More on Pokémon Go: how to get it in the UK, and not ruin your phone in the process

Earlier this week, the much awaited Pokémon Go game was released in the US and Australia.  The augmented reality game allows players to catch Pokémon in ‘real life’, using their surroundings. The app was due to be available in the UK not long after its launch across the pond, but the unanticipated popularity of the game has resulted in server problems and crashes, causing the UK release date to be postponed.

The game was created by Niantic, a Google startup that became independent in 2015 and created Pokémon Go with Nintendo.  Following the success of the international release of the game, the company have been attempting to bolster its server’s capacity.  For now, the international release has been paused indefinitely until the problems are solved.

If you’re an avid Pokémon fan, you’ll be delighted to know that it is possible to get the app in the UK – however it is a little complicated.

How to get Pokémon Go on iOS

On an iOS device you can download the app by altering the region settings on your device. First log out of your Apple ID account by opening the App Store app, scrolling down to the bottom, selecting your Apple ID and choosing “Sign Out”. Then go to Settings -> General -> Language and Region -> change Region to US, Australia or New Zealand.

You’ll need to create a new Apple ID for the region that you’ve selected. So that you don’t have to enter credit card details it’s best to do this on a computer. Go to ‘Create Your Own Apple ID’ on a browser to set up a second account. You will have to have a separate email address for the new ID.

Once you’ve entered your details, press “Continue” and follow the steps to verify the account. Then go back to the App Store on your device, scroll down and select “Sign In”.  It will ask you to review the new account and suggest you add card details, but you can select “None”.

You should now be able to search for Pokémon Go in the App Store and download it, then sign out of the new Apple ID account and back into your old address.

How to get Pokémon Go on Android

It’s possible to download Pokémon Go on an Android in the UK, however it is a little more complicated than on an Apple device.

Firstly, you must enable your phone to download apps from outside of the Google Play store by going to Settings -> Security -> give your phone permission to download “Unknown Sources”.

You’ll then need to download the Pokémon Go APK file, from an APK download site such as APK Mirror or APK Pure. APK stands for Android Application Package and is the file format Android uses for mobile apps. After hitting download you’ll have to say “OK” to the warning message.

Once it has downloaded swipe down from the top of the screen and select “Install” on the Pokémon Go file in the notification centre. There have been reports of malicious software appearing in Pokémon Go APK files so make sure to check reviews before downloading or, to avoid hackers having access to your phone, wait until the app is officially released in the UK.

Be aware of scams

Cybersecurity researchers have already discovered a tampered-with version of the game, which weakens security so that an attacker could gain control over a victim’s phone. Researchers have outlined several ways in which a user can check if a malicious version for the app is installed, such as through comparing the permissions of the app with the actual one or compare its hash; a long string of numbers that verifies the official version.

It’s worth noting that these issues are only present on Andorid, so if you’re an iOS users – you don’t need to worry!

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