What is AR mode in Pokemon GO?

A difference of perspective (Image via The Pokemon Company)
A difference of perspective (Image via The Pokemon Company)

Pokemon GO remains one of the most successful and iconic games in the history of the mobile market. After a blockbuster debut in 2016, Niantic's translation of Nintendo and Game Freak's monstrously popular franchise has shown no signs of slowing down.

There are a few interesting settings that can change a player's experience with this phone game. New elements have been added over its six-year run to make it more immersive. One such gameplay element is the difference between AR+ Mode and AR Mode. There are many pros and cons to each choice.


AR Mode vs. AR+ Mode in Pokemon GO

Since 2017, Pokemon GO players have been able to activate AR+ Mode, so long as they have the hardware for it. Without that switch, AR Mode is the default that is present when a player starts the game.

To use AR+ Mode, one must be using IOS 11 on an iPhone 6 or higher or a device running Android 7.0+. Any less advanced tech will be stuck with AR Mode because they won't be able to run the alternative.

AR+ Mode was an improvement made to the game's augmented reality features. It uses Apple’s ARKit and Google's ARCore to make the experience more realistic, at the cost of more battery power.

AR+ Mode anchors Pokemon to a point in the real-world environment, as captured by the camera. This does away with day-one images of creatures spawning halfway through a wall or partially clipped through a person.

AR+ Mode also gives Pokemon awareness of the player's movement. The latter will notice an exclamation point icon next to a Pokemon's head that indicates its awareness. This demands players to use stealth and move slowly to get close, then gain Great or Excellent Throw bonuses for capturing them while close.


Using augmented reality in Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO players can choose to use AR Mode or AR+ Mode, but they can also turn off those features altogether. They are free to turn off their cameras and navigate a fully animated environment.

AR+ Mode is more challenging than the default AR Mode and the non-AR modes. The addition of stealth elements makes the game much tougher, while also allowing more bonuses for skilled players.

Those in environments that aren't good for the game might have to turn off AR Mode. If it's too dark or the landscape features little or no flat ground, the phone's camera might struggle to run the game right.

Players have had trouble with the AR features of the game that are often tied to the gyroscope or other internal issues. If the phone doesn't allow the game to run in its most powerful form, they will have to make do with its fully animated environment.

Pokemon GO's AR+ Mode makes the game more realistic by introducing fascinating new levels of interaction with the beloved creatures. Augmented reality is one of the central draws of this massive mobile hit, and fans should try it out in its strongest form.