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The ‘Pokémon Go’ improved AR+ mode is now on iPhone and Android — here’s how to use it
Augmented reality has been improved for all users in ‘Pokémon Go.’ ‘Pokémon Go’/Niantic Labs

Pokémon Go is undergoing some major changes. Along with the Sinnoh Pokémon from gen 4 now in the game, Android players can now use Pokémon Go’s enhanced augmented reality setting, known as AR+ mode.

Pokémon Go’s updated AR mode, first shown at Apple’s developer conference in 2017, is the company’s attempt at making the game more life-like. Originally, the Pokémon Go app used your phone’s camera to put a live image of the real world behind the Pokémons. With AR+ mode, the app will use your phone’s augmented reality capabilities to make it look like that Pokémon is actually in the environment around you, instead of just superimposed on top of it. As Niantic notes, Pokémon in AR+ mode can detect how quickly you’re moving toward them.

iPhone users have had AR+ mode for months now, but Android users only recently gained access to the feature. Here’s how you to invoke AR+ mode in your Pokémon Go app.

Using Pokémon Go’s AR+ Mode

AR+ mode lets ‘Pokémon Go’ players see the game’s characters in the real world.
AR+ mode lets ‘Pokémon Go’ players see the game’s characters in the real world. Xavier Harding/Mic

Firing up the new AR mode is simple. We tested this on iOS, but the mode works the same across both iPhone and Android. After loading up the game and tapping on a wild Pokémon, you’ll be taken to the catch screen. In the top right corner of the screen, a toggle for AR+ mode can be seen. Tap it and you’ll be taken to a camera viewfinder screen.

From here, the app will ask you to confirm that you’re using the AR function in a safe location and require you to slowly look around a flat, open area with your device’s camera. Once you do, tapping on grass around you will reveal a Pokémon. Approaching it too fast will result in it fleeing away. The exclamation points above the Pokémon’s head will determine how close it is to running away: yellow means approach more cautiously, red is a more severe warning to back off a bit. Catching a Pokémon without raising any flags will net you bonuses.

A series of exclamation marks will let you know how closely you should approach a Pokémon.
A series of exclamation marks will let you know how closely you should approach a Pokémon. ‘Pokémon Go’/Niantic Labs

The best use of AR+ mode? The screenshots.

Just like the original AR mode, Pokémon Go’s AR+ feature is taking photos of Pokémon in the real world. There’s plenty of inspiration already on Twitter, with folks taking pictures of Pikachu in the grass, Suicune basking in fall and more.

There’s no doubt that playing Pokémon Go using AR+ mode is harder than playing without it, but using the new mode to play the game could offer players more experience points in the long run. Or, at the very least, a cool screengrab or two.