Best dating apps
The internet has made it easier to do a great many things, and dating is one of them. Gone are the days when the only options you had to meet that special someone was to head down to a local drinking joint, or meet them at a social gathering. Those methods are still valid, but you can always try your luck at online dating to improve your chances. There are a lot of dating apps and services out there, so we have a few options to try if you happen to be struggling to figure out which ones to try.
The apps in question include big names like Tinder, match.com, and OkCupid, as well as a few lesser known apps like Britslr, Once, and Bumble. Whatever your dating needs, there's something that's guaranted to suit your needs.
Image: al fernandez/Flickr
When people say dating apps Tinder is usually the first thing that comes to mind, and place has been cemented as the dating app that all other dating apps are compared to. The concept is simple, you set the criteria for people you want to date (age, gender, distance, etc.) and the app will generate matches that you sort through. Swipe right to say you like someone, and swipe left to say you don't. If two people like each other they get notified, and are allowed to chat with each other. It's that simple. Sadly unless you cough up for a premium membership Tinder limits the number of 'likes' you're allowed each day. Prices vary from person to person, and depend on a variety of factors.
Plenty of Fish
Another free to use app, with the emphasis on the word free. Plenty of Fish uses its own 'advanced' dating algorithm to match you up with suitable potential partners, and promises that it'll improve them over time in order to find you someone perfect. It's not just a condensed version of the web version either, it has features that let you find other POF app users nearby, and a swiping system for easy matching. You can opt to upgrade your membership if you want to give yourself a boost in other people's searches, remove ads, and see stats on who viewed your profile and whether they liked what they saw.
A lot of dating apps are focussed on seeing ridiculous numbers of matches, making it difficult to remember who's who. Once simplifies that somewhat, and you only get matched with one person each day. The advantage here is that you're both matched together at the same time, and you don't have to sit around wondering if someone has come across your profile. They're also handpicked by people, so you're not relying on machines matching you with suitable people.
The idea behind Fliqpic is that you can't really gauge your chemistry with someone over text chat alone, instead you're better off looking at someone in person and seeing their reactions in real time. It also makes being catfished a virtual impossibility. Fliqpic is free to use and has all the marks of a traditional dating site, including profiles, winks, standard chat, and matches.
If you're looking for someone who has similar music tastes to you, then Tastebuds is a dating app you should definitely try. It's all about matching you up with people who have a similar taste in music. It works by scanning your iTunes library, or alternatively you can add your favourite bands. It's all free, and it's a great way to find like minded people for friendship, concert-going, and dating.
Beards are in these days, so it's hardly a surprise that there is a dating app devoted to beards and beard lovers. It designates itself as a space for “people with beards and people who want to stroke beards”, so if you're neither of those this isn't the app for you. Bristlr is more of a social network than most dating apps, but it can still help you find potential suitors based on distance and age. A lot of them will likely have beards.
Rather than using your location, algorithms, or Facebook friends list to find you matches, Happn is rather interesting in that it only displays users that you've come into close proximity with out in the world. If you pass someone, their profile will appear on your timeline along with the number of times you've crossed paths and when your last encounter was. If you like someone, you choose to do so anonymously (in which case they won't find out unless the interest is mutual), or you can choose to send them a 'charm' to get noticed. The app is free for women, but men will have to pay for the privilege of sending charms.
Hinge operates around the premise that the best possible dates are people that your friends know, just like you would in real life. It works by connecting with your Facebook profile and matching you up with users from your friends' social circles, and then you can introduce yourself to people you actually want to meet. It's free to use, but it is restricted to specific cities across the world and obviously works best if you have a lot of Facebook friends.
One of the best known names in online dating, match.com's dating app is designed to make it easy for you to browse match.com profiles on the go. Algorithms match you up with potential dates, and let you browse their profiles and chat to whoever strikes your fancy, It also has the tools that let you edit and manage your own profile and photos on the go, should you need to. There are thousands of members who have signed up for match.com, so you should have no problem finding someone you like. You do need a match.com subscription to use the app, however, which will cost you £30 a month, or £78 for the year.
This app is exclusively aimed at gay and bisexual men, with the intention of helping them find other like-minded men nearby. It uses your location, and based on some of your set parameters Grindr shows you pictures of men and their distance from you. The basic version is free, but by subscribing to Grindr Xtra for £9 a month you can strip away the banner ads, load more profiles on screen, block as many people as you like, and gain access to faster navigation. Grindr is the largest gay app community, and with 5 million worldwide users you're bound to have plenty of luck.
This is essentially the OkCupid dating website shrunk down to better suit a mobile interface, letting you do everything you can from a web browser. It's profile based, and once you set your search criteria you get to see matching profiles with a two percentages (match and 'enemy') that indicate how well you'd get on together. Matches are powered by algorithms and the answers to questions you answer, so the more you answer the more accurate it'll be. The site and app are free to use, but you can pay $10/£6.40 a month to access extra features.
Bumble is an app designed by one of Tinder's co-founders, and functions in virtually the same way. The difference is that Bumble is designed to be female friendly, and after a man and woman like each other it's the woman that has to initiate conversation. If she doesn't do so within 24 hours the match disappears and is sorted back into the list of potentials. All is not lost, though, and men have the option to extend the match time by another 24 hours once a day.