What is Tinder? Here's what you should know about the popular dating app

What is Tinder? Here's what you should know about the popular dating app
Tinder was one of the earliest mobile dating apps.Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Tinder is an online dating app famous for its swipe and match feature that offers paid subscriptions.
  • To sign up for Tinder, you'll need to download the app and provide basic information like your age, location, gender, and gender preferences.

Founded back in 2012, Tinder is a dating app site that matches singles in your area and around the world virtually.

On launch, Tinder was a pioneering app in the online dating sphere. Following its massive success, similar dating apps, including Hinge, PlentyOfFish, and OkCupid - all owned by the same parent company, Match Group - began to appear.

In general, Tinder's app functions pretty simply: you swipe to indicate who you are most interested in. Anyone can sign up for free, but Tinder does offer some subscription-based premium features.

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Here's everything else you should know about Tinder.

How does Tinder work?

Tinder is commonly referred to as the "hookup app," but at its core is a dating app that, like competitors, aims to offer a gateway to relationships, and even marriage, for a more tech-savvy generation.


It upends traditional dating culture, which typically requires you to go out and interact with strangers in physical spaces. Instead, it brings that diverse dating pool that you may - or may not - have had access to at a bar or club straight to you.

To use Tinder, you must create a profile, noting your current location, gender, age, distance, and gender preferences. Then you begin swiping. After you see someone's photo and a small biography, you can either swipe left if you dislike them or right if you do like them. If another person swipes right, both of you are matched, and you can begin chatting with one another.

What is Tinder? Here's what you should know about the popular dating app
Enabling your location helps Tinder find singles in your area.Ron Lyons Jr./Business Insider

Tinder previously used a notorious Elo rating system to match users, essentially ranking people by a user-driven attractiveness algorithm. The more people who liked and swiped right on a person's profile, the higher they were ranked. That profile would then be displayed alongside those with a similar rank.

As a result, it created dating bubbles, defeating a dating app's purpose and advantages, which is to more quickly and efficiently find the perfect match beyond the simple physical attractiveness factor.

It has since abandoned this method, and in a 2019 blog post, the company revealed some of what goes into its matching system. "Our algorithm is designed to be open," the company wrote. "Today, we don't rely on Elo - though it is still important to consider both parties who Like profiles to form a match."

What is Tinder? Here's what you should know about the popular dating app
This is where the conversation begins.Ron Lyons/Business Insider

According to Tinder, the app prioritizes users who are most active and matches you with others who are active at the same time. It doesn't collect race or income data but considers those details you inputted when you signed up - how far someone is from you, their gender, and age.

With the help of newer features like Smart Photo, which identifies the photos that Tinder thinks work best for you, Tinder can spit out your next potential date.

How to create a Tinder profile

To create your Tinder account, you will need to download the mobile application for iOS or Android or access the site from a web browser. You will then need to link a mobile phone number, Facebook, or Gmail account.

What is Tinder? Here's what you should know about the popular dating app
The tutorial will show you the functionality and basic features of the application.Ron Lyons Jr./Business Insider

During sign-up, you'll be prompted to input information on your gender, date of birth, interests, and sexual preferences. Users are even able to include external links like Spotify and Instagram. Also, be prepared to give Tinder access to your location while using the app, and upload photos.

After, you'll begin a tutorial on how to use the app, which will show you the application's functionality and basic features. Once on the app homepage, you can see that there are buttons that affect how you interact with a potential match below every profile. Here's what they are and how they work:

  • Rewind: The yellow rewind allows you to reverse a potential match you skipped on. Rewind only works if you are a Tinder Plus or Gold subscription member.
  • X: The red X skips the person you don't have an interest in and dissolves any chance of matching. You can also do this by swiping your finger to the left on your mobile device.
  • Star: The blue star is for when you "Super Like" someone. It's a premium feature that lets you show a potential match your interest before the swiping process begins.
  • Heart: The green heart indicates you have an interest in someone. You can also swipe on a profile picture with your finger for the same effect.
  • Lightning Bolt: Boost or Super Boost is a premium feature that puts your profile at the top of the list in your area for 30 minutes so that your profile can get more views, which can lead to more matches on Tinder.
What is Tinder? Here's what you should know about the popular dating app
These controls affect the success of your profile.Ron Lyons/Business Insider

Once you've made a match, both parties will be notified, and you can video call with one another Tinder user or send messages using Reactions, which are Tinder's version of emojis.

Tinder Premium Services

Although Tinder is free, there are tier-based subscription options that you can pay monthly or yearly for. You can subscribe to premium services for Tinder in increments of one month, six months, or a year. To upgrade your Tinder account, you'll need to go into your Settings.

What is Tinder? Here's what you should know about the popular dating app
The subscription you choose depends on how active you'll be on the app.Ron Lyons Jr./Business Insider

Tinder Plus

At $9.99 a month, this tier allows for unlimited swiping, the ability to change your location with Passport, more "Super Likes," an additional "Boost," and "Rewinds" each month. You can also limit information people see about you, like your age and distance, and navigate the app ad-free.

Tinder Gold

Starting at around $18 a month, you get all of the Tinder Plus benefits but can also see the profiles of everyone who liked you before you say yay or nay, as well as a curated selection of top picks for potential matches that change daily. They'll come with particular labels that describe them with a selling point like "Creative," "Adventurer," and "Fashionista."

Tinder Platinum

Priced at the higher $32 to $40 a month depending on age, all the Tinder Gold and Plus benefits are included at this tier. Additionally, when you "like" someone, you have priority over those who are not subscription-based, and when "Super Like"-ing someone, you can send a message before a match. This option is currently only available as an upgrade from the other two tiers and can't be purchased outright.


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