If a friend encounters a Pokémon, it doesn't disappear directly. So I should be able to catch it, as well.

My question is, how long does it stay there? Can I still expect to find it there a few hours later, or even a day later?

  • It doesn't stay there long, I don't know how long so if you can catch it immediately
    – Riley
    Jul 6, 2016 at 18:34

6 Answers 6


Pokemon do not "move" in GO. Once they spawn in a location, they tend to stay there until despawn.

Pokemon have an attribute which controls spawn behavior (likely TimeTillHiddenMs and ExpirationTimeMs in the protobuf files), which determines their spawn length. For the most part, Pokemon will despawn either 15, 30, or 45 minutes after initially spawning, although some outliers do exist as this is a server-side variable.

  • I suspect that it isn't that rare Pokemon DS spawn faster, but rather they are picked up faster. It seems that there is some sort of tick rate on the server, my guess is 30 seconds. If someone picks up the Pokemon it will be spawn for you at the next server tick
    – Ashterothi
    Jul 10, 2016 at 17:56
  • 1
    @Pyrodante "picked up"?
    – Pyritie
    Jul 11, 2016 at 12:01
  • I have proven my original comment wrong. While it does seem there are times that the pokemon despawns almost as soon as it is picked up, I have also seen them hang around for other people upwards of 10 minutes.
    – Ashterothi
    Jul 14, 2016 at 18:46
  • Pokemon spawn mechanics changed on 2016/11/5, and the linked source is outdated. I suggest updating the answer to note the old and new behavior.
    – Jerry
    May 5, 2017 at 1:12
  • @Kaz Wolfe Sorry I typed it wrong, The Pokemon despawn after 30 minutes and occasionally despawn after 1 hour.
    – OmamArmy
    May 5, 2017 at 5:27

Once a Pokemon spawns in an area, they do not move in that area until they despawn. So generally they will be in the same spot for 15 minutes.

What's not clear is when they despawn, there does seem to be a better than random chance they will respawn in an adjacent area. I'm not sure how big a game area is, but it is at least several city blocks.

  • Interesting concept, would love to see some source that backs this up. But increased chances are hard to quantify.
    – freekvd
    Jul 18, 2016 at 16:58

I'm not convinced of the answer above. All the 'good' Pokemon I come across seem to move around frequently, and quickly until they show up on the screen. One moment it'll appear, and it'll be gone just a couple minutes into the search, or the foot-prints for a single Pokemon will increase or decrease without my even moving.


According to the Silph Road, on 2016/11/05, Niantic updated a pokemon's spawn timer mechanics such that pokemon spawn in one place for 30 minutes and then despawn.

I have looked at pokemon, refreshed the game every minute, and a pokemon despawns after 30 minutes or occasionally 1 hour. There is a Silph Road thread with more discussion.

  • What source do you have for this? It doesn't seem right, based on my experiences with the game.
    – Frank
    May 4, 2017 at 14:37
  • I have looked at pokemon and refreshed the game every minute. and a pokemon despawns after 30 min. or occasionally 1 hour.
    – OmamArmy
    May 4, 2017 at 18:12
  • How do you know you're seeing it for the full length? Or that it applies to every pokemon and every spawn? Your testing is flawed.
    – Frank
    May 4, 2017 at 18:13
  • Edited. if you want more evidence then I will delete my correct answer.
    – OmamArmy
    May 4, 2017 at 18:23
  • I don't think your source is very reliable; its a random reddit thread that has some testing going on, but no verifiable results that I can see. Can you link to the specific comment that supports your statement?
    – Frank
    May 4, 2017 at 18:25

I have spawns over by the next door neighbors and two, two houses down that I can reach from the edge of my property. They spawn random pokemon on the hour in the exact same spots. One spawns exactly on the hour and the other two, 10 minutes later. They despawn after 15 minutes. The last half hour, there is nothing to get. My guess is the spawn areas marked by the ruffling leaves flying up as you look around have different clockwork spawn and despawn times. There seems to be as I can tell 3 spawns per spawn location. There could be more and my radar doesn't quite reach the a far spawn in the location two houses down, approximately 150 feet from the edge of my property line.


I agree that pokemon move around and usually quickly. I don't know if they respawn in the same are or not. I was with someone who caught a Pikachu. We haven't returned to see if another spawned in that area. But pokemon do move and disappear from a certain territory. Our thought is they don't respawn in the same area but I havent found any proof either way.

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