Pokémon Go finally adds Apple Watch support

Alex Kidman 23 December 2016 NEWS

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Gotta catch 'em all from the comfort of your wrist.

While it’s no longer in the frantic heyday it enjoyed earlier in the year, there’s no doubting that Pokémon Go has been one of the key games success stories of the year, with millions of hours played and countless Zubats ground up into candy. Luckily, they’re rather common.

While a recent update brought with it just a few new hatchable Pokémon, as well as a Christmas-hat-wearing Pikachu, we've been waiting a while for the promised update to the iOS version Pokémon Go players with Apple watches. Back at the iPhone 7 launch event, besides announcing Mario Run, the other Nintendo tie-in was the reveal of Pokémon Go for Apple Watch, promised before the end of the year. Developers Niantic have just managed to squeeze that in before Christmas, releasing an update that enables Apple Watch support if you have a paired device. There's no word on an announcement of support for other wearables running Android Wear or the Tizen operating system found on Samsung's Gear S3 as yet.

To do this, Pokémon Go for Apple Watch also asks for permission to run in the background, as well as access Health information relating to your steps and active energy. There’s going to be an obvious battery hit there if you're using GPS tracking and the app all the time. Niantic’s revised privacy policy notes that while it will store Apple Health data, it won’t use that data for marketing or advertising purposes.

The Apple Watch app itself doesn’t replicate the full Pokémon Go experience. Instead it simply alerts you to nearby Pokéstops, particularly useless if you’re on public transport as they’ve almost certainly rushed by before you can activate them. It also alerts you to your buddy’s current candy search and egg walking status. It will also alert you to nearby Pokémon, which could be handy if you’re still searching in vain for those new Christmas hat Pikachu.

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