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What Is Tinder and How Does It Work?

Online dating is not a new phenomenon. In fact, dating websites have been around as long as the internet, with websites like and JDate. However, the dating game completely transformed when Tinder came into the scene.

The app introduced a new way to find potential partners, based on a swipe method — right for yes, left for no. Suddenly, online dating didn’t feel as laborious. If you’re new to the dating scene or just to online dating, you might not be that familiar with this method. Don’t worry; we’re here to break it down and explain how tinder works.

What Is Tinder Exactly?

As we’ve mentioned, Tinder is an app available both on Android and iOS. Unlike the old-fashioned dating websites, it doesn’t require you to answer long questionnaires to find a match or set up elaborate profiles. You can actually install it and start using it within minutes.

It’s also much less awkward than the old way of approaching someone at a bar. With their swipe system (more on that later), you can signal that you like someone. If they like you back, then you can start a conversation. And if they don’t like you, no harm done, you just move on. You don’t have to face that rejection in person.

How Does Tinder Work?

So how does Tinder actually help you go on dates? It starts with you setting up a profile to help potential partners get to know you better. You can fill out some information about yourself, such as what you do for work, your age, your gender identity, your university, your passions, and a short introduction about yourself.


You can also upload up to nine pictures, with the recommended amount being six. Anything less than that, and the app might think you’re a bot. Also, multiple pictures can make you more attractive to potential matches. Here are more tips on how to create an appealing profile.

Next up are your preferences. These include sexual orientation, age range, and the distance your potential date is located from you. Yes, the app is location-based, but not to worry, your exact location is never revealed. If you need more help with the technical setup, this is how to use Tinder like a pro.

What Does Tinder Look Like and How to Swipe

Now we can get into the actual nitty-gritty of the app, the match system. Once you’ve finished setting up your profile, you’re ready to find dates. The way it works on Tinder is by swiping.

Every time you open the app, you see a person’s picture. On top of that picture, there’s some basic information about them, including their name, age, and passions. If that’s enough for you to decide you like them, you can swipe right.

At this point, you have to wait for a little while, as you will only be able to talk to them if they like you back. If they already swiped right on you, you’ll get a message that It’s a Match, and you can chat with them through the app.

If you don’t like them, simply swipe to the left. And if you’re undecided, you may want to find out more information about them. Tap the upper right side of the screen to see more pictures, or the i at the bottom next to their name to read their bio.

How Does the App Decide Who to Show You?

Your preferences have some influence on the people you see on the app. For instance, you won’t see anyone who swipes outside your location radius or outside the age range you set.

However, Tinder also has a sophisticated algorithm to help you find people who you’ll find attractive. The more you use the app, the more it will be able to understand your preferences and show you similar people.

It also recognizes if your behavior is similar to that of other users and serves you profiles of people they liked. Naturally, the same algorithm also controls who gets to see your profile and, as a result, the matches you get.

That said, there are a few ways to bypass the algorithm. The first is the Super Like. As a free user of the app, you get one of those a day, or you can choose to buy more. When you use it, other people will be able to see when you liked their profile, which may encourage them to swipe right as well.

The second option is Boost, which is a paid feature. For $6.99, you can make your profile show up at the top of the queue for anyone in your chosen area or city. This lasts for 30 minutes.

The different paid Tinder subscriptions also offer ways to sidestep the algorithm. With Tinder Gold, you can see who liked your profile (without a super like), and with Tinder Platinum, you can even message people without waiting for a match.

In an attempt to stay interesting to its users, Tinder adds new features every day. For instance, in the summer, you can use Festival Mode to match fellow music lovers. Or you want to sit at home with someone and binge-watch Netflix; you can request the app to show you only binge-watchers to match with.

You can look for someone to just be friends with, if that’s what you feel like today, or find someone to be spontaneous with. All of these features are available on your explore page.

Take Things as They Come

Now that you understand the ins and outs of Tinder, it’s time to set up your profile and get yourself out there. Take your best pictures, write a little something about yourself, and start swiping.

You can use this app to find love if that’s what you want, but it can also help you make friends, new connections, or some short-term yet exciting relationships. Just remember to keep it light and enjoy being in the moment. Dating is supposed to be fun above all else.

Logos for Tinder and Hinge on a phone screen

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