In just a few short years, dating apps have come into their own. According to Survey Monkey, a third of all people ages 18 to 44 have used a dating app. No longer simple add-ons of high-profile websites, dating apps have evolved into convenient go-to tools for busy people looking for love. They have proven too useful and convenient to be overlooked, especially for people who want to search for companionship while riding the subway or sitting in the dentist’s office.
Here are a few of the most popular options:
Tinder’s tremendous popularity may or may not boil down to the old perception of it as a virtual “ground zero” for hook-up nation. Whatever the reason for its popularity, Tinder seems to be at or near the top of everyone’s dating app list. There’s plenty of information to be had, and tapping a photo opens up even more info. You’ll receive a message if you and another user swipe right on each other’s photos, and you can link your Instagram account to your Tinder profile. Tinder has a free version, and its Tinder Plus option costs $9.99 a month for people under 30 and $19.99 for users over 30. Tinder Gold is also a premium option, with varying pricing plans depending on how long you sign up for it. There’s no messaging unless you’ve indicated an interest in someone.
Hinge uses common acquaintances to match its users, and unsurprisingly, there’s a strong Facebook element at work on this platform. Users answer an extensive series of questions (many of them light-hearted and fun), rather than relying on a brief profile to fine tune your connections. One notable feature that sets Hinge apart from other apps is that you can ask friends you have in common with another user if you want to know more about a potential match. However, there’s no messaging people with whom you haven’t been matched (dating is the goal here, not hooking up).
Match’s dating app doesn’t draw on Facebook the way Hinge does. Users don’t sign in through Facebook, but they are required to register, answer a few questions (i.e. gender and personal preferences), and add a few photographs. The app also features a charming little quirk — the ability to send someone a “wink” icon, the virtual equivalent of a smile across a crowded room. Users receive a list of personalized matches each day, and you can depend on getting regular dating “advice” based on your interests. However, if you want to know who’s been checking you out, you’ll need a subscription, which costs up to $21 a month.
Happn takes a slightly different approach to making connections. Potential matches are people with whom you’ve crossed paths (or nearly did so), which gives you something in common from the beginning. Happn shows profiles of other singles and also indicates the last time the two of you were near each other — a fun little icebreaker. Creating a profile is straightforward, including adding photos and basic information as well as your interests. You can also connect to your Instagram account and use Facebook to set up your profile.
If you’re into matching with someone as well-educated, discriminating and ambitious as you, The League is the app for you, but be advised — setting up a profile is no guarantee of acceptance. The League reviews your eligibility/desirability and either accepts, rejects or puts you on a wait list, which can take weeks or months to be resolved. Your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles are of particular interest to The League, as are your photos. There is a paid and a free option, though a paid membership ($99 a month or $250 per year) will earn you more potential matches each day. The League isn’t a light and flirtatious app. It’s a serious venue for people whose careers matter as much as their relationships and who want exclusive dating, according to The Verge.
Dating apps, like websites, offer both free and paid options, and the one that is right for you depends on the level of investment you’re willing to make and the level of service you want. Each app has its quirks and unique points of interest, but most can be relied on for convenience, speed, confidentiality and fun — which may be the most important factor of all.