Over the weekend, Pokémon GO became officially available in a much wider range of countries, launching in 26 European countries, then later on in the weekend in Canada. This comes not long after Niantic Labs’ Android and iOS title became a phenomenon in the three countries where it made its initial debut – the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. And since there were already server problems when the game was available in just three markets, you can only imagine how bad things were over the weekend. Some hacking crews claimed responsibility for the weekend’s server outages, though we’d still like to think the overwhelming response to Pokémon GO was still the main reason why many gamers were not able to play the title for a few hours on end.
Yes, there are thousands upon thousands of new Pokémon GO players following this weekend’s rollouts, and there’s a good chance you may have to deal with more server issues in the days to come. Niantic is doing what it could to rectify the issues, and we’re confident the developer will get the job done in time, but for the meantime, this Pokémon GO strategy guide will deal with workarounds and tricks you can try if the servers go out, or if the game gets laggy while you’re playing.
1. Timing Could Be Key
Remember those times when you’d have to login to a certain game at specific times of the day in order to fully take advantage of multiplayer features and the like? Pokémon GO is no exception, as there are times when it’s easier to login to the game and load times are less of a problem. This could mean playing the game in the early morning hours or late at night, as those are times when people are generally getting ready for the day or preparing to go to bed, or maybe sleeping. Just as long as it doesn’t interfere with your “real-world” activities, you might want to try playing during off-peak hours, but definitely not during lunch break, which is when the servers are busiest.
2. Use Your Wi-Fi
If you usually play Pokémon GO with your 3G or 4G data turned on, you might want to try logging in while using your Wi-Fi instead. Now this could be a case-to-case workaround; after all, cellular data can work anywhere in theory, while Wi-Fi only works if there’s a hotspot. Still, Wi-Fi can often be much faster, so you can give it a try if you’re playing in an area where there’s a strong signal. That will allow you to login to Pokémon GO even if it appears to be down on cellular data, and play the game with less lag and a lower chance of freezing.
3. Restart Pokémon GO
Dealing with an unexpected freeze, or a playing experience that’s unreasonably laggy? You can try force-closing the game (as opposed to quitting the game from the main menu), then restarting it – simple as that. You can use this when the spinning PokéBall informing you that the game is loading is on your screen for too long, or if you’re simply unable to make it past the loading screen. But don’t do this every time things seem to be taking longer than usual. Sometimes, it really may be taking a while for the spinning PokéBall to disappear, so you may want to be a little patient during these situations.
4. Use Google Maps Offline
You probably know by now that Pokémon GO uses Google Maps for location data. Keeping that in mind, it’s a good idea to download local maps in Google Maps for offline use, and if you don’t have Google Maps, go ahead and download it now! By using your maps offline, you’ll be able to play the game faster, and you might not have to deal with most of the game’s lag and freezing issues. Like all the other tips above, this is not a 100 percent rock-solid guarantee, but it’s better than nothing as Niantic continues to sort out the server problem!
5. When All Else Fails Do This
This isn’t a tip per se, but during those times when the servers go down and none of the above tips seem to be working, the best thing to do is to just grin and bear it. Due to Pokémon GO’s immense popularity, this all can be expected, as nobody, not even Niantic, expected the game to become so hot. You may miss out on a few hours of Pokémon-hunting, but if it’s any consolation, you’re not the only one “suffering” when these server outages occur.