Pokemon Go

How do you catch Pokémon in Pokémon GO? By throwing Poké Balls at them, of course! Well, it's not quite as simple as that. Different Poké Balls have different capture rates, for example, and you can increase the capture rate further depending on how you throw one and by using items.

Many Pokémon are super easy to catch, and it really is as simple as throwing a Poké Ball. Others, though, will require a serious boost in your capture rate to catch. That's what we're going to cover in this guide – how to catch Pokémon, and how to increase your capture rate using Poké Balls, throwing tips, and items.

How To Catch Pokémon In Pokémon GO

How To Throw A Poké Ball

To throw a Poké Ball, simply tap and hold on it then swipe it at the Pokémon. If successful, the Poké Ball will hit the Pokémon and, hopefully, catch it.

To increase your chances, aim your throw so the Poké Ball lands as close as possible to the centre of the coloured circle. To increase your chances further, throw the Poké Ball at the coloured circle when it's at it's smallest.

What The Coloured Rings Mean

The colour of the circle denotes the capture rate of that particular Pokémon, green being the highest and red the lowest.

Even if that Pokémon has a red coloured circle, there are ways you can increase the capture rate. Your first order of business should be to use a Razz Berry and to select a better Poké Ball, like an Ultra Ball.

You can also increase your chances of catching the Pokémon with a well timed and delivered throw. If your Poké Ball lands within that coloured circle, your chances of capturing the Pokémon will increase. This increased chance is at its highest when the circle is at its smallest.

How To Throw A Curve Ball

Curve Balls are performed by first spinning the Poké Ball and then throwing it to make it curve before it hits the Pokémon.

To pull these off, you'll first want to spin the Poké Ball and then swipe to throw it. Make sure you throw against the curve (in the opposite direction to the one you were spinning), or the Poké Ball won't even hit the Pokémon.

You'll also want to alter your throw direction depending on how far the Pokémon is away from you. If they're close, you'll want to throw it wide so it curves in quicker. If they're far away, you'll want a shorter curve so don't throw it to wide – focus on getting distance instead.

If you're struggling to follow all of this, basically, the highest chance you have of catching the Pokémon is to throw a Curve Ball into the smallest circle possible.

Capture Rates In Pokémon GO

Now, let's take a look at all of the ways you can increase your capture rate in numbers.

Poké Ball Capture Rates

There are four different types of Poké Ball currently available in Pokémon GO, detailed below:

Poké Ball Availability Catch Multiplier
Regular PokéStops / Gifts / Shop 1.00
Great PokéStops / Gifts 1.50
Ultra PokéStops / Gifts 2.00
Premier Ball Raids 1.00

Coloured Ring Capture Rates

You know the coloured ring that appears around a Pokémon when you're trying to capture it? Here's how this translates to the capture rate:

Ring Colour Capture Rate
Green 100%
Yellow 65%
Orange 35%
Red 25%

Curve Ball & Item Capture Rates

Here's how curve balls and Razz Berries affect that capture rate.

Modifier Catch Multiplier
Curve Ball 1.70
Razz Berry 1.50
Golden Razz Berry 2.50

Nice, Great, And Excellent Throw Capture Rates

It's really difficult to provide an accurate increased capture rate for nice, great, and excellent throws, as they aren't a fixed increase like the curve ball is. The capture rate increases depending on the radius of the coloured circle you land your Poké Ball in.

Though we're not sure how accurate it is exactly, the guys over at Game Press Pokémon GO settled on these capture rates:

Throw: Nice Great Excellent
Target Ring Size 70% - 100% 30% - 70% ~5% - 30%
Bonus (varies with radius) 1 - 1.3
  1. 3 - 1.7
  1. 7 - ~1.95

To bring more clarity to this chart, the target ring size is the size the coloured ring has to be compared to the outer grey ring to trigger the throw bonus.

As you can see though, the size of the coloured ring can vary to trigger the bonus, and the bonus can increase depending on the size.

For example, a nice throw at 80% will have a higher throw bonus than a nice throw at 90%.

Additional Catching Tips

Nothing that serves to increase your chance from a statistical perspective, but there are a few things you can do to make your life generally easier:

Turn Off AR Mode

AR mode is a fun little gimmick that lets you see the Pokémon wandering around in the real world, but if you're serious about catching Pokémon we'd recommend avoiding it.

Not only does it drain your phone's battery, but it also makes it difficult to judge the distance between you and the Pokémon. When it's turned off, the Pokémon is in a fixed position on the screen, making your throws a little easier to predict.

However, there are certain Pokémon that are a pain to catch in standard mode, and being able to move closer to them in AR mode might actually be helpful. So don't treat it as a one rule fixes all.

Learn The L Throw Curve Technique

A certain member of the Pokémon community developed the reliable 'L Throw' technique that reportedly makes it easier to catch Pokémon using a curve throw.

This involves spinning the Poké Ball clockwise, then sliding your finger up the screen to the left of the Pokémon and releasing it when it's level with the Pokémon.

Savvy players will want to time their finger slide when the circle is nearing its smallest to grab that increased capture rate too!

Get A Grip On The Throwing Physics

This seems a bit vague, but understanding the ball physics and getting a feel for them will really improve your accuracy, which, in turn, increases your chance of getting a capture rate increase.

Your throw changes depending on the speed and length of the swipe, which in turn affects the trajectory of the ball. A good rule of thumb is that you want to swipe longer to hit Pokémon further away, and short swipes to hit Pokémon closer to you.

Speed can also help. If a Pokémon is particularly far away, you might want to gather a bit of pace to help it reach the distance, while a close up Pokémon might just benefit from a smaller throw.

It's not something we can give you a definitive answer on here. Instead, just get out there and experiment until you get a good feel for it.

This article is part of our Pokémon GO walkthrough and guide series. We have articles that take you through the basics, covering How To Catch Pokémon: Throwing Tips, Poké Balls, & Capture Rates, How To Redeem Pokémon GO Promo Codes, How To Check A Pokémon's IVs Using An IV Calculator, How Trading Works, How To Track Pokémon Using Maps And Trackers, What Star Pieces And Stardust Do And How To Get Them, How Player Vs. Player Trainer Battles Work, and How To Complete Field Research And Research Breakthroughs And All Rewards.

We cover regular weekly and monthly Pokémon GO events, such as Spotlight Hour Times And Bonus Hour Times, and Community Days. We also have charts, including a Type Chart With Effectiveness And Weakness For All Types, an Egg Chart Explaining 2km, 5km, 7km, & 10km Eggs, and a Buddy Chart Explaining How To Earn Candy.

Elsewhere we cover Friend Code And Sharing Them For Easy XP and Which Pokémon GO 'Auto Catch' Companion Device Is The Best, plus more advanced tactics and info such as All Fast Moves And Charge Moves, How To Get TMs, And How It All Works, Shiny Pokémon And How To Catch Them, Glacial Lures, Magnetic Lures, Mossy Lures in Pokémon GO (And Their Exclusive Evolutions), How To Get Lots Of Candy Fast, How Lucky Pokémon Work & How To Catch Them, How To Catch All 27 Regional Pokémon, the Best Attackers And Best Defenders, All Raid Bosses And Best Counters Listed By Tier, What EX Raids Are And How To Get EX Raid Passes, What A Super Incubators Does And How To Get One, and How Get Mega Energy.

Pocket Monster-wise, we have specific guides for How To Get Pangoro, Sylveon, Glaceon, Aromatisse, Slurpuff, Sirfetch’d, Galarian Cofagrigus And More, How To Get Sylveon, Leafeon, Glaceon, Umbreon, Espeon, Vaporeon, Jolteon And Flareon, How To Evolve Wurmple Into Silcoon Or Cascoon, How To Get Tyrogue, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan And Hitmontop, How To Use The Weather To Get Each Castform Form, How To Catch And Evolve Into Galarian Slowbro, How To Catch Smeargle, How To Find And Evolve Burmy, How To Catch Spinda, Where To Find Unown, How To Catch Ditto, and The Rarest Pokémon Including Wild, Shiny, Mythical And Regional Catches.

We also cover timed research and special events, including Mew's 'A Mythical Discovery', Jirachi's 'A Thousand-Year Slumber', Celebi's 'A Ripple In Time', and Regigigas' 'A Colossal Discovery'. Other (past) event guides include Twitch Codes List - Pokémon World Championship 2022, How To Battle A Challenger (World Championships 2022), How To Battle Fashion Challengers, 'A Spooky Message' Spiritomb Quest, Kanto Event FAQ, and the Summer Tour 2018 Chicago GO Fest And Dortmund And Yokosuka Safari Zones.

Finally, there's our WIP Pokémon GO Pokédex, which currently goes up to 400 Pokémon: #1-50 | #51-100 | #101-150 | #151-200 | #201-250 | #251-300 | #301-350 | #351-400.