Portal Scanning is an opt-in feature that enables Agents Level 8 and higher to record a stream of images of Portals and their surroundings. Information provided to Niantic, including the time and location of the recording, how your phone moved while you were recording, and some general characteristics of your device, allows our team to generate accurate, dynamic 3-D maps of Portals.

This information will be used to improve our understanding of how virtual objects persist, how they’re grounded in specific locations, and where they are in relation to each other. Basically, Agents’ devices will better understand what they are looking at in order to augment reality in real-time, and allow Niantic to explore and deliver new types of AR experiences, which require an accurate and up-to-date 3-D map of the world.

Supported Devices

  • iOS: Portal Scanning is available on iPhone 6s and newer devices running iOS 11+.
  • Android: Portal Scanning is available on devices running Android 7.0+ and can support Google Play Services for AR. Supported devices must install Google Play Services for AR from the Google Play Store. A list of supported devices can be found here.

Portal Scanning Eligibility

This feature is available to Level 8 Agents and higher, using supported devices. If you don’t meet these criteria, then the Portal Scanning option won’t appear in your app.
If you are eligible, you can opt-in by following these steps:
  1. Tap the Main Menu.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Enable Portal Scanning.

To scan a Portal:

When you’re within range of a Portal
  1. Tap the Portal to select it.
  2. Tap the Portal photo thumbnail to view the Portal Details page.
  3. Tap the three dots in the upper right of the Portal Details page.
  5. Tap the record button to start scanning.
  6. Tap "Upload Now" or "Upload Later" to upload your Portal Scan

Any information you choose to send Niantic is automatically anonymized once uploaded to our secure servers, which includes extra privacy measures like blurring potentially recognizable objects like faces or license plates. Niantic doesn’t collect or store any personal data in connection with this information, and it is not tied to specific player accounts. For more information, please read our privacy policy.

Portal Scanning FAQs

What makes a good Portal Scan?
The key to a good Portal Scan is slow and steady movement, for example by walking up to and past the Portal. If possible, keep the Portal centered in the scanning frame, then walk up to or around the Portal.

Can any Portal be scanned?
Yes. If it’s a legitimate Portal that exists in the real world, you should be able to scan the Portal or the area surrounding the Portal, when you’re within range.

Are Portal scans used to determine if Portals are still valid?
No, Niantic does not use AR scans to determine whether a Portal should be removed.

Do I have to capture the entire Portal object in the frame? What if the object is too big (for example, the tower of a building)?
Partial Portal Scans that don’t cover the entirety of the Portal are still useful, valid Portal Scans. You can also scan the Portal with multiple, overlapping Portal Scans to get more scanning coverage.

Can I scan the same Portal multiple times?
Yes. Scanning a Portal at different times of day or in different weather conditions is especially useful.

What if I get people/cars in my recording?
Faces and license plates will be obscured, but try to capture the Portal without obstructions, if possible. Scanning the ground near a Portal is also useful to help place the 3-D map of the Portal into its surroundings.

What happens when I submit a Portal Scan? Are Portal Scans accepted and rejected by reviewers, similar to Portal nominations?
Portal Scans aren’t reviewed by Agents in the same way that Portal nominations are.