There are many things in this life that would be wonderful to have, but aren’t really possible. Getting jacked without working out, robbing a bank (victimless crime!) without getting caught, and of course how to see if someone is on Tinder without actually joining.
Sadly none of these things are really possible, but there might be some small workarounds for one of them, so let’s have a bit of a look at what your options are here.
Okay, I can only help with using Tinder anonymously! I’m not here to help you commit the perfect crime.
You can’t browse Tinder unless you have an account on the app. You can fail to fill out most of your profile, but you would need to create a burner email to avoid all identifying info. And you’ve joined either way, just with a pseudonym.
Let’s get on with this. Another big question (though, I’m not sure why you’re asking it)…
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Can You Secretly Use Tinder?
How about secret Tinder use, Steve? You cry.
Well, ‘secretly’ isn’t easily defined. You can stick Tinder into the ‘weather’ or ‘health’ sections on your phone so no one sees the logo. You can hide in a cupboard and use Tinder there. But you can’t really use Tinder totally secretly, with guaranteed anonymity.
You can use a burner email and fake photos on Tinder, but it is banned per their security policy and generally not a good idea. Assuming you will use this trick only for good, here’s how to do it:
Although it’s simpler to just click signup with Facebook, Apple, or Google you can also create an account with an email address or a phone number, neither of which have existing account information attached to them.
- Sign up for an email address
- Enter that email address into Tinder to sign up
- Put in a name that isn’t your name.
- Enter a date of birth, maybe not yours.
- Skip all the profile building questions.
- Add the required two photos – I bet you see where I’m going here – that’s right! They’re not actually you.
- There you go, you’re using Tinder, secretly!
Technically, you could also make a brilliant Tinder profile for a person who doesn’t exist. Catfish do it every day! That’s probably why, as I said, it’s against Tinder’s house rules to lie about who you are on the app or use photos that are of someone else.
Maybe using Tinder anonymously for a while could be useful for you to get an idea of what Tinder is and how it works, but ultimately it’s kind of pointless. Sure there’s a lot of selective choices being made in Tinder profiles the world around, but it only really works beyond a glorified messaging app if you actually are who you say you are.
It’s important to ask, why is it that you want to be on Tinder, but also NOT on Tinder?
The most common reason for this? Finding an ex, a spouse, or a very handsome guy in a suit you’re pretty sure works in an office very nearby.
Can You Find Someone On Tinder Without Joining?
Unfortunately (but understandably) the answer here is pretty much the same as all the other sneaking about on Tinder answers. You can’t really find someone specific on Tinder without joining.
Wanting to find out if someone specific on Tinder is a classic! That hottie from the gym, the cute barista, the guy on the subway, the girl at the laundromat. If only you knew if they were on Tinder!
But without anyone knowing that YOU were on Tinder. Then you would… uhh… you’d know… that… they were on Tinder?
The way Tinder works require mutual matching. So, if your profile is mostly empty you are unlikely to match with the person you’re looking for. You may catch a glimpse of them while swiping, though.
Basically, you can’t find one specific Tinder user. You can, however, game the system slightly.
In fact, if you get a super-private investigator (possibly straying into weird stalker territory) you can adjust distance and age range to ‘search’ for someone nearby. Perhaps, someone who lives in the same house as you and has been ‘working late’ a lot recently.
To find someone specific on Tinder who is close by:
- Go to settings
- Adjust the age range to an extremely narrow band that fits this person’s age
- Reduce the search distance to 1 mile
- Match your gender preferences to the gender of the person you are searching for
You do need to know a fair amount about the person you’re looking for to do this, so it doesn’t work well for strangers at coffee shops etc. It also works best in low-population areas, so if you’re in New York City or London it might be difficult.
The main reason not to do the obsessively adjusting age range and distance thing though? It’s super creepy.
Again, we need to ask ourselves why you want to use Tinder anonymously. It could be
- You’re not sure if Tinder is the right dating app for you
- You have concerns about digital security around signing up for things
- You’re embarrassed about being seen on Tinder
- You’re in a monogamous relationship and really should not even be swiping ‘just for fun’
If you’re concerned about embarrassment or security, paid Tinder features may help a little.
Can You Search Anonymously On Tinder?
Tinder doesn’t allow you to search. It looks at the age range and distance you’ve selected and puts potential users in front of you. Then you swipe ‘em!
If you want to be on Tinder, but not viewable to people you haven’t expressed an interest in, you might need to consider one of their paid tiers. Using these, you can browse anonymously.
You can also search through your existing matches, but let’s be real, that’s not what you wanted to know, was it? Equally, you can find users with similar interests through Tinder Explore.
So, if the person you’re looking for is wearing a very specific band t-shirt, maybe you could narrow things down by musical genre?
Can You Hide Your Profile On Tinder?
Okay, this has been a bit disheartening. Let’s change tac a little. Can you hide your profile on Tinder?
Yes! You can hide your profile. Finally, a yes!
Here is how to hide your profile on Tinder:
- Select your profile
- Choose settings
- You’ll see an option labeled ‘show me on Tinder’
- Turn ‘show me Tinder’ off
- You’re now hidden on Tinder
Once hidden, you will no longer appear in the card stack for other users to swipe on. You’ll still be able to chat with any existing matches you have as well.
Do keep in mind the fact that Tinder definitely operates on a ‘you’ve got to be in to win’ model. If you’re not in the card stack, you can’t see the card stack, so you won’t be shown any more matches for swiping.
But if you’ve got a match or two that you’re following up on and aren’t in a hurry to find more, this is a great option.
The other most common reason for wanting to be anonymous on Tinder is discretion. Maybe you don’t want everyone and anyone to know that you’re on Tinder. Which brings us to:
Which Dating Apps Are Most Discreet?
With its high profile and low barrier to entry, Tinder is possibly the least discreet of the current dating apps. Even if you hide under the bed while you secretly download Tinder to your phone and then do your best to use Tinder anonymously, you’re not going to be able to get the most out of the app working this way.
Perhaps it’s not the best choice of dating app for you. Luckily there are plenty of other great options. As apps raise the bar for signing up, whether that’s through requirements like verified profiles or by having a subscription model, they automatically have more privacy.
It’s like going to a club with a dress code and a cover charge vs. going to a biker bar. Both have their different charms, but that doesn’t mean that both are right for you.
If you’re looking for discretion you could choose Eharmony if you’re looking for something serious, Silver Singles if you’re on the more mature side, or Adult Friend Finder if you’re looking for fun.
Now, if only there was someone who’d help with that perfect bank heist…