Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

There’s plenty of competition out there, but Tinder is still the most popular dating app on the planet, and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

This comprehensive guide to all things Tinder is where you need to be, whether you’re a Tinder veteran looking to upgrade your profile or an app dating newbie trying to figure out how everything works.

Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

What is Tinder?

Tinder is an online dating app that connects couples based on their physical attraction. It notifies you of other Tinder users in your age and gender ranges who are within a certain distance of your location, as well as whether you have any mutual friends.

You decide whether or not you like a person’s appearance: if you do, great; if you don’t, no one will know. If you’re both interested, Tinder’s messaging feature allows you to create a private chat thread where you can talk and get to know each other better.

It’s similar to being introduced to a hot friend of a friend in a bar, but without the clumsy, inebriated matchmaker and the cringeworthiness that makes you want to curl up and die.

How do I get Tinder?

Tinder is a free Android or iOS app that can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

Tinder used to require a Facebook account to log in, but after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company added the option to create an account with just a phone number.

However, you won’t be able to use some of the app’s features, such as importing photos from Facebook and seeing if you have mutual friends or Likes with another user.

How do I use Tinder?

Tinder is a very easy-to-use app. Simply download it, create an account or log in with your Facebook account, and specify the gender and age range of the people you want to meet, as well as the distance you’re willing to travel to meet them.

When Tinder finds people who match those criteria, it displays cards on your screen with a large photo of the person and a short description written by them, as well as more photos.

A heart icon and a cross appear below the image; tap the heart if you like them, and the cross if you don’t; or swipe right if you like them, and left if you don’t. Tinder will notify you that a match has been made and will open a simple messaging function if you like someone who also likes you.

You’ll also be required to complete your own profile. Tinder pulls some information from your Facebook profile, such as your job and education, but you can customize what you want to show and write a brief bio. You’ll also need to choose a few photos to include, which you can get from your phone’s image library or from your Facebook account.

Tinder will also do everything it can to assist you, thanks to a feature known as Smart Photos. If you enable it, it will continuously assess how positively people have responded to each of your profile photos and order them so that your most popular photo appears first, eliminating all guesswork about which photo you look best in.

Tinder can also be connected to Instagram and Spotify. On the one hand, the former will display your most recent Instagram photos on your profile, while the latter will allow you to showcase some of your favorite songs.

Why aren’t I getting any interest on Tinder?

Tinder is a two-way street; you can’t just sign up and then forget about it, hoping that people will find you.

Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

Because the messaging system is only activated after both parties have confirmed their interest, you won’t know if someone likes you unless they like you back. So, if you want to see results, download the Tinder app and start interacting with people.

What happens if I like someone and they don’t like me?

You don’t have to hide your face in shame. The only way for someone to know if you like them on Tinder is if they like you back, in which case a match is made and the messaging function between the two of you is activated. So aim as high as you want – no one will tell you otherwise.

Will someone know if I don’t like them?

Tinder won’t tell someone who likes you that the feelings aren’t mutual, either. When several weeks have passed and no match has been made, that person may figure it out, but chances are they’ve liked a few people in that time and won’t be pinning all their hopes on you. It’s a delicate way of letting people down who you don’t care about without hurting their feelings.

Will I meet a psycho on Tinder?

Only the people you’ve liked are allowed to contact you on Tinder, so you won’t get a lot of unwanted messages. Moreover, those users you’ve allowed can be blocked if they become annoying or creepy anytime.

However, the same rules apply to Tinder as they do to any other online dating site: you’ll never know who you’re agreeing to meet until you do.

Features Available on Tinder


Prompts is one of Tinder’s more recent additions. These are quick conversation starters that you can add directly to your profile, similar to how many older dating sites and a few dating apps do it.

Some instances include:

  1. The one thing I won’t take for granted again…
  2. I’m talking to my pet regarding…
  3. Why hasn’t someone discovered…

You can choose a few prompts to include in your profile and write your own responses for matches to debate in chat. People will see your prompts as they swipe through your photos because they’ll be mixed in with your photos on your profile.

Prompts can be found by tapping the profile icon in the top-right corner of the app, then selecting ‘Add media’ and ‘Text prompt.’ Tinder will continue to add new prompts over time, so keep checking back for new options.


Tinder used to allow users to upload two-second ‘Loops,’ but that feature has been phased out in favor of the ability to add longer videos to your Tinder profile – up to 15 seconds.

Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

You can add up to nine videos to your profile, which appear alongside your photos and prompts, and which you can also upload from the ‘Add media’ section of your profile settings.

Don’t worry if the video you want to use is a little too long or needs to be cropped to fit a phone screen well; you’ll have the option to trim and crop it as you upload it.

Super Likes and Boosts

Tinder has added a few new features since its launch to give hopeful singles more options. The first are ‘Super Likes,’ which you can do by tapping the blue star icon or swiping up on someone’s profile.

Unlike a regular match, this will immediately notify them that they’ve been Super Liked and give them the opportunity to view your profile.

It’s a more direct approach to trying to find a match, but be aware that some users may find it a little too direct. You can only use one Super Like per day with a free account, so use it wisely.

Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

Boost is another of the more recent additions. This is a paid option that puts your profile at the top of the queue for every Tinder user in the area for 30 minutes, increasing your chances of getting matches in the next half hour.

A single boost costs £3.89/$7.99, so they’re not cheap, but you can save money by purchasing five or ten at a time. By tapping the purple lightning bolt icon, you can access the Boosts.


Explore is a newer section of the Tinder app, having only been released in 2021, though it does include some older features. On the bottom bar, it’s to the right of the main swipe tab.

Beyond swiping, the Explore section offers new ways to find matches. It features limited-time events such as Vibes and Hot Takes (more on those below), as well as two ways to access more focused queues of potential matches.

The first is by interest: you’ll see stacks of users based on terms like ‘Foodies,’ ‘Thrill Seekers,’ or ‘Early Birds,’ allowing you to only swipe through people who share your interests or personalities.

If you’re concerned about being catfished, you can choose to only swipe through profiles that have undergone photo verification. You’ll still see all users in your main feed, but you can use Explore at any time to see only verified users. If you don’t see this option, it’s probably because you haven’t been verified yet – so get on it!


Vibes is a silly name for a fairly straightforward feature: quizzes, and it was only officially introduced in 2021. Users will occasionally receive notification that a Vibes event has begun in their area, and it will also appear in the Explore feed.

Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

If you participate, you’ll be asked to answer a series of personality questions, all of which are written in a slightly amusing tone, but you’ll only have 48 hours to do so.

If you choose to Vibe, your responses will appear on your profile for the next 72 hours, as well as in the chat window when you’re talking to another participant, providing you with a quick and easy conversation starter.

Hot Takes

Vibes and Hot Takes are very similar, but there are a few key differences. They’re available for English language users worldwide between 6 p.m. and midnight every day, and can be found in Explore.

Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

If you participate, a Hot Take prompt will appear. If you express your thoughts, you’ll be thrown into a conversation with someone else who responded to the same prompt, though they won’t necessarily have chosen the same answer.

The catch is that chats are timed, so you’ll have to act quickly to impress your chat partner and determine if you’re a match, or they’ll disappear forever.

Face to Face video chat

Tinder received one major update in 2020: video chat. Face to Face is a new option in the Tinder app that is designed to provide a Covid-safe way to chat directly with new matches without ever leaving the app. It also has a few security features that you won’t get if you just switch to WhatsApp.

Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

First and foremost, just like matching, both of you must agree to enable video chat before it can be used. You can turn on a toggle once you’re comfortable video chatting with a specific match, and they won’t know it’s on. Face to Face unlocks once you’ve both enabled it. Oh, and you can also turn this toggle off at any time if you don’t want to be on camera that day.

You must agree to specific behavior guidelines at the start of each call, and you will have the opportunity to review them at the end of each call and flag any unwelcome behavior. There’s also no risk of it being one-sided because the app requires both of you to enable camera access.

Block Your Ex

Tinder has also added the ability to block specific contacts based on their phone number, allowing you to avoid awkward encounters with your exes (or family & friends…).

To block someone, go to your profile settings within the app and select which people you don’t want to see within the app from your phone contacts – whether it’s exes you don’t want to see again, or friends and family you’d be embarrassed to see on a dating app.

Any contacts you block will no longer appear as a potential match for you (or vice versa), as long as they signed up for Tinder with the same contact information as you. This will work even if they aren’t currently Tinder users but plan to join in the future.

Vaccine Center

This one is only available in the United Kingdom, but similar programs may exist elsewhere. Tinder has added a temporary ‘vaccine center’ to the app to promote vaccination, allow users to show off their vaccine status, and provide access to NHS vaccine information and resources.

Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

To show that you’ve been vaccinated – or will be soon – you can add an interactive sticker to your profile. Tinder will even give you a free Super Like if you do so.

Tinder Online

Tinder may have been one of the first dating apps to move people away from clumsy websites, but now the app is moving into your browser as well.

Tinder Online, a web-based version of the app, was launched by the company to give people access to Tinder even if they don’t own a smartphone or don’t have access to one at the moment. Simply go to Tinder.com and log in to your account to access all of the standard Tinder features, such as Super Likes, Boosts, and Rewind, as well as chat with your matches and edit your profile.

Best of all, there’s ‘work mode,’ a button that brings up a half-decent imitation of a Google Drive document in case your boss walks past your desk at the wrong time.

Is Tinder Plus Worth it?

Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

If you’re serious about using Tinder to find a match, you should consider purchasing Tinder Plus. This is a paid premium tier that comes with a few perks in exchange for a monthly fee.

Plus has a few advantages, one of which is that it removes ads from Tinder. You’ll also get one free Boost per month and five Super Likes per day instead of just one.

Plus-only features include a’rewind’ button, which allows you to redo your last swipe if you swiped the wrong way, and Tinder Passport, which allows you to change your location – useful if you’re planning a trip and want to meet a few people before you go.

The biggest advantage of Tinder Plus, in my opinion, is that it removes the ‘right swipe limit.’ Normal users can only swipe right on a certain number of users per day before having to wait 12 hours – this is intended to discourage people from trying to match with every profile they see.

You’re not limited to a certain number of swipes because it’s determined by an algorithm based on your typical behavior, but Tinder Plus users can swipe as much as they want.

So, what does Tinder Plus set you back? Again, there is no simple solution. Tinder’s algorithm determines pricing for each user, with prices based in large part on your age: the younger you are, the less it costs. It is said to range from £1.49/$1.49 per month to £14.99/$14.99 per month, with discounts available if you sign up for six months or a year in advance.

Is Tinder Gold worth it?

Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

Tinder has a second paid tier called Tinder Gold that includes all of the features of Tinder Plus as well as two major additions: Likes You and Top Picks.

Likes You does exactly what it says: it shows you who has already swiped right on you, so you can make sure to pay close attention to the profiles of people you know who are similar to you before you commit to swiping back.

You can see a complete list of every profile that has liked you, allowing you to browse through them and swipe either way while knowing they are interested in you.

Top Picks is a newer Gold feature that shows you a daily selection of profiles chosen by the Tinder algorithm specifically for you. Each day, you’ll see a few picks (which will vanish after 24 hours), each with a highlight from their profile, such as ‘Doctor’ or ‘Adventurer.’ You can also pay extra to get daily access to more Picks.

Aside from those two major features, Gold also gives you more control over who you see and who sees you. You can choose profiles using the app’s default algorithm or ask it to prioritize accounts that have been active recently.

In turn, you can restrict your profile so that it doesn’t display your age or distance, and you can even restrict it so that only people you’ve already Liked see it.

Expect to pay an extra £3.49/$4.99 per month for Gold on top of Tinder Plus, which translates to £4.98/$18.83 with discounts for longer commitments – and, once again, age-related variations.

Is Tinder Platinum worth it?

Our Comprehensive Guide to Using Tinder

Tinder Platinum is available for those who are willing to spend even more.

This includes everything you get with Tinder Gold, as well as two additional features: Priority Likes and Message Before Match.

Priority Likes guarantee that your Like will be seen before non-Platinum subscribers, effectively pushing you to the top of the stack for any potential matches and increasing the likelihood that your profile will be seen.

Tinder’s Message Before Match feature allows you to attach a short message (up to 140 characters) to your Super Likes.

Not to mention the fact that you can still send Super Likes without sending a message, and that this only allows you to send one message rather than bombarding someone with chat-up lines before they even Like you back.

Tinder Safety features

Tinder added several new safety and security features to the app in 2020 to help users feel safe while using it.

To begin with, accounts can now have their photos verified, with a blue tick appearing next to the user’s name if this is the case. Users are asked to recreate a series of poses in new photos to prove who they are, with ‘human-assisted AI’ checking that the photos match the photos on their profile.

It won’t solve the problem of users who have changed since their photos were taken, but it should help reduce the risk of catfishing on the site.

Following a trial in Japan, more advanced ID verification is now being rolled out globally. This will entail cross-checking people’s photos and details against government ID to ensure that they are who they say they are.

Except in countries and regions that require it, Tinder says that ID verification will remain optional for the time being, acknowledging that verification may pose a genuine safety risk for some marginalized communities.

Tinder has added a feature that will try to detect offensive messages depending on which country you’re in – it’s only available in ‘select markets.’ If you receive a message that has been flagged by the system, it will ask if the message bothered you, and if it did, the user will be reported.

Finally, Tinder has partnered with Noonlight in the United States to provide free access to the security app for Tinder users. Noonlight can be accessed from the same menu that allows you to attach GIFs or images to messages, but you’ll need to register and connect your accounts first. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to log any plans you have to meet a new partner in Noonlight from Tinder.

If an emergency arises during the date, you can use the separate Noonlight app to trigger the emergency by holding a button. To delete the alert, the app will ask for a PIN.

Further, it will try to call and text you, and if you don’t respond, the app will contact emergency services. Users who connect to Noonlight get a Noonlight badge on their profile, which should serve as a deterrent to anyone who might pose a threat.

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