How to use Pokémon Home to move your pokédex between games

Pokémon Home is a new cloud-based storage service available as an app for Android and iOS phones and tablets, as well as the Nintendo Switch. One of its most alluring features is that it allows you to keep your pokédex handy wherever you might be — for a fee. Better yet, it allows you to form a unified pokédex, pulling in the pokémon you’ve caught in previous games so you can deploy them in, say, Pokémon Sword or Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! (Pokémon Go support is still in development for the Home app.)

Given that Pokémon games span so many years and various console platforms, getting all of your pokémon into Pokémon Home involves more steps the longer your journey dates back — less if you’ve only gotten started with the recent Pokémon titles on the Switch. Here’s how to go about it.

We’ll start with the more involved process of migrating from older 3DS and DS games to Home. There are several steps involved, and while they are actually simple, there are a lot of crossed wires to untangle along the way.

Upload your 3DS / DS collection to Pokémon Bank

If you have a pokédex stored on games made for the Nintendo DS or 3DS systems, you can’t jump straight to uploading on Pokémon Home. You’ll first need to route your collection through Pokémon Bank, an older cloud-based service.

Your first step should be to open the eShop app and download Pokémon Bank. Depending on the game from which you’re trying to transfer pocket monsters, you might also need to download Poké Transporter, which is accessible from within the Bank app on 3DS.

As for why certain games require a separate app, it likely comes down to newer games being built with the ability to interface directly with Pokémon Bank, while the others need the Poké Transporter to handle the data transfer for them. The technical details are less important than the fact that these apps do what they claim to: help you get your pokémon to the Bank, making them visible to Pokémon Home.

  • Games that interface directly with Pokémon BankPokémon Ultra Sun, Ultra Moon, Sun, Moon, X, Y, Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire
  • Games that require Poké Transporter to transfer to Bank: Virtual Console releases of Pokémon Blue, Red, Yellow, Gold, Silver, and Pokémon White, Black, White 2, and Black 2.

To see exactly how to get your pokémon into the Bank, take a deep breath, then look at this not-at-all-confusing flow chart made by The Pokémon Company.

As indicated by the directional arrows in the chart, some games allow for deposits and withdrawals of pokémon, while others only support one-way transfers. Keep that in mind when you’re moving things around.

To transfer your pokémon, open up the 3DS apps that work with your game. If you’re transferring from a physical cartridge, you’ll need to insert it for the app to detect the game (and the pokémon you’ve caught within it). Otherwise, games that you have installed on your 3DS system will automatically be detected by the apps.

The steps that follow to transfer pokémon from your games to the Pokémon Bank are straightforward and you shouldn’t encounter any problems.