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How to trade with other trainers in Pokémon Go

Two years after the release of Pokemon Go, the game finally added one of the features fans have been waiting for since the beginning -- the ability to trade Pokemon with friends. Trading has been part of the Pokemon games since Red and Blue were released in 1995, but it had been sorely lacking in Pokemon Go. If you've been wondering how to trade in the popular mobile game, we have you covered.


The game now supports a whole new "Friends" mechanic that allows you to link up with other players -- and trading is a part of that.

Since trainer battles are also now in the game, it's crucial that you acquire the best lineup.

How to trade in Pokemon Go

Unfortunately, you can't just hop into Pokemon Go and immediately start trading. Like most features in the app, it's going to require some time and effort on the player's part. Here's everything you need to do before you can start trading Pokemon with friends.


Make friends

The first step in trading is finding friends in Pokemon Go. To do that, you'll need to find the screen in the game that lets you enter a Trainer Code for another player and displays yours. The 12-digit code is located under the Friends tab when you tap on your trainer's portrait in the bottom-left corner of the screen.

Under Friends, tap Add Friend to bring up the screen with the code. From there, you can either send your code to other people or enter one of their codes. When someone adds you to their Friends list, you'll get a notification.

Accept the request and you're done. Now you're linked to the other trainer and can see what they're doing in the game.

2. Grow your friendships

How to trade with other trainers in Pokémon Go

Now that you've made some friends, you need to increase your "level" of friendship with them.

You can do that in three ways: Trading together, playing raids and gym battles together, and giving gifts. Gifts are items that sometimes appear randomly when you spin a PokeStop out in the world. They're not objects you can keep or use, but you can give them to someone on your Friends list.

Giving and receiving gifts increases your friendship with that person through four different stages: Good Friend, Great Friend, Ultra Friend, and Best Friend. The good news is that, despite all these levels of friendship, you only need to be Good Friends with someone to start trading Pokemon. It only takes one gift passed between friends to make you Good Friends, and once that happens, you're only barred from trading "Mythical" Pokemon such as Mew.


Save your Stardust

How to trade with other trainers in Pokémon Go

Trading isn't free. It'll cost you Stardust, that currency you earn for completing raids, catching Pokemon, winning gym battles, and the like. The cost is variable, depending on your friendship level with the person you're trading with and the kind of Pokemon you want to trade.

A Pokemon you already have in your Pokedex costs the least (100 Stardust); Pokemon you haven't caught before, Shiny Pokemon, and Legendary Pokemon can cost more (in some cases, much, much more), and they have their own special requirements. The incentive to increase your level of friendship with other people is that it greatly reduces your Stardust costs for trading (and offers other benefits when raiding and battling gyms together). It can also hugely reduce the costs of certain trades with friends, so put the time in and send those gifts to bring up your Friendship level if you hope to be trading the best Pokemon.



How to trade with other trainers in Pokémon Go

You can add any other Pokemon Go trainer from anywhere in the world to your Friend list, provided you have their code. While you can send them gifts from wherever you are, to actually trade with them, you have to be physically close together -- the same goes for when you raid or battle a gym together. In order to initiate a trade when you're physically near a friend (within 100 meters, according to Niantic), open the Friend tab and select the person you want to trade with.

Hit the Trade button in the bottom-right corner, then wait for the other person to connect. Pull up your Pokemon and pick what you want to trade, and Pokemon Go will tell you what it'll cost you. You'll also see a CP range of the Pokemon will change when the trade goes through.

The range is affected by your trainer level and the level of whomever you're trading with -- so if they're a higher level than you, their super-strong Pokemon will probably get their CP lowered -- as well as your Friendship level with that person. When you finish the trade, your new Pokemon gets a new, random CP level from within the range. You'll also get something for trading other than a new Pokemon -- candies.

How many candies you receive from a trade is determined by where the Pokemon being traded were caught. The farther away you are from wherever the Pokemon was nabbed, up to 100 kilometers (62 miles), the more candies the trade will dish out.

Trades and rewardsHow to trade with other trainers in Pokémon Go

The trades most likely to matter to players are Special trades. These are trades in which you receive a Pokemon that's not already in your Pokedex or a Legendary Pokemon like a Moltres or Zapdos.

Special trades are much more expensive than regular trades, and what's more, you can only do them once a day -- so plan accordingly. Special trades don't take anything special to make them happen, but they will cost you in Stardust. In Niantic's example trade, two players at the Good Friends level trying to trade two Legendary Pokemon, a Zapdos for an Articuno, would need to pay 1 million Stardust to make the trade happen.

The reason behind the ridiculously high costs of Special trades is to keep people from trading legendary Pokemon the moment they meet.

You can cut the cost of your Special trades by increasing your Friendship level, with the best option being to build up to the rank of Best Friends before trying to make any particularly costly Special trades.

That takes some time and consistent attention, but it's no easier to earn the insane levels of Stardust you'd otherwise need.

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