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Can You Get Banned for Sharing a Pokémon GO Account?

Hey there! As a fellow Pokémon GO fan, you‘re probably wondering – can you get banned for sharing an account with friends or family? I totally get why you might want to share an account. Playing together can be really fun!

The short answer is: Kind of.

Technically, sharing accounts is against Niantic‘s Terms of Service. But based on what I‘ve researched, it seems bans solely for account sharing are pretty rare right now.

Let‘s take a closer look

Is Sharing Accounts Allowed?

Here‘s what Niantic‘s Terms of Service say:

You agree that you won’t:

  • attempt to access or search the Services or Content, or download Content from the Services through the use of any technology or means other than those provided by Niantic or other generally available third-party web browsers (including, without limitation, automation software, bots, spiders, crawlers, data-mining tools, or hacks, tools, agents, engines, or devices of any kind);
  • attempt to decipher, decompile, disassemble, or reverse engineer any of the software used to provide the Services or Content;
  • bypass, remove, deactivate, descramble, or otherwise circumvent any technological measure implemented by Niantic or any of Niantic’s providers or any other third party (including another user) to protect the Services or Content;
  • use the Services or Content, or any portion thereof, for any commercial purpose or for the benefit of any third party or in a manner not permitted by these Terms, including but not limited to (a) gathering in App items or resources for sale outside the App, (b) performing services in the App in exchange for payment outside the App, or (c) selling, reselling, or renting the App or your Account;
  • attempt to access or search the Services or Content or download Content from the Services through the use of any engine, software, tool, agent, device, or mechanism (including spiders, robots, crawlers, data mining tools, or the like) other than the software and/or search agents provided by Niantic or other generally available third-party web browsers;
  • post, upload, publish, submit, or transmit any Content that infringes, misappropriates, or violates a third party’s patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, moral rights, or other intellectual property rights, or rights of publicity or privacy;
  • use, display, mirror, or frame the Services or any individual element within the Services, Niantic’s name, any Niantic trademark, logo, or other proprietary information, or the layout and design of any page or form contained on a page, without Niantic’s express written consent;
  • access, tamper with, or use nonpublic areas of the Services, Niantic’s computer systems, or the technical delivery systems of Niantic’s providers;
  • attempt to probe, scan, or test the vulnerability of any Niantic system or network or breach any security or authentication measures;
  • avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, impair, descramble, or otherwise circumvent any technological measure implemented by Niantic or any of Niantic’s providers or any other third party (including another user) to protect the Services or Content;
  • attempt to access or search the Services or Content or download Content from the Services through the use of any engine, software, tool, agent, device, or mechanism (including spiders, robots, crawlers, data mining tools, or the like) other than the software and/or search agents provided by Niantic or other generally available third-party web browsers;
  • send any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, email, junk mail, spam, chain letters, or other form of solicitation;
  • use any meta tags or other hidden text or metadata utilizing a Niantic trademark, logo, URL, or product name without Niantic’s express written consent;
  • use the Services or Content, or any portion thereof, for any commercial purpose or for the benefit of any third party or in a manner not permitted by these Terms, including but not limited to (a) gathering in App items or resources for sale outside the App, (b) performing services in the App in exchange for payment outside the App, or (c) selling, reselling, or renting the App or your Account;
  • collect, use, copy, or transfer any information obtained from the Services or Content (including other users‘ Account information) without the consent of Niantic;
  • use, distribute, reproduce, modify, publish, publicly display and perform, translate, create derivative works based upon, otherwise exploit the Services or Content, software code or other data that may be contained in, accessed through or derived from the Services for any commercial purposes or in a manner not permitted by these Terms or authorize any third party to engage in such use or exploitation;
  • use or attempt to use another user’s account without authorization from that user and Niantic;
  • engage in any other conduct that restricts or inhibits anyone from using or enjoying the Services or Content, or which, as determined by us, may harm Niantic or users of the Services or Content or expose them to liability; or

The key parts are that it says you can‘t access the Services through any account except your own or attempt to use someone else‘s account. So by the letter of the rules, sharing an account with others is unfortunately not allowed.

What‘s the Ban Risk for Account Sharing?

However, based on what I could find online, it doesn‘t seem like Niantic is super focused on banning people just for sharing accounts right now.

Their main priorities seem to be:

  • Stopping cheaters who spoof locations, use bots/hacks, or otherwise gain unfair advantages.
  • Preventing harmful/unsafe gameplay behaviors.

There are players who report sharing accounts with family members without any bans so far. One player on Reddit said they had been sharing an account with a younger sibling for years with no issues.

So while I can‘t guarantee you‘d never get banned, the risk seems lower compared to doing things that give you an edge over others in the game.

What Are the Downsides of Sharing?

I totally get the appeal of wanting to play on the same account together. But there are also some downsides to keep in mind:

  • Account theft: Someone you share access with could change the password and steal your account.
  • Getting flagged for cheating: If the other person spoofs locations or cheats on your account, you could get banned for their actions.
  • Confusion over Community Days: If multiple people play and catch event Pokémon, it may not be clear later who got which ones.
  • Device limits: Pokémon GO limits logging into one account on multiple devices, so sharing could complicate playing on your own phone.
  • Disrupting your progress: Others could waste your resources, transfer your favorite Pokémon, or mess up your gameplay in other ways.

So while the ban risk itself may be low, there are certainly some risks to weigh. Many players decide it‘s smarter just to make separate accounts.

Safely Using Multiple Accounts Yourself

Having multiple accounts within guidelines is popular, like for catching extra raid Pokémon or trading. Here are some tips to avoid issues:

  • Use different login methods (Google, Facebook, etc) for each account. Don‘t reuse the same ones.
  • Don‘t share account access. Only log into your own account yourself.
  • Don‘t spoof your location. Teleporting around often gets accounts banned.
  • Take turns on devices. Only use one account at a time on a phone or tablet.
  • Wait 2 hours between major actions on different accounts. This helps avoid looking like a spoofer.
  • Limit trading/gifting between your accounts. Doing it too much can appear suspicious.
  • Avoid constantly battling your own gyms. Makes it less obvious you control both accounts.

So with some common sense, you can safely have multiple accounts without risking a ban!

Getting Additional Accounts for Free

While some sellers offer Pokémon GO accounts online, this breaks Niantic rules and could get the account reclaimed.

Instead, I‘d recommend creating entirely new free accounts through the app itself. Here are some easy ways to do it:

  • Use a different Gmail address for each account. Just don‘t reuse the same Gmail across accounts.
  • Make a new Pokémon Trainer Club account. You can have as many of these as you want.
  • Link to Facebook, Apple ID, etc. Just don‘t use the same third-party logins again.
  • Install on multiple devices. Put the app on each family member‘s phone and link separate accounts.
  • Use multiple Android user profiles. Each profile can have its own Pokémon GO account.
  • Sign in and out of iPhone‘s Game Center. Switch between accounts this way.

Making brand new accounts may feel daunting at first. But it‘s so rewarding watching them progress over time!

Some Account Security Tips

When making multiple accounts, keeping them secure is crucial:

  • Use strong unique passwords for each account. Consider a password manager app.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication for extra protection.
  • Avoid phishing by only logging into the real game app and website.
  • Don‘t use shady third-party services offering location changes, rare Pokémon, etc.
  • Use a private email address rather than a work/school one.
  • Make sure to lock your phone screen when not using it.

With good security habits, you can keep all your accounts safe!

Tips for Managing Multiple Accounts

Here are some tips for keeping things organized across multiple accounts:

  • Name accounts clearly – Like "Jane‘s Account" so it‘s obvious who it belongs to.
  • Customize avatars/buddies to make accounts visually distinct.
  • Coordinate play schedules so people aren‘t fighting over device time.
  • Communicate nickname changes to avoid confusion later.
  • Streamline trading by funneling Pokémon from your accounts into your main one.
  • Set different goals for each account like completing the Pokédex or battling gyms.

A little planning goes a long way toward smooth gameplay with multiple accounts!

Final Advice for Avoiding Bans

While account sharing seems to be low risk, following guidelines is still smart:

  • Only access accounts you create yourself – don‘t share logins.
  • Don‘t cheat by spoofing, botting, injecting, etc.
  • Limit trading and gym interactions between your accounts.
  • Avoid questionable third-party apps and services.
  • Don‘t harass others or damage the game.
  • Use different login methods for each account.
  • Log out fully before switching accounts on a device.
  • Mimic realistic travel between actions.

If we all play by the rules, Pokémon GO stays fun for everyone! I hope these tips help you stay in the clear. Let me know if you have any other questions!