Pokemania has swept the nation since Pokemon GO was launched in Australia this week. Thousands of people are rushing outdoors with their phones out, trying to catch digital critters in the wild through the augmented reality (AR) interface. You have to be outside and walking around in order to find and ensnare Pokemon in the game... or do you? If you own a jailbroken iPhone or a rooted Android smartphone, you can become a well-travelled Pokemon Master on GO without taking a single step. Here's what you need to know.
Pokemon GO uses GPS to determine your location and then shows you nearby Pokemon and Poke Stops that you can visit through the app. It's a good way to encourage people to be more active and I've already seen friends organise meetups to go on walks just to track down new Pokemon. "Gotta catch 'em all", right?
But if you hate walking, have social anxiety or you work long hours in a tiny office cubicle, it's going to be a lot harder to amass those pocket monsters. If you still want to get in on the Pokemon GO craze, you can still progress in the game if you have a jailbroken Apple iPhone or a rooted Android smartphone.
As Niantic states in its Pokemon GO Trainer Guidelines:
There are unofficial iOS and Android apps that can spoof the GPS location of your phone. For this reason, Pokemon GO can actually detect whether your mobile device is jailbroken or rooted and the game will not work if your phone is found to be hacked.
But there are also apps that can stop other apps from detecting whether your phone is jailbroken or rooted. On the iPhone, you can get anti-jailbreak detection apps. You can download these via Cydia, the gateway to unofficial app stores for jailbroken iOS devices. For our guide to jailbreak your Apple iPhone, hit this link.
Once you have this tweak running on your iPhone, you can use a GPS spoofing app to falsify your location by punching in your desired latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates for any place in the world. I have seen a friend demonstrate this on their jailbroken iPhone running iOS 9.0.2. so I know this method works.
For rooted Android phones, if you turn on developer mode, there's a feature that lets you use mock GPS location apps. However, Pokemon GO can detect when this feature is turned on and the game just spazzes out. Theoretically, you could bypass this if you have a rooted Android phone and used a anti-root detection tweak along with a GPS spoofing app. I don't have a rooted Android phone to test this on just yet so be warned that it may not work.
While I do know some of the apps that can perform these tasks, I've made a conscious decision not to mention any of them specifically (for obvious ethical reasons). If you want to go down this dubious route, a Google search will point you in the right direction.
I'm sure there are many other techniques you can use to hack Pokemon GO but it's actually nice to have an excuse to go outside and get some fresh air for a change. These hacks are useful for people who are unable to venture outdoors (for example, if you're stuck in a hospital) but they have the potential to ruin the game for others; it's not fair for the people who do put in the effort to walk around. If you're an able-bodied human being and a fan of Pokemon, do yourself a favour, pick up your phone and go outside. You can't truly become a Pokemon Master if you don't do the legwork.