Best iOS Pokémon Utility Applications

Hi, I’m an iOS developer and worked on Pokémon utility apps early on and thought some might find the story interesting, if you just came here to see what iOS Apps to get to improve your Pokégame — Skip right there.  Otherwise…

Pokémon Go came out and blew up really fast. But it wasn’t fully cooked — Server, playability, communication, cooperation, discovery, all of these mechanisms had serious flaws. Despite that, it formed a huge base and a community and a big portion of that community was developers (like myself) who sought to solve those problems, some for a little notoriety, some hoping for a payday, and some (like myself) just ’cause.  Most of them with a goal of solving these major issues one way or another:

Connectivity

The server was going down all the time, but you couldn’t quite tell if it was just you or everyone, and everybody wanted to know when it was back up. Nobody had figured out the API or endpoints completely yet so most of the early server downtime trackers were all “Community Driven” — Fairly accurate, but only as accurate as the number of people reporting on status.  I put one up here, but trackers of it’s kind were quickly replaced by better trackers (like Data Dog) that actually track server status using network status and pings.  I also added this as the first major feature in my “Pokébelt” iOS App, and later added a link to go view the more accurate data dog info.

Best Connectivity Tool for iOS – http://ispokemongodownornot.com 

In order to add this to your home screen in iOS go to the website, and add it to your homescreen.

  • Incredible data:  Good graphs, often refreshed, quite accurate, latency reports, etc
  • Solid uptime: Never seen it slammed, even during server outages
  • Low BS: Not covered with ads (other than subtle ads for the connectivity monitoring service that they provide)

Biggest complaint is that it’s a little slow to load.

Chat

Players seem to want to chat with each-other, as it’s not built into the game developers tried to rise again to the occasion.  The most popular app initially was the fastest to market but wasn’t ready for it’s own popularity GoChat exploded.  The issue was that chat can be pretty data network intensive, especially with the number of pogo users that were initially swarming the market.  I added chat to Pokébelt as well, using apples “CloudKit” as my databackend, which would have scaled nicely and not cost me out of pocket (up to a limit every iCloud user gets a certain amount of data access in CloudKit before the developer gets charged and it scales when more users are added) — But I wasn’t able to get to market fast enough because reasons… No biggie.  Truth is I don’t know that there is a great option for chat yet, GoChat has the largest community, but based on the reviews (2 stars) it’s not yet perfect.  Other solutions don’t have the same number of users, and that’s kind of the main point of a chat service.  If you aren’t looking for strangers but are looking to collaborate with your team there a plenty of reliable (rapid notification) chat apps out there, even Facebook messenger.

Best iOS Chat Utility – GoChat

Please comment if you use a different utility and like it better!

IV Calculation

For the uninitiated, IV Calculation is how those who are truly obsessed with pokémon go be the “Very” best.  Every Pokémon has a CP which is basically it’s combat strength, and can be increased up to a certain point (based on your trainers level).  However, in addition to that number there are 3 unchangeable values that a Pokémon is born with, they are called it’s IV (Initial Values) and can have initial values from 0 to 15.  These add to your pokemons damage / defense in battle just like it’s CP does.  So ideally, before investing a lot of candy in a Pokémon you’d want to know what the total of those 3 values is (x/45) this ratio is called Perfection, and the perfect pokémon would have all stats maxxed to 15 (A 1 in 4096 chance).  To do this, IV Calculators were born and thanks to the hard work we were able to figure out a way to guess the perfection of your pokemon using various clues (CP, Dust to evolve, HP).  I put this into Pokébelt, along with a screenshot interpreter that used OCR to pull the values from the screenshot, but it was a quick effort.  Since then, better apps have come out and I have to hand it to “Poke Genie” for being the best.  In addition Niantic helped us out a bit by adding the “Appraiser” feature and it’s a good first pass to see if it’s worth taking the effort to get the exact IV of your Pokémon.

Best iOS IV Calculator – Poke Genie

  • Screenshot parsing that works well
  • Slick / Readable UI
  • Uses every piece of info to narrow down your Pokémon’s exact IV (well done!)

Searching for Pokémon

Initially there was a feature that showed how close to you Pokémon were, but it didn’t work well, and then it was gone completely.  They have since added a different way to tell where Pokémon are, but it only works if they are near a stop, and only sometimes.  From hacking the Niantic API developers were able to figure out that there is only 15 minutes or less to capture a pokémon once it shows up, so we wanted more rapid warning.  If you’d like to find them faster, you’ll need good info.  The only app that I’m aware has it is called Go Radar.  As of now, it still gets up to date info and works most of the time.

Best iOS Pokémon finder – Go Radar

  • Shows exact location
  • Has a countdown for when they can be caught

Downside is it doesn’t always refresh, but when it does the info seems to be accurate.

Summary

Future of Pokébelt

As I’ve got tools for everything I need now, I’ve put a feature pause on development of Pokébelt — Perhaps if the dev signal flashes in the sky again (or I drink too much caffeine too late at night) I’ll return, but for now, please feel free to continue using Pokébelt (It’ll stay in the store and the databases will keep working), and if it doesn’t suit your needs try some of those above.  If you find something better, mention it in the comments and I’ll update this post, and if you have a need that is unanswered by current solutions, fire up the squirrel signal!

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