There's a few portals I've taken over and want to link, but I can't get a portal key to the portals I want to link to, even after hacking them repeatedly until they're burned out.

Is there something that can be done to help improve the odds of getting a portal key when you're hacking?


5 Answers 5


None seem to be known. I have not observed any biases either. (I'm Level 4, so I've hacked a few …)

"Just hack more often" might not be the answer you're looking for, but …

  • 1
    That's the answer I expected, but thought I'd ask just in case and will happily change the accepted answer if anyone figures anything out. It's also worth noting that the odds of getting a portal key seem to have decreased with a recent update (late December), so it's noticeably different than it used to be. Also related to that update is you can now get multiple copies of the same key without dropping your current copy first - assuming you can get any copies at all. gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/98006/…
    – mmrobins
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 7:13
  • 4
    This answer is outdated, in current Ingress versions you will never get another key if you already have one in your inventory. Drop all your held keys for a given portal before hacking.
    – intgr
    Commented Jan 8, 2014 at 19:41
  • 1
    @intgr is correct – currently (Jan 2014) the rate for getting a key hovers around 72% if you already have one, and ZERO if you don't. Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 0:12
  • I've heard 90% claimed, and now 72%. I don't believe 90% for a minute, given the number of times I've come up keyless after two or three or four consecutive hacks. 72% is more plausible, but is it still correct in 2015?
    – c roald
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 1:19

With version 1.33 (or 1.34 I am not sure about the exact version number), you will get a portal key (about 80% or something like that) if you do not have the key of the portal already. If you own at least one (or more) keys of that portal, then percentage of obtaining key with hacking is really low.

If you already have some keys in your inventory; you can drop them on the ground and take them back after you hack the portal. By that means, you can obtain a lot of key belong to that portal.

  • 3
    "Really low" seems to be zero, actually. Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 0:13
  • You can also put keys in capsules instead of dropping them. Also, when glyph hacking, you can input the "MORE" glyph command to specifically request keys; when you do the portal works as if you didn't have any keys on you yet, with the same chance of getting one. That way you don't need to hide away the keys you already have at all.
    – Joubarc
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 8:00

Discounting "hack more" as an answer, there is one technique you can use - destroy links. Some percentage of the time (I'm not sure how much), destroying a link will result in a portal key being dropped near one of the portals. If you want keys for a specific portal, try destroying things that link to it.

  • 2
    Actually, if you want keys for a specific portal, destroy that portal – and then check all the portals which linked to it whether you can find a key for it there. Frankly it's faster (and you're more likely to be successful) if you just put a multihack in … Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 0:15

All other answers are for the old versions of Ingress. You have to do Glyph hacking and use the request more command, then you will get 1 to 3 keys in 90 % of hacking for a right guessed glyph sequence. This applies for the current version at the time of writing, 2020-11-15.


I haven't done any systematic data collection on this, but when a portal is near death (via enemy attack or natural decay) i sure seem to farm portal keys with much more frequency. Anyone else experienced this?

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