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The best dating apps can help you find a fling or something more meaningful — it all depends on what you’re looking for in a relationship and which apps you use. And even if you’re not looking for romance, some dating apps have expanded their focus to simply connecting you with people who share your interests.
Top 3 Free Dating Apps
Dating apps are a popular (and convenient) way to meet people. And it’s not just about swiping to start a chat message anymore: new dating app features like video chat and similar tools can help you get to know someone remotely before deciding if you want to meet in person.
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For the most part, the best dating apps aim to help you find a romantic connection. But a few have also broadened their mission to help you create relationships of all kinds, even just friendship. That’s why we’re looking at apps that offer more than just swipes, but offer other features including video dating and security checks to make the world of online dating much better than it was before.
If you’re looking for some companionship, we can help you sort through a bunch of competing options to find the best dating apps that suit your needs.
When it comes to finding love in the mobile age, it’s hard to topple Tinder, one of the biggest and best dating apps that also has a wide reach. Tinder has a reputation for helping you find quick hookups, though it’s also focused on finding more permanent partners, and recent additions to the app have improved user security while adding video features.
Other apps are more geared toward long-term relationships, including Bumble (which gives its female members the power to make new friends) and Match.com. OKCupid now offers several different tools for finding romance, while Hinge’s ultimate goal is to get you to delete the app because you’ve found your perfect match.
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Looking for a same-sex partner? Grindr was the pioneer in that area, while Her offers a dating app for lesbian and bisexual users. There are also a number of dating apps for gamers, professionals and other interests.
Tinder is perhaps the most famous dating app for swiping through potential matches. The photos and short profiles encourage you to make quick judgments about potential partners. You create a simple profile with a handful of pictures and a few sentences about yourself, then throw yourself into the pool of other users near you, in your desired age group.
The app shows singles in your area. If you like someone’s profile, swipe the image to the right; otherwise you swipe left. If you both swipe right, you can send messages and set something. Upgrading to a paid Plus or Gold membership on Tinder gives you premium features like unlimited likes or rewinds that give potential partners a second chance. If you know how to use Tinder’s premium tiers, you can also change where you want your profile to appear.
Tinder continues to tinker with its formula, rolling out a video feature that lets you make in-app video calls to matches without exchanging personal details. A Safety Center feature ties into the Noonlight app and provides a panic button if you find yourself on a date where you feel unsafe, and you can run background checks based on public record data. Tinder may even add a “swipe party” feature that lets your friends join in the fun of helping pick out a potential partner for you.
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Bumble is one of the best dating apps for encouraging women to make the first move. The app can help you arrange dates or make new friends, with the power to connect in the hands of its female users. In fact, even if you’re not in the market for romance, Bumble might be worth checking out just to meet new people and broaden your circle of friends.
Women get to take the first step after two people connect with each other and are part of each other’s hive. From there you only have 24 hours to make any kind of contact or the connection will be lost. For same-sex connections or friendships, either person must make a move within 24 hours before that connection is gone, although you can get a 24-hour extension.
When it comes to making friends, Bumble has a BFF feature for people who aren’t looking for dates and a separate section for making business contacts. Ranging from $2.99 to $8.99, the Bumble Boost upgrade makes meeting or dating people easier and faster.
Bumble added video a couple of years ago, giving one of the best dating apps a step up into the shelter-in-place era. A Night Also added games starting with a trivia game to give you and your date something to do on your video chat.
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OkCupid has a huge user base and simple dating tools. But instead of resting on its laurels, OKC continues to refine and add features to its best dating app, such as a “flavors” system that lets users quickly see suggestive flavors of potential matches, such as Kinky Nerds, Beard Lovers, World Travelers, etc.
All of this is in addition to OkCupid’s messaging tool, personality quiz, Instagram integration, and other old favorites. A premium subscription adds other features, such as refined search tools and the ability to see users who have liked you.
Dating app Hinge refuses to follow in the footsteps of swipe-driven apps like Tinder and focuses on relationships and interesting conversations. In fact, the service’s expressly stated goal is to get you to the point where you’ve deleted the app entirely — presumably because you’ve found love and not because you’ve had it with the app.
Hinge flips up the nose on swipe for a more detailed profile that you fill out with photos and stories. Users can then choose to like and comment on something in that profile, and it acts as a mutual conversation starter. Every day you can check out new recommendations, as well as see people who have liked something in your profile.
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Hinge quickly responded to our shelter-in-place situation imposed by the coronavirus pandemic by rolling out Date From Home features. Other changes include partnering with the likes of Chipotle and Uber Eats to encourage users to have socially distanced dinner dates. A Standout feature now highlights people who are more likely to be your type, along with topics that Hinge believes will spark a conversation with your potential match. There’s also a premium tier that boosts your profile in searches, but we don’t think you need to pay to take advantage of the app’s matching experience.
Match.com offers its users a freemium dating experience on Android and iOS. Free users can create online profiles, upload a few pictures of themselves and then engage in some online flirting with “winks” and have new matches delivered to them daily. More extensive features, such as the ability to see who has checked out your profile and liked your photos, can be unlocked by a Match.com subscription.
Match has continued to add features, such as a Tinder-like mixer, Android Wear and Apple Watch integration, and the addition of voice and video to your profile. Launched in the spring, Vibe Check lets you enjoy video chats with your matches, while Match also lets you pay a little extra to have real-life dating coaches make matches for you.
Like Tinder, Match has also added a safety feature that lets you alert friends if you’re on a date and feel unsafe. You can even set your political views in Match, so you can better find a person whose views align with yours (or don’t, if you think opposites attract).
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Grindr allows gay and bisexual men to meet like-minded men nearby. Creating a profile is a fairly minimal experience, focusing on a profile picture, username and a few simple questions, choosing a “Tribe” that describes your type, and then you’re up to finding other users and chatting with them in minutes .
The app is strongly hookup-focused and connects you to profiles that are closest to you. If your goal is to meet someone conveniently and quickly, then Grindr is the best dating app for you.
Grindr is free to use and ad-supported, but the premium version, Grindr Xtra, offers ad-free browsing in addition to other features like adding multiple tribes and advanced search filters. One notable downside? Unlike other dating apps, push notifications for messages require Grindr Xtra.
Her is a dating and social networking app designed with lesbian, bisexual and queer users in mind. You sign up with Facebook or Instagram accounts and then see a stream of activity from other verified Her users both in your area and globally. You can like photos of other users, and if the interest is mutual, the app will link you to chat.
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Of course, it’s also more than just meeting prospective dates,
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