Of all the issues that have plagued Pokemon Go since its launch last month, few have been more frustrating than the ‘Nearby’ feature that is supposed to direct Trainers to Pokemon in the area. Unfortunately, it’s been either broken or missing for a majority of the past month, but with the latest update, Niantic is finally testing a version of the feature that might stick.
“We’re currently testing a variation of the “Nearby Pokémon” feature with a subset of users,” Niantic explaining in the latest patch notes. “During this period you may see some variation in the nearby Pokémon UI.”
Unless you are a part of that “subset of users,” you won’t see the new ‘Nearby’ feature when you load up the game. Thankfully, those who were included have shared their findings, as you can see in this vide from Jackson Palmer:
There are some obvious improvements here as well as some updates you can’t actually see. Let’s start with the obvious ones:
- There are now two separate sections in the tab: ‘Nearby’ and ‘Sightings’
- Pokemon in the ‘Nearby’ section are close to PokeStops. Tap on one and the map will pan over to the PokeStop that you need to visit in order to find that Pokemon.
- Pokemon in the ‘Sightings’ section are somewhere in the wild. Tapping on them doesn’t do anything, and they don’t even appear to be sorted by their distance from the Trainer. Hopefully that will change before the feature rolls out to everyone.
Now for the less apparent changes:
- No more ‘ghost’ Pokemon. No, I’m not talking about Gastly — when Pokemon despawn from the map, the ‘Nearby’ tab will now immediately update to reflect the fact that the Pokemon isn’t around any more.
- Pokemon will also vanish from the tab if you walk far enough away from them. This entire system was virtually broken before the update.
- The preview in the bottom right-hand corner that shows the three nearest Pokemon now correctly reads left to right, rather than being flipped (a bug that has been around for weeks).
As you can see, this is a major improvement over the severely underpowered ‘Nearby’ feature that the game shipped with. There’s no ETA for when it will roll out to the general public, but we’ll be sure to let you know when it does.