Whether you’re in search of your significant other, fancy some online speed dating, or just want to grab a coffee with a local, dating apps have paved the way for interpersonal connection. While there are a ton of different apps available, they each offer unique and exclusive features. So, which service will you choose to help you find the one? We’ve gathered and broken down the best Android apps and iPhone apps so you can get back to the dating life. You can also check out the best dating apps for dating during coronavirus to help you find “the one” during lockdown.
OK, so Pure is designed for hookups rather than serious dating, but don’t judge a book by its cover — or in this case, an app by its intended purpose. Pure is for those who prefer their dating life with no strings attached, so if that’s you — we’re not judging — then it’s well worth checking the app out. Designed with some pretty cool art, there’s a millennial vibe to Pure — and it’s a space for over 18’s only, with a strict no nude photos rule.
When signing up, the app asks for your phone number to ensure you’re a real person, and uses your location to find potential matches. Make sure you outline what you’re looking for when creating your bio — as well as mentioning any boundaries. The aim here is anonymous, spur-of-the-moment connections, so your bio, selfies, matches, conversations, and likes automatically self-destruct every 24 hours — and they’re only visible to others when you’re online. Privacy isn’t a concern, as any photos you send in messages can’t be saved — and if anyone tries to screenshot an image you’ve sent, the app notifies you.
The user base right now is admittedly a little sparse, so unless you live in a major city, you might strike out with Pure. On the plus side, a smaller user base means fewer bots and people trying to scam you — so Pure remains a fairly safe app to use. On the downside, retyping your bio and uploading your photos every 24 hours can get old pretty fast, but it’s great if you prefer your apps with no strings attached. You can communicate with anybody who messages you for free, but to see other profiles you’ll need to upgrade to Pro for $15 per week or $40 a month.
Our next app is a little bit different from the others on this list — it’s strictly for those who are into astrology. Not the “Today you will win the lottery” horoscopes that you find in every magazine and newspaper on the planet, but actual, real astrology. We’re talking about the time of your birth, which, along with your sun sign, can be used to create your birth chart — but who has time to create a birth chart to work out your supposed compatibility with your potential match? NUiT takes care of all that, asking you to sign up with your date of birth, then creating your own unique birth chart, which will not only give you insights into your own personality but can also help you see how you connect or clash with others. There are daily horoscopes too, if you’re into that.
NUiT is actually a lot of fun, and it’s a gorgeously designed app that’s free to use. OK, so it can’t tell you if that Cancerian born at 4:45 p.m. on July 5 is going to be your soulmate, but it can give you insight into behaviors, letting you use that insight to understand why people act and think the way they do. NUiT is geared toward inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community, and includes non-binary gender identity, as well as an expanded spectrum of orientation preferences — so if you’re looking to date somebody of the same sex, your profile won’t be shown to straight users, unlike most heteronormative dating apps.
NUiT’s user base is fairly small, but hopefully, this will grow in the future, and the feedback from users has been mostly positive, with many commenting that they use the app to make friends as well as find potential matches.
OkCupid was once one of the biggest names in the dating biz — and the desktop version has been around for what feels like forever (long before apps were even a thing). These days the reviews for the app are fairly mixed, but it’s still a popular choice if you’re getting back in the dating game. After creating a username, you’ll start your OkCupid journey by filling out a very long profile, which you can link to your Instagram account. You can answer questions, giving both your answer and what you’d like your potential match’s answer to be — creating a percentile score that reflects compatibility between users. The survey has been recently changed to include questions about contentious issues like climate change, so you can filter out people with diametrically opposed views to yourself. You can also choose to make your answers public and note how important they are to you, so prospective matches can see for themselves how compatible you’re likely to be.
All options, including those for accessing the settings and viewing profiles, are located in a slide-out menu. Tap the “matches” option to browse, which, oddly, does not show you the people you’ve matched with but rather, the people you could potentially match with. If that interface is too chaotic for you, tap the “quickmatch” option, which restricts the results to photos only. You can like people or message them in a similar fashion to Tinder, but messaging is your better bet: Users can see who has liked them only if they have upgraded to “A-list” status, which costs $10 a month or $30 for six months.
It’s not perfect. OkCupid has as many downsides as Tinder, and fewer positive ones, with the exception of learning a lot more about your potential dating partners — which can get interesting at times. The interface is extremely clunky and the photos are a little small. You also have to tap on a user’s small image to see a larger version and the person’s profile, which is simply too large for an app. It works on a website, but it’s overkill on an app, and the amount of scrolling required makes it annoying to access. When you exit back to the list, there’s no guarantee that it’ll be in the same order or that it will return you to the spot you scrolled down to, making it extremely hard to keep track of what you’ve already viewed.
Worst of all — anyone can message you. Anyone. And they can message anything to you. If you don’t reply, they’ll probably just keep on messaging you too. Facebook verification helps block a percentage of bots and catfishers from creating accounts, and without it, OkCupid loses a level of reliability.
Some other websites may be older, but Tinder is undoubtedly the most famous dating app out there. As such, it’s an obvious choice for our list of the best dating apps. As successful as it is at forming long-distance relationships and successful marriages, Tinder has long been accused of changing dating into some form of hookup game. But it’s the king of the dating hill for a reason and the first port of call for many daters.
Thankfully, the Tinder app no longer requires you to have a Facebook account, but you do have to be older than 18 to sign up. You’ll set up a concise profile that consists of a 500-character bio and up to six images (we suggest always including a photo or your best selfie). You can also link Tinder to your Instagram account and include info about your employer and/or school. Discovery settings allow you to set preferences for who can find your profile, from distance and proximity to age range. But once that’s over, the real fun begins.
Tinder’s interface is svelte and shows you only a photo, name, and age of each prospect. You can tap on the photo to see additional information about the person, as well as Facebook friends you share (if you’re logged in through your Facebook account). You can then swipe right (to like them), left (to pass), or up if you want to use one of your precious “super likes” to show them you really, really like them. If you and another person have both swiped right on one another, a screen will appear showing you’ve matched and inviting you to send them a message. There’s also a recently added video chat option — but it’s only currently available if you live in Virginia, Illinois, Georgia, or Colorado. Free membership comes with limited swipes, and you’ll have to sign up to Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold to get features like unlimited swipes.
The photos are large, the app is — comparatively speaking — elegant, and setting up your profile is pretty painless. All things considered, Tinder gets an A for its usability. Also, no one can message you unless you have also expressed an interest in them, which means you get no unsolicited messages. While there are a fair few people on Tinder who use it strictly to collect swipes, many people are actually inclined to meet up in real life, which is not always the case with dating apps. Since Tinder is also one of the most popular dating apps, you’re more likely to come across someone you like who lives nearby. Dating is a numbers game, and Tinder has numbers on its side — even if the app itself is widely regarded as one of the buggiest around.
XO is a solid dating app, but with one big difference: Instead of the usual corny pickup lines and awkward first chats, you and your match play a fun game together, which allows you to get to know each other in a much more natural way. There are a number of icebreakers available, including drawing and word games, so you should be able to find something worth playing with every one of your matches. Playing a game helps to make conversing much more natural, and it gives you an easy conversation starter — even if it’s only about which games you prefer. You can also share funny results on social media, which helps to immediately introduce your new amour into your social circles.
Matching works similarly to other dating apps. You can match with individuals from your Match screen and tap the checkmark for anyone you’re interested in meeting. Or, if you’re the more adventurous type, you can tap the Blind Date option to be matched with someone completely different. You’ll play a game with your blind date and only have your identities revealed at the end of that first game. While you may find that a little scary, the chance to reach outside of your usual physical type may reap dividends, as you could end up connecting with someone you might usually not have.
The free version gets you a limited version of the app, so you’ll need to subscribe for additional features like unlimited likes, seeing who’s liked you, changing any mistaken selections you’ve made, and stripping out ads. A monthly subscription is expensive at $15, but you can buy six months for $80 or a year for $125 to save a little extra cash — though, as always with dating apps, paying upfront can be a little risky, as you’re essentially paying with the hope of not needing it eventually.
Recently added features include the option to invite people to play games by username so you can play with your friends or crush, Group Date, which lets you play a four-person game, and Astrology Match, which matches you with other users based on your star sign — if you’re into that kind of thing. Also new to the app is Third Wheel, which is pretty much what it sounds like — you’ll be matched with someone but a member of the XO team will also be in the chat, as the ‘Third Wheel’ on your date! They’ll perk up your conversation if it gets stale, help out with topics, and play group games with you to help you get to know each other.
On the downside, the app is still quite new, which means its audience is going to be quite a bit smaller than other dating apps. If you live in a less populated area, this might mean you’re much less likely to find someone within close proximity to yourself. However, it’s definitely one to keep an eye on, as the icebreaking games are definitely a new and fun way to meet people.
Why add information to a completely new app when you could just use an app you probably use every single day? Facebook Dating has rolled out in the U.S., and it can leverage everything Facebook already knows about you to help you find a partner.
You don’t have to download a separate app to get started with Facebook Dating, as it’s built into the main Facebook app. To try it out, tap on the Menu icon on the upper-right side of your Facebook app. From there, just tap the Dating option — though you may need to tap See More to find it. Tap on Get Started, and you’ll be taken through several steps to set up your profile, including the gender you’re looking for, a confirmation of your location, and a choice of profile picture for your dating profile.
The big advantage of using Facebook as your dating platform is that it already knows an awful lot about you, and while that’s a bit creepy, that data is used to refine your dating choices, making it a boon in this particular case. Facebook can also skim your regular profile for details that it thinks might appeal to potential suitors — though you can remove anything you’re not happy with sharing.
The big worry is that Facebook will accidentally suggest your friends or show that you’re open to dating on your regular profile. Thankfully, this isn’t the case, and Facebook keeps such details quiet. It might take a few days for your first match to arrive, but you’ll get a push notification when it does. If you find someone you like, you just have to tap the Heart icon on your profile to unlock the option to message them.
But there’s another feature that allows you to reach out to that friend or follower you’ve been secretly crushing on for so long — if they return your feelings, that is. Called Secret Crush, this feature allows you to choose up to nine of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers as a secret crush on Facebook Dating. If they have a Dating profile and also select you as one of their crushes, well, Facebook Dating will let you both know your feelings are returned. If your feelings aren’t returned, no one will ever know, making it a no-lose situation.
Facebook Dating isn’t available everywhere yet, but it is available in the U.S. and a variety of South American countries. Its rollout in the U.K. and EU countries has been delayed due to privacy concerns. If you’re in the U.S. and are finding you can’t sign up to Facebook Dating, just check back at a later date, and try one of the other apps on this list in the meantime.
If you’re gay, bi, trans, or queer, then there’s no better place to find love than Grindr. It’s the largest LGBTQ dating app and dating site out there, and it’s a must-download if you’re looking for that special someone — or just a little fun. Signing up is easy — you can either choose to enter your details in the old-fashioned way by filling in the form, or you can quickly sign up with your Facebook account. Once you’re signed up, you’ll want to set a profile picture and a display name, and make it clear whether you’re looking for love, a hookup, or just friends.
With that out of the way, you’ll be able to start seeing who’s in your area. You can favorite people if you want to speak to them later or just really like them, and you can even browse other locations — perfect if you’re heading somewhere else for the weekend or want to make some new friends before a big move. It’s easy to message people — just tap the Messaging icon on their profile — and there are large, high-quality pictures available for each of your matches, so you have a good idea of who you’re meeting up with. You can even location-share for really easy meetups. If something goes wrong, it’s also easy to report or block accounts — though there are a limited number of blocks for free users, which is odd and a serious turnoff.
Using the service is free, but there are limits. Free users only get to see 100 profiles in their area and are limited in other parts of the app, too. If you want to lift those limits, then there are two subscriptions you can take out. The first, Grindr XTRA, allows you to see up to 600 profiles in your area, view people who are online now, remove ads, and add other upgrades for $20 a month. But if you want the best possible experience, then there’s Grindr Unlimited, which has no limit on the number of people you can see, lets you see who’s viewed your profile, and allows for browsing in Incognito mode, as well as allowing you to undo sent messages and photos. Unlimited’s newest features include expiring photo mode, where your sent images expire after one 10-second view, and chat translate, allowing you to communicate with other users who don’t speak your language. Unlimited will set you back $25 a month, though, so it’s quite the investment.
The first dating app you can download (guilt-free) if you’re not single, Ship has a unique concept. Rather than just being a one-on-one affair, this dating app allows your friends to get in on the dating process by vetting potential matches and sending them over to you — with a few thoughts of their own, most likely. Otherwise, you can use it as a regular dating app, with the option of inviting friends later to get their thoughts before you commit to a date.
Getting started is easy. If you’re looking for love, you download the app, set up your account, and then invite people to join your Crew. Once set up, you can send profiles to your Crew, who’ll then be able to check them out for you and let you know if they think you’ll be a match. If you’re more the matchmaking type, you can individually search on your friend’s behalf and send them any potential suitors, along with your thoughts. A recent update has increased the number of Crews you can have, so you can have separate Crews for different groups of friends.
Once a match has been found, you can chat with them through the app. If you’re a more private individual, you probably don’t see the attraction here. But if you’ve ever sent over screenshots of a potential match to your friends for approval and discussion, then this app is an absolute must-download.
If music is the food of love, then it’s likely to break your heart if a potential life partner can’t stand your favorite tunes. Tastebuds’ dating app gives you a chance to avoid that, with dating and social pairing matched primarily on musical love. Simply sign up, add the music you like, and get matched up with nearby people who share a similar taste in tunes. If your taste is constantly evolving, you can add your Spotify profile, too, so your profile is kept impeccably up to date. There’s a website version, too.
It’s on the smaller side where these sorts of apps are concerned, with only 500,000 people registered worldwide at the last count. Being iOS-only is only going to restrict that even more — though surveys say Android and iOS owners don’t want to date each other anyway. So, if you’re a bit farther out from an urban area than your average person, well, you may not find many people near you. If you are lucky enough to be close to a number of Tastebuds members, though, then it’s also worth keeping in mind it’s not just for dating — it’s also useful for finding new friends with similar musical tastes, concert buddies, and even collaborators and new band members.
Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel used to require Facebook to create an account, but that’s thankfully no longer the case. Instead, you’ll need to use your phone number to verify yourself, making signing up even easier — and slightly less intrusive.
Once you’ve set up your profile and input your dating preferences, Coffee Meets Bagel will send you a few “bagels” a day — otherwise known as a potential match’s profile. You then have 24 hours to decide whether you want to “like” or “pass” on your bagel. If you like your bagel and they have also liked you, you’ll connect and be able to message one another in a private chat. That chat room expires after eight days, regardless of whether you’ve talked with your bagel or not, and that expiration date imbues an immediacy not found in most other dating apps. You can also earn “beans” that allow for extra app functions, either by purchasing them outright, recommending the app to your friends, or logging in on consecutive days.
The service also offers more specific preference options, so you can narrow choices to certain religious beliefs or ethnicities if those are particularly important to you. You can load up to nine photos and create a much more prolific profile than some other apps. And if you’ve entered any icebreakers into your profile, the app will send one of them to a bagel you’ve connected with as the first message, allowing for a convenient, immediate connection. The fact that chat rooms expire after a week puts some pressure on you to exchange phone numbers or meet up in real life, or you can just quietly fade away without any fuss. The interface is also relatively user-friendly, with large photos and clean text.
Appearances can be deceiving, though. Although Coffee Meets Bagel allows for a range of super-specific preferences, the bagel it sends you may or may not match your specified preferences, and, more often than not, if they do, they will be a significant distance away. The app can also be glitchy, often resulting in slow update and load times, and sometimes it’s frustrating that it sends you only a single bagel a day. You can speed things up a bit by using the Give & Take option, but it’ll cost you a hefty 385 beans to like someone who catches your eye. When you consider a bag of 200 beans will set you back $3, it can quickly become expensive if you’re the impatient type.
Despite the expiration of bagels, the slow pace and infrequency of connecting with potential matches make it all too easy to be super-passive with the app, which can render it useless. However, if you prefer a slower pace, then Coffee Meets Bagel is appealing.
Load up Hinge, and you might think you’ve accidentally booted into Tinder. Yes, Hinge looks a lot like Tinder’s younger sister, and given the dating context, that might make you a little uncomfortable. But dive a little deeper, and there are more differences. Function-wise, it’s very different and uses common interests to pair with prospective matches. It does this by having you answer a bunch of questions through a Tinder-like interface. Have you been to Berlin? Swipe right. Don’t play croquet? Swipe left. This makes answering questions far easier and less time consuming, not to mention more fun. The questions themselves aren’t as asinine as those in some other dating apps, and they give you a better sense of someone than 500 characters of description can.
People can message you only if you’ve matched, so there are no unsolicited greetings. You can immediately see what sort of relationship people are looking for, and while that doesn’t sound revolutionary, it reflects the fact that Hinge carries more of a dating expectation than a hookup expectation à la Tinder. Best of all, since the matches are curated by your answers to questions, it’s quite a bit harder to come across someone who’s just looking to send inappropriate pictures — and that’s a big plus in our book.
You can only add photos of yourself from Facebook or Instagram, though, which is kind of limiting if you’re not very active on either. Hinge used to be based around a Facebook friends-of-friends model, but it has since distanced itself from Facebook, which means it’s a lot harder to run out of potential matches. However, this means Hinge is a lot less unique than it used to be. Like other apps, there’s a free version and a subscription-based version called Preferred. The free membership has limited filters and likes and a reduced ability to see everyone who likes you. The paid membership lifts those restrictions and costs $10 a month, with a reduced fee per month if you sign on for three or six months.
Recently added features include Date from Home, which lets you video chat with users you’ve already exchanged messages with.
There was no way we could discuss the best dating apps without mentioning the granddaddy of them all. Match was at the top of the dating game long before dating apps like Tinder existed, and its experience shows. Signup is simple but can take a little time — it involves entering your details, answering a few questions about your preferences, and adding a couple of photos. Facebook registration isn’t needed, thankfully.
Match’s version of flirting is sending someone a “wink,” and you can search through the Match database to find winkable people. The service will also provide you with daily personalized matches, which take your interests into consideration. There’s also a personalized dating coach that sends recommendations of people who match your desires. The Match interface is also pretty sleek and minimalist, but it’s not as easy to use as, say, Tinder. It uses a set of tabs that run along the top of the display (Matches, Search, Viewed Me, and Mixer), which break up the service’s various functions. It’s not an overly complicated app, but it does take a few minutes to get used to.
However, to make the most of Match, you’re going to need a subscription, which can get a little pricey — the cheapest option currently available will run you $24 a month for 12 months. If you don’t want to sign up for a year, it’ll cost $32 a month for three months or $27 a month for six months. Is it worth it? Probably — a premium subscription does allow you to see who’s recently looked at your profile and who has liked your pictures, and it includes a host of other features.
The app’s latest updates include the option to start free conversations with your Top Picks.
Bumble looks eerily similar to Tinder but functions a tad differently. The big catch with Bumble is that when opposite genders match, the woman must message the guy first — and she only has 24 hours to do so. Guys don’t have as much power, but they can extend matches for 24 hours if they’re really hoping to hear from a particular woman. Ladies can do the same thing if they want to chat with a match but haven’t had time during the first day. For same-gender matches, either person can initiate the conversation first.
It’s a system that promotes an active approach, but not enough to be punishing. The 24-hour time limit to connect with someone adds just enough pressure to start a conversation, so matches don’t languish and get reshuffled into the deck. And if you accidentally nixed someone, just shake your phone to undo your rogue swipe. Profiles are concise, and settings are pared down, like with Tinder, and swiping up allows you to scroll through additional photos.
Bumble also checks the boxes for usability, a slick user interface, and easy profile setup. Also, the relatively ballsy move of designing a dating app where women take the driving seat definitely pays off. It’s the only app that states plainly and prominently that it prohibits pornographic material, requires its users to respect one another, and has a code of conduct in place specifically to make it a safe and friendly place.
If you’re a woman and you hate being the first person to initiate a conversation, then Bumble definitely isn’t for you. Profiles are also very short, consisting of a concise blurb and six photos max. This can make it hard to gauge whether or not you’re interested in someone, even at the most superficial level. Furthermore, because Bumble places the onus on the woman to initiate the conversation, we’ve found that it can attract a more passive crowd than other dating apps. However, if you’re a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to get it, Bumble is worth a shot.
Bumble recently added in-app voice and video chat functions, as well as the option to send audio notes if you don’t fancy chatting in real time.
How often do you cross paths with the love of your life before you actually meet them? Maybe you smile at your crush every day when you get your morning coffee, but you’ve never built up the courage to talk. If so, Happn could be for you. It’s a dating app that shows the profiles of other singles and pinpoints the last place and time you were near each other. All your prospective matches are people you’ve crossed paths with, so you’re always starting out with something in common.
You can like people secretly, and they won’t find out unless they like you, too. If you’re comfortable being bolder, you can tap the Charm button to let them know you’re interested. However, Charms cost coins, which you’ll have to buy with real cash via in-app purchases. When you get a match — which Happn calls a Crush — you can start chatting with each other.
It’s very quick and easy to set up and use. The profile creation is pretty standard. You add photos, age, profession, and interests, and you can also specify what you like doing, whether that’s taking a walk in the park, seeing a movie, or going for a drink. Happn also has some nifty integrations — you can use Facebook to set up your profile, hook up your Instagram account to automatically add photos, and add Spotify to see if your musical tastes align with matches.
Happn uses the GPS functionality on your phone to track your movements. If you’ve been within 800 feet of a potential match, then you’ll see their profile. For that reason, it works best for city dwellers. People can’t contact you unless you tap the Heart on their profile. Happn never displays your position to other users in real time, and you can also block users if you have stalking concerns.
Recently added features include video calling — just go to the conversation tab and tap the Video Camera icon to start a call.
Plenty of Fish
Plenty of Fish is one of the oldest dating services out there, and it’s certainly the biggest after hitting 90 million users in May 2017. With that many users, you’re more likely to find matches quicker. Plenty of Fish itself likes to point that out, saying that users are 2.7 times more likely to be matched in their first 24 hours.
That sort of massive following is a selling point in itself, but Plenty of Fish has more going for it than just pure size. It takes things that work for other apps and includes them in its own, adding Tinder’s swiping mechanics and a Happn-style ability to see matches near to you. It does have its own little twists on the formula — the Spark system allows users to quote any part of their match’s profile, so icebreakers are much easier when you can see what a message is referencing.
Much like other dating apps, Plenty of Fish has you take a chemistry test of your likes and dislikes, and it quizzes you about your wants and needs from a relationship, so you can be sure that you’re likely to be matched with people who are looking for similar outcomes to your own. The best part? It’s completely free and doesn’t charge to message or browse your matches. That makes it the ideal app to download if you’re on the market but aren’t actively searching for love. And if you’re going out of your way to find someone, Plenty of Fish may have your perfect catch. However, the signup process is pretty lengthy, and the layout is rather fiddly on mobile.
You can subscribe to access the app’s premium features, which will set you back $39 for three months, $60 for six months, or $90 for a 12-month subscription.
Recent updates include the LIVE! feature where you can livestream to an audience or host one-on-one video chats, as well as NextDate, a virtual speed dating feature that lets you participate in a series of 90-second video chats from the comfort of home.
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