So you've decided that you no longer want to spend the nights alone and you are back in the dating game.
Good! We have curated the best dating apps for iPhone and Android to help you find that special someone.
Different apps will help you fulfill different dating goals
So get them phones ready, take a deep breath and let's start shining up that profile picture and bio. It's time to get to work.
But before we start, here are a few tips and tricks on...
Best dating apps focused on serious relationships
How to actually succeed at online dating:
1. The profile picture is everything. It really is. A bad profile picture will significantly lower your chances of getting a match online. Ground rules: upload a recent picture and nope, that vacation three years ago does not count. Don't have a recent picture? Go out on a trip, take a few pictures and freshen up your albums. The picture should show what you look like clearly: face and body, be open about who you are, wear that smile showing the world how much you love life. Bonus points: if your photo shows you doing what you like, you will give that extra information and attract people of the same occupation and hobbies easier!
2. Write concisely what your hobbies are. You find who you love by doing what you love, the saying goes. So fine-tune that bio: it needs to state precisely who you are, what you like doing and exactly what kind of person you are looking for.
3. Invite members of the opposite sex to actively reach out. Just put a friendly reminder that you love when others initiate the conversation. Online dating can be overwhelming with hundreds of matches for both parties, so make it easier for both of you and facilitate that first 'Hello!'
4. Remember: it's a numbers game. Yes, it is. Many people online will not notice you or will ignore you for the wrong reasons. Don't get too worked up.
5. Don't waste too much time on one person you have not even met yet. So you've exchanged a few messages with someone and you are already in love with their profile picture. Cool, but don't get obsessed by a person you have not even seen. People love with their feet, so if there is that special connection, it should materialize in an actual date. If not, that other person is just not that into you. That's all.
6. Don't overpursue. Having good manners is one thing, writing ten times a day to a person you have barely started dating is a signal that you are needy and insecure. Don't do it.
7. Wait for the other person's reply! Men, especially, but also some women: wait for them to reply back! It's not a monolog.
8. Consider investing in premium service, but only after using the free app for a while. If you have been using that app for a while and want to maximize your matches, paying that monthly fee is not a bad idea. But: make sure to first get some experience with the app, get the hang of it and don't rush to buy premium on day one.
9. Start every interaction unbiased. Don't let previous bad experience influence how you treat your latest match. No one wants to hear how the previous 20 people you talked to were all terrible.
10. Keep a positive attitude. If you notice you're getting frustrated maybe it's time to take a break. Remember that new people are constantly joining dating apps, just because you were unlucky once, doesn't mean you won't find what you're looking for in the future.
With this in mind, let's look at the apps...
Best dating apps for casual dating
Tinder is the most popular app out there, period. If you want to get dates, it is the fastest and easiest way to get them. So yes, while we do prefer apps like Hinge that are little more detail-oriented and substantiated, Tinder is the place with more people not just in the United States, but all over the world.
Here is what the premium versions give as an extra:
A Tinder Plus subscription gives you undo for mistaken swipes, unlimited likes, five Super Likes each day, plus the option to look up people from different locations that the one you are currently at. Tinder Plus costs $10 a month for users under 28, and $20 for those over 28 years old or over (it's stupid, we know).
Tinder Gold costs $5 a month and is a feature that you can get only if you already are a paying Tinder Plus subscriber. Tinder Gold allows you to see who liked you.
Tinder claims that its paid users get 60% more likes than users of the free version.
Hinge is what a proper dating app on a mobile device should look like. And yes, you should be on it. It is not only the first dating app to add video to profiles, but it actually builds a page for you with your photos, videos, hobbies, background and a few other interesting tidbits you may want to share. We are more than just our profile pictures, so that's why on Hinge you will have a much better picture of the person you talk to beyond just a few snaps. Naturally, this means that you will have more meaningful conversations and more great people in your life. Sadly, Hinge is available on iOS only.
One of the more offbeat apps on this list, Happn works by requiring its users to have already passed by and noticed each other, so it serves as less of a dating app and more of a digital icebreaker, though only if both parties have expressed their interest. Also provided are a statistic about how many times users have crossed paths with one another, and connecting with someone isn’t subject to a time limit. If users choose to pay for the service, they are given the ability to send a so-called Charm, which is shown to a chosen person regardless of whether they have previously shown interest.
Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel offers a different approach to matching. Instead of letting you browse through hundreds of potential partners looking for ones that grab your attention, CMB selects them for you. Every day around noon you receive the picks that the app's algorithm (the one that does the "handpicking") decided are the best match for you. That number varies, usually around 15-20 matches a day, but sometimes it could be as little as 4-5, which can be disappointing. However, if you tend to spend too much time swiping on dating apps, this is a good alternative.
Online dating isn’t always the best experience for ladies, which is precisely the problem Bumble seeks to rectify. When two users match on the service, only the woman is allowed to make the first contact, a feature aiming to reduce potential abuse. Both parties have a 24-hour window to message the other, after which the match is considered unsuccessful. For obvious reasons, however, the first restriction doesn’t apply to same-sex matches, which the app also offers. In-app purchases allow users to extend the time limit by another day and also buy back expired connections.
Grindr is the largest LGBTQ+ social media and dating site out there, and it’s a must-download if you’re gay, bi, trans, or queer, and searching for love. The community has over 2 million active daily users across 196 countries, and it's arguably the most popular service of this kind. Grindr has several tiers when it comes to pricing. Free users see only 100 profiles in their area. Grindr XTRA allows you to see up to 600 profiles, removes ads, and lets you view only people who are online for $20 a month. If you want the full experience, then there’s Grindr Unlimited, which lifts the limit on the number of people you can see, lets you see who’s viewed your profile, and adds an Incognito browsing mode. That will cost $25 a month.
Her was released back in 2013 under the name Dattch and renamed two years later. It's basically Grindr for women. The difference is that Her claims to be developed by queer women for queer women. Her boast over a million active users in the US and it's more than just a hook-up app. There's a social element that allows users to connect to a community, rather than seeking short-term fun. The app is free but there's also Her Premium. For $14.99 per month users can access more filters, see who's online and use the app when traveling to a different place.
Best dating apps that stand out from the pack
Here is a different and fun dating app: Hater. It creates connections based on common things you hate. The idea to "hate on everything together", of course, will appeal most to youngsters and the grumpiest of folks out there, but it is fun and easy to use.
The League bills itself as an elite dating app. It tries to solve one of the big problems of online dating - the lack of proper filtering. In order to join the League users submit Facebook and LinkedIn credentials, and join a wait list. The mysterious process of approving new candidates is done by humans and can be rather slow. You can pay to get your application reviewed with priority but the sum is non-refundable and guarantees nothing. There are upsides to such a strict filtering process - you won't run into fake profiles and your Facebook friends and LinkedIn colleagues are automatically excluded to avoid awkward run-ins.
Raya is another shot at elite dating and networking. It's an app used by celebrities, top level executives, athletes, and other high-profile singles. What this means is that you probably won't make the cut. In order to get reviewed by the acceptance committee you need to have at least 5000+ Instagram followers and ideally this number should be 250,000+. A referral from an existing member helps a bit but still doesn't guarantee membership.
Best dating apps focused on serious relationships
One of the classic online dating services, OkCupid has operated for more than 12 years, proving itself to be quite good at its job. But recently, it angered its users with a new limitation: while previously you could see who has visited your profile, that information is no longer available (in the worst traditions of Tinder). You can't even see who gave you a like unless you're paying a monthly subscription and messages from people you haven't matched with remain on their profiles for you to discover. But... there is still a ton of people on OKCupid. A nice feature OKCupid has is the match percentage it shows for each potential partner based on the questions you've answered. The more answers you have, the better match you can get. You can go through the answers of other people and quickly rule out the ones that don't share some of your core beliefs.
Match.com has one key advantage over all others (except, for Tinder): a huge database and lots of people registered, which is of utmost importance for dating apps, hence the recommendation. The app itself is not executed very well and comes up with confusing error messages way too often. The service itself, however, is definitely full of choices and it allows you to discover people nearby, view their photos, and "wink" for free. There are various premium tiers for those who want to get more dates faster.
eHarmony is a very detailed matching service that is better suited for those who are looking for a long-term thing. You get to fill in a questionnaire that delves deep in your personality to find a very precise match. It's a stark difference from Tinder and the likes, and a breath of fresh air for those looking for more substance.
Facebook Dating was announced in May 2018 and is still in development. The service is available only in a limited number of countries and although Facebook Dating launched partially in the US in 2019, many people still can't access it. You match with people within a 100-km range and can filter results based on location, number of children, religion, age, or height. Facebook Dating has enormous potential: more than 2 billion people use Facebook and all the sophisticated algorithms that the social network uses to blast you with ads can work wonders if used for dating purposes. Get Started
Plenty of Fish
Another hugely popular service with years of history, Plenty of Fish has evolved in ways similar to Tinder, using a swipe-based matching system and allowing you to see people that are near you. To improve your matches, POF uses the so-called Relationship Chemistry Predictor that factors in different personality traits, from self-confidence to easygoingness, based on the answers you gave on their test.