Pokemon Go: How-to Catch Smeargle – Moveset, AR+ Mode, and More!

We're taking a look at how-to find and catch a Smeargle in Pokemon Go!

Our Pokemon Go How-to Catch Smeargle Guide will help you figure out how to find this illusive paintbrush tailed Pokemon! Pokemon Go has released a new feature that allows for better pictures to be taken of your Pokemon in AR mode. This feature has enabled the release of Smeargle and you can now catch it in-game.

How-to Take a Photo of Your Pokemon

Hit the PokeBall at the bottom of the screen and head to your Pokemon locker. Select the Pokemon you'd like to photograph, and to the top right will be an icon of a camera. Make sure you have allowed Pokemon Go to access your camera! Once here you can take a photograph of your Pokemon in normal AR mode, or you can place them by tapping on the screen where you'd like to position it in AR+! You can also return the Pokemon to the ball by using the bottom left PokeBall icon and re-position it.

What is AR+ Mode?

AR+ is the new advanced photography mode that has been added to Pokemon Go. While you could take photos of your Pokemon in your environment before, this new mode allows you to place them in a more customizable way. Here's a quick rundown on how it works:

  • Select your Pokemon and enter photography mode.
  • Position your camera facing where you'd like to place the Pokemon. They can only be placed on flat surfaces, you'll see footprints of where they can properly be placed. Tap on those to place the Pokemon.
  • You can now move around and find the right angle you'd like to position the camera in while the Pokemon stays where they are.
  • If you want the Pokemon to face you, you can brush across their face with your finger to do so.
  • Tapping on your Pokemon will get them to attack a bit, so you can get an action shot.
  • You can then either take the photo or return the Pokemon to its ball and re-position it!

How-to Catch Smeargle

Smeargle can only currently be caught if he photobombs one of your Pokemon while you are taking a picture! This means you'll need to take quite a few pictures, but also you'll want to be deliberate with which Pokemon you choose.

Spawning Smeargle

As mentioned, you'll need to take photos. Each photo you take has a chance for Smeargle to photobomb it and appear. Based on what has been reported by Niantic Support, you can only find a Smeargle on the first photo of a "session." A session appears to be loading up a Pokemon and taking a picture. So, rather than spamming a ton of photos of the same Pokemon in the same area, you'll want to take a single shot of a Pokemon and then swap it out for a new one or the same one. You don't want to place a Pokemon and just keep taking photos over and over.

You'll know you've got a Smeargle when you notice three pulsing rings appear on the bottom right icon in photo mode. Once you've seen the Smeargle in the photo, you will then want to exit the photo mode and head to the map. You should see a Smeargle spawn, and you can catch it as normal. According to a report on Reddit, it will stick around and be catchable for an hour!

  • You do NOT have to be in AR+ to spawn one.
  • You can find them with any device Android or iOS.
  • Smeargle can run away, so be sure to do what you need to do to catch one!
  • Smeargle can photobomb another Smeargle for full Smeargle-ception.

Smeargle Spawnrate

It appears that there is at least around a 12 hour cooldown or you can only catch one Smeargle per day. This hasn't been fully confirmed, we'll update this when we know more.

Smeargle's Moveset

The moveset of Smeargle is dependent on what Pokemon you were taking pictures with when it appears. It has been reported that some moves will not copy over (Transform), but community day moves can be copied, and it won't get a third move. If it learns Hidden Power the type will be re-rolled.

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About the Author

Shaun aka Evident is a lifelong gamer and creator of websites. He mostly focuses on shooters, but has been known to dabble in the occasional card game as well. You can find him binge watching TV shows in his downtime.

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  1. If smeargle runs away when trying to catch him, can you take more photos at that time to get him to photobom again?

    1. I don’t think so, I think if you miss him you’ll have to wait another day unfortunately.