The Pokemon Go tracker isn't useless, here's why

No steps? No PokeVision? No problem. Use these tricks to find Pokemon.

Alina Bradford CNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
2 min read
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Some Pokemon Go players are lamenting that now that there are no steps on the in-game tracker and PokeVision has been shut down, playing the game is like playing Marco Polo with no Polo.

Many other people say that playing the game just isn't as fun as it used to be.

Even though Niantic is trying out new trackers, most people only have the updated Sightings tracker. This tracker doesn't have steps, but it is far from useless. You just need to know how to read it.


The new Sightings tracker.

Screenshot by Alina Bradford / CNET

The next time you're out Pokemon hunting, open up your tracker. The Pokemon closest to you will be listed as first on the tracker. As you walk, away from the Pokemon, it will drop down on the list. It's kind-of like playing "Hot or Cold" as a kid. As the Pokemon move up on the list you're getting "hotter" and as they move down you're getting "colder."

Let's look at this in terms of the old tracking system. The Pokemon that are lower down on the list are likely to be three footsteps away, the ones in the middle are more likely to be two and those at the top are more likely to be one footstep away.

Someone told me this trick and I've been testing it out since the update. It seems to work great, as long as the servers are working well. Latency may throw off the tracker a bit at times.

Additionally, the tracker can let you know when to find new hunting spots. If you're in a crappy spot, there won't be many Pokemon on your tracker.

A word of warning: Do not tap on your tracker. This will rearrange the Pokemon and it will no longer show you accurate results.

Also note that the mini tracker that shows up when you are on the map is totally inaccurate. You have to open the tracker to get good results.

Editors' note: This article was originally published on August 9, 2016. It has since been updated to reflect changes in the ways trackers work.