The day has finally come for Pokemon GO fans. Pokemon GO is now on the Apple Watch. Or, at least a version of the app is, which allows certain features of Pokemon GO to function outside of users’ iPhones.
Despite speculation and rumor that the Pokemon GO app for Apple Watch had been delayed or scrapped, and confirming recent announcements that the Apple Watch app would be “coming soon,” very few probably expected it to debut before the end of the year. Indeed, the app’s release has come just five days after that statement from Pokemon GO‘s developer Niantic.
While the Apple Watch app does not allow users to play the full game on their wrist, here are the key features that the app does accomplish. First, the Pokemon GO app interacts with the Health app on the Apple Watch, allowing each play session to be logged as a workout, with gameplay counting toward personal Activity rings. This integration definitely echoes Niantic’s strong desire in designing Pokemon GO to get people out and active while playing the game.
Next, the Pokemon GO app on Apple Watch will issue notifications when there are nearby Pokemon. However, in order to catch those Pokemon, users will need to pull out their phones and use the full Pokemon GO app. The Apple Watch app also allows players to receive notifications when Eggs hatch and medals are awarded.
Another thing players will be notified of, which also has some more capability with the Apple Watch, is a nearby PokeStop. Not only will a notification come through, but users can also collect the items from the PokeStop without the need to do it through the phone app. Lastly, the Apple Watch app “counts distance toward hatching Pokemon Eggs and receiving Candy with Buddy Pokemon.”
According to fans on the Pokemon GO subreddit, it has been reported and confirmed that Eggs needing hatching act as an always-on feature on the Apple Watch once the app has been installed, even if it the app isn’t active. That means that no matter where users walk, whether they are actively playing Pokemon GO or not, the distance traveled will go toward hatching eggs.
For those wanting a solution that allows them to catch Pokemon without opening the phone app, they’ll need to search out the hard-to-find Pokemon GO Plus. That has many of the same abilities directly related to the game, like accessing PokeStops, although it obviously does not have the workout and Activity integration that only exists with the Apple Watch’s Health app.
Pokemon GO for the Apple Watch can be downloaded now on the Apple App Store.