If you’ve never heard of the dating app Bumble, you’ve most likely heard of the concept behind it, at least: Download an app, make a profile, then swipe through photos of potential mates.
If you’re interested, you swipe right — if you’re not, swipe left.
What makes Bumble different from other dating apps like Tinder and OKCupid, though, is its focus on giving women all the power. Men using Bumble can swipe through the app and to find matches, but they can’t initiate conversations.
Bumble was founded by Whitney Wolfe, a cofounder of Tinder who left in 2012 and filed a sexual harassment suit against the company (Wolfe later settled out of court). The Bumble app launched in December 2014, and as of February 2017, Bumble had 12.5 million registered users spending an average of 100 minutes a day on the app.
But whether you’re one of those millions of people currently using the app, or just interested in what it has to offer, here’s a walkthrough on what it’s like to use Bumble.
The first thing you'll see after downloading Bumble is an explainer of the app's commitment to putting women first. After matching, men can't reach out to women -- women have to make the first move.
But if you're on the app to meet someone of the same sex, or to use BumbleBFF (more on that later), don't worry -- in those cases, anyone can start a chat provided its within 24 hours of matching.
Next, you'll set up your profile. I chose to connect Bumble with my Facebook account, so it auto-filled a few pictures from that account. I was also able to add a few from my camera roll, and swap them around by pressing on an image and dragging it.
Besides adding photos, you can add your employer, your university and graduation year, write a short bio, and link your Spotify account so people can see what kind of music you like.
One downside is that Bumble only lets you pick from two gender options at the moment. For those who identify with a different label, or prefer not to identify their gender at all, Bumble doesn't provide that option yet.
You can also verify your profile by snapping a quick selfie. This step is optional, but Bumble says selfies make it more obvious to other users that you're a real person and not a fake account.
Once you've set up your profile, you can go into your settings to add some preferences. Bumble lets you choose an age and distance range, then choose what you're looking for on the app: Men, women, men and women, or a BFF.
Let's start with BFF, Bumble's service for finding platonic friendship. BumbleBFF works just like regular Bumble: You're presented with one match at a time, and you can swipe through a handful of photos of that person. If you click the box at the bottom of the screen, you can learn more about them, like how far away they live.
But don't worry if you accidentally swipe left on someone: By shaking your phone, you can go back to their profile and re-evaluate.
If you want to switch the gender you're looking for or just go back to regular Bumble, all you have to do is go back into your settings and toggle to a different preference. The app will then automatically sends you matches based on what you're looking for.
If you swipe right on a person and they have already swiped right on you too, Bumble will let you know. You can start chatting with them right away, or keep looking for other matches.
When you're ready to chat, all you have to do is press the beehive-shaped button on the upper right-hand corner of the app. There, Bumble will show you all the matches you've racked up, and keep a log of all your ongoing conversations.
The chat function looks a lot like iMessage. You can send photos and GIFs and add reactions to the other person's message.
If you want to get more out of Bumble, there's an option to try the app's paid version, Bumble Boost. For $7.99 a month, Boost will let you re-match with connections that have expired (remember, you only have 24 hours to start talking), check out the people who have already liked you, and extend the 24-hour time limit.
There's one more paid feature within the app: Bumble Coins cost $1.99 apiece and let you buy SuperSwipes. SuperSwipes signal to someone that you're very interested in them. When they do find your profile, they can see you've SuperSwiped them.
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