Pokémon GO Wiki
Pokémon GO Wiki

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 points, Pokémon encounters do not involve seeing Pokémon in the Map View in order to enter the encounter screen.

Pokémon in the wild

Pokémon in the wild

Obtaining Pokémon in the wild involves two main steps:

  1. Tracking them down and approaching them in the Map View, then
  2. 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. Pokémon that are NOT boosted by weather appear with three pulsing rings separately around them.

Tracking wild Pokémon

Nearby Tab

See: Map View → Nearby Tab

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

Audino appearing for Daily Encounter

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.

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 and use Berries to make this process easier or more beneficial.

The same Pokémon catching mechanic is shared for various game features involving:

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:

Encounter Screen.png
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, Golden Razz Berry, or Silver Pinap 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.

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.

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.

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]

However, when catching a Shadow Pokémon, the ring color is determined using a Base Capture Rate of 5%. This causes their target circle color to initially appear bright red — in reality, their catch rates are identical to wild encounters of the same species of Pokémon. Similarly, when encountering Pokémon disguised as Ditto, the ring color matches what's expected for the disguise, but the actual observed catch rate matches Ditto's expected catch rates.[2]

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 is the probability of a successful capture ( described below) of an encountered Pokémon, calculated by the game upon successful contact between a Poké Ball and a Pokémon.

The calculated value factors in the Pokémon's level (indirectly provided by the CP value on encounter), the species' Base Capture Rate, and various multipliers dependent on ball type, encounter type, throw style, and more. [3] The final value is given by the formula:


  • BCR is the Base Capture Rate, defined in the Game Master for each Pokémon species.
  • CPM is a multiplier value, defined in the Game Master, associated to that Pokémon's level.
    • Wild encounters have Pokémon levels ranging between 1 and 30 (without weather boost) or 5 and 35 (with weather boost), with CPM values ranging between 0.094–0.7317 or 0.29024988–0.76156384, respectively.
    • Shadow Pokémon encounters obtained from Team GO Rocket have a Pokémon level of 8 (no weather boost) or 13 (with weather boost), with CPM values of 0.3752356 and 0.48168495 respectively.
    • Research task reward encounters always have a Pokémon level of 15, corresponding to a CPM value of 0.51739395.
    • GO Battle League reward encounters always have a Pokémon level of 20, corresponding to a CPM value of 0.5974.
    • Raid Battle reward encounters have a Pokémon level of 20 (no weather boost) or 25 (with weather boost), with CPM values of 0.5974 and 0.667934 respectively.
  • M is the product of all applicable multipliers described in the table below, substituted by a value of 1 where not applicable.


The following multipliers are used for calculating the value of in the formula above:[2][3]

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 1.8
Golden Razz Berry 2.5
Throw Curve Ball 1.7
Nice! 1.0 ≤ Throw < 1.3 (1.15)
Great! 1.3 ≤ Throw < 1.7 (1.5)
Excellent! 1.7 ≤ Throw < 2.0 (1.85)
Type Medal Bronze 1.1
Silver 1.2
Gold 1.3
Platinum 1.4
Encounter type Research reward 2.0

All multiplier values, except those for throw quality and curveball throw, are used in the determination of the inner catch circle's color described previously, thereby causing it to change upon usage of a Berry or better Poké Ball.

The throw quality multiplier is calculated as if the Ball lands within the inner target ring, where is a ratio between the radii of the inner ring to the outer ring and therefore ranges between 0 (smallest possible target) and 1 (target has the same size as the outer circle), giving a multiplier between 1 and 2. The ranges given in the table (with their means) for this multiplier are then used by the game to determine the bonus text shown on screen. The final value can then stack with the Curve Ball multiplier, if applicable.

For dual-type Pokémon, this multiplier will be the average of each respective medal's multiplier.

Flee rate

The flee rate is the chance for the Pokémon to escape from the Trainer after breaking out of the Poké Ball, determined for each species in the Game Master. This probability is not affected by any of the multipliers described above.[3]

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. A Buddy Pokémon may be able to knock the ball back for a chance to catch 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.

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





  • 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 Poké Balls 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.

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