Does Bumble Automatically Update Your Location?

Posted by Robert Hayes on December 15, 2019

One of the best things about dating apps is that you can admire others from afar, with relative anonymity, and without getting caught up in a web of difficult feelings.  On the other hand, one of the most controversial aspects of dating apps is that you aren’t entirely anonymous:  the apps famously use GPS data to record the user’s location and then make that information semi-public.  This does make sense, to an extent.  Without location information, the whole concept of the app wouldn’t work; most of us aren’t interested in trying to start a relationship with anyone who lives more than a short distance away from us. Despite the necessity for the information being out there, people concerned about their privacy are legitimately worried about misuse of this data by stalkers, angry ex-lovers, or government.  All of these are very valid concerns!

In this article, we will look at how the popular dating site Bumble handles geographical information, and contrast it with the other major dating apps out there. The big questions: can you set your own location in the app, or are you at the mercy of your GPS indications, and do you have any control over how much information Bumble reveals about you?

Geographic Settings

Unlike a lot of other apps, Bumble does not run constantly on your device. Once you exit the device, it shuts down and it doesn’t start up again unless you get a new match or message, or start it up yourself. For that reason, if you are offline, the only location information the app has on you is your last known location from the last time you were logged on. This is usually just displayed in the app using your city name; other users will not be shown their distance from you in miles if you’re not online. When you do go online again and open Bumble, the app will take its information from your Wi-Fi info and from your phone’s GPS data.  This means that Bumble will always set your location based on where you are actually physically located when using the app.

How Do We Know That It Works?

There has been a lot of speculation regarding the accuracy of Bumble’s geographic tracking. Even this far into the 21st century, it’s abundantly clear that not all GPS locators are created equally.  After multiple years of experience with the app, it is fairly clear that the app has good location tracking and “knows” where you are with some reliability.

How will you know that Bumble has correctly spotted you?  First, check your profile results.  Your top profile results tend to be filtered by proximity. The first photos you’ll get to swipe at any given time you log in are from the people closest to your current location.

However, these results are filtered even further. After proximity is taken into account, the ranking or popularity of the profile becomes another important filter; profiles that lots of people have swiped right on will tend to be shown more often and sooner than profiles that have encountered a lot of rejection.  If you’re in a location with very few Bumble members, this might be a confusing way to track location.

Can You Opt Out of Geotracking?

No. Although you can block Bumble from knowing where you really are (see below), the app will always at least think it knows where you are, and will put you in the card stack for that area of the world. There is no way to effectively block Bumble from knowing your location and still use the app to match, chat, and meet with local people. While Bumble used to allow users to turn off geolocation temporarily, that is no longer an option in the latest version.

Automatic vs. Manual Settings

Bumble does allow you to set your acceptable distance range for prospective matches, from 3 miles to 100 miles. However, Bumble does not allow you to set your location manually, unlike some of the premium tiers of Tinder, which let you say that you are in a different place, a useful feature for people who are going on vacation or a business trip. However, there is a way around this limitation if you use a simple trick.

First you’ll have to access your smartphone’s Settings menu and find your location option. If you disable the location option, then moving from one city to another won’t prompt Bumble to update your location. However, for this to work you need to make sure that you turn the location feature off in the area you want to be seen in. This should also change what type of profiles you see, and not only which users have seen you.

Bumble’s Travel Mode

Though Bumble is strict about location, the team behind the app understands that humans are rarely stationary.  The Travel mode allows users to set their location in a different city for up to seven days.  Unfortunately, you don’t get to set an exact location- Bumble will set you down right in the middle of the city center.  Your profile will also display an indicator that lets other Bumble users know you’re in Travel mode.

You will need to pay five Bumble coins for the privilege, but the process of setting Travel mode is pretty simple:

  1. First, tap the gear icon to open Settings
  2. Scroll to the Location settings at the bottom, and tap “Travel to…”
  3. Search for and select the city
  4. The timer will start on your Travel period right away!

While in Travel mode, you can change your location as many times as you wish, but you can only choose one location at a time.

Final Thought

Bumble has gained considerable popularity by shifting the balance of power between men and women. In regards to information sharing, the app really isn’t all that different from most other dating apps. Many people find it very helpful to be able to look at prospective matches in the immediate vicinity. While some users are nervous about how sharing your location can impact your privacy, note that Bumble has very strict guidelines regarding consent, and you should never hesitate to click the “Block and Report” option or contact Bumble if you’re feeling uneasy about another user’s activity.

Want more information about getting the most out of Bumble? TechJunkie has a lot of great articles to help you out!

Taking snapshots in Bumble? Find out whether Bumble notifies other people when you snapshot their picture.

Interested in how Bumble does things? We have a tutorial on whether or not Bumble limits your likes and matches.

Worried about whether someone got your message? We can tell you whether Bumble has read receipts on messages.

Did you make a mistake in creating your profile? We’ll show you how to change your name in Bumble and how to change your education level in Bumble.

One thought on “Does Bumble Automatically Update Your Location?”

Chris says:
Your solution doesn’t work. If you disable the location option on your phone, you cannot even use Bumble. It forces you to turn on location when you open before doing anything else.

An app displaying your location to the world when you use it is hortendous. I cannot believe there’s no way to opt out of that and little or no disclosure of it (I certainly didn’t see any disclosure of it and just happened to figure it out after a few days of active use).


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