A Guide for Pokémon Go’s Buddy System


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The Pokémon fever may have subsided a bit but it’s not completely gone. Few months after its release, Pokémon Go may have fewer players but it’s still enjoying immense popularity compared to other mobile games. The passing of time has separated the serious players from those who just went along with the hype. The ones who stuck with the game have already incorporated it with their everyday lives.

By now, the more serious players among you probably have favorites sport to catch wild Pokémon, favorite gyms to train at and battle in, a preferred Pokémon type and of course, a favorite Pokémon.


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Everyone has a go-to Pokémon when it comes to training and gym battles. Most of the time, it’s the strongest one in your roster. For some people, it’s the rarest one that they have caught. In many cases it’s the cutest one. Dragonite, Snorlax, Gyarados are some of the strongest Pokémons that you normally see guarding gyms along with other fan favorites such as Eevee’s evolved forms Vaporeon, Jolteon and Flareon.

The thing about strong and popular Pokémon types is that they are usually either hard to find or hard to evolve. Dratini, for example needs 125 candies to evolve to Dragonite. Of course, collecting Pokémon and candies is a huge part of the game’s fun and thrill but don’t you wish there was a another way to get a Gyarados other than relying on pure luck or painstakingly catching hundreds of Magikarp?

Turns out, there’s another way. Pokémon Go now includes a buddy system. Launched in the September 10 update, the buddy system allows you to choose one Pokémon from your inventory and take it with you in walks; much like Ash’s Pikachu from the animated series. After walking a certain distance, your buddy will get a Pokémon candy that it can use for powerups and even evolution. Here’s how it works:

Choosing your buddy


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To choose a Pokémon buddy, you have to go to the buddy screen. It’s located in the same area as Journal and Customize. Once you’re there, you can open the list of the Pokémon you’ve caught and hatched and choose one as your buddy.

Once chosen, your buddy’s portrait will be displayed alongside yours on the lower left side of the screen. You will also see your buddy on the character menu.

Walking your buddy

After choosing a buddy, it’s time to go for walks. Walking your buddy works a lot like hatching eggs. Basically, Pokémon Go tracks your phone via Global Positioning System (GPS) to determine your location, your speed, and the distance you’ve traveled. For obvious reasons, distances covered at high speeds, like when you’re riding a car will not be counted. The total distance that you have walked with your buddy can be seen when you tap your Pokémon buddy in the character menu. The remaining distance needed to get a candy is indicated by the circle around your buddy’s portrait.

Getting candies

Once you’ve walked the required distance, your Pokémon will get a candy. You can only get candies that can be used by your current Pokémon buddy. For example, you will get Pidgey candies if your buddy is either Pidgey, Pidgeotto, or Pidgeot.

The distance required to get a candy varies for each Pokémon. We’ll call this the “candy distance”.

The most common Pokémon only needs one kilometer to find a candy.  These include:

  • Weedle
  • Pidgey
  • Rattata
  • Fearow
  • Zubat

Harder to find pokemon require 3 kilometers. Some of them are:

  • Bulbasaur
  • Charmander
  • Squirtle
  • Sandshrew
  • Nidoran♀
  • Nidoran♂
  • Vulpix
  • Oddish
  • Meowth
  • Psyduck
  • Growlithe
  • Ponyta
  • Slowpoke
  • Goldeen
  • Staryu

Rarer Pokémon need to be walked for 5 kilometers. This includes:

  • Onix
  • Scyther
  • Lapras
  • Eevee
  • Snorlax
  • Dratini
  • Dragonite

It is important to note that a Pokémon’s base form and evolved forms have the same distance requirements. For example, Bulbasaur, Ivysaur and Venusaur all require 3 kilometers.

Fun facts

Magikarp and Gyarados only need 1 kilometer to get a candy. This means that you will only have to walk, well, 400 kilometers to get that Gyarados you’ve always dreamed of.

You will be delighted to know that Pikachu only needs 1 kilometer to get a candy, though not a lot of us look forward to evolving our beloved Pikachu to a stronger not-as-cute Raichu. Also, there are talks of a Pikachu easter egg where he will hop on your character’s shoulder after you’ve walked with him for ten kilometers.