Two years after the release of Pokémon Go, the game finally added one of the features fans have been waiting for since the beginning — the ability to trade Pokémon with friends. Trading has been part of the Pokémon games since Red and Blue were released in 1995, but it had been sorely lacking in Pokémon Go. If you’ve been wondering how to trade in the popular mobile game, we have you covered.
The game now supports a whole new “Friends” mechanic that allows you to link up with other players — and trading is a part of that. Since trainer battles are also now in the game, it’s crucial that you acquire the best lineup.
Unfortunately, you can’t just hop into Pokémon Go and immediately start trading. Like most features in the app, it’s going to require some time and effort on the player’s part. Here’s everything you need to do before you can start trading Pokémon with friends.
The first step in trading is finding friends in Pokémon Go. To do that, you’ll need to find the screen in the game that lets you enter a Trainer Code for another player and displays yours.
Step 1: The 12-digit code is located under the Friends tab when you tap on your trainer’s portrait in the bottom-left corner of the screen.
Step 2: Under Friends, tap Add Friend to bring up the screen with the code.
Step 3: From there, you can either send your code to other people or enter one of their codes. When someone adds you to their Friends list, you’ll get a notification.
Step 4: Accept the request and you’re done. Now you’re linked to the other trainer and can see what they’re doing in the game.
Now that you’ve made some friends, you need to increase your “level” of friendship with them. You can do that in three ways: Trading together, playing raids and gym battles together, and giving gifts. Gifts are items that sometimes appear randomly when you spin a PokéStop out in the world. They’re not objects you can keep or use, but you can give them to someone on your Friends list. Giving and receiving gifts increases your friendship with that person through four different stages: Good Friend, Great Friend, Ultra Friend, and Best Friend.
The good news is that, despite all these levels of friendship, you only need to be Good Friends with someone to start trading Pokémon. It only takes one gift passed between friends to make you Good Friends, and once that happens, you’re only barred from trading “Mythical” Pokémon such as Mew.
Trading isn’t free. It’ll cost you Stardust, the currency you earn for completing raids, catching Pokémon, winning gym battles, and the like. The cost is variable, depending on your friendship level with the person you’re trading with and the kind of Pokémon you want to trade.
A Pokémon you already have in your Pokédex costs the least (100 Stardust); Pokémon you haven’t caught before, Shiny Pokémon, and Legendary Pokémon can cost more (in some cases, much, much more), and they have their own special requirements.
The incentive to increase your level of friendship with other people is that it greatly reduces your Stardust costs for trading (and offers other benefits when raiding and battling gyms together). It can also hugely reduce the costs of certain trades with friends, so put the time in and send those gifts to bring up your Friendship level if you hope to be trading the best Pokémon.
You can add any other Pokémon Go trainer from anywhere in the world to your Friends list, provided you have their code. While you can send them gifts from wherever you are, to actually trade with them, you have to be physically close together — the same goes for when you raid or battle a gym together.
Step 1: In order to initiate a trade when you’re physically near a friend (within 100 meters, according to Niantic), open the Friend tab and select the person you want to trade with.
Step 2: Hit the Trade button in the bottom-right corner, then wait for the other person to connect.
Step 3: Pull up your Pokémon and pick what you want to trade, and Pokémon Go will tell you what it’ll cost you.
You’ll also see a CP range of the Pokémon will change when the trade goes through. The range is affected by your trainer level and the level of whomever you’re trading with — so if they’re a higher level than you, their super-strong Pokémon will probably get their CP lowered — as well as your Friendship level with that person.
Step 4: Select Trade.
Step 5: When you finish the trade, your new Pokémon gets a new, random CP level from within the range.
You’ll also get something for trading other than a new Pokémon: candies. How many candies you receive from a trade is determined by where the Pokémon being traded were caught. The farther away you are from wherever the Pokémon was nabbed, up to 100 kilometers (62 miles), the more candies the trade will dish out.
Many players benefit most from Special trades. In Special trades, you can acquire a Pokémon not currently in your Pokédox or a Legendary Pokémon such as a Moltres or Zapdos. These types of transactions are extremely cool, but the downside is that they are also incredibly expensive, costing more than an average trade. One other disadvantage is that you can only make a trade one time per day, so you need to have a solid plan in place before you start using them.
Although there aren’t any clear-cut requirements necessary for Special trades, you’ll still have to be prepared to pay with Stardust. For instance, in Niantic’s situation, two Good Friends-level players who want to switch out two different Legendary Pokémon (maybe a Zapdos is traded for an Articuno) would have to fork out 1 million Stardust to make the exchange.
These steep price tags are high on purpose in order to prevent players from trading their Legendary Pokémon as soon as possible.
You have the opportunity to save all of your Special trades if you upgrade to the next Friendship level. If you’re a person who wants to keep everything, we advise climbing your way to the top of the Best Friends rank before you start trading. It’ll take a lot of time, effort, patience, focus, and determination, but we guarantee it’s worth all the hassle. This process isn’t much more challenging than acquiring the high levels of Stardust needed for Special trades.