After a long and limp year of social distanced everything, dating IRL is gradually coming back to us. Fire up the dating apps (and your burning lockdown loins ofc), love and super likes are not cancelled guys.
When it comes to dating apps, it’s wild out there and like most things in life, it’s not one size fits all. Maybe you’re newly single and don’t know where to start or who to swipe, or perhaps you’re stuck in a romance rut and looking to expand your digital dating horizons – whatever your reason for landing here, you’re destined to walk away with a match. Still talking about dating apps FYI, not lovers. Sorry, we’re not that good.
Let’s not waste another hot vax summer minute! From OG faves to game-changing newcomers, here are the dating apps that make using up all your valuable storage space totally worth it.
Founded in 2013 to help students meet each other, it started out as a social networking for both friendship and dating. My oh my, how things escalated. Tinder is now best known for casual meet-ups and bedfellows but that’s not to say you can’t find long-term love there, too. It’s particularly good for anyone looking to stick to the local love interests, be it the cute coffee guy or the distinguished gentleman on the train. Suit. Nice watch. Neat nails. Great taste in pens. Yeah, him.
A quick note on the post-Tinder life. If you do find a forever match on there, you’ll need to delete your profile and the app for your dating profile to fully disappear otherwise you’ll still be out there looking for love, according to Tinder.
Best for: keeping it casual.
Created by women for women, it’s all power to the ladies in this hive. Praise be.
Much like Tinder, it’s a location-based app where daters can swipe through potential suitors – right means yes you like what you see, left means thank you, next. When both parties swipe right, a match is made, but – and here’s the cool part – it’s down to the woman to make the first move. She must send a message within 24-hours or (dramatic music) the match is lost. With same-sex matches, either person can make the first move. You can also determine the age range of people you want to match with as well as a radius.
Another cool feature on Bumble is the option to ‘verify’ yourself to prove you are who you say you are and prevent catfishing. This is done by taking a photo of yourself in a specific pose. Bumble then verifies that photo against the other photos you’ve uploaded and provides you with a blue tick once it decides you are the same person.
Best for: women who want to make the first move and relationship-minded people.
This OG dating app has been around since 2004. Its USP? Getting you noticed for who you are, not what you look like. In 2021, it shouldn’t be that ground-breaking, alas it is.
It’s also the most inclusive of all the apps, with 22 gender identities and 20 orientation options for members to choose from. OkC weeds out the users who would not be compatible for you, based on important deal-breaker questions covering everything from gun-crime and climate change to women’s issues and vaccines. No small talk here, they’re going straight for the subject matter we really care about. We love to see it!
When you’re done with mindless swiping, OkCupid’s the app to tap.
Best for: informed millennials.
Thursday is reinventing the way we date by dedicating one day a week to finding romance. On the other six days of the week, it quite literally tells you to f*ck off because there’s more to life than dating apps. How refreshing.
In true Cinderella style, all matches and conversations disappear at the stroke of midnight, so you have to be proactive if you want to secure a date. It’s currently only available for users in London and New York with plans to roll out to Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester and Dublin later this year.
Best for: Swerving the small talk and getting sh*t done.
Her was created by and for queer women and non-binary people. Much like Tinder, you swipe left if you’re not interested and right if you want to get to know someone. Even if you’re not looking to date someone right now per se, Her is the perfect platform to meet a community of like-minded people and chat LGBTQ+ news and events in a safe and respectful space.
Best for: LGBTQ+ dating.
Jigsaw is disrupting the superficial status quo by covering people’s faces with jigsaw pieces so their personality can do the talking. Clever stuff. Only when you swap messages and really connect with someone will the jigsaw pieces fall away revealing the face behind the conversation. Kinda like a 90s game show.
Best for: anyone frustrated with the superficial nature of online dating.
The UK’s first dating app catering solely to single parents. Dating as a single parent can be daunting but Playdate allows solo mums and dads to find meaningful connections and relationships which work alongside their lifestyle and commitments.
This dating app takes the stress out of dating, facilitating connections with fellow single parents who know the responsibility that comes with being a parent first-hand. You can be matched with other single parents based on the filters you choose, whether it’s location, number and age of children, fellow widows or whether they want to have more children or not. It also makes arranging dates that little bit easier with its integrated babysitting service in partnership Bubble, the UK’s number one sitter and nanny app.
Best for: single parents looking for a long-term meaningful relationship.
Aimed at open-minded individuals interested in a bit of kink, Feeld is the dating platform designed to explore your deepest desires without shame. Colloquially known as ‘the threesome app’, it’s a sex-positive space for curious minds to explore their sexuality and tap into their fantasies, safely with boundaries and consent.
Best for: anyone open to group play or anything beyond the vanilla.
Forget the power of love, this app is all about the power of beats. POM (Power of Music) uses your music library to match you with fellow users based on compatibility, so now you can find a soul mate who’s well and truly on your wavelength. It’s at times like this we really regret the fact that we listen to Hilary Duff So Yesterday once a week.
Best for: anyone looking to meet their musical match.
In their words, Hinge is the dating app designed to be deleted. It puts the meaning back into the match-making process and prioritises finding real, genuine, warm-the-cockles-of-your-heart connection.
You’ll get to know potential dates through personality-revealing prompts from their go-to karaoke song to their love language, immediately breaking the ice and making those initial awkward conversations that little bit easier.
Your pool of potential matches is gleaned from your Facebook account which means there’s a pretty good chance you, or at least someone you know, will be familiar with your match. Bye bye stranger danger.
Best for: witty types with funny bones.
For anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable rushing out to date in person, you’ve got a match right here. Curtn is a video-first dating app that allows users to connect in a more authentic way, beyond filtered photos and small talk. It’s all about honest dating, sharing your authentic self and getting a real sense of the person on the other side of the screen. Simply choose a prompt and hit record to start finding matches.
Best for: interactive vibes.
Banking on a meet-cute? Happn is your best chance of brushing shoulders with that hot DPD driver or making that intense eye contact in queue at the post office actually go somewhere. The app is designed for you to meet someone close-by but rather than trying to figure out a way to cobble together a sentence in real life, you can just do it digitally right here. What a relief.
Best for: convenience and laid-back dating.
Grindr is marketed as the social networking app for “gay, bi, trans and queer people” though it’s mostly frequented by gay men. Whilst it’s best known for its hook-up culture, it’s not impossible to find a LTR or meet your forever person on there. Just know that it really excels at the quick and casual thing.
Much like Tinder, users are able to search for potential dates around their area so if you spot a hottie in a mask at the bus stop and you immediately want to see what lies beneath, consider Grindr the best place to begin your search, my friend.
Best for: we’re just gonna come out and say it… hot gay sex.
Think private members club frequented by famous folk and influencers. Basically, the Soho House of dating apps, without the picante. It’s an invite-only app with a highly selective application process. You also need a referral from someone else already on the app via a ‘friend’s pass’ so it’s not exactly the most user-friendly experience but it comes in handy for professional athletes, renowned CEOs and A-listers.
Best for: the rich ‘n’ famous. Oh, and stans.