Everything you need to know to use the wildly complicated Pokémon Home

The process is more convoluted than filing your own taxes.

Nintendo and the Pokémon Company surprise-launched Pokémon Home worldwide Tuesday night. The cloud-based, pocket monster storage service lets gamers transfer and manage their Pokémon across multiple platforms and games. This new resource for Pokémon Trainers is pretty exciting but far from simple. Here's how to get the best use out of Pokémon Home.

Home links together the Let’s Go games and Pokémon Sword and Shield on the Nintendo Switch with everything from the eight Nintendo 3DS games via Pokémon Bank: Pokémon X and Y, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Pokémon Sun and Moon, and Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon. Support for Pokémon GO on iOS and Android is also in the works.

While the service might sound as straightforward to use as a cloud-based service like Google Drive, there are some limitations to what Pokémon can be transferred to and from Home. The service will only let users transfer Pokémon into Sword and Shield (and back out). Pokémon from all the other games can only be moved into Home but not back out. For example, you can't transfer a Farfetch'd you caught in Pokémon Sword to Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu, but you could transfer a Farfetch'd from Let's Go into Sword.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to download and how to use Pokémon Home and all of its platforms.

Pokémon Home users will only be able to transfer Pokémon into 'Sword & Shield.' Nintendo

How to download and use Pokémon Home app the Nintendo Switch

To get the app on the Nintendo Switch, open the Switch eShop and search for it. You shouldn’t have any issues browsing for the app on the console. Pokémon Home is free, but it comes with a premium subscription service with a few more perks.

If you’re planning on subscribing, it’s easier to get the Switch version of Home first, subscribe, then download and set up the mobile apps by linking them to your Nintendo account.

How to download and use the Pokémon Home app on iOS and Android

iPhone and iPad users will need to download and install Pokémon Home through Apple’s App Store. The brand-new app might not appear if you search for it but here’s a link to navigate to its landing page to get started.

Android users will find the Pokémon Home app in the Google Play Store. The same search problem may occur on these devices, so here’s a direct link to begin downloading.

The Nintendo Switch Pokémon Home app.Nintendo

How to transfer Pokémon to and from Home and Sword and Shield

Once you’ve downloaded Home on the Switch and linked it to your Nintendo account, it will ask if you have Home on your mobile device. Select “Yes” and follow these steps to begin building your collection.

  1. Select if you want the Switch app to automatically transfer all of the Pokémon in your boxes or if you want to manually select the ones you want to store.
  2. Once your initial transfer is complete, the app will prompt you to open your Pokédex or the Pokémon you just deposited. Select the “Pokémon.”
  3. Pick the game you want to connect to. In this case select Sword or Shield.
  4. This will bring up a screen that displays the Pokémon stored in your Home account on the left and the Pokémon you have in Sword and Shield on the right. Manually select the Pokémon you want to move in or out of the game. You won’t be able to transfer Pokémon that aren’t in Sword or Shield into the game from Home.
  5. Once you’ve made your selections, hit “Save Changes and Exit.” Your changes should appear on your Switch and mobile app.

How to download Pokémon Home on the Nintendo 3DS

Finally, 3DS gamers should have received an update for the handheld’s own storage system Pokémon Bank Tuesday night. The patch will make Bank compatible with Home, which will let users move their Pokémon from Bank to Home but not the other way around.

Currently, Bank costs $5 a year and is required to get your 3DS Pokémon onto Home. However, Nintendo announced it will make Bank free to use from February 12 to March 12, so if you want to port all of your pocket monsters from the 3DS to Home, now is the time. If you want to keep playing games like Pokémon X and Y and transfer them to Home later, you’ll need to pay for each service individually.

Use Pokémon Home's Pokédex menu to see which pocket monsters you have and which ones you're missing.Nintendo

How to transfer Pokémon from Bank to Home

  1. Once you’ve connected your Bank and Home apps to the same Nintendo Account, select the “Move” option in the main menu of Home on the Switch.
  2. Select “Begin Move” and hit “Ready.”
  3. On your 3DS, select “Move to Pokémon Home.”
  4. Then hit “Begin” and select the boxes of Pokémon you want to transfer and press the Y button on your Switch.
  5. Select “Display” to generate a Moving Key.
  6. Input your Moving Key your Switch gave you into your 3DS and press OK to begin the transfer.
  7. Wait a minute, and your Bank Pokémon should be in your Switch.

How much does Pokémon Home cost?

Pokémon Home comes with two different plans: Basic and Premium.

Basic is totally free but only lets gamers deposit 30 Pokémon total, while Premium has space for 6,000 and a few other features that will let you trade with other subscribers around the world. The Premium plan will cost $2.99 for a month, $4.99 for three months, or $15.99 for a year.

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