Look, you know we’re all walking around with tiny supercomputers in our pockets that are basically tracking our every move. And you know all that information is out there… somewhere, in case you get caught in a landslide or commit murder or whatever.
But still. It is kind of creepy for everyone to know exactly where you are, especially Tinder matches you haven’t even met. This is an approximation of the train of thought that leads, inevitably, to the question: Does Tinder show users’ exact locations? Does Tinder show your exact location?
No, of course Tinder doesn’t show your exact location! That would lead to all sorts of trouble. You would be forgiven for thinking they do though, or that they might do soon, as there was a flurry of articles a couple of years ago about a CREEPY NEW UPDATE for Tinder that would pinpoint all users’ exact whereabouts.
This was actually Tinder Places, which was a short-lived feature that showed you your matches on a map. These days, you definitely can’t work out exactly where your Tinder matches are, and they can’t work out where you are either! At least not from Tinder.
Does Tinder Know Your Exact Location?
Of course, everything we see when we look at Tinder has been carefully selected, packaged, and in some cases designed by user experience professionals. On the back end, Tinder knows way more about the location of all users than they would ever let on.
In fact, Tinder uses the exact coordinates of its users to calculate distance between them, which must logically mean that someone (or at least an algorithm — more on that in my full Tinder guide) knows those coordinates.
There’s nothing to worry about security-wise though, or at least there isn’t anymore, as after a couple of notable security breaches in the early days of the app, Tinder has Fort Knoxified their user location data.
The app does something very complicated with geometry and grids and pins and stuff to hide where Tinder users are located from even the most determined of hackers!
How to Hide Location Tinder
It’s actually really hard, verging on impossible, to hide your location on Tinder unless you have Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold. Even if you turn off your GPS, Tinder gathers other info to take a pretty good stab at guessing where you are.
Of course, if you really want to go all James Bond or whatever, you can change your location to the South Pole, but if you do that you won’t be getting many matches. Maybe a thirsty penguin or two? Or an Antarctic explorer who’s getting frostbite while swiping?
If you have Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold, though, you can use Passport to hide your location or to add an additional location you want to see matches from (say, the city you’re visiting at the weekend).
If you hide your location, your potential matches won’t be able to see how far you are from them. This might get in the way of making some connections, but it does up levels of privacy.
Of course, Tinder still knows where you are, so if that’s your issue then I’m afraid you might need to scrap the location-based dating apps! I have a guide to other dating apps, too, in case you’re looking for something to replace good ol’ Tinder.
If you’re interested in Tinder Plus or Gold and their Passport feature, check out my article on whether or not paying for Tinder is worth it. I cover what you get for your money, and what to consider before taking the plunge.
Does Tinder Update Your Location Automatically?
You might have noticed that when you travel, Tinder seems to know everywhere you’ve been. In fact, if you’ve been road tripping you sometimes end up with matches from everywhere you stopped at a light, and if you were flying and you switched planes at a hub airport like Miami or Dallas then god help your Tinder feed.
You’ll have matches thousands of miles away popping up for days, as people who were less than a mile away from you for a couple of hours in the airport travel to their end destination and you travel to yours.
All of this happens because Tinder automatically updates your location based on a number of info points delivered to the app by your phone.
Tinder updates your location automatically as long as the app is running. That isn’t limited to you using the app though – if Tinder is running in the background it will update your location regularly.
I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t shut all my apps down totally after I use them. In fact, I only swipe them all closed when my phone is freaking out and I’m like ‘ugh, this phone is such a piece of crap’ and then I look at what I have open and it’s fifty apps all trying to use loads of processing power.
And my phone is not a piece of crap at all, I’m just terrible at looking after it. Anyway, what I’m saying is if you don’t want to have your location updating all the time, close Tinder properly! That’s the moral of the story.