Two years after the game’s original launch, Niantic has introduced an oft-requested Pokémon trading mechanic to Pokémon GO.  The update is all but guaranteed to help the game’s recuperating active player count.

However, logging in and simply giving away your excess Mewtwos to desperate friends is not an option. There is a process to trading Pokémon, one that could take weeks if not months depending on many factors.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at the rules and steps of trading with your fellow traders.

Step 1: Make friends

At it’s most basic, Pokémon GO’s trading update transforms the game into a barebones social media network. If you want to trade, you’re going to have to meet and interact with people online, strangers and friends alike.

How do you make friends? Silly question. At it’s heart, this is a Nintendo product, you fool! You’re going to need a friend code!

To find your friend code:

  • access your profile in the bottom left corner
  • swipe your screen to the right to find the new “Friends” page
  • tap the “Add Friend” button

This will bring you to a screen where you’ll find your friend code and different options of sharing it, as well as a text box to enter someone else’s friend code. Either way, both will allow you to make and manage friends within the game on this all-purpose screen.

Step 2: The basics of trading

Now that you are friends, you can trade the Mewtwo, right? Well, no. Not yet. First and foremost, both friends must be at least Level 10 in the game, so if you’re a newcomer, best get out into the world and start chuckin’ balls.

Even if you are both Level 10, you’ll also have to be within 100 meters of the person. You can’t trade with your friends in Japan to get that Farfetch’d or weasel a trade out of your boss in Missouri. (We tried! – Sean)

You’ll only be able to trade with friends in your general vicinity.

Step 3: Leveling up your friendship

Now can we get that Mewtwo? Well, still no. Not quite yet. In order to trade higher levels of Pokémon, you’ll have to increase your friendship to higher levels. Accomplish this by doing things all friends are supposed to do, hang out and cooperate with one another. Everyday, you can boost your friendship once by a small portion by participating in any activity with your friend. After several days, you’ll “level up” your friendship.

There are four levels of friendship in total, and once you max out with a person, you should have free reign of trading.

The easiest way to level up friendship is by trading Pokémon.

Sending your fodder to friends will give your friendship a small boost. To trade your Pokémon, simply tap on your friend on the friend screen, and wait for them to enter the trade lobby. Once both are ready, choose the Pokémon you wish to send and receive theirs in return.

Trades do cost valuable Stardust, and several factors go into determining the cost of the trade. These factors include:

  • Whether or not you’ve already caught the Pokémon
  • The CP and other stats of both Pokémon being traded
  • Whether the Pokémon is legendary or shiny

At the most basic, like a Pidgey for a Rattata, a trade will set players back 100 Stardust. As various factors are met, the price increases drastically. Trading for legendary Pokémon that you don’t already have will cost 1,000,000 Stardust! A lot for me, lunch money for some gamers out there.

Pay the cost, and the trade should be completed in seconds.

Another easy way to level up friendship is to send gifts.

Gifts are a new item that can be obtained through spinning Pokéstops, much like Potions and Pokéballs. To send a gift, tap your friend on the friend screen and choose the “Send Gift” option. If you are lucky or simply have committed friends, you might even have a gift waiting for you!

Gifts contain multiple items that are more valuable than a standard Pokéstop spin. Ultra Balls, Max Revives, Pinnap Berries, and even Egg Incubators have been confirmed to appear in these boxes.

You’ll only be able to send one gift a day, but that’s all you’ll need to boost your friendship for the day.

There are a few other ways to boost friendship.

Gifts and trades are the easiest way to boost a friendship level, but there are a few others. Completing raids with other players will give you your daily boost and battling in gyms will also grant you some points.

Step 4: Trade, trade, trade

Now, will I be able to trade my Mewtwo? Well, maybe. We’re not quite sure because nobody has gotten to that point yet. It will be an estimated three months before any players max out their friendship levels.

Based on calculations made by those who have already crunched the numbers, it is assumed that if you trade an equally powerful Legendary Pokémon, even at Best Friend maximum friendship, it will still cost a hefty 40,000 Stardust.

Also note, you will never be able to trade Mew or Mewtwo after all. Mythical Pokémon are off limits to trades.

You’re better off looking to catch a Mewtwo the legitimate way by researching which gyms grant EX-raid passes in you local neighborhoods.

Other than that, more reasonable trades, most notably for region-specific Pokémon, can be achieved at a much more reasonable price. If you lucky enough to have worldly traveled friends in your area, this will be the easiest way to get a Mr. Mime, Tauros, Kangaskhan, or a Farfetch’d. If you are Best Friends, these will only cost 800 Stardust to trade.

Step 5: Additional bonuses

Trading will get you Candy for Pokémon based on how far apart the two Pokémon were caught. If both were caught over 100km from each other, you’ll get three Candy for the trade.

Trading boosts your medal count, so you can increase the number of Fire, Water, Electricity, etc types you’ve caught through trading, as well as specific medals like the XL Magikarp and the XS Rattata medals.

Pokémon can also be traded only a single time, meaning you can’t trade back and forth to get these Candies, Medals, or pass Pokémon from friend to friend just to get a Pokémon into your Pokédex.

Pokémon will also have their CP and stats re-rolled when being traded, so you’ll won’t be able to send over and wonder or simply amazing Pokémon and expect them to retain their stats. It will be as if you’ve caught an entirely new Pokémon. Fear not because the higher friendship you have when you trade, the better stats you’ll end up with when you receive your new Pokémon.

You can hypothetically even make a dud of a Pokémon ready for the front lines!

CP will also adjust to the players’ levels, so don’t think you’ll be able to go above the maximum that your current level allows by trading with your level 40 buddies.


That just about wraps it up. We’ve only had trading for a week at this point, so we will update our guide once the community has learned more about this new mechanic. Like most of its updates, Niantic has left the specifics obtuse, leaving it up to the most hardcore of players to uncover the nitty-gritty details.

Hopefully, you have a friend like that somewhere in your area.