What Is Tinder? And Is It Just A Hookup App? (Updated 2019)

What is Tinder? It's a free mobile dating app that matches you with singles in your area. Tinder basically launched the location-based dating app craze back in 2012, and it's still the most popular dating app in the US. For that reason alone, if you're single, Tinder is definitely worth using.

Tinder’s revolutionary (at the time) “swipe right if you like her, swipe left if you don’t” format has since been copied by numerous competitors, and apps like Tinder abound. Bumble, Hinge, and CoffeeMeetsBagel are some examples. Tinder is currently part of the Match Group, which also owns dating sites like Plenty of Fish and Match.com.

If you’re curious about the ins and outs of this popular mobile dating app, here’s everything you need to know about using Tinder for the first time.

The Main Purpose Of Tinder

Swipe, match, and exchange messages with local singles.

Tinder at a glance

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You may have heard it referred to as a “hook up” app, and when it first hit the market back in 2012, Tinder users were mainly singles looking to find more casual relationships.

And while that’s definitely still the case (recent studies showed that 49% of men used Tinder to facilitate a one-night stand, compared to only 15% of women who used it as a hook up app), you can also find plenty of people looking for serious relationships, and even marriage, as well.

Tinder wasn’t designed for any specific age group, although it tends to be most popular with singles in their 20s – according to some sources, that demographic accounts for half of Tinder’s user base:

what age group Tinder is best for

That being said, it attracts people of all ages to varying degrees, so Tinder is a good app to try if you’re under 50, especially if you’re in a big city. (Dating over 50? Check out Lumen, designed for singles 50 and up!)

You’re also probably wondering how much it costs to be on Tinder. The basic Tinder app is free, with the option to upgrade to Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold. (More about that in a minute, as well as other in-app purchases and premium features.)

Once you’ve downloaded the dating app, you’ll need to sign in via your Facebook account. Tinder will not work without Facebook, but that’s actually a good thing. It cuts down on the number of fake profiles, which is a good thing since you're looking for real life dates. Plus it makes uploading pictures to your profile a breeze.

Tinder is available for both iOS and Android devices:


If you’re curious about the ins and outs of this popular mobile dating app, here’s everything you need to know about using Tinder for the first time.

You can also use Tinder Online, which is basically Tinder for your pc – or any other device you want to use.

Create Your Tinder Profile

Creating a profile on Tinder is about as easy as it gets; Facebook does most of the work. Your pictures and interests will automatically load into your profile, and you can choose which photos you’d like to use and what order you’d like them to appear.

Photos are the most important element of your Tinder profile, so you want to choose your strongest ones. You’ll want to use at least 3 since studies have shown that men with at least 3 photos in their profile got more matches than men with only 1.

Researchers recently discovered the recipe for the most attractive Tinder photo:

perfect Tinder photo

Getting your photos right the first time is important. Tinder no longer relies on your elo score, which was an internal secret ranking that determined which profiles you were (and weren't) shown, the number of right swipes you get is still taken into account by the matching algorithm.

In other words, if you want the chance to match with the most popular people on Tinder, your photos need to impress.

Tinder has a built-in Smart Photos feature that can help identify your best primary photo option.

Tinder Smart Photos

When Smart Photos is enabled, the app will automatically audition every photo in your lineup in the primary spot, then rotate in whichever one receives the most right swipes.

For more info on how (and if!) Smart Photos actually works, check out this article. Want even more picture tips? Find out how to choose the best photos for Tinder!

Once you have your photo lineup addressed, you’ll want to turn your attention to your Tinder bio.

There’s a section called “About Me” with space for a short, 500-character or less bio.

As a guy on Tinder, you don’t want to leave it blank. With men outnumbering women on Tinder 3 to 1, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to intrigue her. We’ve got 4 irresistible Tinder profile examples you can use for inspiration.

You can access and edit your profile information at any time by tapping on the icon at the top of the screen. You can also link your Spotify and Instagram account to your Tinder profile

Social media is a great way to give potential matches more hints of your personality, but keep in mind once connected you should view them as an extension of your dating profile.

Once your basic profile is completed, you can set your search criteria. Tinder has minimal filtering options, just maximum distance, gender, and age range.

How Tinder Works

Now it’s time for the fun part – swiping.

Tap on the flame icon to swipe through the singles in your local area. If you're not a premium member, you'll check out each person's profile one at a time. You can use your finger to swipe the image left if you’re not interested, right if you are.

Swiping up will “Super Like” someone.

Basic users get 100 swipes every 12 hours. If you don’t want to physically swipe with your finger, you can tap the Tinder icons at the bottom of the screen instead.

Here is what the Tinder icons mean:

Tinder symbols and what they mean

When you swipe right (“like”) someone’s profile, and they do the same for your profile, a match is formed.

I’ve Got A Match, Now What?

Once you’ve made a match, either of you can start the Tinder conversation. To access the message screen, tap on the conversation icon at the top of the screen.

Attractive women on Tinder get tons of messages, so your icebreaker needs to be attention grabbing to stand out from the competition.

Tinder matches

Don’t just send a basic “Hey.” That puts the pressure on her to actually start the conversation, and worse – it will make her think you’re boring, uncreative, and nothing special.

Instead, send her a question that’s creative, engaging, and above all easy to answer. Try one of our 7 Tinder icebreakers that actually work right now!

Tinder allows women to send “Reactions” in response to a message, so if you send her a less than stellar icebreaker, be prepared to get an animated eye roll or a virtual drink thrown in your face.

Tinder Reactions can be positive as well, including a round of applause and a thumbs up. To send a Reaction, simply click on the smiley emoji next to the message field, and choose which one you’d like to use.

How to send a Tinder Reaction

You can also message your matches via Tinder Feed, which is where all their latest activity on the app is posted.

For instance, if someone changes their primary photo or chooses a new Spotify anthem, you can comment on it. simply tap the conversation box on the relevant piece of content, and type your message!

To learn more about how Tinder Feed works – and how to use it to get more matches – go here.

Is Tinder Plus Worth It?


Upgrading to Tinder Plus costs around $9.99/month if you’re under 30, $19.99/month if you’re 31+. If you commit to 6 months or a year, the monthly cost is slightly less.

Here’s what you get for your money:

  • 5 Super Likes a day
  • Ability to rewind your last swipe
  • Ad-free swiping
  • Change your location to anywhere in the world with the Passport feature
  • Unlimited right swipes
  • Limit the information that’s visible to others
  • Have your profile shown only to people you’ve “liked”
  • One free Tinder Boost every month

Super Likes and Boosts are also available as per-use in-app purchases, so you can use them as a free member as well.

If you travel frequently, upgrading is worth the price just for the ability to change your location. Start swiping through the local girls in your destination city, and you can have dates lined up before you’ve even stepped off the plane.

Since 76% of Tinder users live in larger urban areas, if you’re not within “dating distance” of a city center, upgrading probably isn’t worth the extra cost.

out of Tinder users

But if you do live in a larger city, you’ll burn through your 100 swipes with a quickness, so upgrading can save you the frustration of having to wait 12 hours to get some more.

Tinder Plus is also worth it if you’re concerned about just anyone finding you on Tinder. By upgrading, you have the ability to hide your Tinder profile from other users, and only have it revealed to people once you’ve swiped right on them.

Want more dating app privacy tips? Check out which dating apps and sites have private profile options so you can use them discreetly! 

Should I Upgrade To Tinder Gold?

Tinder gold review

With Tinder Gold, you get all the Tinder Plus perks, and these two additional premium features:

  • A grid view of all the local singles who have “liked” your profile already – so swiping right = instant match
  • 4-10 Top Picks delivered daily (free users only get 1)

Top Picks are profiles of singles whom Tinder’s algorithm has identified as people who match your dating preferences as identified by your swiping patterns, so you’re virtually guaranteed to like them.

To read more about how Tinder Picks work, go here.

How much Tinder Gold costs varies by factors like your age and location, but you’ll pay somewhere in this general vicinity:

Tinder Gold cost

How Do I Get The Most Out Of Tinder?

Regardless of what you are looking for on Tinder, it’s important to know how to use the app if you want to get any dates at all.

It’s definitely worth taking a look at our fool-proof Tinder hacks as well as these 10 Tinder tips, but here are the basics:

  • Tinder is literally all about first impressions. Your photos and profile need to stand out.
  • Make the first move when it comes to sending messages – research shows only 7% of guys send the first message, so impress her by taking charge of the conversation.
  • Build up your Facebook “Likes.” Tinder displays which FB pages you and your match have in common, and having mutual interests could cause more women to swipe right on your profile.
  • Don’t wait too long to ask her out – your goal is to take things off the app as soon as possible. Always suggest meeting for the first time in a public place – that’s what 75% of women prefer.

While Tinder is a great way to meet attractive women, you’ll find that all that swiping and messaging can start eating up a huge chunk of your free time.

On average, users log on 11 times a day, and spend around 90 minutes a day on the app. That’s about 10.5 hours a week, 42 hours a month. Bet you didn’t realize a free app could turn into a part-time job!

But setting up and using Tinder doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming. Lots of busy people hire someone to Tinder for them. There’s plenty of reasons why outsourcing Tinder makes sense, but the most important one is simple – it’s the quickest way to go on dates with attractive women. Intrigued?

Click here to learn more!

About VIDA

VIDA is your very own team of experts who set up high-quality dates for you so you can finally meet your ideal woman. Say goodbye to the hassle and frustration of online dating - we'll craft an irresistible dating profile, send engaging messages, and even book your dates for you. Thousands of guys have already made lasting connections with beautiful women, and we're ready to make you our next success story. All you need to do is schedule your free confidential consultation with us now.

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