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I downloaded Pokemon Go around July 20th, 2016 (IIRC) and it worked fine for a while, more or less. But within the last week, I have been having problems opening the app while out and about, so I decided to try and see what I could do to fix it.

When I went to the Google Play Store page for Pokemon go (to see if it needed to be updated) I got the message:

Your device isn't compatible with this version.

I thought that was kind of strange because I already downloaded the app fine? I checked the requirements and can't seem to figure out why it says it's not compatible?

I've got Android version 5.0, and as mentioned the app was running more or less fine before. The only thing I can think of is that I don't have enough RAM, but why would it allow me to download it in the first place? (Besides, nearly everyone I know playing it has under 2GB of RAM on their device without issue).

It continued to work fine for a couple of days after discovering that, but now when I open the app it says I need to update it to continue playing.

I've been looking around for a fix (or at least a reason) for this problem, but I haven't found anyone with compatibility issues who already had the app downloaded and working.

I want to stress that the app was already downloaded and working, and that since the update, the system requirements haven't changed.

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2 Answers 2

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Niantic occasionally increases the system requirements of Pokemon Go

This means that some older devices - that were able to play the game previously and still have an older version installed - will be unable to update to the latest version. This is why Google Play reported that the new version was "incompatible with your device".

But why did the game work for a few days after the new version was released?

When releasing updates, Niantic generally leaves the old version active for a bit - usually about a week or two. The game will continue to launch and play on the older version during this grace period, whether or not the Play Store prevents you from updating.

Eventually they force users to update by preventing the game from launching, which matches the behaviour you reported.

Why prevent updates if it worked fine before?

While it may seem a bit crummy, it's an economical move for the developers: keeping things "current" means they reduce the amount of work they have to do to maintain the game.

I suspect they are looking at the number of players using particular devices. For example, if only 0.1% of players are running devices with Android v4, and it has a game breaking bug, it doesn't make sense to try and fix it. Just drop support for that OS.

You can see on Niantic's Supported Devices FAQ page, a "Last Updated" time, which as of writing in 2024 was only a couple of months ago.

What can be done?

While you might have some luck using a third-party site to side-load the application, I cannot vouch for its effectiveness, and it certainly isn't a long-term fix.

To continue to play, the best thing you can do is to look at getting a new (or secondhand) device that is supported. Please see How to check if my device will run Pokemon Go? What devices are supported? for information on how to check if a device can run the game before you buy it.

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    Also, Android development is very complex and has different ways to do common things across different major versions of the OS, each of which must be supported to run on a given version and may not share code between the different implementation styles. Storage permission is a great example as it has changed at least twice: in Android 10 they removed easy all storage access (RIP almost-real Linux on Android without root...still heartbroken) and in 12 they re-implemented easy all storage access in a partially-different way (...derp).
    – l3l_aze
    Commented Jun 18 at 19:48
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The explanation: The developers are inept.

The fix:

  1. First make sure you are allowing third party apps.

    Settings>Security>Unknown Sources (Make sure this is checked)

  2. Download the current version of Pokemon Go (0.31.0 at the time of writing) from a SAFE website. (My knowledge of safe vs unsafe is currently limited to this: apkmirror is safe lol)

  3. When it's finished downloading, install it. If you want to wrap up loose ends, turn Unknown Sources back off. (The box we checked earlier)

  4. If you get to a screen that's one solid color when you boot the game up, it's because there are hidden buttons. Somewhere on the screen are two buttons: One that says Accept and one that says Decline. You get to guess where Accept is because someone still had to finish their work and their bosses released the game anyways, but I digress.

edit: I should add that this happened to me as well. This is the second time for me. The first time was resolved by simply waiting about 5 hours or so (and restarting the phone? unsure, but it's always a good idea.) This time I'm unsure, as I'm not sure I want to wait.

Will update.

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    I was trying to avoid downloading an APK, but that seems to be the only fix. :/ I found it on apkmirror and downloaded it smoothly. It seems to be working fine for now. Ah well, I guess it'll have to do. Hopefully things like this will be worked out in the future, I've never had the problem with another game/app. Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 2:15

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