Does Bumble Automatically Update Your Location?

Posted by Robert Hayes on April 9, 2019

One of the most controversial aspects of dating apps is that they record the user’s location and then make that information semi-public. (Otherwise 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.

In this article, I 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.

How Do We Know That It Works?

There has been a lot of speculation regarding the accuracy of Bumble’s geographic tracking. 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. 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 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.

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. You used to be able to turn off geolocation in Bumble, but the app has apparently removed that functionality.

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.

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. Apart from the fact that it doesn’t run in the background if you’re not logged in and that it doesn’t always send out your location information, there’s not a lot to say. You can trick the app into staying set on a certain location if you disable the location tracking feature.

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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