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Hacking a portal is the principal way to obtain items for your inventory.

How to Hack

To hack a portal, you must stand within 40 meters of it, meaning that the portal should be inside the range circle you see on your scanner. You must also have at least 50 XM per portal level; for example, if you only have 200 XM in your reserves, you can’t hack a portal higher than level 4.

There are two ways to hack a portal:

  • Long press on the portal to call up the radial menu. Among the available options will be “Hack” and “Hack No Key;” select either to hack the portal. (The “Hack No Key” option prevents you from getting a portal key from the hack; see the “Farming Keys” section below for more on portal keys.)
  • Tap the portal to see its information card, then tap the “Hack” button. Long press the button if you’d like to play the glyph hacking minigame, which can increase your hack yield.

Hack Results

The results of the hack are displayed in an animation, then a panel will appear displaying a list of the items you received. If you received bonus items from glyph hacking, the regular items are displayed first, then the bonus items. You don’t have to wait for the animation to complete; you can immediately perform another action.

Any items you receive from hacking will be placed in your inventory. Friendly portals tend to give more items, while enemy portals tend to grant less (and sometimes no items at all). Neutral portals give weak items; it’s generally best to capture and upgrade them first before you hack them.

Leveled items granted through hacking a claimed portal won’t be more than two levels away from the portal’s level. The distribution is a bell curve: gear at the portal’s level will be dropped regularly, gear one level away less often, and gear two levels away rarely. For example, a friendly L5 portal grants gear at levels 3 through 7, but will drop L5 gear most often. How close a portal is to the next level has no effect on the gear dropped; for example, a portal that’s one resonator away from L8 is no better than one that has all L7 resonators. Portal level does not appear to affect the drop frequency of unleveled items, regardless of rarity.

You can double your hack yield from a portal by installing a portal fracker before hacking it. If you’d like to influence the hack results to get more offensive or defensive items, you can install a transmuter.

Hacking enemy portals also grants you 100 AP per hack. However, they are also likely to retaliate, or “zap” you. The higher the portal’s level, the more damage it inflicts. The table below shows the damage inflicted by portal zap. Note that turrets and force amps installed on the portal may increase these values, and there is a chance that the portal may get a critical hit against you, which will double the damage. Since you can’t use items that are higher level than you, there isn’t a lot of benefit to hacking portals that are much higher level than you. For the most part, at low levels you should stick to hacking portals whose level is close to your own.

Level Damage
1 75 XM
2 150 XM
3 300 XM
4 500 XM
5 750 XM
6 1,125 XM
7 1,625 XM
8 2,500 XM

Hacks can also help you earn your Explorer, Hacker and Sojourner medals.

If you have 2,000 or more items in your inventory, you won’t be able to hack a portal. However, if you have fewer than 2,000 items, you will be able to keep all the items you hack, even if it puts you over the 2,000 item cap. You can see how many items you have in your inventory by viewing the Inventory tab in the “Ops” screen.

Cooldown

A portal will go into a five-minute cooldown period after you hack it. If you attempt to hack the portal again during the cooldown period, you will get a message saying that the portal is “running hot” and the hack will fail. The cooldown status of a portal is per-agent; other agents can still hack the portal. Heat sinks reduce a portal’s cooldown time, allowing you to hack it more frequently. They also reset the portal’s cooldown timer and burnout hack counts to zero, allowing you to hack the portal again immediately after a heat sink is installed.

Burnout

A portal will be “burned out” if you have hacked it four times in the last four hours; you won’t be able to hack it again until enough time passes that a hack drops out of the four-hour window. Like cooldown, the burnout status of a portal is per-agent; other agents can still hack the portal. Multi-hacks can increase the number of hacks before burnout, but do not reset the cooldown timer or burnout hack count like heat sinks do.

Failed Hacks

Hacking a portal sometimes fails to produce any items. There are several known causes for this:

  1. Portals—especially enemy portals—sometimes won’t grant any gear. This isn’t really a failed hack (it triggers the cooldown timer and counts towards stats); you just didn’t get any gear for it.
  2. Attempting to hack while a portal is in cooldown or burnout will fail. Wait for the time to elapse or install a heat sink, then hack again.
  3. If you have more than 2,000 items in your inventory, the hack will fail. Use, recycle or drop some items and try again.
  4. If your previous action was less than 30 minutes ago, but you are far enough away from your previous action that your average travel speed would have exceeded 60 kph (37 mph), the hack will fail due to speedlock. Wait a bit and try again.
  5. If you experience a network or GPS connectivity issue on hacking, the hack will fail. Verify your connection status and try again.

If you have any doubt whether the hack was counted in your stats and want to be certain (for the Sojourner medal, for example), simply hack again. Note that glyph hacking puts a message in your comm panel that confirms the hack, so you can verify that it did in fact register with the server.

Farming Keys

About 75% of the time, portals will grant their key to agents who hack them, as long as you are not already holding one. If you already have one and want more, there are three ways of doing so:

  • Enter the MORE command glyph before a glyph hack.
  • Put the key in a capsule before hacking. (Capsules “hide” keys from portals.)
  • Drop the key, hack, then pick it up again. (Just be careful of enemy agents swiping your keys while they’re on the ground!)

It should also be noted that portal frackers duplicate hacked keys.

Android Wear

If you have an Android Wear device, you will have been prompted to install Ingress on it. Doing so gives you an interface that lets you see and hack nearby portals from your smartwatch. (It will also display Ingress notifications.) It looks like this:

Ingress on Android Wear

The currently selected portal is highlighted with a ring, and its name, alignment, level, photo and distance are shown,  as well as whether you hold a key for it. You can swipe up and down to view other nearby portals. Their relative positions are shown via the “radar” overlay.

When the selected portal is in range, a “HACK” button appears. Tap it to hack the portal and see what you got. If the portal is still in cooldown, a timer will show how long you have to wait to hack it again. Note that you can’t glyph hack on Wear. The animation below shows hacking in action:

Hacking a portal on Android Wear

When the app first starts up, or after you hack, a meter will appear around the center button; this displays your XM reserves. It disappears after a moment.