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How to get Pokemon Go on Android in the UK today – and make sure you're not getting hacked

Katharine Byrne
12 Jul 2016
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Itching to play Pokemon Go on your Android phone in the UK? Read our step by step guide to get it right now

Pokemon Go is arguably the most hotly anticipated Pokemon game since the original Red and Blue games on Game Boy. It's every late twenty-something's dream title, as this augmented reality game lets you catch Pokemon in the real world by using your smartphone camera.

However, wannabe Pokemon trainers in the UK haven't been quite as lucky as their counterparts in the US, as the UK launch of Pokemon Go has been delayed to the sheer number of people downloading the game elsewhere around the world. That said, you can still get Pokemon Go in the UK provided you're willing to do a bit of tinkering on your smartphone. Here, I'll be explaining how to get Pokemon Go on Android, but iOS users can check out how to get it on their iPhone right here.

Step 1: Getting Pokemon Go to work on an Android device is a little be more involved than installing it on iOS, as you need to first download the app via an APK website. We recommend using APKMirror, but several other websites also offer the app, so you'll need to watch out that you're not downloading something malicious in the process – jump to the end of this guide to make sure you've downloaded a legitimate version of the APK and haven't accidentally installed something that could let other hack your device without you knowing.

Step 2: Since you're not downloading something from the official Google Play Store, you'll need to enable your phone to allow downloads from unknown sources. To do this, go to Settings > Security, and tick the box that says 'Allow installation of apps from unknown sources'.

Step 3: The next thing you need to do is transfer the APK you've download on to your smartphone. You can do this via USB if you've downloaded the file on to your PC, or you can simply visit the website on your phone and download straight to your device. It should then appear in your Downloads folder, which you can access with your phone's built-in file manager app, or by using a third-party file manager, such as ES File Explorer File Manager, from the Google Play Store.

Step 4: Once you've put the app on your phone, all you then need to do is open and install it. It will then appear in your app tray or home screen like your average Android app.

How to check you haven't downloaded malware:

Of course, sideloading an app like this always carries an element of risk, as you've essentially got to trust that the APK isn't also infected with some nasty malware or viruses. As a result, those who want to be sure what they're downloading is safe should wait until the official app of Pokemon Go arrives on the UK Google Play Store.

However, there are ways to check if the file you've installed contains malware. Go to Settings > Applications and find Pokemon Go. Then scroll down to see what permissions the app currently has assigned to it. As Kotaku has reported, if the permissions list looks like this, your Pokemon Go APK should be absolutely fine.

If you see any of the permissions highlighted below, however, you should delete the app immediately as it's not a safe version of the game.