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(Pocket-lint) - Pokemon Go is updated pretty regularly by developer Niantic, but its latest new feature is one of the game's biggest changes to date.

Niantic has announced Adventure Sync, which will allow the game to track the distance you travel even when it isn't active.

What is Adventure Sync?

Niantic is pitching its new Adventure Sync feature as part of a "Real World Platform gameplay system that will give our players even more reasons to get outside, explore the world, and lead more active lifestyles". It essentially gives you the ability to record your steps with just your phone in your pocket. The update should therefore also make a major impact on your phone battery and data plan.

Tracking distance normally required you to keep the app running. You'd need to be actively using it, with your phone up as you're looking for creatures. This would drain the battery. But now your device can play a role in future exploration games without killing the battery. Pokemon Go was already a pseudo fitness app, but Adventure Sync makes it more flexible and a great tool for fitness enthusiasts.

Why did Niantic develop Adventure Sync?

Niantic said 47 per cent of players indicated their physical activity level had increased since playing, and 64 per cent claimed playing the game motivated them to go outdoors: “This type of response from the community reinforces our commitment to not only create innovative real-world games, but also to invest in features like Adventure Sync, which provides a gentle but effective motivation loop."

How does Adventure Sync work?

Sync to your preferred health platform

Adventure Sync quite literally syncs in the background with either iOS HealthKit or Android Google Fit. That's a pretty big deal, considering the pedometers of those apps are more reliable than the basic GPS tracking functionality in Pokemon Go.

See your weekly activity

Adventure Sync gives you access to a weekly summary that highlights stats like distance traveled on foot, calories burned, or steps counted. All this information is directly sent over to Pokemon Go, too, so your physical activity will affect your game progress.

Get rewards

Adventure Sync lets you unlock rewards based on how much you've moved throughout a seven-day period.

This is major for anyone who likes to hatch eggs and collect Pokemon buddy candy, both of which require logging steps. So, if you have 10-kilometer eggs you’re trying to hatch, you can do it with the game idle or even closed.

When can you use Adventure Sync?

Adventure Sync will begin to roll out to "soon" - or sometime in 2019.

Where will Adventure Sync be available?

The feature is coming to players worldwide. 

Is Adventure Sync exclusive to Pokemon Go?

Niantic CEO John Hanke confirmed in a blog post that Adventure Sync won’t be exclusive to Pokemon Go. It’s a “real world platform” that the company plans to integrate into other projects, maybe even Ingress ad the forthcoming HPWU.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 25 October 2018.