Tinder’s Algorithm – How It Determines Who Gets to See Your Profile & What You Can Do About It.

How Does Tinder’s Algorithm Work?

Last updated on 2019-10-13

Tinder’s matching algorithm and the (formerly elo-, or desirability-) score it assigns to you based on a number of factors, determines whose profile you are shown and to whom your profile is shown, and how prominently. Thereby it very much affects with whom you even have the possibility of matching.

As you may have heard, in March 2019 Tinder announced a change to their ranking algorithm, or the way it determines the attractiveness of its users to match them with people of a similar desirability. They no longer use the elo system as such, but the same rules of beneficial and detrimental behaviors still apply. If you are curious about how things used to work, see the archived version of this post. For the current version, read on.

Terminology: The Difference Between Desirability Score, Visibility, and Type Match.

  • The desirability score, or just “score” the algorithm assigns to you used to be the main factor in how many, and which people your profile would be shown to and vice versa, following the Elo rating system. Nowadays it plays a subordinate role but Tinder’s explanations into the matter notwithstanding, still has a major influence on who gets to see your profile. It’s just that it doesn’t express desirability as much as how well you’ve been following the unwritten rules of Tinder, and it punishes you for breaking them. More on the latter later.
  • Visibility can be something much less permanent than your score and is mainly influenced by how recently you have been active on the app. If you go offline for some time, say a week, your profile will get pushed further and further back in people’s queues the longer you stay away, but will pop right back to its usual position once you come back online.
  • “Type match” is a term we came up with to refer to Tinder’s new system of assigning potential matches to each other, for a lack of any official terminology.

 

The Factors by Which the Tinder Algorithm Decides Who Gets to See Whose Profile

Partially based on official Tinder announcements and articles, high confidence results of personal experimentation, and anecdotal evidence (user reports).

Type Match

It appears Tinder has moved on from the relatively simple elo system, wherein your score changes based on who liked you (and those people’s own scores) and you’re assigned potential matches with scores similar to your own.

The type match system (probably) works by a combination of:

  • Identifying whom else people with similar tastes to your own liked, a.k.a. “You may also like…”. I.e. it groups users into types based on who else commonly liked or disliked them and then recommends profiles you should like because people who have liked the same type of profile you have liked in the past also like this one and vice versa.
  • AWS image recognition (courtesy of Amazon). This piece of software (supposedly) recognizes what is going on in an image and likely contributes to Tinder’s profiling efforts by supplying information such as “This user likes people who are playing guitar in their photos”.

While it is interesting to know how Tinder decides who could be a good match for you, there is not really much you can do to influence what kind of type the algorithm will assign you, beyond adjusting or improving your profile. With this change it may finally be feasible to custom tailor your profile to a specific type of person, whereas this used to be a terrible idea due to how much your elo score would suffer. Though you should really know what your target audience is looking for before attempting this, or it may still backfire.

 

“The Score”

Your desirability-, I mean social-, I mean “good boy/girl/whatever user score” may no longer be determined by who liked you, but your behavior on the app definitely still has an influence on the number and quality of potential matches you are both shown and being shown to, as anyone who inadvertently ruined their… score can attest to.

These behaviors the algorithm judges you for seem to have remained largely unchanged. For the long version, I recommend this guide on the DOs and DON’Ts of Tinder. The short version:

  • Your pickiness. Both swiping right to everyone and to almost no one are penalized, though mass swiping right a lot more severely than being too picky. A right swipe quota of 30-70% seems to be the sweet spot. This applies to swiping during paid boosts too. 
  • Resetting your account, or rather, getting caught resetting your account. Once a tried and true method of starting over and receiving a huge initial boost in matches (see “noob boost” below), the algorithm now severely punishes your account’s score when a reset is detected. Resetting your account can still work if you feel it is necessary, but it is very tricky and far from a guaranteed success nowadays.
  • It appears that Tinder Plus users who make liberal use of the unlimited swipes feature may be bricking their account. I.e. Swiping too often per day, or hour, may get you marked as a bot by Tinder, resulting in a kind of shadowban, or very, very low score, rendering you nigh-invisible.

    Testing suggests 2’000 swipes per hour in any direction will get your account “locked” for 12 hours of the app telling you to “Check back later for new people”, potentially also carrying a permanent score punishment with it.

  • Changing your location too often as a Plus user also seems to hurt your score, though it is as of yet unclear where the threshold lies.
  • Whether you actually send messages to most of your matches. Sending messages, as well as receiving replies, appears beneficial. If you’re stuck on that tricky first message, I’ve got you covered.

 

Visibility

While your score determines your visibility to an extent, i.e. how many people your profile is being shown to, and in what position of their queue, there other factors, or events, that determine your short term visibility.

  • Noob boost. New accounts get a boost in visibility (not to be confused with the paid boost feature) lasting approximately a day, during which their profile is shown to a very wide audience and featured prominently in their decks. During this time, an account’s type and score are first determined. Once the boost has run its course, these factors determine your visibility and audience, as described above. This is why you get comparatively many matches in your first few days and why that count drops rapidly within a week. 
  • Traveler’s boost. Very similarly to the noob boost, travelers get a visibility boost when they first arrive at a new location. This, presumably to improve the experience of using Tinder while traveling and not have matches starting to roll in only once you’ve already moved on. This also works for the Tinder Passport feature, though it would be wise not to overdo it.
  • Activity. As mentioned above, your “last active” time has a strong effect on your visibility. All things being equal, it would be advantageous to spread out your swiping throughout the day, as opposed to getting it all done in one big session.

 

I hope you found this guide helpful. Thoughts? Criticism? Praise? Something to add? Feel free to leave a comment below, or visit the SwipeHelper Subreddit. See you there 🙂

78 Comments

  1. Just to clearify, is it possible that I won’t be shown to people who match my preference and vice versa because of reasons explained above? Or does it just mean that I will get further back the line so to speak.

  2. Has the new algorithm degraded the app for anyone else? I got 50+ likes after my noob boost but now… 1 match a week if I’m lucky.

    My pictures received a 9.3 attractive score on Photofeeler if that’s worth anything. I’m not sure what else in my profile I could improve.

  3. I still think I see way too many hot female profiles that are not bots. The proportion of hot to ugly girls only becomes realistic as I start to exhaust all the profiles in an area. Logic would tell me that if I am seeing a disproportionate amount of hot girls, then the same is in reverse for hot guys. That would explain why I get a fraction of the matches I did a year ago when I first started Tindering (even after a full profile reset and Photofeeler to aid in using better photos).

    Also, I find it ridiculous if your visibility is hurt by moving around too much. It really is time to report them to the Consumer Protection Bureau. If I am paying for a feature, it shouldn’t be nerfed because I actually use it.

    • Yeah the hotness on Tinder is weird. If you compare it to Badoo, where only like 4 out of 5 women look good. Most are super overweight and weird looking compared to Tinder. It is inexplicable.

  4. Hi

    all o f a sudden today i liked 4 poeple but they do not show up on messages where you can contact them afterward and try to engage they do not show at all why is that. i have spent some timme on in today but usually during the weeek not as much its as if they just decided whome ever i like i cannot see afterwards to connect to them?

  5. Hey, hope this is not too off topic as I do not know where to post otherwise. Two days ago suddenly my account disappeared. The account was active one year and created with phone number and email only. There have been several validations over sms before but this time it was said something with Facebook kit what I found strange as not related. Could not look in anymore saying there have been a prob and should contact service. Tried to login via email address and came over old email to an older account I opened once via Facebook. I deleted this account. But no chance to get in my current, active account.
    Tinder feedback was they would love to help but they cannot find my email address in their system even it is the correct one. On that day there were a view probs reported in the net. Also my behavior was correct. It hurts as had conversations over months with some of my contacts..
    Any idea what I could still try or what is the reason of that? What do you propose for new account and profile as in the moment it seems all is lost and can only open a new one.

  6. I opened acc few days ago and didnt use it till today and today i swipe all likes (didnt knew its bad)

    did the boost ended when i first open the acc?
    should i restart the acc cause all the right swipe?

  7. Somebody recently hacked my account deleted all of my pictures and added a pretty girl who is probably not real and I got hit up by like 50 guys in an hour, (I’m not into dudes) I deleted my account and made a new one, do I still have access to my tinder gold subscription? If this ever happens again what should I do?

  8. This is interesting, but, swiping through some profiles now, I am getting shown some incredibly hot girls, and I still only click yes to about 50% max, right in the sweet spot. I mean sometimes I will say yes to 5 in a row, sometimes say no to 5 in a row.. overall about 35% if I had to guess.

    So, according to this I am doing OK, but I very very rarely get any matches. Usually I only match when I superlike, So I am not sure if these girls that I am seeing are seeing me or if they just do not like me.. But man, it is hard work finding a ‘hot’ girl on tinder!

    • Very rarely getting matches is much better than never getting matches. Keep in mind a portion of the hot girls may be bots, and that Tinder peppers in some attractive profile no matter your score to keep things interesting.

  9. If you have a subscription and can see the people who like you, is it better for your elo to swipe right on the people who you have no interest in but never speak, or left and that’s that?

    • The fact they liked you likely has a much higher impact on your score than whether you like them back, as long as you like some people who like you.

      Best just swipe on people based on whether you like them.

  10. Hi, I created my profile few weeks ago and I have 2 major problem which I dont know how to address. 0 matches so far
    1 – I get to see the same profiles over and over, no matter if I like or reject them. I have unlimited number of likes. I can see the profiles like 10 times a day no problem. If I happen to run out of people, I just turn the app off/on and I can go through it again and again..
    2 – my profile doesnt seem to show up at all. I tried find my profile through my friends accounts and they run out of people in the area before they ca see me.
    I tried logging in/out, restarting, deleting Tinder, unmatching app in FB settings.. Nothing has helped.

  11. Hey, can you please elaborate on “since July 2018,Resetting your account has become more complicated and risky”. How come? What changed? And also, is “resetting” same as deleting your account and remaking it?

  12. If I have a high ELO Score and high attractiveness, but after I start to swipe right on all up to 1900 likes every hour (so without exceed the 2000 limit), how quickly my ELO score will go down and how low?

    If I had a 100 score, after swiping right on all profiles, how down could this go?
    Thanks

  13. My account is new, I see the same repeated profiles. I can swipe right for hours and hours at a time without reaching a limit. Basic profile yet I will never receive a match and still see the same hundreds of profiles.

      • I am getting new matches but only see those on the new “Matches Feed” Section versus where I usually see matches and can text them in the “Messages” section… Could Tinder be banning accounts for deleting instantly the matches you don’t like? I am only keeping superlike matches…
        Any help will be greatly appreciated

  14. Hi,

    this may sound ridiculously paranoid, but could it be, that at some point of a chat conversation tinder just stops delivering messages? I’ve had a bunch of matches and some conversations were quite promising, but randomly ended at a point that just doesn’t make sense to me. Like they showed much interest in the conversation before, why would they out of a sudden stop replying? Sometimes they even disappeared from my match list, as if we never had a match at all. This is pretty frustrating for me, because I had some very nice conversations being interrupted. From the point of view to make me pay for tinder plus, I would consider this a logical way of punishment. I’m just curious about another opinion on that,

    thanks and greetings,

    Peter

    • @Peter: that’s indeed paranoid. What actually happened more likely one of these case below:
      – Internet connection got weak or down and the conversation got affected. The person who was talking to you didn’t know what happened and may attribute that silence to your intention.
      – Not a few times, people don’t exactly behave/act or talk as you expected. So get used to that. Sometime people could immediately unmatched you and in Tinder both you and him/her has no way to re-connect after that regardless it was a accident or intentionally unmatch.
      – When they unmatched you (by accident which is very rare, click in the wrong menu, etc… or at their will), you won’t see them in your match list ever since. And you couldn’t know for sure whether they deactive/delete their account or they just unmatched you.
      -Tinder intetionally makes all of that more confusing and uncertain for you to guess. So should stop worry about too much about those things. Happy swiping.

  15. Sorry, non English native…If I change my Tinder profile by using a better bio, photos, etc, will my Elo Score change?? I don’t swift right to everyone, have conversations when match, etc…

    I thought once it’s been determined at the beggining you can’t do anything about that…

  16. To each his own, but they are not mutually exclusive. And I wouldn’t exactly call the algo shady.

    You can also just use Tinder normally without min/maxing. Or don’t. If you prefer irl introductions, go do that.

    For many people this is the more convenient way of dating.

  17. I’ve been using tinder for three years and i got only 30 matches in total in the whole of three years.. But in the past 3 days since i subscribed tinder plus, changed the way my profile looked i.e the pics, and bio. The number of matches has soared to 35 in the pas three days. What I realized is the most important thing is to have good pics, that will get you likes. If you have a good bio it will just increase the chances.

  18. Can I improve my ELO score by changing the location to the place where I am more desired and then go back to my place with improved ELO score?

    • Hey Paul, good question.

      I have tried this as well in the past and it always seemed like I saw a definite change in the types of profiles Tinder suggested back home. In other words, anecdotally yes. It never lasted longer than a few hours though, so it may not be worth the effort.

  19. Hei. Thank you for the useful info here. Wish I had read it before I created my account 2 days ago. I have a question: Does Tinder penalize my ELO or how many profiles I see if I modify my distance parameters in order to avoid swiping some profiles? I sometimes get the message that there are no profiles in my area after modifying the distance from say 2 to 3 km (tried several times in a few minutes interval). But when I check it again after some more time or the morning after, I suddenly have profiles.
    It also happens that I set the distance to say 2 km, find nothing, then set it to 6 km and find profiles that are 2 km or less than 1 km away. What’s wrong with it?

    Is modifying the distance too often somehow penalized (by not showing profile which are actually in range)?

    • Hey, my pleasure 🙂

      No, that behavior isn’t penalized but I believe what you are experiencing is either a persistent bug, or “phasing” between different user classes. I.e. you’ve run out of people in your league to swipe on (according to Tinder) but you or they might shift up or down and suddenly you’re seeing more. That, or bugs.

  20. I’ve read online that your profile disappears from people’s decks once you’ve been inactive for 7 days. Is this true or does your profile just get placed progressively lower in other people’s decks the longer you are inactive (meaning someone who has been inactive for months may still show up if I’m swiping in a low-population town with a specific age filter on)?

    In other words, is there a specific time period of inactivity where your profile will no longer show up at all?

    • Back when Tinder still showed the last active times on people’s profiles, I’ve seen people who have been inactive for up to one month. It’s hard to tell nowadays, but it feels like this hasn’t changed.

  21. Do you have an estimated as to how many weeks of inactivity leas to a decrease in the internal score? Ex. I was inaxtive for 2 week’s due to travels and being veg busy, and I’m already not the most consistent user though I normally use the app at least once a week. Is two weeks of complete
    Inactivity enough time to reduce my internal score?

    • Two weeks is more than enough to make you nigh invisible in populated areas, but heed the distinction: How recently you were last active affects your visibility, not your score. As soon as you use the app again, you’ll be treated as you were before your hiatus.

      • Oh, ok that is good to know. So then, using the information you’ve provided and your own experiments… do you think someone who uses tinder once or twice a week max likely has a low score? I can’t say my matches on tinder are so awesome though I do think I’m attractive and have criteria women are looking for like solid pics, the height above 6 feet, good schooling, etc. I’m wondering if I’m overthinking how attractive I am or if I’ve messed up my score by being a consistently inconsistent tinder user who uses the app once or twice a week.

        Thanks again for the original response!!

        • Being an infrequent user doesn’t negatively influence your score, just your placement in people’s decks (while inactive, you drop further and further back.) Don’t worry too much ^^

  22. Has anyone else experienced vast differences in match rates for different locations? Beyond that of what could be put down to any variables in preference/attractiveness. , I’ve been experimenting recently to try and verify this and whether your ELO score could be in any way linked to your location. To test this I recently attempted to tank my score in several big cities (1 million plus people) and since then after resuming regular swiping i’ll only get a handful of likes per week in those locations, but in other cities (same country) I can get upwards of 100 matches per week.

    also, a proper reset didn’t reverse this – so its either linking that Tinderplus account or my IP or device ID

    anyone have any thoughts about this/similar experiences?

  23. I am using Tantan after Tinder closed my Tinder Plus account for absolutely no reason. I had 400 Matches and started to unmatch some of the GHOST accoutns who never said anything … The next day, i was thrown out!..No matter how many times I asked the the reason i was deleted, only automated replies came through.

    I never had any argument with anyone or post anything other than my proper photos in suit, my dog, my car etc.. (Hence i had 400 matches)

    So ya they gone too far with their algorithm just like how Google did with backlinks.. Now people do negative SEO and there is no apparent solution to it up until 2018. (Disavow take ages to apply and will drop your ranking immediately)

    So far Tantan seems too be working OK until their developers get itchy and fuck up the codes.

    My 2 cents!

    Cheers.

  24. What if I am considered “attractive” but I swipe all the “attractive” left? Like I’m in a country, where people realy like everything exotic and oriental, while I always swipe left on asian eyes?

  25. What do you think of switching locations to get your ELO score up? E.g. if you‘re a white guy and you set your location to Tokyo you‘ll probably get a lot of likes. Would that help your overall score? Would you get more visibility in your home town as well?

    • In my experience passporting to an area where you’re super popular and staying there a bit does in fact have a positive influence on your “home score”. Albeit a short lived one of usually max one week before things turn to normal.

  26. So could you not just put up fake pictures of a really hot person instead of yourself, then wait for a few days for your ELO score to rack up the highest rating, then simply exchange for your real pictures (and maybe delete your current matches so they don’t report you). This way, you could take advantage of an artificially high ELO score for some considerable time. Thank me later 😉

  27. Tinder just asked me to verify my phone number after using the same account for 4 years now!!!!

    After verifying all my data and matches were [email protected]!!!!!

    Aaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!

    There are people I’ve chatted for years with on there!

    Wtf! ?

  28. I recently reseted my Tinder to repair a certainly damaged ELO score. Bought Plus and started swiping as a bisexual Asia with awesome fake pictures, bio, jobs and studies. Although extremely selective i got an enormous amount of matches, with more or less a 100% match rate with guys. After a couple of days i was unable to swipe and received the “Check back later for new people” notification. I certainly did not swipe 2000 people in one hour. This means that my account was punished for a different reason. I suspect that the reason was that i was not messaging or replying to the vast majority of my matches. This probably also means that the ELO score is influenced by this.

    Question: Does one have the same ELO score in relation to both genders?

    • Yep. I’ve been waiting a while with updating the guide until enough test results are in, but it appears that way. Plus, as previously suspected, the accounts seem to also suffer from a significant score drop.

  29. Experiencing the same problems reported below with Tinder lately. Getting considerably less matches for past few months.
    6-12 Months ago on average I would get matched a super like at least 1 out of 5 times.
    Now getting getting matched with 1 out of 30+ super likes. Same pictures.
    Normal matches are pretty rare, seems to only way to get consistent matches is to buy boosts….

  30. I have been using tinder for almost 2 yrs and my average numbers of matches was 20 each day , than I started using the boost and they went up to 10 each time I used it … I was always swiping right , always at the fAstest speed and sometimes with 2 phones and all worked good . Now , with the same pictures , i barely get 3 matches same with the boost .. I tried to change profile, different fb , phone number, swipe slowly left and right etc… but still rubbish Even though you pay for the extra things .

  31. Any info on how switching locations affects your score for tinder plus users? For example, If you stay in a cities pool for a week vs switching between that city and another city for a week.
    I’ve also noticed very bad results (super delayed matches) with the Only show me to people I’ve liked option. But unsure if this is due to switching too often between cities.

    • I think it’s best to stay in a city until the initial travel boost has worn off to get the most out of it, so at least 2-3 days. But once that has worn off, or in general, I don’t believe switching often influences your score apart from a mitigated benefit or malus one of the locations may have on it.

      Worse results and delayed matches are to be expected if your card can only be shown to people you’ve liked, after you liked them. Unless you’re hiding from someone or some people (like your students if you’re a teacher), I would not recommend it.

  32. Hey, for the past week or so I have gotten absolutely zero matches, using tinder every day and swiping normally, unpaid, not abusing left or right swipes.

    2 days ago I just decided to try and swipe right on everyone to see what happened, and no matches. Yesterday I didn’t use the app, and today I swiped right on everyone again, no matches. I uninstalled tinder because I suspected it was a glitch and maybe my uninstall would be one of many to get them to address it. But is this just a new feature to the app? Is it just going to be impossible to use from now on?

  33. Hello there,

    I’m very curious about the rumored last update because I’ve been suspecting something similar as I think this has happened to me. Would love to share about it if others think it might be legitimate.

      • The one you just listed here? About tinder plus users being bricked. Maybe not an “update” so much as probably a bug. But a bad one if it’s real. I didn’t realize it could be a legitimate thing so I’m curious to see if others are having the same issues as me

        • Ahah, I’m sorry I thought you meant a Tinder update.

          I’ve seen that happening for months, but only recently have I started hearing others reporting the same phenomenon, so I felt confident enough to include it.

          It does make a kind of sense as a very lazy anti-bot strategy.

          • Yeah I started noticing something in the last week or two. I’ve only had tinder plus for a few months, and I was liking it up until recently. I’ve only gotten like 2 matches in almost 2 weeks. Now I wasn’t really swimming in matches, but I was getting a comfortable amount. I’ve also had my account for about a year so i realize my ELO has probably plateaued and I’ve also must likely swiped out most people in my area. But this is where it gets weird.

            After I noticed I wasn’t getting much luck, I actually increased my radius a bit (20m) AND increased my age range AND bought a few more super likes. Swiped through a ton more people, used up all my super likes, and still nothing. Even worse, the next day, it pulled up a lot of those ‘new’ profiles again the next day. Some of which I super liked. As in, i had to super like them again. Still have only gotten one match since then.

            I have been more active on tinder lately, so it’s entirely possible that I hit my ‘limit’ while mindlessly swiping and got myself tagged. But I’m a paid user, and it’s absolutely bonkers to know that my account might be fucked BECAUSE I’m paying and using it more.

  34. What is the source for these guesses?

    If you are right about the ELO score and how it works, do you mean that 10s are shown to everyone, 9s to everyone but 10s, 8s to everyone but 9s and 10s and so on (roughly)?

    • Hi Andy,

      The guesses are based on the results of my own and others’ experiments, plus countless comments and discussions on reddit (with a lack of any evidence to the contrary).

      No. I mean people will see and be shown mostly people of their own approximate attractiveness, with some much more or less attractive people mixed in for spice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.