Passcodes are often found in materials released by Niantic Labs via Google+ and YouTube, though some of them are well-hidden. They are also sometimes shared among agents. An agent can only use a particular passcode once. Each passcode has a limited number of agents that are permitted to use it, so when you get one, use it quickly. Some passcodes, such as those printed on item cards handed out at anomalies or printed under the caps of HINT water bottles, can only be used by one agent.
You may get an error message when entering a passcode:
- Passcode invalid: You probably entered the code incorrectly. Check it and try again.
- Passcode fully redeemed: The maximum allowed number of agents have already redeemed the code.
- Inventory full: You attempted to redeem a passcode when you already have 2,000 or more items in your inventory. Note that you will get all the items for a passcode even if it takes you over the inventory limit, but you must be under the limit before you redeem it.
- Passcode circuitry too hot. Wait for cool down to enter another passcode: You’ve entered too many passcodes too quickly. (This only appears to occur on the intel map.)
- 3 February 2013: Agents discover how to bulk submit passcodes for a Zipcar promotion via the intel map. This incident becomes known as Zipcarmageddon, and Niantic reacts by removing passcode submission from the intel map.
- 14 August 2014: Passcode submission via the intel map is restored.