From a crotchety Ingress player to new Pokémon Go players

There are technical aspects of playing this mobile game that are shared with Niantic Ingress, and it’s better to learn them up front so you avoid frustration:

  1. You’ll quickly learn about the quality of your phone in ways that you hadn’t considered. Aside from power efficiency & playtime, there’s the matter of GPS sensitivity. This isn’t advertised by manufacturers, and most reviewers won’t give it much thought. Check places like the Ingress subreddit for recommendations on your next phone.

  2. You’ll quickly become sensitive to your phone carrier’s signal quality. Coverage area doesn’t count for much if the signal spectrum is the wrong kind. This means that if you’re trying to play where there are a lot of tall buildings or tree around you, your reception will suffer, even if your carrier shows a “strong” signal on their marketing maps.

  3. You should learn how to downgrade your cellular data speed from LTE/4G to 3G. This option will be buried in the advanced settings, but could mean the difference between your phone burning battery hunting for an LTE signal that’s barely registering, when 3G is available and strong. It varies from phone to phone, so this is something you should figure out on your own.

  4. GPS oddities: GPS works best if you have line of sight with the sky. You’ll get weird behavior like GPS echoes, making it seem like you’re walking farther away from a building when you’re walking towards it.

  5. Get a power pack! Even the better phones that claim a whole day of operation time will only last a few hours playing Ingress, and Pokémon Go will be no exception. Get a short charger cable too, which will make transmission more efficient, because line resistance.