Pokémon Go will finally get background step-count tracking with next update

Pokémon Go just scored its biggest month of 2018 in September in terms of earnings, but developer Niantic isn't resting on its laurels, having just announced details of the next update for the popular augmented reality (AR) game.

The main addition is a new feature called Adventure Sync, which will finally add something fans have long been asking for – tracking walking distance. The update will record step count in the background, even if you’re doing something else on your handset or have it safely stowed in your bag or pocket.

While Adventure Sync is slated to be rolled out to Pokémon Go players “soon”, Niantic has said it also plans to bring the feature to its other games in due coarse.

"The new gameplay system will sync in the background with iOS HealthKit and Android Google Fit," Niantic announced via a blog post, "and give players access to a weekly summary that highlights distance traveled on foot and other stats, including calories burned or steps counted, if their device makes those available."

Carry on walking

Tracking walking distance is a crucial part of Pokémon Go; you need to clock up a certain number of steps to hatch eggs. However, if you stepped outdoors without opening the app immediately, any steps you had taken were essentially wasted.

Adventure Sync changes that – now you’ll be able to leave your phone in your pocket and walk around like a normal person, potentially avoiding mishaps along the way. The update will also offer weekly progress reports detailing your “milestones for walking” along with any rewards you may have earned along the way.

It’s such a simple idea that we’re surprised it’s taken Niantic two years to include the feature to the game. However, the developer has constantly been adding updates to Pokémon Go since its release, with the last one being the monsters from the Sinnoh region making their way into the game.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.