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I've been seeing people mention in chat that they have a bunch of copies of keys for the same portal. How are they doing this? I feel like I have a hard enough time getting one copy of a key for most portals.

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

Before recent changes about portal key generation to own multiple keys of the same portal you had to drop the key of the aimed portal before hacking it. Then, you had chances to gain a second portal, grab the dropped key and you had two keys.

Now that portal keys are much rarest when hacking, you can gain a key even if you were already carrying the same portal key, but you'll have to be patient and persistent.

Note that sometimes, when making a big XMP blast on an enemy resonator, a portal can drop a portal key (his key or a key of the linked portal).

EDIT January 2014 : since a few weeks, if you already hold a portal key, you have nearly 0% of chances to get another one. To obtain a new key, drop the keys you own, then hack and you'll probably get a new key (~80%)

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As of now (1/3/2014) you'll still increase your chances of getting a portal key by dropping any keys you have for that portal before hacking it. It seems you have about a 50% chance of getting a key for a portal if you don't already have it, whereas if you have it, it's some much lower percentage (I'd estimate <= 10%). – Doktor J Jan 3 '14 at 16:39

They try. And try again. . I doubt that there are any factors besides random chance involved.

One enemy portal which I hack at most twice daily has given me three keys during the last two weeks or so; I've got no keys from some others which I hack three times as often.

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This is just plain wrong. There is definite information on key drops that involve how many keys to that portal you currently have in your inventory. – Mondrianaire Jan 22 '14 at 17:32
Note that my answer is woefully out of date. – Matthias Urlichs Jan 22 '14 at 21:39

Keys are issued randomly and the random chance of getting one fluctuates quite a bit at the moment as the game devs settle the tuning. I'm getting lots of keys again now, where is a two days ago I was getting nothing.

You can't 'normaly' carry two keys from the same portal in your inventory at the same time, but there is a workaround which I've read about (but not tried). If you get a key, take it somewhere safe and "drop" it. go back to the same portal, and should you get another key you can keep it. Go back to where you dropped the first one and pick it back up, you should (allegedly) have two keys for the same portal in your inventory.

^^^ That is nonsense. I've now got multiple keys for portals in my inventory.

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Actually, just today I ended up with 2 copies of the key for 2 different portals, so I'm not sure it's not 'normal'. – wolfcastle Jan 7 '13 at 3:13

Chances seem greater to hack an extra portal key when you "hide" the one in inventory in a capsule, if you are lucky enough to have one.

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Not sure why this is downvoted - according to what I've seen people say, putting a key in a capsule means that the game treats it like it is not in your inventory and therefore gives you >0% hack rate. – Daenyth May 8 '14 at 20:39
I think the reason for the downvote is the "Chances seem greater" part of the answer. This process is not based on some kind of statistics. If you put all the keys of the portal into a capsule the dice for getting a key from the hack rolls, if you don't do it, then it won't roll. – Montag451 Dec 3 '14 at 8:27

You can also put a key in a capsule and then hack it again. I do this quite often.

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