How to Gain XP and Level Up Fast in Pokémon GO

Check out how to level up quickly with XP

Unlike the main Pokemon video games, such as Pokemon Sword and Shield on the Nintendo Switch, the Pokemon in Pokemon GO don’t earn experience points (XP). Instead, the player is the one that earns XP with the aim of being able to reach new Pokemon GO levels and unlock extra items and additional gameplay functionality.

Here’s what you need to know about how to get XP in Pokemon GO along with the best techniques for leveling up quickly.

This guide refers to the Pokemon GO mobile game available on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

How to View Your XP in Pokemon GO

The fastest way to check your current XP level in Pokemon GO is to look at your avatar in the lower-left corner of the screen. The number over the top of it is your present level and the progress bar underneath it displays how close you are to reaching the next level.

For a more detailed view of your Pokemon GO XP, tap on the avatar to open your full profile. You should see a more detailed progress bar under the image of your Pokemon trainer that displays how much XP is needed to level up and how much you’ve already earned.

Screenshot of Pokemon GO video game on iPhone.

The progress bar resets to zero each time you level up in Pokemon GO.

To view how much XP you’ve earned since you started playing Pokemon GO, scroll down and check the number next to Total XP under Total Activity.

How Many Pokemon GO Levels Are There?

In total, there are 40 levels in the Pokemon GO mobile game. Reaching most of the levels usually just reward you with a variety of Poke Balls and other items though some level milestones are required to unlock key gameplay functionality such as online battles.

Here are the key levels to reach and what they unlock:

  • Level 5: Reaching this level will unlock the ability to battle in Pokemon Gyms and use Potions and Revives.
  • Level 8: Leveling up to Level 8 will let you use the Razz Berry.
  • Level 10: Super Potions will be unlocked once reaching this level in Pokemon GO. The ability to participate in nearby and online Pokemon battles is also unlocked.
  • Level 12: Great Balls are unlocked. These Poke Balls make it easier to catch Pokemon.
  • Level 15: Hyper Potions, an item that heals more health than regular Potions, are unlocked.
  • Level 20: Ultra Balls are unlocked. These Poke Balls are even stronger than Great Balls.
  • Level 25: Reaching this level will unlock Max Potions. 
  • Level 30: Max Revives are unlocked. This item both revives a fainted Pokemon and heals all of its health.
  • Level 40: The final Pokemon GO level. Players at this level are able to submit new locations to be considered for Poke Stops or Gyms in-game. Level 40 players can also edit existing locations and submit new photos of them.

Reaching the earlier levels requires very little effort as each milestone only requires a few thousand XP to unlock. Leveling up around Level 20 requires much more work, however, and players can often find themselves playing for weeks or even months before earning enough XP to progress.

How to Get XP in Pokemon GO

Almost every activity in Pokemon GO rewards players with XP so you’ll likely level up gradually just by playing as usual. Being deliberate with how you play Pokemon GO can reward you with more XP though so there are some techniques you may want to consider.

Get XP in Pokemon GO by Catching Pokemon

Catching any Pokemon will always reward you with at least 100 XP and registering a new one to your Pokedex for the first time will grant you an extra 500 XP bonus. How you catch the Pokemon can also affect how much extra bonus XP you receive.

Screenshot of a Pokemon being caught in the Pokemon GO video game.

Using a Curve Ball grants you a 10 XP bonus and can also increase your chances of catching a difficult Pokemon. Achieving a Nice, Great, or Excellent Throw can also give you a 10, 50, or 100 XP reward respectively.

A Curve Ball is a type of throw, not a type of Poke Ball. To throw a Curve Ball, pick up a Poke Ball when you see a Pokemon and make circles with your finger on the screen. Once the ball is spinning, throw it at the Pokemon as usual.

Players are also rewarded for capturing a lot of the same type of Pokemon. A 100 XP reward is given for the 100th member of a species that you catch and there are numerous medals that you can unlock, each with their own XP rewards, on your profile screen.

Some medals will reward you with XP and items for capturing a set amount of Pokemon from each region while others earn you XP and increased catch bonuses for capturing 10, 50, and 200 Pokemon of a certain type such as Fairy, Rock, and Ghost.

You can also earn XP by unlocking other medals on your profile screen for completing other tasks such as walking a certain distance or battling and trading with other players. Details on each medal requirements can be seen by tapping on their icon.

Get XP in Pokemon GO by Playing Daily and Spinning Poke Stops

Pokemon GO has daily XP streak rewards for capturing Pokemon and spinning Poke Stops on a consistent basis. These are some of the best ways to earn XP in the game.

Screenshot of a Poke Stop in Melbourne, Australia in the Pokemon GO game on iPhone.

Capturing a Pokemon at least once a day will earn you 500 XP for each of the first six days and a whopping 2,000 XP on the seventh. Similarly, spinning at least one Poke Stop for six days in a row will get you 500 XP daily for six days and 2,000 XP on the seventh. As an added bonus, spinning a new Poke Stop for the first time will get you 250 XP.

You can also earn XP by spinning Poke Stops that are part of a Gym with 25 to 100 XP rewards being given for spinning a rival team’s Gym, depending on your Gym medal level, and 31 to 125 XP for spinning a Gym owned by your team.

While at a Pokemon GO Gym, give a friendly Pokemon a berry to get a 25 XP reward and defeat an opposing team’s Pokemon for a 100 XP reward. Lucky enough to encounter a Raid in a Gym? You can earn 3,000 XP for defeating a regular Raid Boss and a massive 10,000 XP for defeating a Legendary Raid Boss.

While visiting Poke Stops, you may encounter the Pokemon GO Team Rocket leaders, Sierra, Cliff, and Arlo or even trigger one of the many Pokemon GO Giovanni encounters. You can choose to avoid these battles if you want but, if you choose to confront these villains and defeat them in a battle, you can earn a variety of items and a chance to catch a rare Pokemon which can get you even more XP.

Get XP in Pokemon GO by Adding Friends

Adding friends to Pokemon GO can be the fastest way to level up your profile, especially if you have a lot. The more you interact with a friend in Pokemon GO, the more your friendship can grow, and the greater the XP rewards.

All Pokemon GO players can add up to 200 friends either by exchanging Trainer Codes or by connecting the game to their Facebook account.

Friendships can be leveled up by sending gifts to one another, battling, trading Pokemon, and participating in Raids together.

Screenshot of friend connections and XP in Pokemon GO.

Reaching Good Friends status will earn you 3,000 XP, Great Friends 10,000 XP, Ultra Friends 50,000 XP, and Best Friends a ridiculous 100,000 XP. You’ll also get 200 XP for each gift you send.

To add friends in Pokemon GO, open your profile, tap Friends, and tap Add Friend. From here, you can copy your Trainer Code to send to someone or tap Add Facebook Friends to add any Facebook friends that have also connected their account to Pokemon GO.

Pokemon GO profile and friend settings.

If you need more friends, post your Pokemon GO Trainer Code on Instagram or Twitter. There’s a lot of other players looking to increase their friends list.

Get Pokemon GO Double XP with Lucky Eggs

Lucky Eggs are in-game items that double the amount of XP you can earn for a 30 minute period once they’re activated. They can be purchased within the Shop section of the Pokemon GO app for 80 Coins each or 500 Coins for eight. Coins can be earned by completing in-game events or purchased with real-world money.

You can use up to 200 Lucky Eggs at a time. Doing so will extend the duration of its effects by 30 minutes.

The best strategy to gain XP quickly, and increase your Pokemon GO levels faster than usual, is to set aside 30 minutes each day to activate one Lucky Egg and complete as many in-game tasks as possible.

Lucky Egg’s double XP effect can sometimes be extended from 30 minutes to an hour during special Pokemon GO events. This will usually be announced in-game and on the Pokemon GO social media channels.

Using a Lucky Egg in Pokemon GO to get double XP.

Here is what you should try to complete within your half an hour after activating your Lucky Egg from the Items menu:

Try using Incense at the same time as Lucky Egg to attract more types of Pokemon during the double XP window. You can also use Star Piece to earn 50% more Stardust which can be used for leveling up and purifying Pokemon.

  1. Catch at least one Pokemon and spin at least one Poke Stop to continue your daily streaks.

  2. Send gifts to as many friends as possible from your friends list.

  3. Open all of the gifts that your friends have sent to you.

  4. If the timing and your step count matches up, hatch an egg. Turn on Adventure Sync to make the egg-hatching process faster.

  5. Catch every Pokemon you see on the map around you.

  6. Battle in a Pokemon Gym.

  7. Battle any Team GO Rocket members you see.

  8. Complete and claim your Field Research tasks.

  9. Continue working on any unfinished Special Research tasks such as the Pokemon GO A Thousand Year Slumber Jirachi missions.

  10. Battle other trainers in the GO Battle League via the Battle menu.

  11. Evolve as many Pokemon as possible.

What Do You Do After Reaching Level 40 in Pokemon GO?

Much like how defeating all of the Gym Leaders and Champions doesn’t signify the end of the main Pokemon titles, reaching Level 40 in Pokemon Go isn’t the end of this mobile game either. Here are some things that Level 40 Pokemon GO players can do:

  • Complete your Pokedex by catching and evolving every species. This includes catching all of the Eevee evolutions.
  • Catch the elusive and rare Meltan and Melmetal.
  • Catch all of the different forms of each Pokemon.
  • Get all of your medals up to gold status.
  • Battle in the online GO Battle League.
  • Battle and trade with friends.
  • Level up your Pokemon teams and teach them new moves.
  • Take over and defend Pokemon Gyms.
  • Complete Field and Special Research tasks.
  • Transfer Pokemon to the Nintendo Switch games and Pokemon Home.
  • Buy all of the Pokemon GO in-game clothes and poses.
  • Participate in offline and online Pokemon GO events.
  • Get a Living Dex. This means not only completing the Pokedex but having one of each Pokemon in your collection at the same time.