How to play Pokémon GO without annoying everyone: Shut off the camera

I love Pokémon GO but the novelty of actually having to find my Pokémon by looking through my smartphone’s camera wears thin quickly. There are only so many times I stop, lift my smartphone and “look around” to find my Pokémon before it feels intrusive and, quite frankly, a bit rude to the people around me. Fortunately Pokémon GO has a setting that lets you turn this feature off, and still play the game.


The next time you’re trying to catch a wild Pokémon, take a look in the upper right corner of the screen. There’s a toggle switch labeled AR. That’s short for “Augmented Reality,” and that’s the camera feature. Slide that toggle off, and your Pokémon will be rendered in a 3D setting, but your camera will no longer be used.

Ar off

The game renders a 3D scene and drops the wild Pokémon right in the center of it. That makes it a bit easier to locate the Pokémon and throw a Pokéball to catch it. It also means less jerking the camera around as you’re walking around. 

All the other aspects to the game remain the same. This won’t affect your ability to visit Pokéstops or gyms, won’t change the frequency with which you encounter wild Pokémon, and doesn’t affect basic gameplay mechanics when it comes to tossing Pokéballs or walking to hatch lucky eggs and the like.