Pokémon HOME, the companion app to the Pokémon series which enables you to store and transfer your Pokémon to and from the app, is now available to download on Switch and mobile devices and interfaces
This guide to using Pokémon HOME is a work in progress and will explain the basics for transferring your Pokémon to and from the app, as well as the restrictions and caveats for transferring to Pokémon Sword and Shield. Of course there are caveats! This is the Pokémon Company, after all.
If you're hoping to transfer your Pokémon from Pokémon GO or from previous Pokémon games and generations, we'll cover all that, too, as well as all the kit you'll need to transfer Pokémon from as far back as Gen 3.
Remember, we'll be updating this guide with more information, instructions and images very soon. In the meantime, let's go catch 'em all...
What is Pokémon HOME?
Pokémon HOME is an app for Nintendo Switch and mobile devices that enables you to transfer compatible Pokémon from multiple previous games using the existing Pokémon Bank app to Pokémon Sword and Shield. You can also transfer compatible Pokémon from Pokémon GO, although that function isn't yet available and is 'coming soon'.
This infographic gives you an idea of how the app interacts with existing Pokémon games and services - we'll explain how exactly below:
What Pokémon games can I use with Pokémon HOME?
As you can see above, Pokémon HOME is fully compatible with Pokémon Sword and Shield - you can transfer your Pokémon to and from the app at will.
You can also transfer Pokémon between Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! via Pokémon HOME, and transfer compatible Pokémon to from those games to Sword and Shield, although only monsters that are part of Pokémon Sword and Shield's Galar Pokédex, and once they're in Sword or Shield, they cannot then be transferred back to Let's Go, Pikachu or Eevee.
Once transferred to Pokémon HOME, your Pokémon will be listed in the National Pokédex (a list comprising every single Pokémon from all the games to date). Remember, Pokémon Sword and Shield has it's own Pokédex (the Galar Pokédex) and is not compatible with every single Pokémon, although once the Expansion Pass launches, Sword and Shield will support over 600 Pokémon.
It is not currently possible to transfer Pokémon from Pokémon GO to Pokémon HOME, although the feature is coming. It should be noted that transferred Pokémon cannot be moved back to Pokémon GO once they have been moved to Pokémon HOME.
For previous generation games, all Pokémon must be transferred via Pokémon Bank on 3DS. While it is possible to transfer Gen 1 and Gen 2 Pokémon from the 3DS Virtual Console releases of the original Game Boy games (or their remakes on later platforms), it is not possible to move Pokémon from original Game Boy cartridges to Pokémon HOME.
However, it is possible for series devotees to move their Pocket Monsters all the way from Gen 3 on the Game Boy Advance to Pokémon Bank and then to Pokémon HOME, although you'll need a lot of hardware and even more patience. See below for more details.
How do I transfer Pokémon from Pokémon Sword and Shield to Pokémon HOME?
To begin using the service for storage, simply download the app on Switch, agree to the various terms and conditions and get acquainted with Grand Oak.
From the main menu you can immediately select your copy of Pokémon Sword or Shield and begin transferring Pokémon between Boxes.
You'll find a gift Pikachu waiting for you in your Pokémon HOME box. Once connected, you'll be able to transfer compatible Pokémon between the game(s) and the app at will, using standard buttons in docked mode or dragging and dropping via the touchscreen in handheld mode to easily sort your Pokémon. Pressing the '-' button at any time will call up Poké Boy who will offer tips and explanations.
Hitting the '+' button will enable you to save the changes to your boxes and return to the main menu. Pokémon HOME will list your Pokémon according to their National Pokédex number with the option to separate out each region. If a Pokémon has Mega Evolve or Gigantamax forms, they too will be shown.
Note: You'll have to actually transfer the Pokémon to Pokémon HOME for it to register in the Pokédex - Pokémon contained in boxes in-game won't be registered.
The Mobile version of the app displays even more information such as their abilities and the moves they can learn.
How do I move Pokémon from Pokémon HOME to Pokémon Sword and Shield?
Once you've moved Pokémon to Pokémon HOME from Sword and Shield or other sources, compatible Pokémon can easily be transferred back to Sword and Shield by connecting with the game again and dragging your chosen Pokémon to the game's boxes. Remember that only Pokémon present in the Galar Pokédex can be moved to Pokémon Sword and Shield.
Also remember that once Pocket Monsters transferred from Let's Go, Pikachu and Eevee cannot be moved back to those games once you've moved them to Sword and Shield (although they can be returned and stored in Pokémon HOME).
How do I transfer Pokémon from Pokémon GO to Pokémon Sword and Shield?
It is not currently possible to transfer Pokémon from Pokémon GO to Pokémon HOME, although the feature is coming. We'll update this guide when it launches.
How do I trade Pokémon using Pokémon HOME?
There are four different ways to trade Pokémon using Pokémon HOME. You can only trade using the mobile version of the app. Using these methods it really never has been easier to catch 'em all.
Wonder Box is essentially a blind trade where you put the Pokémon you wish to trade in a box and it is traded at some unspecified point (whether you're using the app or not) with another from someone else's Wonder Box. This is similar to the blind trade system found in Pokémon Sword and Shield. You can put more Pokémon in the Wonder Box if you're subscribed to the Premium Plan.
Using GTS you'll be able to specify the exact Pokémon you want via a trade - very handy for filling in the blank spaces in your Pokédex. Again, you can trade more Pokémon at one time on the Premium Plan.
Rooms can only be created by people with the Premium Plan, but up to 20 people can join via a Trade Room ID (or you can join a random room). It's a bit like Pokémon roulette - you won't know what Pokémon you're getting until the trade is complete. In the initial hours we've had mixed success, with various connection issues causing us to be booted from trade rooms. We expect these issues to be ironed out over the coming days, but for now it's a little patchy.
This enables you to trade directly with any friend that you have added to Pokémon HOME.
How do I transfer Pokémon from previous generations to Pokémon Sword and Shield?
This will involve the use of Pokémon Bank, the previous system used to store and trade Pokémon up until Gen 7. THIS FEATURE IS ONLY AVAILABLE WITH POKÉMON HOME'S PREMIUM PLAN.
You can find out more information on the official Pokémon Bank website, but as a rule, once you've moved Pokémon from earlier Gens to Pokémon Bank, they can't be transferred back, so make sure you're happy 'losing' them from your original games. The following infographic from the Pokémon Bank website shows which games permit deposits-only or deposits and withdrawals, but remember: TRANSFERS FROM POKÉMON BANK TO POKÉMON HOME ARE ONE-WAY ONLY:
The 3DS app has an annual fee of $4.99, but for the first month of Pokémon HOME, users can access Pokémon Bank free-of-charge, so there's no time like the present if you're eager to move all your Pokémon to the latest storage system.
Here are some details from the lovely Alex with regards to the convoluted process of transferring your legacy Pokémon up the daisy chain into Pokémon Bank and, from there, to Pokémon HOME. Over to Alex:
- "To transfer from Pokémon Ruby / Sapphire / Emerald / FireRed / LeafGreen you need to see every Pokémon in the Sinnoh Pokédex in Pokémon Diamond / Pearl / Platinum, or reach the Pal Park in Fuschia City in Kanto after completing the Johto Elite Four. You will also need an original Nintendo DS or a DS Lite, as you need a DS that has both a DS game card slot and a GBA game cart slot."
- "To transfer from Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, or SoulSilver, you need to reach the Poké Transfer Lab on Route 15 by beating the Elite Four in Pokémon Black, White, Black 2 or White 2. You will also need 2 original DS systems, or you can use 3DS systems as well if you like, or indeed one of each. This is because you need to essentially trade between the two systems wirelessly."
- "Pokémon with HM moves cannot be transferred through either of the previous two methods. This is to stop you from being stranded in your game without the ability to Surf or Fly when it’s necessary."
- "If you had Pokémon in Pokémon Bank but haven’t been paying the subscription up until now, it’s possible they’ve been wiped from the server, and if that is indeed the case I’m afraid they’re lost forever. Reports are mixed, some people have lost everything whilst others haven’t, so double-check as soon as you can."
What are the differences between the Nintendo Switch and Mobile versions of Pokémon HOME?
The Switch and Mobile versions of Pokémon HOME work in tandem, but also have exclusive features not available in the other. You'll need both in order to access the full list of available features. Here's the complete list adapted from the official Pokémon HOME website:
|Pokémon HOME feature||Nintendo Switch version||Mobile version|
|Move Pokémon with Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!||Yes||No|
|Move Pokémon with Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield||Yes||No|
|Move Pokémon with Pokémon Bank||Yes||Yes|
|Receive Mystery Gifts||No||Yes|
|Check Battle Data||No||Yes|
|Exchange Pokémon HOME Points for BP (Battle Points)||Yes||No|
As you can see, certain features are exclusive to one version of the app, so you'll need both to be able to get the most out of the app. Some features are also restricted to the Premium Plan, too (the Judge feature which lets you see how strong your Pokémon are, for example).
What are Mystery Gifts?
By tapping the green icon in the centre at the bottom of the screen in the mobile app, you'll see a Mystery Gift icon on the left. Using your phone's GPS you can check for Local Event gifts or input codes (or code patterns) according to the official website, although this option isn't present in the app at the moment.
These gifts are only accessible via the mobile version of Pokémon HOME and will be redeemable in either Sword and Shield or HOME. We assume it will work much the same as the corresponding section in Pokémon Sword and Shield, but we'll update this part of the guide when we know more.
How do I check my Pokémon Sword and Shield Battle Data?
Eventually you'll be able to check your Battle Data and records from Pokémon Sword and Shield in Pokémon HOME, although this feature isn't present at launch.
What are Pokémon HOME Challenges?
Reaching certain milestones regarding the Pokémon you register in Pokémon HOME - related to all kinds of variables including number of Pokémon, type, nature, moves and more - will result in fulfilling Challenges, as listed in the mobile version of the app.
These Challenges will appear when you complete a part of them and finishing them rewards you with stickers and special backgrounds you can use to decorate the app and your profile.
What are Pokémon HOME points?
Depositing Pokémon in Pokémon HOME gives you Pokémon HOME points which can be exchanged for Battle Points (BP) for use in Sword and Shield (although only when using the Switch version of the app).
How much does Pokémon HOME cost?
Pokémon HOME has a Basic and a Premium plan. The Basic plan is free, although it has several restrictions not present with the paid Premium plan.
The Premium version is available in a monthly, three-monthly or yearly plan for the following prices:
|Nintendo eShop Price (excluding tax in the US)||£2.69 / $2.99||£4.49 / $4.99||£14.39 / $15.99|
What are the differences between the Basic and Premium Pokémon HOME plans?
Here are a list of the differences between the free Basic plan and paid Premium plan, as detailed on the Pokémon HOME website:
|Pokémon HOME feature||Basic||Premium|
|Moving Pokémon from Pokémon Bank||Unavailable||Available|
|Number of Pokémon that can be deposited||30
|Number of Pokémon that can be placed in the Wonder Box at once||3
|Number of Pokémon that can be placed in the GTS at once||1
|Room Trade||Participate||Participate and host|
Can I use Pokémon HOME to transfer my original Gen 1 and 2 Pokémon from Pokémon Red / Blue / Yellow / Gold / Silver / Crystal on Game Boy to Pokémon Sword and Shield?
Unfortunately, no. The Pokémon you first caught two decades ago are forever trapped on those original Game Boy cartridges or on Pokémon Stadium. Of course, using various shady tactics and compromised hardware, enterprising Poké Trainers have been known to dump their original saves from the Game Boy carts, upload them to the 3DS Virtual Console versions of Pokémon Red and Blue, and then move those to Pokémon Bank, but we shall not delve into those dark arts here.
No, it seems that 'Stinkypoo' the Pikachu, 'Wormy' the Weedle and 'Metapoo' the Metapod will die on our Game Boy carts along with the battery. Probably for the best, to be honest.
Do I need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to use Pokémon HOME?
Nope, Pokémon HOME works independently from the Switch Online subscription.
Are the friends in the Pokémon HOME app linked to my friends on Nintendo Switch?
No. That would be logical, practical and convenient, but no. They are entirely separate lists, so you'll need to add people to yet another friends list.
What happens to my Pokémon if my Pokémon HOME subscription plan expires?
As explained by Pokémon HOME support, you'll continue to have access to the Pokémon in your Basic Box, although all others will be inaccessible until you purchase another plan. Happily, it seems there is no limit to how long your Pokémon will remain 'frozen' on the servers, as opposed to the previous storage solution on 3DS, Pokémon Bank.
Good news if you forget to renew your subscription plan, although we'd still exercise caution if your Pokémon are particularly dear to you.
If my subscription to Pokémon Bank has expired, can I still access my Pokémon in the Bank and move them to Pokémon HOME?
Possibly, although it depends how long it has been since your subscription expired. Follow these instructions from the Pokémon HOME support page to see if your Pokémon still exist on the servers. Fingers crossed.
Will Pokémon HOME work with future Pokémon games?
You'd hope so, wouldn't you? Although from past experience perhaps we can expect an entirely new system that will unify the previous systems in a totally new and even more complicated manner.
We're joking. With its mobile integration, it's a good bet that Pokémon HOME will be the storage and trading app for all your Pokémon needs for the foreseeable future.
We'll update this guide with more information over the next few days. We'll also add new information regarding Pokémon GO compatibility as it becomes available.