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Finding and understanding Smeargle in Pokemon GO


Smeargle is now available in Pokemon GO and this guide covers how to catch it, where to find it and how Smeargle’s sketch move mechanics work in GO. Smeargle is available exclusively through Pokemon GO’s new GO Snapshot mode and it is catchable even if you don’t have AR+.

How to find Smeargle in Pokemon GO

In order to catch a Smeargle in Pokemon GO, players need to use GO Snapshot to take pictures of their Pokemon. Occasionally, Smeargle will photobomb your picture and afterwards spawn on the world map. This works with AR and AR+, so everyone can catch a Smeargle, regardless of their device.

Currently, players are reporting going through 1500 – 2000 pictures before they encounter a photobomb. It sounds a lot but don’t be discouraged, take 10 pictures, switch your Pokemon and try again! You can take snaps pretty quickly.

If Smeargle photobombs your Pokemon snapshots, you will see it in the preview gallery after exiting the snap session. There are two helpful mechanics that players can use to know if they were photobombed ahead of time:

  • The picture preview button will pulse 3 times if you were photobombed (bottom right corner). It usually pulses only once.
  • The picture preview sometimes shows a small part of Smeargle’s head and you know that you’ve been photobombed:

Image by JanTheRealOne

It’s important to keep in mind the following encounter mechanics:

  • Smeargle photobomb can occur only once a day. 
  • Smeargle spawns for exactly one hour and it spawns next to your location.
  • It can run away from you and it’s not a guaranteed catch.
  • Cannot be weather boosted in Pokemon GO.
  • Encounter level and IVs are random and they do not depend on the Pokemon that was photobombed.

Smeargle moveset mechanics

When Smeargle photobombs a Pokemon it learns the Pokemon’s current moveset, regardless of what the move set is. This includes legacy movesets and exclusive moves. For example, Smeargle can photobomb your Thunder Shock / Surf Pikachu or a Smack Down Tyranitar and it will learn those moves.

Smeargle doesn’t have a second charge attack and thus it can’t copy the second charge move. Ditto’s Transform move can’t be copied over and multi-type moves like Hidden Power will change their typing. If Smeargle sketches Ditto, it appears to sketch the moves of the last Pokemon Ditto transformed into.

Using a TM on Smeargle will result in a random move from Smeargle’s move pool. The move pool is quite diverse, almost the same as Mew’s, so don’t waste your TMs, it’s pure insanity.

Cameraman badge

Cameraman badge is a new badge in Pokemon GO that can only be completed by catching Smeargle. Every encounter counts, but it may be quite difficult to get a golden medal.

Here’s the badge description and targets per level:

Icon Smeargle Cameraman badge
Description Have 10 surprise encounters in GO Snapshot.
Bronze 10
Silver 50
Gold 200

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