How Does Hinge Work: A Beginner’s Guide

A girl who was wondering how does Hinge work, smiling as she texts on her phone to a guy she matched with.

If you haven’t heard yet, Hinge is the dating app that calls itself the “relationship app,” and claims to set singles up for longer term, meaningful connections. Originally, Hinge used your Facebook connections to set you up with friends of friends, but in 2017 they revamped their entire app and abandoned the popular swiping format used by Tinder and their other competitors. Now instead of swiping, the app scrolls in a vertical timeline format, much like a Facebook newsfeed, and daters like and respond directly to specific photos or prompts to match with each other.

But that’s just the basic overview. If you’re thinking of giving Hinge a try, this step-by-step guide will teach you the ins and outs of the app, and give you a few tips to get started:

Step 1: Set up your account.
Hinge is mobile-only, so download the app to the device of your choice to get started. When creating your account, you have the option to sign up with your Facebook profile and automatically import information from there or use a mobile phone number and enter your profile information yourself.

Next, the app will ask you for your height, ethnicity, education, vices (alcohol, pot, drug consumption), and few other tidbits. Your answers can be hidden if you feel any of the information is too private but will be used to match you with people. But remember: the questions are meant to help you find the best possible match, so share as much as you’re comfortable with.

Step 2: Pick your photos.
Selecting the right photos for your profile can be one of the trickiest parts of online dating. Hinge requires people to have six photos—no more, no less. Six images will not be enough space to tell your life story, of course, but the limited space gives you an opportunity to highlight what you want your profile to show. And this should be a no-brainer, but the number one feature on your profile should be you. Most photos should feature you front and center with your best smile, showing off those pearly whites.

Unlike most apps that require you to like a whole profile, Hinge let’s you like individual photos and different parts of someone’s profile. That way you can comment directly on specific photos to start a conversation. So if you’re into surfing, hiking, or attending concerts a photo of you in the act gives potential matches a feel for your personality and a jumping off point for conversation.

Avoid photos, where you’re not the main entree. People are on your profile to meet you, not your friends. One photo of you in a small group can be good, but make sure there isn’t any question of which person in the photo your profile belongs to.

Also, make sure that your photos are high resolution images. Grainy, spotty, or unclear photos are a big no-no.

Lastly, Hinge also lets you upload short looping videos in lieu of a photo. Profiles that include videos are given some slight preference in the display queue, so it can give you a leg up on the competition.

Step 3: Fill out your prompts.
One of the Hinge’s unique features is its profile prompts. There are around 80 of these fun little text blurbs like “I know I’ve made it when…”, “The dorkiest thing about me is…”, or “The award I should be nominated for…” Pick three and fill them out in 150 characters or less.

This feature is an opportunity for you to be interesting, funny, and maybe a little vulnerable. You might come across profiles with canned responses and these are pretty easily spotted. They also don’t help someone get to know you. It’s a dead cliché at this point, but it’s really important to be yourself. If you’re on Hinge, you’re probably looking for something more meaningful and long term, so it’s best to start with honesty.

Step 4: Start liking people.
Once your profile is all set up, it’s time to start sending likes and finding your future love. Hinge only lets you see one profile at a time, then you either like or dislike someone to see the next person. The first few people you see are usually suggested as a likely match by the Hinge algorithm and after a while they get more general.

As mentioned before, Hinge allows people to like and comment on specific photos or prompts on someone’s profile. This feature helps people find common ground. If their profile pic is of them climbing a rock wall, don’t be shy about reaching out about your last attempt at bouldering. When you like someone, your response will be the first thing they see from you. If they like you back, it’s a match and you can get straight to chatting.

Step 5: Stay free or pay for the Preferred Membership.
The free version of Hinge offers you a limited number of likes per day, but with Hinge’s Preferred Membership, you can send unlimited likes per day. New users typically receive a free month of the Preferred Membership upon completing the profile.

So that’s it! You’re officially a Hinge expert. If matches or dates don’t start rolling in right away, don’t fret. Practice playing around with your profile and tweaking different elements. Hinge is for long-term relationships and sometimes that takes… well, a long time.

Alex Bocknek

Alex Bocknek is the senior editor of The Date Mix and works at Zoosk, the online dating service. He’s also a recovering music critic and an aspiring fiction writer (probably lost) on the way to an independent bookstore near you. He can be found occasionally musing about politics, philosophy, and love in the modern world.

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