During Apple's 7 September event, Niantic, the developers behind Pokemon GO, showcased the popular mobile game working on an Apple Watch. Here's what to expect from the app, and how to play Pokemon GO on Apple Watch. Also see: Apple Watch Series 2 review | watchOS 3 features | Apple Watch buying guide 2016.
Pokemon GO Apple Watch release date: When is Pokemon GO coming to Apple Watch?
Niantic originally announced Apple Watch support for Pokemon GO during Apple's September 2016 announcement, with many suggesting it'd be out within a month. However, it seems most were wrong as Niantic delayed the release of the Pokemon GO app update with Watch support until 22 December 2016.
With that being said, the current version (or any version over 1.21.12) of Pokemon GO should have the Apple Watch app built-in, meaning you don't need to install a separate app. To install it on your Apple Watch, simply open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, scroll down to Pokemon GO and toggle "Show App on Apple Watch" on. Give it a few minutes to install, and the app should then be ready to go on your Apple Watch.
Pokemon GO Apple Watch compatibility: Which Apple Watch is compatible with Pokemon GO?
While there was no mention of compatibility at Apple's September 2016 event, Pokemon GO for Apple Watch is compatible with all Apple Watch models, including the original and Series 1 watches that don't include GPS functionalities. It works alongside Apple's built-in fitness tracking, which we assume is a workaround for older, non-GPS enabled Watches.
So, to clarify, unless Niantic changes it's mind, Pokemon Go is compatible with the original 2015 Apple Watch, Apple Watch Series 1, Apple Watch Series 2, Apple Watch Nike+ and Apple Watch Edition. Read next: Best iPhone games.
Pokemon GO Apple Watch features: What features can we expect from Pokemon GO on Apple Watch?
So, what can the Apple Watch variant of the Pokemon GO app do that the iOS and Android apps can't? While the app isn't quite a replacement for Nintendo's own Pokemon Go Plus wristband that lets you catch Pokemon and cash in on Pokestops on-the-fly, it's a nice middle ground for Apple Watch owners. Here's a few of the things you'll be able to do on Pokemon GO for Apple Watch:
- Track egg hatches: You will be able to see how many miles you have left to hatch your incubated eggs. This will be presented through a watch face, making it easy to glance at your watch to track your progress. Once an egg hatches you will be able to see what has hatched form your egg.
- Watch app: Through the main screen on the Pokemon GO watch app, you will be able to see your trainer level and the XP you need to rank up.
- Track your workout: Compatibility with Apple's fitness tracking means that you're able to End and Resume your 'workout' when you're using the Pokemon GO watch app. Through the watch's app you will be able to track the distance you've walked and see the calories you've burnt.
- Track Pokemon: With your watch you will have the option to see nearby Pokemon straight from your watch and even be notified when a Pokemon has appeared in the wild. You will still have to use your phone to catch the Pokemon, unlike with Pokemon GO Plus that'll catch it for you.
- Use PokeStops: From the watch you will be able to swipe on PokeStops to collect items. When using the watch app, you will be notified directly on the watch through a buzz on your wrist.
- Track achievements: Achievements will pop up on your watch notifying you when you've reached a milestone.
We are excited by all the features, however are concerned about the battery hit it will have on an Apple Watch - especially the older, original Watch. The Pokemon GO app on iPhone already drains a lot of battery, so we are sure it affects the Apple Watch drastically too! Also see: Super Mario Run for iPhone.