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How Does Bumble Work? [Expert Answers & Bumble Advice!]

Thinking about giving this popular dating app a try, but wondering how Bumble works? Look no further! VIDA’s dating experts have managed thousands upon thousands of Bumble accounts on behalf of clients since the app launched way back in 2014. 

That's hundreds of thousands of hours of firsthand experience, and we use it daily. That means we're able to adapt our strategies to use Bumble successfully as the app evolves and its features expand. You're looking for Bumble expertise, and you've come to the right place.

In this quick guide, we’ll break down all the Bumble basics, and you’ll get plenty of expert profile, photo and message tips that will help you meet incredible singles in no time!

Get more matches and go on better dates. Let our experts manage all your dating profiles! Chat with a dating expert now.

How Does Bumble Work?

You Matched! notification on Bumble

Bumble sets itself apart from other dating apps with its focus on giving women the best possible experience. For instance, the "Private Detector" feature uses AI to automatically blur nude images sent within the app, and sends a notification that a match has sent you a potentially inappropriate message. You can then decide whether to view the message or not.

And when it comes to messaging, the Bumble app works differently for a woman than it does for a man. In an effort to cut down on the sheer volume of unwanted messages women tend to experience online, only women can send the first message once a match is made.

Not only do women have to start the Bumble conversation, they also have to do it within a 24-hour window once they match with someone. Men must then respond to that message within 24 hours.

In the case of same sex couples, either half of the match can initiate the conversation, but the time restraints still apply.

If the clock runs out at either stage, the match expires.

Apart from that major twist, the Bumble dating app is similar to apps like Tinder. It shows you profiles based on your location and stated matching preferences. You swipe right to "like" a profile or left to pass. A match is formed when two people swipe right on each other to signal interest.

All users can extend one match per day by adding another 24 hours to the countdown. But only one. To extend as many matches as you want, you'll need a premium subscription (more on those coming up!).

How to extend a match on Bumble

Bumble makes it easy to see how much time is left for each match. Bring up your Match Queue by tapping the conversation icon in the lower menu bar:

Bumble Match Queue

Then tap on the match. You'll see the countdown displayed underneath the photo. The yellow circle also gives you an indication of how much time you have left to send or reply to a message.

As the clock ticks down, the yellow outline turns to gray. (And for Premium subscribers, a green circle indicates a potential match in your Beeline.)

Once both people have sent a message before time runs out, there are no more time limits to worry about. You and your match can exchange messages as long as you like.

There is one exception to the "women message first" rule, and that's when you send a Bumble Compliment to a potential match. This feature allows anyone to comment on a particular piece of profile comment before they've matched with that user.

You can only do this once per day for free; after that you'll need to purchase additional Compliments. They cost between $4 and $6 each, depending on how many you buy at once.

Why do women have to message first on Bumble?

App creator Whitney Wolfe Herd envisioned a “female friendly Tinder” - i.e. a dating app where women weren’t constantly bombarded by unwanted messages from men.

Bumble Tip For Guys

Herd also has a tip for women on the app:

Bumble Tip For Women

Video Chatting On Bumble

Bumble has a Video and Voice Chat feature which lets users move straight from messaging to making a call - all within the app.

That feature is perfect for singles who don’t want to share their phone number before getting to know someone IRL.

You can use this Bumble feature once you’ve matched - you’ll see a video and phone at the top of the conversation screen:

Bumble voice chat

Tap whichever type of call you’d like to initiate, and your match can then answer the incoming call.

For women, a Video or Voice call counts as making the first move. For guys, you’ll see those icons once she’s reached out to you.

You can also put a "virtual dating" badge on your Bumble profile to indicate you're interested in video chatting with your Bumble matches.

To change your Bumble status to "virtual dating," go to the Advanced Filters menu and tap "Add this filter" under "My Status Update."

You can add or remove the virtual dating badge from your profile at any time, and using it does not count as your free filter. (Unlocking all the Bumble filters is a premium perk. Learn more about Bumble filters here!)

How Does The Bumble Algorithm Work?

Like most dating apps, the inner workings of Bumble’s matching algorithm are a closely guarded secret. Of course, that doesn’t stop people from speculating about it.

Here are some theories about how Bumble’s algorithm works:

People who have already “liked” your profile tend to show up first in your match queue. That could explain why some users report getting a lot of matches up front, but then the number tapers off.

The algorithm doesn’t appear to keep track of your “type.” You’ll likely notice you get a wide variety of matches - height, weight, hair color, etc. It doesn’t seem to curate profiles based on the characteristics of people you’ve swiped right on previously. You’ll also likely notice that Bumble will show you the same person twice if it runs out of new users in your area, even if you swiped left on them before.

The app rewards “good” behavior. Bumble wants you to be discerning when it comes to swiping. If you swipe right indiscriminately each and every time, the prevailing thought is your profile will be sent to the back of the line, so you may not get as many views.

The most right-swiped (read: popular) profiles are shown first. This is good motivation to make sure you use high-quality images and put some effort into your bio. If you’re not getting as many right swipes as your competition, your profile might not get as much exposure.

It doesn’t seem to matter how active you (or aren’t) on the app. Even if someone hasn’t logged in for months, their profile will likely still pop up in your Bumble match queue. Matching with infrequent users is a common complaint.

Do You Have To Pay For Bumble?

No! You can get great results on Bumble with paying a cent, which is one of the reasons it’s one of the most popular free dating apps out there. But if you want access to the extras, you can choose between two premium memberships.

What Is Bumble Boost?

Bumble has a set of premium features that can make it easier and faster to find high-quality matches, called Bumble Boost.

Here are the features you’ll get when you upgrade Bumble to Boost:

1. No limit on the number of matches you can extend. If you don’t have time to check Bumble daily, this “BusyBee” feature is a must-have.

2. Instantly re-connect with expired matches. If you accidentally let a match expire, or your match didn’t initiate a conversation and you want to give them another chance, you’ll love the Rematch feature. Now you don’t have to wait for an expired match to pop up in your match queue again!

3. Undo a swipe. The Backtrack feature is handy if you accidentally went left when you meant to go right.

4. 1 Spotlight & 5 SuperSwipes each week.

5. Swipe right as much as you want.

How much Bumble Boost costs depends on the length of time you purchase up front:

2023 Bumble Boost Cost*
1 Week: $11.99
1 Month: $24.99
3 Months: $44.99
6 Months: $69.99
*price may vary by location

What Is Bumble Premium?

Bumble Premium is another subscription option that includes all the features of Boost.

In addition to those benefits, you'll get:

1. The ability to use more than 1 Advanced Bumble Filter at a time.
This is great news if you live in a mega-city and have a packed match queue. Filters allow you to pre-screen for potential deal breakers like pets, kids, religion, exercise habits, etc, so you’ll only be seeing profiles of people who meet your criteria.

2. Limit your match queue to people who have already swiped right on you.
It’s called the Bumble Beeline, and any profile you “like” is a guaranteed match!

3. Hide your profile until after you've swiped right on someone.
The Incognito Mode feature helps ensure your privacy.

4. Change your Bumble location.
The Travel feature lets you swipe anywhere you want, just like the Passport feature that comes bundled with Tinder Plus.

Because this subscription tier is the most feature-heavy, Bumble Premium is also the more expensive option:

2023 Bumble Premium Cost*
1 Week: $21.99
1 Month: $44.99
3 Months: $89.99
Lifetime: $249.99
*price may vary by location

Ala Carte Bumble Features

Bumble also offers two other paid features, which you buy on a per-use basis: SuperSwipes and Spotlight.

SuperSwipes are Bumble’s version of a Super Like on Tinder - it’s a way to indicate you’re particularly interested in someone.

To SuperSwipe someone on Bumble, simply tap the yellow heart icon.

Now when your profile pops up in their match queue, they’ll see a yellow notification bar that you SuperSwiped them:

SuperSwipe notification

It’s a good way to stand out, since paying to “like” you is a pretty strong compliment.

SuperSwipes start around $8.99 for 2 of them. The cost can drop as low as around $1.67 each, but you have to buy 30.

Read more about SuperSwipes - and find out when paying for a Bumble SuperSwipe is worth it!

YouTube video

Bumble Spotlight is a paid feature that makes your profile one of the most popular in your area for a period of 30 minutes. Basically, it’s maximum exposure, which will theoretically result in more matches.

You can purchase 1 Spotlight for around $8.99, or buy them in quantity to bring the cost per use down:

2023 Bumble Spotlights Cost*
1 Spotlight = $8.99
5 Spotlights = $3.60/each
15 Spotlights = $2.33/each
30 Spotlights = $2/each
*Cost may vary by market

How Do I Get Started On Bumble?

If you want to use Bumble on your computer, you can create your account on Bumble's "get started" page.

Or, download the Bumble app for Android or iOS.

You can create a Bumble account using Facebook, or log in via your mobile number.

Sign in to Bumble via Facebook, and the profile creation process has already begun!

All the basics, like your age, name and occupation will be pulled from your Facebook profile.

If you use Bumble without Facebook, it’s still easy to set up an account - you’ll just have to manually provide the details.

Bumble Photos

Next, you’ll select which Facebook photo you want to use as your primary Bumble photo. That’s the one the singles in your area will see first, so choose it wisely!

To make the best impression, choose a photo that has these traits:

Bumble profile tip

You can upload up to 5 more photos, for a total of 6 in your Bumble profile. There is a Best Photo feature you can toggle on that tests your first 3 pics in the primary spot, and continually rotates in the most popular to position #1.

When selecting the rest of your lineup, make sure to include a good mix of locations - you want to look like you’re a lot of fun to hang out with, right?

You’ll also want variety when it comes to proportions - sprinkle in a full body shot or two, and try to avoid the “all selfie” lineup (and any mirror selfies).

Save the whimsical filters for SnapChat - Bumble attracts mainly people seeking long-term relationships, and they generally want to know what you actually look like.

Bumble Bio

Bumble gives you a 300-character or less space to write a bio.


That’s not a lot of real estate, so everything you mention should be carefully selected for maximum attractiveness.

These are a few things that are good to mention in a dating profile:

  • Something you enjoy about your job
  • Hobbies that are physically active
  • A recent trip you took
  • What you like to do for fun
  • What type of person you’re looking to meet

Want to see what that looks like in practice?

This is an effective Bumble profile example for women:

Bumble profile example for women

And this is an effective Bumble profile example for guys:

good bumble bio example for men

For more profile help, check out these expert Bumble profile tips that really work.

The last written part of your profile are the Bumble Prompts, which used to go by the name "My Move Makers". You can choose up to 3 prompts to answer, each with a 120-character limit.

Just like in your Bumble bio, you want to share information that makes you look like a great catch:

My Move Makers

Linking Instagram To Bumble

If you want, you can link your Instagram profile to Bumble. No one on Bumble will see your Instagram handle.

Taking a peek at your IG pics can be a great way for your matches to get to know you better, but keep in mind you can’t pick and choose which photos are displayed.

The app will automatically grab your 24 most recent pics from your IG feed, so make sure you’re not inadvertently torpedoing your first impression.

when not to link instagram to bumble

In fact, when you're actively looking for a relationship, it's not a bad idea to give all your social media profiles the once over, just to make sure you won't inadvertently make a bad impression if she decides to do a little Google stalking.

In a bid to cut down on the number of fake profiles that tend to plague all dating apps, Bumble will ask you to verify your profile by taking a selfie and submitting it.

Verifying your profile on Bumble is easy to do - simply copy the gesture in the example, snap a pic, and send it.

Now it’s time to let Bumble know what type of person you’re looking to date!

Setting your match preferences is easy. You can set your age, gender, and distance preferences, then select two advanced Bumble filters to use to curate your match queue even more. (Bumble Boost users can apply as many as they want).

And that’s it! You’re up and running and ready to get your swipe on!

Is Bumble For More Than Just Dating?

Bumble Modes

Yes - this popular dating app actually has three modes:
1: Bumble Date (for romantic connections)
2: Bumble BFF (for making new friends)
3: Bumble Bizz (for business & professional networking)

Each Bumble mode has its own profile, photos, and filters.

To move between the modes, simply tap the three lines in the upper left corner and select which one you want to use. Check out this Bumble Modes Guide for more details!

Need More Bumble Help?

Check out our Ultimate Guide To Bumble!

It’s packed with all the information, expert tips, and advice you need to be successful on Bumble.

Or, you can skip the learning curve and head straight to the awesome part - dates with incredible singles!

Find out how by clicking here!

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