Unlike the old Game Boy games, leveling up Pokémon is quite different in 2016. To level up Pokémon, you must find additional Pokémon of the exact species and transfer them to Professor Willow, who is the hunkiest Pokémon professor anyone has ever seen and looks like an anime Ryan Reynolds.
If you’re confused about transferring Pokémon, and how to do it right, worry not. Here’s your handy guide.
1) From the main screen, press the Pokéball logo at the bottom, then press “Pokémon.”
2) Choose the Pokémon you wish to transfer. Pick a Pokémon with very, very low CP, or “Combat Power.” (We’ll get to why in a moment.)
3) Scroll to the bottom of the screen, past the map data of where you caught the Pokémon. There, you can choose to “Transfer” the Pokémon. In exchange, you’ll earn Pokémon Candy specific to that Pokémon.
4) Transferring Pokémon means you lose them forever. Be very careful.
To level Pokémon, you need Stardust AND Pokemon Candy
Stardust is currency you collect when you catch Pokémon. Accumulate enough and you’ll be able to apply it to advancing your Pokémon — but it’s a bit more complicated to actually level up the little critter.
You also need Pokémon Candy, which are specific to that kind of Pokémon. You earn specific Pokémon Candy when you transfer specific Pokémon; for example, transfer a Pikachu, and you get one Pikachu Candy. Transfer a Pidgey, you get one Pidgey Candy. Accumulate enough Pokémon Candy and you can evolve Pokémon into their next form if they have one.
When collecting Pokémon, always transfer those with low CP
CP, or “Combat Power,” is the overall measured strength of any Pokémon in Pokémon GO. It’s sort of like a tale of the tape at a rival Gym: Got a substantial amount of Pokémon with higher CP than those at a Gym? Fight ‘em.
Pokémon with high CP — three digits and higher (some dedicated trainers are getting Pokémon up to four digits) — are more valuable than those with lower CP (generally speaking, anything lower than 100). When you transfer Pokémon, you lose them forever, so be extra cautious you don’t transfer a powerful or rare Pokémon by accident.