The latest update (version 1.191.0) allow players to move past the 30fps frame rate that the iOS app was previously limited to – unlocking the potential of 60Hz or even 120Hz screens on the latest iPhones.
If you're playing Pokémon Go on iOS, you'll want to head to the advanced settings in the Pokémon Go app, and select “Unlock your device’s native refresh rate for higher FPS.”
While a frame rate boost for Pokémon Go doesn't sound like a game-changing move, early responses from players seem overwhelmingly positive.
iPhone 12 Pro Max screen Native Frame Rate, this is IT, this is like butter it’s so smooth holy!!! #pokemongo #pokemon #pogo pic.twitter.com/URF3OJX8pnDecember 3, 2021
Players are reporting on social media that "the game now runs buttery smooth on my iPhone 11", with some praising the improvements while admitting "it will probably make it the battery deplete faster" – so it's worth weighing up whether the frame rate enhancement is worth it for you.
If you're playing Pokémon Go out and about, you may want to conserve that battery, after all, though some experimentation here is likely a good idea – some iPhones will fare better for battery life than others.
Pokémon Friends,With the newest update came the Native Refresh Rate option in Advanced Settings. I highly recommend turning it on! It’s a game changer in my opinion, however it will probably make it the battery deplete faster than before so be aware.#PokemonGo pic.twitter.com/uHQaCvRvyeDecember 2, 2021
What's all the fuss about frame rates?
Basically, the frame rate is the number of frames inserted in a single second. Relatively few frames would look a bit like a slide presentation, jumping from one image to the other; a lot of frames gives a fluid feel to motion, and moving between frames too fast to focus on them individually. The more frames there are, the smoother the image feels.
There's a reason gamers so often decry 30fps performance in PC or console games, compared to the improved 60fps standard – having twice the amount of frames makes for a very different, higher-quality experience. And while Pokémon Go isn't a fast-paced shooter, the upgrade should still make the game feel nicer to play.
You'll get the most benefit on the latest iPhones – only the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, which launched in 2021, have a 120Hz refresh rate (which equates to 120fps, or frames per second). Even then, not all apps were able to take advantage of the higher frame rate right away – because of a software bug, and because many apps need to be individually primed to work with that capability consistently.
However, 60Hz displays are much more common in handsets, so many players should still benefit from a move from 30fps to 60fps by unlocking the feature.
- Everything you need to know about Pokémon Go
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.