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‘Pokemon Go': How to Work Around PokeVision’s Shutdown

Niantic has killed the popular Pokemon tracking app, but other third-party apps are still hanging on

(UPDATE: 8/3, 2:30 PM PT: As of midday Wednesday, Smart Poke has been removed from the Google Play store and is no longer functioning.)

Last weekend, the world of “Pokemon Go” was split down the middle by a controversial move from game developer Niantic. In response to the bugs plaguing the game‘s three-step tracking system, several third-party developers created alternative trackers like PokeVision that allowed users to find out exactly what kind of Pokemon appeared at specific locations.

Niantic is now cracking down on these apps, claiming that they violate the game‘s terms of service by using private data to reveal information on Pokemon spawn locations.

Some fans think everyone should suck it up and go catch them all without the trackers. Others are frustrated that Niantic is preventing fans from finding a way to work around the broken three-step system, which was removed last weekend while the developers find a way to fix it. Fortunately for PokeVision fans, there are still some third-party apps that may help keep you from wandering aimlessly for hours without catching anything.

One app that has so far escaped Niantic’s crackdown is Smart Poke, an app similar to PokeVision. The app gives users information about where Pokemon are located in real time, along with the rarity of the Pokemon and how much time trainers have left to find and catch it before it disappears. You can also set the app to notify you when rare Pokemon spawn nearby. Unfortunately for iPhone users, this app is Android-exclusive.

If you’re looking for something similar to Smart Poke for your browser, travel website Skiplagged has made its own third-party tracker with many of the same capabilities. It also allows you to use search filters for Pokemon by name and rarity level.

Finally, there’s Poke Radar, an app that gets around the terms of service violations that ensnared PokeVision by basing its information off of user submissions.

Following PokeVision’s shutdown, the Poke Radar developers unveiled updates to its system on its Facebook page. The main update is the switch from showing all reported Pokemon spawns to only showing those that have appeared in the past hour. This was done to give users a better idea of where Pokemon are currently roaming without using the game‘s data as PokeVision did.

The creators say they are also using machine learning to keep track of all the reported spawns to predict where certain Pokemon are likely to spawn in the future. Poke Radar also now has a browser version to allow trainers to save their phone battery power, which is good considering that Niantic’s recent update also removed the battery saver mode for iOS.

Of course, there are caveats to all these apps. Users have reported that Skiplagged only works in major cities, and Poke Radar only works if enough trainers are reporting spawns in a specific area.

And there’s always the possibility that Niantic could shut down more of these apps at any time. Still, these tools can help Pokemon Go trainers who are stuck wandering the streets for hours and finding nothing but the occasional Rattata or Zubat or those looking for the best new spots to go hunting for Pokemon.