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Connecting Pokémon Go with Let’s Go! can be a pain

It may take you some serious time before you can get your mobile ’mons to your console

Pokémon Go Park Game Freak/Nintendo

Pokémon Go’s influence on Pokémon: Let’s Go!, the series’ very good Nintendo Switch debut, is apparent all over the place. And Nintendo’s not shy about it, with both paid and in-game incentives to connect the two games. They’ve been pitched almost as a pair, as if Pokémon Go were the mobile testing ground for Pokémon: Let’s Go!.

When it comes to actually bringing them together, though, it may be the most annoying experience you have throughout either game.

The actual process of bringing your Pokémon over from your smartphone to your Switch seems straightforward enough. But thanks to the wonders of Bluetooth technology, Nintendo’s convoluted instructions and my very limited patience, I found that getting some of my Pokémon Go collection over to Pokémon: Let’s Go! was a battle in itself.

First thing I had to do was make it all the way to Fuschia City, about 15-20 hours into the game, to reach Pokémon Go Park, where transferring occurs. Entering the Go Park building, I prepared to to pair Pokémon Go with the Nintendo Switch. I’ve had bad luck in getting my Galaxy S7 to make friends with other devices, but this time it was surprisingly easy — at first. I just dipped into the settings menus for both games, selected the connect to Switch option in Pokémon Go; boom. Connected.

This screen represents life and death for transferring your Pokémon.
Nintendo via Polygon

This connection was short-lived. I was asked to pair the two yet again to actually make the transfer. Instead of my console immediately recognizing my Pokémon Go account when I went to the Go Park staffer to move over my Pokémon, I had to reconnect my two games from step one. But they just sat there, endlessly spinning in search of each other.

Polygon entertainment reporter Petrana Radulovic and I beat our heads against these issues for a long time, getting error codes ad infinitum. Sometimes we could get Pokémon Go to acknowledge the Switch, but not vice versa. Usually, neither worked.

In the end, we got it. I not only took my Joy-Cons off and switched to single-controller tabletop mode, but I unpaired all of my other Bluetooth devices — not that any of them were even in active use — and gave Pokémon Go access to everything it ever wanted. I even uninstalled Spotify from my phone, because its constant desire to connect seemed to gum things up. I then restarted my phone, flipped my Bluetooth on and off again ... and, finally, the Switch wanted to play with my phone.

Facepalming Allegra
Live footage of me trying to get this freakin’ thing to work.
Veronica Agrawal

The common denominator? Bluetooth signals galore, apparently; Switch has had trouble with bluetooth interference since day one. I almost always play my Switch as a handheld, because I can’t ever focus on just one thing. Turns out that this is a horrible mistake. The Switch apparently doesn’t like it when there are too many Bluetooth signals going on, even from its own hardware.

This isn’t game-ruining. But it reminded me of the inconsistency of Pokémon Go, whose new Adventure Sync and Poké Ball Plus features similarly fail me. Nintendo’s belabored online communications don’t help. In fairness: Getting the two to work together is complex, of course; Niantic made Pokémon Go, while Nintendo’s in charge of Let’s Go!. Niantic relies on Google to establish player profiles; Nintendo does not. Both iOS and Android operating systems are supported, and there’s a large variety of mobile device models to deal with.

Poor instructions and limited troubleshooting seem harder to forgive. And that’s a shame when the Pokémon Go connection is such a big selling point.

The good news, at least, is once I got the transfer to work, I got the special Mystery Box item for Pokémon Go — and now I’m the proud owner of five Meltan. Were those very rare, tiny-baby Meltan worth the frustration? Yeah, probably. But I would have preferred not to have to put my phone through the ringer in order to get them in the first place.

Meltan in Pokémon Go
I do love my Meltan, which you can get by transferring Pokémon between Go and Let’s Go!.
Niantic via Polygon

Here is a proven way to fix your connection problem, thanks to Reddit:

  1. Make sure your Joy-Cons are detached.
  2. Unpair all Bluetooth devices from your mobile device.
  3. Enable all app permissions for Pokémon Go.
  4. Restart your phone.
  5. You should now be able to connect your account both in the main Let’s Go! settings and the Go Park transfer menu.

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