- Best for: Flirting and casual dating
- Free membership: Free registration, limited
- Users: 36 Million
- Best for: Serious matchmaking and long lasting relationships
- Free membership: Free registration, limited
- Users: 10 million
- Best for: Meeting your next true Match
- Free membership: Free registration, limited
- Users: 8,6 million
- Best for: Finding real connections
- Free membership: Free registration, limited
- Users: +2million
- Best for: Open-minded looking for "no strings attached" fun
- Free membership: Free registration, limited
- Users: 54 million
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Table of Contents
What are the best dating apps?
There are a few basics that separate the wheat from the chaff, whether you’re looking for the best dating apps for London and UK-wide, serious dating services, the best iPhone dating apps providers can offer, you will find them here.
If you’re looking for dating apps for relationships and love, it might be better to find an app that focuses on quality rather than quantity. Here are some hand picked selections from the Top 10 dating apps:
As one of the best dating apps in the UK, Tinder works with the “hot-or-not”-principle. If you like someone, you simply wipe the profile to the right, whereas wiping to the left means there is no interest.
– Up to 6 pictures can be set.
– It is possible to tell something about yourself in a short profile description.
– Contact will only be established after a successful match.
– There are more than 50 million profiles on Tinder worldwide, more than 50 billion people have been matched
– Tinder can be used free of charge
– Few fake profiles
– Uncomplicated and intuitive UI that is fun to use
– There are no unwanted contacts on Tinder, as these are only possible if you like each other
– Best suited for uncomplicated flirting and non-binding getting to know each other
Not so good:
The app is generally very superficial, as matches are decided by the pictures, profile details are usually kept short, only few other features than matching and messaging are available.
The Happn dating app on the smartphone tracks the users smartphone and thus knows when two Happn members meet in real life.
When this happens, the app displays the profile picture of the other user with name and age as well as the place and time of the meeting.
A click on a symbolic heart signals interest. Your flirt candidate only learns about the confession when he himself presses the heart. Now the two can exchange information and get to know each other via the message system.
Happn is completely free for women.
Members can also send a “charm” to the swarm. Then the beloved one learns about the interest of the other without having to become active himself.
Men receive ten charms free of charge at the start and can then buy them directly in the app.
Charms are free for women, just like everything else. Women can message for free, men have to pay before they can chat.
OkCupid was programmed by four students from Harvard, whereby the app was first intended to be a study aid. They implemented the dating function later and it became one of the top dating apps in the UK.
The OkCupid dating app was the first to offer a choice of 22 genders. The target group is accordingly colourful, inclusive and exciting, and that already in 2014.
Contacts are established on the basis of a personality profile. For this, the members have to answer many different, bizarre and crazy questions about personality, values, love etc.
The basic functions are free of charge. Those who don’t want to see advertisements and whether users have read the messages sent, pay a membership fee.
OkCupid is a very liberal and LGBT & queer friendly app, available for iOS and Android.
Women who are using Bumbles dating app and singles exchanges can tell a lot of stories of less sophisticated or even disrespectful requests, this where Bumble jumps in. Bumble is particularly popular in the UK and USA. Women write first, that is the motto. Always.
Single women thus retain control over their matches and who can contact them and when. In lesbian matches both women can make the first step.
Finding potential flirt partners is done by the well-known swiping principle on Bumble. If a match results, the woman can answer within 24 hours to start a conversation.
If she does not do so within this period, the two are unmatched. An easy-to-use function also makes it easy to report disrespectful members.
Here, respectful getting to know each other is very important
What we don’t like so much is that the member base is still relatively small and the app seems a bit superficial, as the focus on Bumble is on the profile pictures.
The service provided by the famous Match Group, that also owns Hinge and Plenty of Fish, scores with a very good range of services; for example, the portal points out new, “suitable” members and offers single events. One of the strengths of the service is the quick reply to emails.
Anyone who is registered in a social network like Facebook and Instagram will be very familiar with everything here, the user interface navigation and selection are structured very similarly. The design is modern and the look is very appealing.
Once the user has found an attractive single, there are various options for making contact. In addition to the classic personal message, members can, for example, send a laugh to show their interest.
The premium membership of Match was convincing all along the line. It includes the following functions, among others:
– All visitors of your profile are displayed
– Save as many favourites as you like
– Contacting other members via messages
– Insight into the list of the preserved “Smiles
– No advertising
Coffee meets bagel
The app presented in New York City in 2012 was developed by three sisters. Coffee meets bagel was part of the show The Shark Tank and has collected 600.000 dollars via seed funding before that.
Coffee meets bagel is based on the principle of icebreakers. Users can mark other profiles with a heart or comment on them.
According to CMB, the probability of maintaining a successful conversation after a comment is 60 percent higher than without one.
Coffee meets bagel uses a smart algorithm to pre-sort and output the matches.
The more often you use the app and the more precisely you fill out your profile, the better the suggested matches should be.
CMB has no website, the app only runs mobile on Apple and Android devices.
Some mobile phone applications employ a lengthy online dating application process to ensure that you are matched with someone whose personality and interests are as close to yours as possible.
In many cases, this might mean answering a seemingly endless list of questions but, once your answers have been fed into the app’s matchmaking algorithm, you can be sure of some good results.
However, if you’re looking for an online service that offers fleeting encounters or one-night stands, then the reverse may be true. For casual dating and hookup sites, sheer volume is often more important than whether you both share an interest in chess or pressing wildflowers.
In addition to the standard hookup and dating application, there are also ‘niche’ matchmaking sites. These are often for people with specific interests or needs, like Christian & Muslim dating apps offer, such as coming from a particular believe or with particular views, working in a specific industry or even owning a certain breed of pet.
User-friendliness can also be a deciding factor when it comes to deciding which are the best networks. Hookup applications tend to be driven by photographs, rather than profile content, while apps for singles looking for lasting relationships tend to throw the spotlight on personality, rather than looks.
However, what’s also true is that some of the best applications strive to create a sense of community, in addition to acting as an online dating service.
Forums, chat rooms and notice boards are a popular way of getting users chatting and flirting. Some users even arrange their own ‘real-life’ meetups and parties.
Ultimately, deciding which is the best app for you might mean trying a few out as a free user, before you decide to commit to a paid subscription. Testing in this way is a great way to see what type of user it attracts and whether it has that comfortable ‘feel’ that makes it easy to use.
For more advice check our tips and guides for single dating apps!
What to consider when using dating apps
Perhaps the biggest mistake people make when working out which platform to use is to just dive in and look for the most popular dating apps in the UK, like eHarmony, Hinge, Tinder etc. A better approach is to ask yourself what you want from your online dating experience.
Why would you use it?
Those looking for long-term relationships will find plenty of traditional platforms available for smartphones, where you can get chatting and flirting in next to no time. However, not everyone is interested in commitment and there are other options available to them.
If you’re interested in sharing emotional connections and physical intimacy with your partners, but without the parameters of a conventional relationship, then you might want to consider a casual dating application.
Apps of this sort are for those who want more than a one-night-stand, but less than a full-blown commitment.
Casual daters can include people who are too busy to commit, married people looking for some extramarital involvement, and people who have just come out of a long-term relationship and are not ready to commit to another partnership straight away.
However, if you’re not at all interested in emotional engagement and are solely interested in the sexual side of things, then hookup apps might be better for you.
With hookup and polyamory apps, UK users are all online for the same reason, so there’s no need to be coy about what you’re after.
It’s worth saying that these ones aren’t for everyone. They are popular with married people who aren’t getting what they need in the bedroom, people who just want to ‘play the field’, and even couples who want to experiment sexually.
At their most basic, dating mobile phone application services are easy to use. The first step is to download the one you think suits you best. Most are available for smartphones from Apple’s App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store.
Typically, most platforms of this sort will require you to supply an email address and a username. If discretion is important to you, then you might want to consider setting up a separate email account for your registration.
In addition, most of them offer free registration, which will give you immediate access to the free services they offer. However, these are often just a ‘taster’ of what the app can offer, and you might find that certain services are only available to users who have taken out a subscription.
Some will require you to fill in an online questionnaire. This often takes the form of a personality test and your input will have a significant impact on the type of person you’re matched with.
Generally, these are free and can take anywhere between ten minutes and half an hour to complete.
Most applications suggest that you complete your profile by uploading a photograph or two. Some sites offer this as a free part of the service, while others will only offer it to those who have subscribed.
Subscription packages can usually be found within the app itself and require you to enter your payment details and to choose a subscription period. Be aware that some of them will automatically renew your subscription just before it expires unless you cancel it.
What we like and dislike on the best dating apps
The top 10 benefits of dating apps:
- You can cast your net as wide as you like. With the best free dating apps in the UK offering international reach and an estimated 600million users on their smartphones, you could find yourself connecting with that special person – even if they’re on the other side of the world.
- You get to interact with people you might otherwise never meet. Users of social dating applications come from all walks of life, with interests and backgrounds that might otherwise never appear on your social radar.
- You’re not face to face. Although that’s the ultimate aim, remaining almost anonymous gives you the freedom to express yourself in ways that you might otherwise find challenging.
From the safety of your keyboard, you can probe potential partners and find out if they really are for you.
- Meeting like-minded people. If you’re on hookup networks to find casual dates or one-night stands, you know that everyone else on the app is looking for the same. With no awkward conversations to worry about, you can get straight to the heart of the matter.
- Taking your time. Rather than having to present your best side over the course of an hour in a noisy bar, you can stretch out conversations as long as you need to. Unlike face-to-face encounters, online chatting doesn’t require an immediate response.
- Learning about your partners. When it comes to regular dating sites, most members use social networking sites. You can do a little research at home and learn a bit more about them and see just how they interact with friends and family.
- Taking the pressure off. Taking the time to get to know someone before you meet them ensures that your date will go that much more smoothly. You can pick up old threads of conversation and you’ll already know more about their likes and dislikes.
- That special person might be out there. While online dating applications might not be as conventional as meeting in a restaurant, there’s always the possibility that the person you’re flirting with could be The One.
- Privacy. There are few other places where you can enjoy a truly private conversation. Chatting online doesn’t have to be a public event.
- Dating on the go and from home. Mobile apps give you the facility to meet new people, wherever you happen to be. This is ideal for those who travel frequently for work and feel they don’t want to waste time trying to catch someone’s eye in a pub or club.
Also the sheer variety of services like sex dating apps, free black dating apps, muslim dating apps, and many more, gives you a convenient selection to choose from.
Downsides of dating apps:
- The agony of choice. If you have many alternatives every day, you can and must hardly choose a partner. There could always be an even better version of the match just a click away.
- Even the best UK dating apps like Plenty of Fish, Hinge, Tinder & Bumble and all others are data-kraken, as our study on data protection in online dating has shown, all online dating services without exception collect and store a lot of data from your smartphone.
- Discriminatory pricing models for men. Men usually have to pay for all important functions, while women can create and use 100% free dating app profiles with many providers.
- The swiping-principle hurry the choice of partner and makes it a speed dating experience. Often it’s only the appearance that counts and characteristics such as character or interests are sometimes neglected in matches.
- Sometimes you may encounter fake profiles and catfishing at some services. However, app providers are actively working against this by authentication via Facebook and the like.
Tips on using dating apps
Whether you’re using social networks, classic dating or hookup services, there are a few things you can do to maximise your experience and let other users know you exist.
- Don’t be afraid to upload photos. Whether you’re after something meaningful or overnight, a sizable chunk of attraction is based on first impressions and how you look.
Choose pictures that reflect who you are, as opposed to who you think people want you to be.
- Fill in your profile. While a picture might speak a thousand words, a good profile will do nothing but support it. Let people know as much about you as you’re comfortable with but retain a little mystery.
- Respect other users. While hookup networks are for one thing only, don’t send unsolicited or offensive content or pictures; wait until you’re asked.
The tendency for men to send inappropriate pictures has resulted in many female users only using apps that restrict this.
- Engage with other users. Mature dating apps and chat rooms are a great place for users to start chatting and flirting on their smartphones.
Many applications offer these services for free, so they can be a great way of testing the waters before you commit to a subscription. Some offer conversation starters to get things going.
- Be honest. There’s no point in lying about the way you look or what your interests are in a good dating app. If there’s any chance that you’re going to meet your partners, any falsehoods are going to severely diminish your chances of a second date.
- Get help. Ask a friend of the sex that you’re trying to attract to give your profile a once-over. Listen to their feedback and criticisms. While they’re at it, ask them if they can spot any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors that might put another user off making contact.
- Curate your profile. Once your profile is up and running, don’t let it stagnate. Post updates when you can, change your profile pictures and keep an eye on your message inbox.
A profile that’s been left to grow stale will soon become part of the furniture for users, so you might as well try and keep it fresh.
Why are dating apps such a success?
Hookup apps and their more-traditional counterparts serve a variety of people, from those who don’t have the time to get and about, to those who feel they want something beyond the confines of their marriage.
They offer a broad spectrum of users from all ethnic groups and an even broader range of opportunities. More singles are on the lookout for dates and don’t have the time to go to events and meet new people to look for their soulmate.
The variety grows more and more, mature dating apps like Tagged and dating apps for teens, black dating apps, video dating apps, gay dating apps, also for bisexuals, like Grindr and many more variations are yet to come.
It’s estimated that there are around 600 million singles, worldwide. Of these, around 50% are thought to use dating services at least once a month. Given that there are around 8,000 networks on the internet, that means there are always plenty of users.
However, the 600 million figure doesn’t take into account the numbers of users who are already in long-term relationships or are married. Figures suggest that over 60% of those using hookup apps are used by people who already have a significant other.
In terms of male-to-female ratios, men outweigh women. Around 62% of those who use these networks are male, with the remaining 38% being women.
However, what might give romantics some heart is that according to statistics by businessinsider.com, of those who do use dating sites around 80% are looking for a meaningful relationship.
It also seems that couples who meet through mobile application are likely to get married quicker than those who meet in more traditional circumstances.
Michael Rosenfield, a researcher at Stanmore University, attributes this to users being able to set criteria for potential matches, as part of the online application process.
In addition, it seems that most of these couples used profile-centric applications, rather than those that were photo-focused.