Fast Attack and is Powered Up.

Dodge is a second type of Pokémon's move during encounter. When Pokémon dodges, it just moves from initial position for a shorter or longer while. Unlike the attack, when Pokémon dodges, it can still be hit by Poké Ball and caught. There are 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 - second most common dodge kind among Pokémon that are hovering, flying or levitating above the ground. While dodging, Pokémon hovers to the left or the right and stays there for some time. When 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 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 is 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 is chaotically flying around but instead of sharply changing position in the air it is more smooth. (e.g. Gastly and Misdreavus)
  • none - some Pokémon does not have any dodge type, mainly because of their build (e.g. Diglett, which is pointing out of the ground). Pokémon without dodging style can only perform attack to avoid being captured by thrown Poké Ball.

Idle animation can occur during the capture process. It only slightly alters the hurtbox of the Pokémon.

Pokémon from Raid Battle and Team GO Rocket tend to attack more frequently. To reduce attacks and dodges of encountered Pokémon, Trainers can use Nanab Berry.




Pokémon GO - Catching Pokémon

Pokémon GO - Catching Pokémon


  • 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 does not force encounter but player can choose whether or not they want to encounter Pokémon that popped out in the Map View,
    • catching Pokémon is focused on aim and technique of throwing Pokémon rather than the 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.

External links


  1. /r/TheSilphRoad - How Pokémon GO determines the target ring color. Retrieved on 2016-08-24.
  2. /r/TheSilphRoad - Great Ball catch rate formula finally determined. Retrieved on 2016-08-24.
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