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I just caught a bulbasaur in my office’s trash can, and so can you!

Developer Niantic and The Pokémon Company International launched Pokémon Go for iOS and Android yesterday in a select few territories, but you don’t have to wait to get some of that location-based monster-catching action. This new entry in the pocket-monster universe uses your smartphone’s GPS to track your location around the real world. As you explore your neighborhood or town, you’ll stumble across digital creatures hiding in parking lots or near public works of art. Or, at least, it works like that if you’re in Australia or New Zealand. Everyone else has to wait … unless you try our workaround.

The problem with the Pokémon Go app on Google Play is that it won’t install to your phone if it detects your region is something like the United States. Thankfully, Android is an open operating system, which means that you can install any app you want from any source — that includes the (*ominous music plays*) internet. While downloading random apps from the web is a quick way to get a malicious virus, it’s also the best way to download the APK (the executable Android file) for Pokémon Go.

Warning: Don’t do this

Don’t go through with these instructions unless you know what you’re doing. I’m going to ask you to install an app from the internet, and it could potentially contain threatening software. I’m not taking responsibility for that, so just don’t do what I’m about to tell you to do.

Give your phone permission to sideload apps

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The first thing you need is to allow your phone to install content from unknown sources.

  1. Boot up your Android phone or cellular-capable tablet, and open up the device settings.
  2. Under “Security” (this is different parts of the settings menu depending on your device and Android version, but keep looking and you’ll find it).
  3. Scroll down until you find the “Unknown sources” toggle.
  4. It should read: “Allow installation of apps from sources other than Google Play Store.”
  5. If it is unchecked, make sure you check it.

Download and install the Pokemon Go app

Now, we need to get the app itself. You have multiple options for downloading Pokemon Go. Personally, I searched the web for a torrent and downloaded that. You can do that if you want, or you use the following.

  1. Download the APK here (see warning above): Pokémon Go
  2. If you downloaded it to your computer, transfer it to your phone using a USB cord, Google Drive, or some other service.
  3. Once it’s on your phone, find the APK. It’s likely in your Download folder. You can get to your downloads by clicking on “Downloads” in your app drawer.
  4. Run through the installation process.
  5. Make sure you have GPS location services turned on.

You should be all set now. I caught a Pokémon in my house, but I haven’t started looking around my neighborhood for any more. So I’m not sure if all that works yet. If you have problems, let me know by emailing me.

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