How To Play Ingress, Ingress Tips and Tricks — Ant Pruitt

The game of Ingress continues to grow in popularity. Here’s how to play Ingress: Six Month Ingress Veteran Ant Pruitt from and has tips and tricks to help you hack portals and just generally rock it. –  I’ve been playing Ingress for about six months now. At one time, this Android-only game confused me with its strange vernacular and real world gameplay strategy. Six months later, I’m a master on how to play Ingress. Well, at least I’m master enough to provide you with some deep dive Ingress game play tips and tricks.


Image credit: Ant Pruitt for

So what have I learned after six months of playing Ingress? Claiming Portals for your team is the name of the game and the bottom line. Portals are artificially created by the Niantic Labs developers, who place them in various areas all over the globe.

For instance, some branches of the U.S. Post Office might contain Portals. On your Ingress app, when you’re there, the map will display a white sparkling, cloud-like image if you’re at an unclaimed Portal.

Claimed Portals are blue for Team Resistance and green for Team Enlightenment.

Coming in close proximity to these Portals allows for Hacking of the Portal with your Ingress app.

That’s the second point of the game. Hacking a Portal lets you gain tools for claiming, linking or even destroying Portals. The more you hack, the more you can do for your player level and your Faction.

I now have an understanding of the uses of Exotic Matter (XM), Resonators, XM Bursters and Portal Keys.

  • XM – Exotic Matter is essentially your energy or health level. You have to have enough XM to perform hacks or recharge Resonators, for example. XM is replenished by collecting it in surrounding areas. XM looks like white spots that float around on your app’s map. Just walk near the XM to absorb it or harvest it.


  • Resonators – Resonators are used to claim and build Portals. It takes eight Resonators deployed to create a full-powered Portal for your Faction. Over time, Resonators weaken and will have to be recharged. They decay, and eventually vanish unless recharged. If a Resonator decays, a new one will have to be deployed to replace it. Resonators deplete based on level. Level one Resonators deplete faster than level eight Resonators.


  • XM Burster – Also known as XMP. Bursters are used to destroy opposing Resonators in a Portal. When near an enemy Portal, it’s your duty to destroy the Resonators and reclaim the Portal for yourself and your Faction. Destroy Resonators with XM Bursters by standing near the Resonator and firing the Burster. XM Bursters are rated by levels. Higher levels equate to more powerful Bursters.


  • Portal Keys – Portal Keys are used to link your team’s Portals together. Linking three Portals together creates a control field and collects mind units for your Faction. Portal Keys are also useful for remote recharging of Resonators. You can only link Portals if you have the key of the destination Portal you’re attempting to link.


Here are some tips that I have learned and try to use on a regular basis to boost my level and capture more Portals.

  • Plan ahead before you venture out. If you have some time on your hands, check out the map of Portals and plan where you will either hack to gain more gear or attempt to destroy enemy Portals. Teamwork is best for attacking. The more hits onto a Portal, the faster it will be destroyed. Hacking enemy Portals also gives you more points (AP) to allow for faster leveling up.



  • If you don’t have a lot of time to fire XM Bursters onto Portals, do what I call a drive-by hack. I execute drive-by hacks as I’m commuting to the office. I know ahead of time where Portals are located. As I get close to a location, I pull into the parking lot of the portal or slow down in passing to get a GPS lock on and hack for gear. Again, more AP is gained when hacking enemy Portals. Ideally, you can execute a drive-by hack and gain gear within 30 seconds. Grab the gear and just move on.


  • Use the com link. The communicator is great for chatting with teammates in your area. The Faction option is more secure and is viewable only by your own Faction members. So if you want to plan an attack without the enemy Faction seeing your plan, use the Faction option in communicator chat. This can be helpful when teammates plan to swap out gear that’s needed, or verify who’s going to link which Portals. As said before, planning ahead is key in Ingress.


  • Be mindful of new Portals coming your way. Typically, Post Offices are Portals and local landmarks are aimed at being Portals. Keep an eye out for new Portals popping up and be the first to claim them! Niantic Labs is rolling out more and more Portals across the globe.

Niantic Labs and Google are also beginning to roll out more invites for the closed beta.

Register to get an invite with your Gmail account at the Ingress website.  Log in, join a Faction, and begin to launch your attack towards Ingress domination!

To see all of Ant’s stories, click here.