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This question already has an answer here:

I've been playing Pokémon GO for a few days now, and have noticed that the in game tracker appears to not work. All the Pokémon on the tracker are shown to be 3 footsteps away, even if they are visible on the map. Why is this happening, and what can I do to fix it?

Pokémon GO

marked as duplicate by Wrigglenite, ken.ganong, MrLemon, user101016, GodEmperorDune Jul 18 '16 at 15:24

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    This question was created before that one – George Willcox Jul 18 '16 at 13:41
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    Maybe the other way around then. Though from my experience with other Stack Exchange sites, my understanding is that "which was posted first" isn't a major consideration for which question becomes the duplicate target. – Ajedi32 Jul 18 '16 at 13:46
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It is happening because it's bugged, and there is not much you can do about it, other than wait for it to be fixed.

The "Nearby Pokemon" section has been known to be buggy from the initial release. In fact, there are reports that the problem got a lot worst in the last 24 hours, after a brief period where the mechanic did not function at all.

It is speculated that the issue has something to do with the Google APIs, supported by the fact that the location map showing where you caught each individual Pokemon has gone completely white for most players.

It is assumed that Niantic are aware of the bug, and are working on a fix. Regardless, it is recommended that you submit your own bug report, as more reports could increase the priority of the bug fix over other issues Niantic are currently trying to solve.

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    It's true. The tracker was working fine as expected the day before. Since Friday (EST) all Pokemon are shown with three steps in the tracker. Even though the Pokemon was right by my side. I didn't confirm if the ordering still valid at this point. – Morio Jul 17 '16 at 15:02

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