So you finally got around the server crashes and infinite loading screens in Pokemon GO, and you’re on your way to being the very best. You’re tracking an Abra across the land, and you finally get close enough to catch it. But when you throw that Poke Ball, everything freezes.
This is yet another bug that will invariably strike while you’re playing the game — frozen Poke Balls that force you to close the game entirely, effectively losing the Pokemon that you had just (mostly) captured.
Luckily, our faithful trainers over at Reddit have found some workable solutions to get us through.
How To Work Around Frozen Poke Balls
First things first, you should know that in some cases, you can tell the game is going to freeze before it actually does. Reddit user GaryTheSnaill found that before his Poke Balls were going to freeze, the camera, item bag, and other UI icons would disappear without him touching the screen. Supposedly this indicates that the next Poke Ball you throw will freeze. And it looks like this:
When this happens, he advises that you wait 30 seconds to 1 minute — pretty much until you’ve seen the little white Pokeball spin and stop a few times. Then throw a random Poke Ball anywhere on the screen EXCEPT for on the Pokemon. If you do that and the icons come back, it’s safe to try and make your catch. It’s a waste of a Poke Ball, sure, but probably a worthy sacrifice.
However, a lot of users reported that even when their icons haven’t disappeared, their Poke Balls still freeze.
Some Poke Balls get stuck before shaking, some get stuck during. Sometimes they’ll restart the app and have the Pokemon they were after, and sometimes they’ve totally lost out. It seems to vary a little bit for everyone.
In most cases, this seems to be an issue where the game just isn’t properly communicating with servers — surprise, surprise. But some folks have found other ways to work around the bug mid-freeze, and sometimes trick the game into thinking you’ve made your catch.
Watch the Spinning Poke Ball (And Wait)
Many users reported that whenever they encounter a full-on freeze, they immediately look at the spinning white Pokeball. After that ball stops spinning, most users say that if you Force Stop the game — NOT just close it out — you’ll have the Pokemon in your inventory when you restart.
To Force Stop, go to Settings > Application Manager > Pokemon GO. The Force Stop option should be there.
One user said that he will wait for the spinning Poke Ball to stop, tap on the screen a few times to make sure nothing’s working, tab out from the app and back in, tap the screen a few more times, then force close it.
Another user waits for 3 loading cycles before force closing and rebooting.
Using this fix, there still seems to be a chance that the Pokemon won’t be in your inventory. But in a lot of cases, it did reappear on the map upon restarting the game.
Switch to the Camera
One user said that if the ball is still “small” after getting the Pokemon — that is, it hasn’t zoomed in to do its 3 shakes — they can switch to the camera, take a picture, delete it, and go back to the capture screen. There’s nothing on that capture screen when you go back to it, but you can throw invisible balls at invisible Pokemon. While the user admits that it’s probably wasteful and very hard to aim, it is indeed possible to catch a Pokemon that way.
Force Reload With the AR Trigger
Another user solved their Poke Ball freeze issue with the AR button. Even if the AR button isn’t actually displayed (a la our original fix), tap the area where it should be until the UI reloads. In some cases, this reset the capture cam and made it possible to catch the Pokemon once again.
Obviously, none of these are permanent fixes. But when you’ve landed a 1200 CP Snorlax, you’ll try pretty much anything to get it in your pocket. If you have any other fixes or workarounds for the Frozen Poke Ball bug on Android, let us know in the comments! (And if you’re looking for an iOS fix for the Poke Ball bug, we’ve got you covered.)