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(Pocket-lint) - Pokemon Go publisher Niantic Labs has always promised that there would be updates to Pokemon Go to add new features as the game moves forward. 

Although many will have seen the peak in Pokemon Go gameplay, the most recent update to the app on Android and iPhone adds a really interesting and useful element, and that's buddies.

What is a Pokemon Go buddy?

If you've seen Pokemon on TV, you'll know that Ash spends most of his time walking around with a Pokemon, the famous Pikachu. Pikachu not only doesn't like going in Poke Balls, but also then becomes a buddy, rarely leaving Ash's side.

In Pokemon Go, the buddy system is very much the same, giving you the option of choosing a Pokemon to take with you on your adventures, rather than just in your collection.

What does a Pokemon Go buddy do?

Aside from appearing with your trainer, your buddy serves another purpose and that's finding candy. 

Once you've selected your buddy, you'll have to walk a particular distance to earn a candy of that character's type. So, for example, if you select Pikachu, you'll be able to earn Pikachu candy as you walk.

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What is Pokemon Go candy for?

Pokemon Go candy is the currency of evolution of your Pokemon. To power up a character you need candy of its type and Stardust. To evolve a Pokemon, you need a large amount of candy.

This is really where the buddy system comes into play: if you're lacking candy for a particular Pokemon type, you can select them as your buddy and get walking, earning that vital candy to develop your character, without having to find and capture more of that Pokemon.

Pokemon Go buddy candy: How far do you have to walk?

This depends on the Pokemon you choose as a buddy, for example, Caterpie only asks you to walk 1km to earn a candy; Mr Mime will have you walking 5km. 

The breakdown basically relates to the overall potency of that character. The common Pokemon types like Rattata, Pidgy and MagiKarp are all 1km candy buddies – and that applies to evolved forms too, as they all use the same candy.

The majority of Pokemon need you to walk 3km. This includes chaps like Shellder, Slowpoke, Drowzee, Charmander, Bulbasaur, Poliwag and so on.

The top level of 5km is preserved for those big hitters. Sadly Eevee falls into this section, so if you're still trying to get your Vaporeon, Jolteon and Flareon evolves, you'll have a lot of walking to do. 

The 5km group also includes the likes of Snorlax, Onix, Dragonite and Lapras.

A full list can be found here if you want to know more.

Where can I find my Pokemon Go buddy?

To find your buddy and make a selection, click on your trainer avatar in the bottom left-hand corner of the app, punch the menu button and you'll see "buddy" in there.

This will take you through to the buddy selection page for you to tap your companion.

You can change buddy whenever you like, but it's worth noting that you'll lose any distance you've gained, so it's best to change after you've received the candy for that character.

How do I check the distance I need to walk with my Pokemon Go buddy?

This is pretty simple. Again, tap your character avatar, and you'll see yourself with your buddy. 

Tap on that picture and you'll move through to the buddy page, with the distance you've walked and the distance you need to go to get that candy.

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Writing by Chris Hall.