Best dating apps for 2021

(Image credit: Snapchat)

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t slowing down the growth of the top dating apps. Instead, they have kept improving their features like video chats or remote dating activities. This allows you to meet new people in your own privacy.

While dating apps can be romantic, they aren’t all about that. A lot of people have been using the best dating applications to find platonic companions. This is understandable since these apps are focused on finding compatible people and people who complement your personality.

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It doesn’t matter if you are looking for friendship or more, the best dating app can help. This is in addition to the tired and outdated idea of swiping left and right to find potential matches. This collection of dating apps is taking mobile dating to the next level. They offer video meetups and security checks, which makes it even more enjoyable.

We can help to sort through many options if you’re looking for companionship.

What are the most popular dating apps?

Tinder is the leading mobile dating app and one of the most widely used. Tinder has a reputation for helping you find quick hookups. But, it’s also geared towards finding more permanent partners. Recent improvements to the app have improved user security and added video features.

Other dating apps offer their own strengths. OkCupid is a dating app that allows women to make new friends and OKBumble has several tools for finding love. Eharmony uses its famous algorithm to pair people up, while Hinge wants people to delete its app. This is presumably because they have found a lasting connection and are not frustrated. Facebook has also gotten in on the act with a dating app that is linked to its large social network.

You’re looking for a gay partner? Grindr was a pioneer in this area, while She provides a dating app for lesbians and bisexuals.

Don’t forget privacy when you are looking for the right app to meet your mate. Pay attention to the privacy policies that each dating app has. These policies will detail exactly what they do with your data. You should also be aware of the fact that several dating apps — including those on this best dating app list — are owned equally by the same company. Match.com, Tinder, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, and other dating apps are all owned by the Match Group.

The top dating apps of all time

Tinder (Android; iOS)

Grindr’s trailblazer, Tinder, set the stage for a new world of swipe and scroll dating apps. Tinder encourages people to make superficial and snap judgments of potential partners. Create a simple profile, with a few photos and some sentences about yourself. Next, leave the Internet to do all the work.

The app displays singles around your location. To swipe one to the right if you like it, or swipe to the left if not. If you swipe left together, you can send messages to each other and set things up. (Want to up your Tinder game?) We have tips on how you can use Tinder like the pro. Tinder’s paid Plus or Gold memberships offer premium features, such as unlimited likes or rewinds. This gives potential partners another chance.

Tinder continues to experiment with its algorithm, rolling out a video feature that allows you to make in-app video calls to matches and not have to exchange personal data (a crucial addition during the COVID-19 age). Another important change was the Safety Center feature. This connects with the Noonlight app and gives you a panic alarm in case you end up on a date that is unsafe. Tinder plans to allow you to pull data from public records for background checks later in the year. It’s also coming to other Tinder dating apps owned by Match Group.

Download Tinder: Android, iOS

 Bumble (Android; iOS)

Bumble is designed to help you meet new people or find dates in your area. After two people have connected, it’s on the queen (any female) who makes the first move. You don’t have much time left to waste. There are only 24 hours in which to make contact, or the connection is lost forever. Both parties have to move within 24 hours of each other in order for the connection to be lost. You can however extend that time by up to 24-hours.

Are you looking to make new friends and expand your circle of acquaintances, rather than a romantic partnership? There is a BFF feature on Bumble for people who don’t desire to meet someone and a section that allows you to make business connections. Bumble Boost, which costs between $2.99 to $8.99 for an upgrade, makes it easier to meet or date people.

Bumble introduced the video two years ago. This gave the dating app a major advantage in the sheltering-in-place era. Night In added a new game called a trivia game that gives you and your date something to talk about on video chat.

Download Bumble: Android, iOS

 OkCupid (Android; iOS)

OkCupid is a popular dating app with simple tools and a large userbase. OKC does not rest on its laurels. Instead, it continues to refine its dating app. OKC has added features like a Flavors system that allows users quickly to see the most evocative flavors possible matches (Kinky Nerds and Beard Lovers as well as World Travelers).

All this comes in addition to OkCupid’s messaging tool, personality quizzes, and Instagram integration. Premium subscribers have access to more features, including refined search tools and the ability to see other users who like you.

Download OkCupid: Android, iOS

Match.com gives its users an Android and iOS freemium dating experience. You can create an account online, upload a few photos and engage with “winks” to find new partners. Match.com subscriptions unlock additional features, including the ability to see which people have viewed your profile or liked your pictures.

Match has been adding new features like a Tinder-like Mixer, Android Wear integration, Apple Watch integration, as well as voice and video excerpts to your profile. Match launched Vibe Check in April with those who were not at home. It allows you to chat with your matches via video chat.

Match has a safety feature similar to Tinder. This allows you and your friends to let others know if you’re having a bad experience on a date. Another feature that was added recently is the ability to choose your political views. You’ll be able to better match your outlook with someone (or not, depending on your beliefs).

Download Match.com: Android, iOS

 Facebook (Android, iOS)

Facebook Dating, the first to be unveiled in 2018, was launched in America last year following tests in other nations. Since then, the service was extended to Europe, including the U.K.

Facebook Dating, an opt-in feature of the social media network, focuses not on hooking ups but on long-term relationships. You can access the Dating section through Facebook’s mobile app. There you can create a dating profile, which is distinct from your regular Facebook profile. Facebook uses this section to find you matches based on your preferences, interests, and activities.

Facebook won’t suggest matches for people you don’t know Facebook unless they offer Secret Crush which lets you select up to nine Facebook or Instagram friends you’re interested in. Facebook will match your profile with someone who expresses an interest in you through Secret Crush.

Instagram posts can be added directly to your Facebook Dating page. Facebook Dating now offers video calling to your sweetie via Messenger.

Download Facebook: Android, iOS

Grindr (Android; iOS)

Grindr allows gay men and bisexual men to meet up with similar-minded men. Profile creation is easy. Simply upload your profile pic and choose a username. Then you can find other users to chat up and meet up with.

Grindr is free to use and advertisement-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? Grindr Xtra requires push notifications to receive messages.

Download Grindr: Android, iOS

harmony (Android; iOS)

Eharmony is an established player in online dating. It was the first site to use an algorithmic system for finding the best match possible. Once creating an account, users must fill out a “Relationship Questionnaire” to help them build a personality profile. This will allow them to match you with others that harmony believes are compatible with you. You’ll receive a selection of matches every day as well as your compatibility areas. You have the option of connecting if there is mutual interest.

Premium subscribers enjoy more discovery and matching options.

Download harmony: Android, iOS

 Coffee Meets Bagel (Android and iOS)

Coffee Meets Bagel follows a different approach than many dating apps. It focuses on quality and not quantity. The app will send men a small number of potential matches every day at noon. After that, women will be sent a handful of matches who are interested in them. If there is mutual attraction, the app will send you a 7-day chat window with an icebreaker.

The redesign of Coffee Meets Bagel’s dating app has placed more emphasis on user profiles. Users can now comment on their profiles in an effort to build stronger connections.

Download Coffee Meets Bagel for Android and iOS

Her (Android; iOS)

She is a dating platform and social network app specifically for lesbians, bisexuals, and queer users. You can sign up for Facebook or Instagram and view activity from verified Her users around the world. You can Like photos and if there is a mutual interest, you can link up with other users.

The app offers more than just meeting potential partners. It also provides social features, news, and articles on LGBTQ issues, events, and other questions. A premium subscription allows you to access additional features and is free.

Download Her: Android, iOS

 Hinge (Android; iOS: $10.99/month)

Hinge, a dating app, refuses to follow the example of Tinder’s swipe-driven app. Instead, it focuses on relationships. Actually, Hinge explicitly states that the goal of the service is to get you to the place where you have deleted the app entirely — possibly because you’ve found true love and not because the app has been a burden.

Hinge doesn’t like when you swipe to get a more detailed profile. Fill it in with stories and pictures. It allows users to comment and like the profile of others, which can spark a conversation. You can also view other profiles that have liked the same thing each day.

Hinge quickly reacted to the crisis of shelter-in-place caused by the coronavirus outbreak by introducing Date From Home functions. Another change was the collaboration with Uber Eats, Chipotle, and Uber Eats to encourage people to go out on socially dispersed dinner dates. Last year, Hinge introduced the Standouts feature. This highlights people who are more like your type and also suggests topics that Hinge believes could spark a conversation.

Download Hinge: Android, iOS

Snack (iOS)

Snack is a dating app that’s reminiscent of TikTok. This dating app emphasizes short videos. You will be able to browse through a collection of short videos and decide if you are interested in chatting with them. If they choose to like your video you can send them a DM.

Snack has a strong emphasis on videos, making it a good choice for people who live far away. However, the app’s focus is on those under 30. Snack is currently only accessible on the iPhone. However, you can sign up for notifications to be notified whenever an Android version becomes available.

Download Snack: iOS

12. XO (Android, iOS)

XO is looking to add some fun to the dating experience by using games to help break up the ice. Quizzes, drawing, and other activities allow you to share a laugh and perhaps forge a lasting relationship.

Matches can be found by creating a profile and meeting with someone who shares similar interests. Another option is to try one of XO’s other, more random pairings. Blind Date lets you connect with someone for a game and exchange messages before you see their profiles. Random allows you to contact anyone from the world.

For those who are serious about finding the right person, you might want to check out some of these other dating apps. XO however seems like a casual way to make friends, and maybe this friendship will blossom into something else.

Download XO: Android, iOS

Kippo (Android, iOS)

Kippo recognizes that online gaming is not all about one platform. Kippo aims to bring together online gamers who are looking for companionship. The app lets users customize their profiles. You can showcase what interests you most. The app then searches for matches based on what games you are interested in.

Once you have found a match, you are ready to DM or chat. However, the free tier has certain limitations regarding how many profiles and how many messages you can send. You can remove these restrictions by joining the paid Kippo Infinity tier ($10 per month).

Kippo says that it verifies all its users are real persons and has a moderation policy to stop any untrue.

Download Kippo: Android, iO

 Once (Android, iOS)

One wants to slow down all the hectic swipes you make while searching for your ideal match. Once allows you to match up with one potential partner each day. This gives you 24 hours to find a relationship. While you can talk for as long as you want, if you’re not in love with another person, the idea behind Once is to only focus on one person per day so you can establish if a stronger connection.

Matches are created by the Once algorithm. This uses your profile and past behavior to match you with the right person. Once is free and you can sign up for a paid membership to get more matches every day.

Download Once: Android, iOS

Happy (Android, iOS)

Happn is all a matter of people who have crossed your path and may share the same interests as you. Happn is a location-based dating platform that displays profiles of Happn users who have met up with you, along with their time and whereabouts. You can click on any profile to like it, and if there’s a connection, you can connect with them. Paid options let you “Say Hey” to other profiles. You can also see profiles that have liked and notified you.

Download Happn: Android, iOS

SwoonMe (Android, iOS: Free)

Let’s face it, the majority of dating apps encourage you to swipe through photos to find your match. SwoonMe believes that you should look beyond superficial details when meeting someone new.

SwoonMe does away with photos to exchange avatars. A photo that you upload to the dating site is turned into a cartoonized version of yourself. Instead, the app allows you to listen to short audio clips recorded by other people and search for potential significant audio. If you like the sound, you can communicate with them via audio messages. Eventually, you will be able to share your true image.

SwoonMe takes a new approach to dating. And because it’s still a relatively new service, SwoonMe may not be as polished or as well-known competitors. However, it’s worth looking into if you don’t find other dating applications to be too superficial.

Download SwoonMe: Android, iOS

 Raya (iOS, $7.99 per month)

Raya, the social app for networking, sits somewhere between a professional dating site and a private, paywall-gated service. The iOS app started as a casual dating app. But, Raya has evolved to become a professional networking tool and friend for creative industry professionals. Raya’s status as one of the top dating apps has been helped by the appearances of celebrities and influencers.

Raya does not automatically grant membership. Prospective members will have to complete an application. Memberships are $7.99 per calendar month and $29.99 over 6 consecutive months for those who have been granted membership.

Download Raya: iOS

 Plenty of Fish Dating Apps (Android; iPhone)

Plenty of Fish Dating isn’t as rich in features as other dating apps, but it does have a wide range of options. This is a free dating app that boasts over 70 million members, from every part of the English-speaking globe.

Users create a basic profile that includes age, education, and profession. Next, they search for potential matches, and then they can message them. Plenty of Fish constantly improves its app. These include Chat Heads (for Android users), VoIP calling for Premium users, and Instagram image uploads. Livestreaming is a feature that encourages video dating.

Download POF Dating: Android, iOS

Badoo for Android; iOS

Badoo stands out in a crowded field of dating apps. The app has more than 370,000,000 users, from more than 180 countries. All share their profiles and pictures as they search to find matches. The app offers many options to help you find the right match, including a Tinder-like swipe system and viewing profiles of others nearby.

Badoo puts a premium on ensuring its users are authentically verified. This is done by using uploaded photos, connected social networks accounts, and phone verification. To increase your visibility, or to access “Super Powers”, which give you more features, the app can be downloaded for free.

Download Badoo Android, iOS

Clover Dating App (Android; iOS)

Clover is a blend of OkCupid and Tinder. Clover uses a grab-bag approach to finding and meeting potential matches. There are many ways to do this, from Tinder-like Swiping to questionnaires and date planners to detailed profiles that include lists of interests and detailed profiles.

Clover isn’t a one-trick pony dating app. Instead, Clover offers more targeted experiences. For those who get bored with the swiping experience, Clover has live mixers, 20 Questions, and Clover’s “on request dating” feature. Clover, like other apps, has premium tiers. These tiers can enhance visibility and add or refine existing features.

Download Clover: Android, iOS

How to Find the Best Dating App

A dating app can help you find romance. However, it’s best to first decide what you are looking at. Avoid apps that focus on hook-ups and casual flings. Also, if you don’t want to be involved in one-night stands, it is more likely that you will find yourself frustrated by dating apps that place more emphasis upon swiping instead of matching up compatible people.

Fake profiles are the worst thing you can do for your frustrations on a dating site. Make sure you pay attention to what dating apps do to ensure that you only get paired up with people who take you seriously. It’s also important to look at what services do to protect user privacy.

Because many cities still limit the number of people who can gather in public places, you might consider using apps that provide video chat to keep your love life from being ruined by the coronavirus pandemic.

You must be aware of security measures and what data you share. Just like other services, dating sites can be vulnerable to security breaches. Make sure you use strong password practices and don’t reuse login data from other accounts.

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John Corpuz switched between computer science and creative writing courses during school. As a contributor to Tom’s Guide, he’s found a happy balance writing about apps and mobile gaming.

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