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I once had a meltdown because I saw that someone I was seeing (read: had gone on five dates with and wasn't exclusive with) had "active two days ago" on his Tinder profile — this was back in 2014, and the app has since changed its features. He hadn't been active for the three weeks we'd been hanging out, and I was destroyed(ish). I was new at online dating, as well as asking for what I want and dealing with my feelings. If you're in those early, in-between stages of a relationship, you might be wondering how to see if someone is on Tinder so that you can log on, find they haven't been active, and confirm that the person you’re chatting up isn’t also swiping left and right at the same time.
In addition to making sure you’re not wasting your time with the person you’re talking to or, alternatively, swiping right on inactive profiles, you might be curious about how to find someone on Tinder because you are in a committed long-term relationship and having some suspicions that your partner is straying. A friend of mine recently saw a dating app show up on her boyfriend of seven years’ screen when he accidentally swiped over "recently deleted apps."
Regardless of whether you’re invested in this topic because you don’t want to swipe right on ghosted profiles or you just can't bring yourself to ask your partner what’s going on, here are your best shots at how to find out if someone is on Tinder.
Use Tinder’s Recently Active Feature
Sorry to be such a downer, but the truth is that Tinder doesn't outright tell you exactly when profiles were last active. “The only way to know if someone you know is on Tinder is if you stumbled across their profile,” a Tinder spokesperson tells Elite Daily.
This is probably for your own good. That torturous feature I mentioned Tinder had way back in 2014 that told you exactly when a match was last active? That’s long gone. I promise you that had I not been able to "check up" on the person I was already going out on real life dates with, I wouldn't have been unduly paranoid. Without this paranoia, maybe I would have been a more normal, open date. Now, there's no way to creep on the app and find out exactly when someone was last on, except in one case.
Tinder does have a green dot feature that shows you that a user was “Recently Active” on the app — swiping, chatting, refreshing the profile, you name it — in the last 24 hours. If you pay for Tinder Gold and Platinum, you have access to this feature, and you’ll be able to see who in your “Likes You” grid has a green dot.
If you don’t subscribe to the paid options, you’ll see the green dot, but the photos in your “Likes You” grid will be blurred. The green dot isn’t something to rely on, though — users have the option to turn off their “Recently Active status” in the app’s settings if they “prefer to maintain [an] air of mystery,” according to Tinder.
Paying for the premium subscriptions also gives you access to Tinder’s “control who you see” curation option in the settings. So, if you want to make sure that you’re not swiping through inactive profiles and wasting your time, you can change the “control who you see” section to “Recently Active.” After that, the algorithm will prioritize showing you those profiles of those who have used the app recently or are also using Tinder at the moment you are.
Other than that, you won’t be able to discern exactly if someone you know has used the app recently or when, but you still might have some information to go off of.
If You See Them On Tinder, They Are At Least Somewhat Active
Although you won’t be able to tell when someone was last active, other than maybe the past 24 hours, seeing their profile on the app is a pretty good indication that the profile is in use.
A TikTok from Canadian user @trinniiitty, which now has over 2.5 million views, went viral in 2020 after posting a “PSA” claiming that Tinder only shows users who have been on the app within the last 7 days, period. While Tinder did confirm that it only circulates active profiles, it hasn’t been completely transparent about what the algorithm’s time frame for being "active" actually is — so for now we can only speculate. Long story short, though, if you see a person show up on Tinder’s deck of profiles, they are more than likely actively using the app.
So, if you or your friend see the guy or girl you’ve been going out with or fully committed to on the app, it might be time to have a little chat. And if they swear that it’s “just an old profile,” know that the evidence straight from Tinder HQ is stacked against them. And remember that it doesn’t hurt to have screenshots when it comes to talking about cheating.
"Know that if you ask them, though, chances are good they'll lie unless you catch them red-handed — and even then, they may lie,” Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the breakup BOOST podcast, previously told Elite Daily. “Don’t expect people who are living a lie to tell you the truth.”
Check To See If They’ve Updated Their Tinder Profile
If you really want to make sure that a profile you or your friend are seeing on Tinder is being actively used, then the final option is to go into full-on, old-fashioned social media stalker sleuthing mode.
To see if someone has been on the app recently, you can start off by inspecting the pictures they have on their profile and see if any of them have changed since you last saw them or are recently taken. To be sure, you can cross reference with their other social media.
Another method you can employ is to check the distance displayed on their profile from time to time. As long as you don’t change your location in your settings, if the distance displayed on their profile changes, it means that they used Tinder recently from another location.
Doing either of these things can definitely feel like an extraordinarily creepy move, but if you have to know, you have to know. However, it is important to keep in mind that a confirmed profile update isn’t necessarily a sign that the person is actively looking for someone else to date.
If You *Do* Find Them On Tinder, Here’s How To Bring It Up
If you’re using these tips in order to make sure you’re not wasting your time with inactive, ghosted profiles, then feel free to leave now with these in mind and open up Tinder — and best of luck swiping. On the other hand, if you’re concerned that the person you’re seeing (exclusively or not) is still using the app while being involved with you, really, the thing to do is to bring it up in conversation.
The main problem here is that you don’t trust your partner. If you are considering going all out on Tinder stalking, you should also consider asking them point-blank if they are cheating. It's no fun to stay in a relationship where you are constantly worried about being betrayed.
“While it may be painful to hear the truth, you’d rather know,” licensed mental health counselor and founder of Healing with Wisdom Kerri-Anne Brown previously told Elite Daily. “Knowing is what can allow for repair and growth should you decide to stay in the relationship and rebuild with your partner. Even if you decide to end things, you’ll likely feel empowered in making a decision that you felt was best for you and not be in the dark.”
Even if you aren't in an actual relationship yet, rather than hunting for clues via the rabbit hole that is the internet, where I once confused someone's Venmo charge with their aunt for a new girlfriend (not proud), simply acknowledge that you want more from the person you are dating than you are currently getting.
Either way, you deserve to know what the other person’s intentions are. Knowing the truth now will be far less painful than if you wait it out for six more months (months that will inevitably be full of investigation and paranoia). Trust me, I'm speaking from experience.
Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the breakup bOOST podcast
Kerri-Anne Brown, licensed mental health counselor and founder of Healing with Wisdom
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