Pokémon Home is a new cloud-based storage service that is available as an app for Android and iOS phones and tablets as well as for the Nintendo Switch. One of the most tempting features is that you can have your Pokédex handy anywhere – for a fee. Better yet, you can build a unified Pokédex by using the Pokémon you caught in previous games in Pokémon Sword or Pokémon: Let's go, Pikachu! (Pokémon Go support for the Home app is still under development.)
Given that Pokémon games span so many years and different console platforms, incorporating all Pokémon into Pokémon Home will take more steps the longer your trip has been – less once you've just started using the latest Pokémon titles on the switch. Here's how to do it.
We start with the more complex migration process from older 3DS and DS games to Home. There are several steps involved, and while they are actually simple, many crossed wires need to be untangled along the way.
Picture: Nintendo / Game Freak
Upload your 3DS / DS collection to the Pokémon Bank
If you've saved a Pokédex for games designed for Nintendo DS or 3DS systems, you won't be able to jump directly to upload to Pokémon Home. You must first forward your collection through Pokémon Bank, an older cloud-based service.
Your first step should be to open the eShop app and download the Pokémon Bank. Depending on the game from which you want to transfer Pocket Monster, you may also need to download Poké Transporter, which you can access 3DS from the Bank app.
Why certain games require a separate app probably depends on newer games being built with the ability to communicate directly with Pokémon Bank while the others need the Poké Transporter to do the data transfer for them. The technical details are less important than the fact that these apps do what they claim: you can take your Pokémon to the bank and make it visible to Pokémon Home.
- Games directly connected to the Pokémon Bank: Pokémon Ultra Sun, Ultra Moon, Sun, Moon, X, Y, Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire
- Games where Poké Transporter has to be transferred to the bank: Virtual Console versions of Pokémon Blue, Red, Yellow, Gold, Silver, and Pokémon White, Black, White 2, and Black 2.
To see exactly how to get your Pokémon into the bank, take a deep breath and then look at this non-confusing flowchart from The Pokémon Company.
The boxes are color-coded to indicate which games with bank (orange) and transporter (black) work.
Image: The Pokémon Company
As indicated by the directional arrows in the table, some games allow Pokémon to be deposited and withdrawn, while others only support one-way transfers. Remember when you move things.
To transfer your Pokémon, open the 3DS apps that work with your game. If you're transferring from a physical cartridge, you'll need to insert it for the app to recognize the game (and the Pokémon caught in it). Otherwise, games that you have installed on your 3DS system are automatically recognized by the apps.
The steps that follow to transfer Pokémon from your games to Pokémon Bank are straightforward and you shouldn't encounter any problems.
Photo by Sam Byford / The Verge
If you're feeling ambitious, Polygon has put together a guide to moving Pokémon from previous DS games that aren't directly supported by the bank. If you want to go back even further (I'm talking about Game Boy Advance), the guide also shows that it's possible to modernize your old Pokémon if you follow the tedious steps.
Connect your Pokémon bank to Pokémon Home
Once you're done with the transfer, you'll need to link your Pokémon Bank account on 3DS to your phone, Nintendo Switch, or the device that has the Home app installed. I used the home app on my Android phone, but the process is similar on the switch.
- First, make sure your Nintendo Account is linked to the Home app. You will be asked to do this when you run it for the first time. However, you can link it manually in the settings by tapping the menu button at the bottom of the screen. Since you must link your account on the switch before you can download apps from the eShop, you are already linked when you use the switch app.
- Then select "Options" on the next screen if you are using the mobile app.
- While you are still on the Options screen, you need to convert to a paying customer to link your bank to Private. The minimum is a monthly fee of $ 2.99 to keep the service running.
- You no longer have to pay after the transfer is complete. However, keeping your subscription active gives you more room to save Pokémon and access the other perks (see below).
- After logging in, open the Pokémon Bank on your 3DS. In the main menu, tap the "Move Pokémon to Pokémon Home" button.
- If you've installed the Home app on a phone or tablet, click Move Pokémon in the Options menu. Click the 3DS icon on the main screen of the switch.
- A moving key is displayed in the home app, which you must enter in your 3DS to start the transfer.
- If you just want your Pokémon to be available in the app, you're done. However, if you want to get the most out of a unified Pokédex, you should know that the mobile app and the Nintendo Switch versions of the app differ in some important ways, as described below.
How to move Pokémon between switch games
You may have noticed in the image above that you can only move your pocket monsters between games with the Nintendo Switch version of the Pokémon Home app. And you'd better believe that Nintendo has another diagram that explains how it currently works.
Here's a quick overview: Your Pokémon from Pokémon: Let's go, Pikachu! or Pokémon: Let's go, Eevee! can be paid into (but not paid out) into Pokémon Home. Once your Pokémon are loaded into the Home app, others can deposit and withdraw from the latest Switch games, Pokémon Sword and Shield.
To learn more about what you can do with your newly unified Pokédex in Pokémon Home, read Polygon's extension guide on the features of the app.
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