Pokémon Go has several different items available to players, and each has a unique trait and quality. The lucky egg doubles a player’s experience points gained for half an hour, star pieces increase a player’s stardust gain by 50 percent, and incense draws Pokémon to the player’s location for the item’s duration. Some players may have noticed during incense days that the incense item looked different than it normally does.
Traditionally, an incense item has a green color to it, with a primarily silver-colored structure. However, during an incense day, the green turned to orange, indicating the item had changed or was doing something different than it usually would do.
The orange coloring meant that the incense was drawing in particular types of Pokémon. When a player uses an incense item, it brings in any nearby Pokémon that could potentially spawn at that player’s position. It increases the amount of Pokémon players see, not for everyone else, but only for them. When an incense item becomes orange, it’s only drawing in specific choices.
During the Carvahna incense day, for example, every hour during the event, a different Pokémon type would be drawn to the player. It would switch from Water-type Pokémon to Dark-types. To participate in the event, players had to use an incense item and to show the item was drawing in specific Pokémon for that event, the color of the item became different. The color change first showed up during this event, but it could arise in the future.
We could see Niantic having trainers earn uniquely colored incense items to draw in specific Pokémon to a player location, rather than the general use of the green incense item. A player could use a red one to bring in Fire-types, or a brown one for Ground-types, or a blue one for Water-types. Niantic has not shared any details about adding any of these incense items, but now that it used it once, it could happen again.
If you’re participating in a Pokémon Go event and notice something different about your incense, there’s nothing to worry about. The item should be functioning exactly as it should be.