Pokémon Go repurposes a classic Pokémon item, the Rare Candy, for a core gameplay mechanic. In Pokémon Go, candy is king if you want to evolve your Pokémon.
What is candy?
Candy is an item that you can find on Pokémon that you've caught or get from Pokémon hatched from eggs. Each piece takes its name from the specific pre-evolved Pokémon attached to it. Here's an example: Pidgey carries Pidgey candy, as do its evolved forms, Pidgeotto and Pidgeot.
What does candy do?
In Pokémon Go, powers up and evolves Pokémon. The evolution aspect is especially key here. You'll need a certain number of a Pokémon's candy before you can evolve it into its next form.
Where can I get candy?
The easiest way to get candy is by catching Pokémon. That's why it's a good idea to catch, well, every single Pokémon you ever see. If there's a specific Pokémon's evolved form that you're looking for, catch as many of that Pokémon as possible. Desperately seeking Starmie? Start looking for Staryu, stat. You'll need a number of Staryu candy to evolve one into Starmie, and every Staryu you catch adds to your overall candy tally.
Hatch Pokémon eggs, and you'll also get candy. The Pokémon you hatch will come with more candy than those you've caught out in the wild, too. Wild Pokémon, for reference, typically come with three candy by default. A baby Pokémon will often come with more.
You can also get candy if you transfer Pokémon to Professor Willow. This nets you a single piece of candy, and you'll have to say goodbye forever to that Pokémon in return.
How much candy do I need to evolve my Pokémon?
The number you need varies. To evolve Pidgey into Pidgeotto, you need 12 Pidgey candy. To get Pidgeot, you need 50 Pidgey candy. The number of evolved forms a Pokémon has often plays a part into the number needed. For example, you'll need 50 Pikachu candy to get Raichu.
Another factor that seems to play a part is how rare or coveted the Pokémon you're looking for is. It takes 100 Charmander candy to turn your Charmeleon into Charizard. Serebii has a rundown on how much candy is required for many evolutionary forms.
Once I have enough candy, how do I evolve my Pokémon?
Go into the menu and select the Pokémon you'd like to evolve. Tap the evolve button, which will be highlighted if you have enough candy to complete the action. You'll exchange your candy for a new Pokémon.
Make sure to choose wisely when evolving a Pokémon. Your candy deposit will be depleted after an evolution, and if a Pokémon has more than one evolutionary form, you may want to wait until you have enough resources on your hands to evolve your Pokémon all the way. It's also a good idea to evolve your strongest Pokémon, as evolution will continue to power it up.
Sounds like I need to start catching some Pokémon, right?
You sure do! Go out there and get some — but check out our tips on how to catch them first. You may also want to read up about gym battles, PokéStops and hatching eggs before you set out. We've got the full rundown of how Pokémon Go works in our FAQ too.