How To Use The Buddy System In 'Pokémon GO'

image: Dave Thier
At long last, the buddy system is live in Pokémon GO. It’s a much needed update, adding both new functionality and character to the game, allowing you to better imagine those adventures out in the world, traversing the wilderness with your faithful Pokemon at your side
. Like many of the systems in Pokémon GO, it can be a little tricky to know exactly the best way to use it. So read on to to find out how to use the buddy system in Pokémon GO.
On a basic level, the buddy system allows you to have one of yourPokémon follow you around outside of its Pokéball as a bit of a nod to Pikachu in the anime. Doing this allows you to collect candies for your buddy Pokemon as you walk — it’s meant to address the problem of not being able to evolve Pokemon without being able to find a huge number of wild creatures. So, every time you hit a certain distance checkpoint for your given Pokémon, you get rewarded with a candy. I’m starting with Pikachu, obviously.
To activate it, tap on your trainer profile picture in the lower left hand corner of your screen. Tap on the three little bars in the lower right, and then tap “buddy.” This will allow you to open up your list ofPokémon and select one to follow you around.
Different Pokémon require different amounts of distance to collect candies for, however. The easiest Pokémon (like my Pikachu) require only 1 km per candy, allowing you to make pretty hasty progress up to your Raichu. The toughest Pokémon require 5 km per candy, though most (if not all) of these seem to be single evolution Pokémon, so those candies will be going to training rather than evolution. The system seems designed to work with the starter Pokémon Charmander, Bulbosaur and Squirtle, all of which are pretty hard to evolve naturally and take 3 km per candy. You can find a full list of buddy Pokémon along with how far you’ll need to walk for a candy here. 

Some players have also reported occasional double candy pickups. 
And that’s how you use the buddy system. I’d recommend using it for the rarest evolvable find you’ve got, whether that’s Abra, Pikachu or whoever. It’s much closer to the “fitness app” side of things and less towards the “game” side of things, but maybe it will allow me to finally get my Gyrados. Finally, that is, after several hundred kilometers. It’s a feature that’s begging for better distance tracking or a Pokémon GO Plus band with a pedometer (still a bit unclear, on that count).

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