Golro’s Guide to Glyphing


This week’s guest contributor is Golro, a L16 agent from Singapore (and one of the top 400 agents in the world).

Upon the release of the Translator badge on 30 Jan 2015, he attained Gold in one day, and Onyx by 11 Feb. With help from agents Kidon0 and luminoir, this is a guide to all aspects of Glyphing, from one of the first few Onyx translators in the world.


Glyph hacking is a skill-based activity that requires pattern recognition, memorization, quick fingers and a reliable touchscreen. This guide will focus on optimal glyph hacking of Level 8 Portals (P8).


There are the key benefits to glyph hacking:

Improved item drops

Your accuracy and speed will affect the number of items dropped. Unlike regular hacks, glyph hack bonuses are normally not affected by a portal’s faction alignment.  You can quickly rebuild your inventory by glyph hacking portals of any alignment. With the recent changes in game logic, the bonus from successful glyph hacks has now increased even more, making this a great way to replenish your inventory.

An inevitable Onyx badge

Glyph hacking is one of the simplest and quickest ways to obtain an Onyx badge. The bronze badge requires only 14 perfect P8 glyph hacks. While it requires some work, it is simple to achieve, difficult for opponents to deny and has no impact on other faction mates’ leveling opportunities.  In fact you can help people by donating excess inventory!

AP Gain

Recently, Niantic has also begun awarding AP for successful glyphs and now awards speed bonuses in a more granular fashion (rather than arbitrary bonuses based on ‘tiers’ of time remaining).

General Tips

Although there are no shortcuts to glyph mastery (it’s like learning a new, albeit simple, language), there are a number of tips that should make your journey to the Onyx translator badge less painful and perhaps even enjoyable:

TL;DR – DO NOT create your own word/glyph associations

  • Learn to associate the proper words to the glyphs
  • Remembering any sequence of glyphs becomes easy if you remember the proper words for them
  • The multi-glyph sequences are actually proper phrases (typically pro or anti-shaper propaganda). Getting 5 glyph hacks correct becomes very easy if you remember the glyphs as a phrase. For example:


  • An additional benefit is that the logical phrases become very easy to remember, allowing you to derive the complete glyph sequence from an incomplete part of the sequence. For example, if you were distracted and missed the beginning of this glyph sequence, it’s easy to guess the glyphs you missed.



Learn the common P8 glyph combinations

There are some useful charts of common P8 glyph combinations courtesy of Ingress TV: http://www.ingress.tv/5-glyph-hack-sequences.html

Learn the associated glyphs

When memorizing individual glyph meanings, there are associations among some glyphs that should help you. Here are some examples:

Antonyms (opposing pairs)



The glyph for Human is a composite of Mind, Body and Soul


Logical mutations

Lie is an incomplete/broken Truth


Strong is a closed box while Weak is an open line 



The Imperfect Glyph is special because it has to be drawn in a very specific way.


Glyphing lag

This is a major source of frustration for players.  I have encountered some Android users who prefer glyphing on iOS because it allegedly suffers less from lag/hiccup problems. I suggest studying which apps are creating load, especially unpredictable load, on your device. I have observed that notifications from apps tend to exacerbate the glyph hiccup problem. If lag is a serious issue, you may want to consider trimming down the number of background processes/applications that are running on your device.

Hardware and Form Factor

This can affect how well or comfortably you glyph. My personal preference is glyphing on phones with relatively small screens, as this reduces the distance my finger has to travel to trace the glyphs. However, I know other players that prefer to glyph on a tablet. Figure out what works best for you.

  • A tablet may give you better results because the touch sensor has more time to compensate for lag vs. your finger speed due to increased distance between points.
  • A phone may give you better results because you prefer to use your thumb with shorter, slower movements.
  • Ultimately it depends on how you glyph, the speed at which your fingers move, the accuracy of the touch sensor and how well the CPU/GPU handle the processing load.

Physical factors


Sticky or sweaty fingers can also slow down your progress. Use your fingernail to lift your fingertip slightly to decrease the surface area of your skin making contact with the screen while maintaining enough pressure for capacitive contact. This will reduce friction, speed up your glyphing, and improve accuracy.

Stability or speed

Some people like using their thumbs while others use their fingers. If you glyph 2 handed, you may also vary whether you anchor your glyphing hand to the phone with your thumb for stability, or free floating to improve speed.

Badge Hunting Tips

Specific advice for “grinding”, or at least accelerating, towards the translator badge:

  • Speed vs. Accuracy — I usually advocate achieving the speed bonus when building inventory due to the increased item yield, but when pursuing the Translator Badge, I prioritize accuracy for two reasons:
    • You only receive Translator Badge points if your hack is 100% accurate
    • You will hit your inventory limit with amazing regularity if you keep achieving the 66% speed bonus:
      • I gave away thousands of items and recycled thousands more within a week.  A part of me still weeps for all of the potential action points lost in the process.
  • Cluster density — Find cluster that has a circular route or flow that allows you to continuously glyph hack until you burn the cluster out.  A location that yields approximately 200 hacks per burnout cycle is probably ideal (more than that and you’re likely to develop shoulder/neck problems).  One cluster we used had 25 portals with common multi-hacks, another 13 portals with rare heat sinks and very rare multi-hacks.  Find a configuration/layout that works well for you.
  • Glyph hack speed — We timed the duration of a perfect 5 glyph hack under reasonable conditions and found that it takes approximately 20-25 seconds from holding the hack button to pressing “Done”.  Don’t bother waiting to see if you hacked correctly or got the speed bonus as it does not matter. Move on to the next portal and keep glyphing. Develop a rhythm that allows you to stay in the glyph screen as much as possible.
  • Clear your inventory before you begin — If you follow the above advice, a 200 hack burnout is very likely to take you from 0 to full. Recycling items mid-way is extremely disruptive to the flow once you’ve built up a good rhythm.
  • Portal level — While it is easier said than done, prioritize hacking P8s whenever possible to get the highest yield of badge points for the time that you invest.  Obviously that should not stop you from hacking whatever comes your way. I gained my bronze badge on the 20 minute bus ride to work hacking L6-L8 portals.  Opportunistically glyph hack all portals, regardless of level or alignment, but stick to higher level portals, all else being equal.
  • Opposition portals — Take advantage of the somewhat decreased item yield by glyph hacking opposition portals to reduce the inventory management overhead. Additionally, unless your faction-mates come by, the portals are less likely to be taken down.

Even if you do not glyph hack perfectly, there is always the consolation prize of increased hack yield. Do not lose heart. Just keep glyphing.


If one is short on portals to burn out to learn glyph hacking in situ, it is worth investing the time to practice glyphs and glyph combinations using training tools.

About Author

Although a big fan of the ground game, what keeps Ingress exciting for him is exploring its various other facets, from the strategic components, such as the artifact game, to the social aspects of meeting new people, coordinating with agents across the world and taking visitors on tours of clusters less traveled.


  1. Practice using an L4 or L5 portal. They only give you three glyphs. Much easier to remember three, so you can get perfect hacks, so you can make progress on Translator while you learn.

    • Haha, if you practice using L1 portals, you only get ONE glyph to solve :) Not much credit towards Translator or AP, but ya learn the glyphs

  2. “Speed vs. Accuracy — I usually advocate achieving the speed bonus when building inventory due to the increased item yield, but when pursuing the Translator Badge, I prioritize accuracy for two reasons:
    You only receive Translator Badge points if your hack is 100% accurate
    You will hit your inventory limit with amazing regularity if you keep achieving the 66% speed bonus:
    I gave away thousands of items and recycled thousands more within a week. A part of me still weeps for all of the potential action points lost in the process.”

    Despite this coming out today, this information is already outdated and no longer true.

    You no longer only get points for a perfect glyph. You earn points as long as you get at least one glyph correct. However, you get more for getting them all correct.

    Maybe a month ago they changed the requirements for the speed bonus, going from beat x seconds and get a 66% bonus or nothing, to a speed bonus as a percent of the time remaining. With this change they also prioritized accuracy over speed. You now get 10% bonus per correct glyph, if you get at least one wrong (and get no speed bonus), but if you get them all correct you get a much higher percent per glyph. A level 8 portal with a full five glyph correct will give you over 160% bonus, and you get your speed on top of that.

    Because of this change that the author seems to have not yet noticed, it is always better to go for accuracy over speed. being accurate will earn you more glyph points and more gear. speed only makes it go faster.

    • FuzzyPillow on

      I think you have gotten the bonuses/AP for each correct glyph, and the translator points for the medal confused.

      Golro is referring to the latter, which are only awarded for perfect glyph sequences.

    • There are 3 things at play here

      AP awarded
      Items Hacked
      Translator Badge points

      While the 66% bonus is outdated (speed bonuses are now granular rather than in discrete tiers), and it is correct that you still get AP for partially correct glyph sequences, you do not get any points that count towards the Translator badge unless you get 100% of the glyphs correct, which is the point being made here.

    • You receive an item and AP bonus, for artfully correct glyph hacks, but glyph points are ‘all or nothing’.

  3. My 2 cents: I use a tempered glass screen protector and I’m suspicious it increases the missed points, ie, I tend to have higher than usual missed points even when I know the glyph was perfectly draw.
    Anyone same problem?
    I’m planning to remove the screen protector soon and see if I can confirm this.

  4. Hi people. Perhaps this is not the perfect place but i have a problem. Always when i hack a portal, getting 150% bonus and i only receive 1 resonator max. Sometimes i hack with bonus and dont receive any items. Worse: my level 8 xmp only damages 3% to unprotected level 5 resonators. It started 3 days ago. Any suggestion?

  5. How do you get to glyph? I have only had 3 pop up randomly. I did two correctly I think and the third my scanner locked up and I

  6. Hybrid3rdGen - Resistance on

    I got the hang of the glyph sequences rather quickly…
    Nabbed Double Onyx Translator today… and I will keep going. The extra AP and items dropped are very much worth the time spent.

    I want to encourage everyone to practice and memorize the glyphs and then the sequences. :)
    P8 Glyphs Sequences are super easy now! Be Well! ~Hybrid3rdGen

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  8. Ins’t the speed bonus only applied on 100% accuracy glyph sequences? If so, accuracy always takes precidence over speed. You lose too many multipliers when you miss a glyph.

  9. Look… I understand that memorizing glyph phrases works for you. More power to you. However, not everyone memorizes and learns the same way you do. I’ve used my own glyph names for months and I’m more than 60% towards my onyx translator badge because I’m really good with pattern recognition. I miss more glyphs through fat-fingering than through forgetting one of them, even on L8 portals.

    However, my methods don’t work for everyone. I know this and accept it. What I can’t stand are people (not you) that are so adamant about using the “proper” names that they scold players like me who use a better-fitting method. They have this air of superiority around them. I hate playing with those kinds of people — they suck the fun out of the game for me, so I don’t associate with them anymore.

    Know your strengths and don’t scold people who know theirs. Just one RES’ opinion.

  10. I don’t particularly agree with the “do not come up with your own words for the glyphs”.. It works well for me and I that’s how i have been hacking since i started in the game (August 2015). It’s been quite effective for me and I have just reached my 2nd Platinum (70k points)..

    Glyph the way you feel most comfortable with!

    • But it does make sense. If you know the meaning of the glyphs, you can remember the order and meaning. Otherwise, you’ll be just remembering all those patterns everytime, without any possible meaning, which makes it a lot harder. I understand that you don’t want to remember them, it’s okay, but it’d be the best way to do it. It is a (very) simple language, at the end.
      I, personally, prefer to know exactly what the glyphs are talking about, there are some pretty cool.

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  13. In response to the friction whilst glyphing issue, I have found a little (and I mean a little!) lip balm on your screen/finger helps massively creating more fluid motions and an increased time bonus. I went overboard with it once though and found it detrimental. Happy glyphing :)

  14. As I am approaching my quintuple onyx for translator badge I’ve decided to add to this thread. In addition to the basic rules up above, there are a few things that I do and that I recommend other people do which have boosted their hack output and translator badge status.

    1. Accuracy before speed. Getting them all right is much more beneficial to the output then getting them fast and screwing up a glyph.

    2. Learn to perform the glyphs by drawing them in either direction. The less time you spend moving your finger in the air not drawing means that the sequence will be completed sooner.

    3. Where you start drawing the sequence effects the time for doing all of the glyphs. It is different for each phrase. It’s sometimes helpful to write them out on pieces of paper and overlay them to see this

    4. When you can’t figure out a pattern that lets you get from one place to another quickly it is faster to draw with a different finger. And then go back to your first finger when it is convenient.

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Golro’s Guide to Glyphing

by Golro time to read: 5 min