"Pokemon Go" Troubleshooting Connection Problems

Updated on January 21, 2019
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Sigbog is an avid Level 40 "Pokémon GO" player and raider with lots of knowledge and experience to draw from.

Connection Troubleshooting Guide

The best ways to identify and fix Pokemon Go connection issues
The best ways to identify and fix Pokemon Go connection issues

Failed to Log in / Unable to Authenticate

The annoying pop-up that tells you that you won't be able to log in and play Pokemon Go and tells you nothing else. No other clear indicator of what could be going on.

The only thing we can be really clear on is that "Failed to Log in" means the login process was started but not completed whereas "Unable to Authenticate" means the login process was not started at all. That's not much to work with, but given how many times we've all dealt with connection problems, common problems and solutions are generally pretty well identified.

Unable to Connect to Server

Possible Problems

To figure out how to solve your problem, you first have to figure out why you have it in the first place and where things could be going wrong. In the case of not being able to connect to Pokemon Go, a handful of different things could be going wrong.

  1. Login Servers could be down
    In this scenario, new players would not be able to log into Pokemon Go, but players currently on the app could continue playing. This problem could affect everyone or large groups of people. This would not occur for just 1 person. Prior to getting into the game, players run a login and authentication check, and the servers that run this could go down. This happened many times during the launch of Pokemon Go when a ton of players all wanted to play at the same time.
    This problem could occur individually with different login platforms as well such as Facebook, Google, Pokemon Trainer Club, or Niantic Kids. It is entirely possible for Pokemon Trainer Club to be down, but Google driven accounts are still able to log in and play.
  2. Game Servers could be down
    As in... everything! Or possibly large clusters of players, could be unable to play a lot. This is a disaster scenario and wouldn't likely occur often.

    In both #1 and #2, you can check various server uptime websites such as ispokemongodownornot to see if other players are having an issue.
  3. You have an account login cache issue
    This one is strange, and seems to mostly (but not always) occur for players who play multiple accounts on a single phone. This will prevent logins of accounts for no obvious reason. What appears to happen is that some bad data is stuck in the Pokemon Go cache, preventing it from allowing any logins. To fix this on Android phones (not sure if this is a problem on iOS devices) you need to:
    Go to settings
    Find applications
    Find Pokemon Go
    Select storage
    Select 'Clear cache'
    (The exact steps may vary depending on your android OS, but generally are still the same)

    Clearing cache will remove all temporary data used by the app, including your login data.
    You may to clear storage and restart your phone before going back to Pokemon Go, but I'd try clearing cache first as that is a more dramatic step. That will wipe all local data(such as map data) and keep only the game data.
  4. You have a connection issue
    While loading into Pokemon Go, you may notice the first half of the bar may go quickly but the second half may stick a bit. The first half is when the game data is being loaded into your phone's RAM. The second half of the loading bar is making successful connections to the Pokemon Go servers. If you lose connection or have an overly slow connection, you may fail at this stage. Pokemon Go is a hilariously fragile app, so even a minor hiccup in connection can break the entire game sequences and need to be force closed and re-opened.

    Obviously, pay attention to your wifi and mobile data reception to make sure something unexpected isn't happening such as connection to a nearby, but really low signal strength, public wifi.
  5. Something just broke
    A hiccup somewhere somehow that prevented your login from working. Sometimes it's as simple as force closing the game and re-opening it, or maybe restarting your phone. When in doubt, turn it off and turn it back on!

Clearing the Cache on Android

It may vary a bit depending on your device, but typically you go to Settings -> Applications -> Pokemon Go -> Storage where you can find a clear cache button.
It may vary a bit depending on your device, but typically you go to Settings -> Applications -> Pokemon Go -> Storage where you can find a clear cache button.

What Isn't the Problem

It's also helpful to know what the problem isn't as you're identified possible issues and solutions.

  1. You probably didn't get banned
    The accidental ban can be a real fear sometimes as customer service departments seem to not really care. But Niantic uses actual ban notifications and dialogues so you're not likely to have been banned!
  2. You probably don't need to update
    Niantic uses forced update methods that block you from entering the game, but also direct you to the app store if you need to update. It's not likely that you're just missing a patch.
  3. You probably don't need to change your password
    Thus far Niantic has not done any regular forced password changes or password expirations. This is not an uncommon thing to maximize security. You may assume it's your login credentials blocking you when you get "Unable to authenticate" but it's at least not an expired password.

TLDR: Things You Can Try to Fix Problems

If you're just looking for a laundry list of steps to try to solve your problem, follow this:

  1. Force close and re-open the app
  2. Check your mobile and wifi connection
  3. Disable and re-enable your mobile/wifi connection
  4. Check the Pokemon Go server status
  5. Restart your phone
  6. Log out of your account and back in
  7. Log out and clear Pokemon Go's cache
  8. Log out and clear Pokemon Go's data
  9. Reinstall the app

I've been able to solve most problems by following these steps, and hopefully you can too.

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