Pokémon Go Buddy Update: Here’s How it All Works

Published: 16 September 2016Updated: 28 September 2016
Pokemon Buddy on World Map

The new Pokemon Go Buddy Update puts a Pokemon next to your trainer icon.

I’ve taken a close look at the latest Pokemon Go Buddy update to determine exactly how everything works and I’ve found out a few interesting things.

Whether you’re a hardcore Pokemon Go player looking to get the biggest benefit out of the new update, you’re a brand new player looking to understand the new changes, or you’re anywhere in between, the information I have provided below should help you understand the latest Pokemon Go buddy update.

How to Equip Your Buddy in Pokemon Go

First off, let me explain to you how to ‘equip’ a buddy in Pokemon Go. I’ve played the game for a while now, but even I was a bit lost when it came to actually figuring out how to turn one of my favorite Pokemon into a buddy. So, here’s how you do it.

  • Tap your trainer profile on the bottom left
  • Tap the menu button on the bottom right
  • Tap the newly added ‘buddy’ button
  • You’ll now be able to choose a Pokemon to be your buddy

If you’d like to change your buddy at any time, follow the same steps as above. This time, your buddy will appear when you press the ‘buddy’ button. In the bottom right corner, a switch-up icon will be available for you to swap out your buddy.

The Visual Changes

Unfortunately, you will not be able to see your buddy walking alongside your trainer on the world map. There are, however, a few visual changes that you’ll most likely notice once you have a buddy equipped. Firstly, your Pokemon will now appear alongside your trainer on the trainer profile menu.

Pokemon Buddy Menu Found

The new Pokemon Buddy menu can be found within your trainer profile page.

The way the Pokemon is seen will depend on its size – a small Pokemon such as a Pidgey or an Eevee will sit on your shoulder, whilst larger Pokemon will sit beside you or fly behind you.

You will also notice that the Pokemon will now appear alongside your trainer’s portrait on the main game screen in the bottom left corner of the screen.

Finally, you should notice that when you find your buddy in your Pokemon list, it’ll have a small icon to represent that the Pokemon is currently your buddy.

Candy Rewards for Walking Explained

Whilst the new visual changes are nice to see, the new buddy update does add an additional gameplay feature that will certainly benefit those that get out and about often.

Once you have a buddy set, you will periodically be rewarded candy for your buddy. The candy you receive will correspond to the species of your buddy, so for example, a Golbat would give you Zubat candy.

The candy rewards are based upon walking distance. You can see how far you need to walk to achieve your next candy reward by tapping your buddy whilst on the trainer profile menu. Just like with eggs, there are different tiers of walking distances available. Unlike eggs, the rewards are recursive.

Pokemon Buddy Walking Distances Explained

Another thing that’s a little confusing about the new Pokemon Go buddy update is that the candy rewards seem to vary for different types of Pokemon, but there’s no explanation for how much candy should be rewarded for each Pokemon species.

Pokemon Go Walking Distances Explained

Walk with your Pokemon buddy to be rewarded with extra candy for that species.

I spent a bit of time trying to work out the exact rule Niantic has set in place for the Pokemon distances and I have managed to figure it out. Thankfully, it is very straightforward. The distance you have to walk is set out in three different tiers, and the Pokemon fall into the same tiers as they do with the eggs.

As you can see from the picture shown below, every basic Pokemon is provided on this egg chart. Any Pokemon in the 2KM egg category requires 1KM of walking for a buddy reward. 5KM Pokemon requires a 3KM walk and 10KM Pokemon require a 5KM walk. This same rule applies to the evolutions of all of these Pokemon, too.

Pokemon Buddy Walking Distances

Credit for the original image goes to Poketricks.de.

If you want to work out how far you’ll need to walk with a buddy to be rewarded a candy, find the basic Pokemon for any buddy you have and use the image below for reference.

Can You Get More Than One Candy From Your Buddy?

Some players have reported that you can receive more than one candy for reaching the walking goals for your buddy. Niantic’s communication is improving, but there’s still no definite answer for any of this. So far, nobody has quite worked it out, but it seems as if it may be a bug that occurs when the server gets confused about whether it has already handed you a candy or not.

Because of this, you can’t legitimately get double candy rewards from walking with your buddy, but a glitch may occur on occasion that will cause the game to give you two candies when it shouldn’t.

One candy is rewarded each time you reach the buddy walking distance goal.

One candy is rewarded each time you reach the buddy walking distance goal.

But What About Rewards for Kilometer Milestones?

So far, it seems like no additional candy is given out as a reward for making a buddy walk with you for longer. Players have been reported to walk as far as 100KM with one buddy and still not receive any additional rewards.

In the future, this may change and it may become apparent that a buddy Pokemon will pick up additional benefits, such as increased HP or CP for walking with you for longer. This could certainly change up the current Pokemon Go gym meta.
Thanks for taking the time to read our guide on the Pokemon Go buddy update. Hopefully, you’ve learned a thing or two about how the system works.



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