What Is Tinder? Should You Try It?

An intro to one of the hottest online dating apps of our time

Tinder is a popular online dating app that uses your location information from your mobile device (along with other pieces of information in your profile) to match you with other users in your area.


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How Tinder Profiles Work

After you download Tinder for iPhone or Android, Tinder takes you through the steps of setting up your profile so you can set up your account. In addition to your name, age, profile photo, occupation, and a short bio, you can integrate Tinder with other apps you use. For example, integrate Spotify to display a favorite song or Instagram to show a feed of your most recent posts.

Tinder allows you to create an account using your Facebook account or by entering your phone number. If you have a Facebook account and use it to create an account with Tinder, be prepared for the app to pull information from your Facebook profile.

Tinder website.

Nothing is posted publicly to your Facebook account. You have full control over customizing your Tinder profile the way you want. The app might automatically grab a few of your publicly available photos from your Facebook account to show potential matches, which you can change later if you wish.

In addition to taking information from your Facebook profile to use for your Tinder profile, Tinder might analyze general interests, social graph data, and the friends you have in common with one another on Facebook so that it can find compatible match suggestions.

Tinder's Matching Process

To find matches, Tinder first identifies your location and then matches you with other people nearby. You're shown a handful of profiles from potential dates that Tinder finds for you.

You can then anonymously choose to "like" or "pass" on a suggested date. When you tap "like" on someone, and they do the same to you, Tinder displays a message that says, "It's a match!" Then, both of you can message each other through the app, similar to SMS texting.

Tinder website.

Users can't message each other unless the app has matched them (with both users having to "like" each other's profile to make it a match). When you've made a match connection and started chatting, the rest of the relationship building is up to you.

Some users interact with the app by using it as a serious online dating service, while others casually browse it for fun without any plans of meeting any of their matches in real life. It works for both types of users. 

Increase Your Likelihood of Getting Great Matches

To increase your chances of being matched with more people, access the app settings and optimize your profile by increasing the location distance range in miles or age group of potential matches.

Fill in as much information in your profile as possible to attract better matches. It's particularly important to fill out the Passions section because users can filter profiles based on passions in the Explore tab. For instance, if someone searches for “thrill seekers,” you might show up if your passions include outdoor activities like rock climbing. You can also add up to nine photos and nine 15-second video clips. Profiles with more pictures always get more responses.


Tinder also offers premium membership options, called Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold, with more features and options.

Tinder Plus offers features like the ability to undo passes on profiles, expand to other locations (great for people who travel a lot), give an unlimited number of likes, and give five extra super likes per day.

Tinder Gold offers everything from Tinder Plus, as well as an extra boost of exposure among profiles in your area, additional profile filters, and the ability to see who liked your profile before you decide to pass or like them back.

Swipe Night and Hot Takes

Swipe Night and Hot Takes are features in the Explore tab that help people find matches. Swipe Night is a choose-your-own-adventure-style game that you can play with other Tinder users. After the game, you can view the profiles of other players.

With the Hot Takes feature, users answer random questions from Tinder, and the answers appear in a chat window that everyone else can see for 30 seconds. If someone responds to your chat, you can view their profile and potentially match with them.

Swipe Night and Hot Takes are only available at specific times. For example, Hot Takes is available 6PM-12AM local time every evening.

Tinder Privacy Issues Regarding Location Data

Tinder has a history of dealing with problems related to how it displays user location data, putting users at potential risk of being targeted by predators. As with any location-based social app, the reality of potentially being stalked by anyone who can see a user's location is almost always a potential threat.

Before you decide to jump on Tinder, read why sharing your location online isn't a good idea. It might make you think twice about using Tinder if you're wary about sharing your location with strangers online.

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