Once upon a time, dating apps were the last resort on the hunt for love and something of a shameful secret. Fast-forward to 7567 and if you re young, free and single it s kind of strange if you don t have the Tinder app snuggled up between Uber and Deliveroo. But as dating apps have risen in popularity, so has the demand for better experiences, more apps and added diversity. Whatever your preferences, check out our selection of the best dating apps. It s hard to stand out in the era of Tinder, which is why OKCupid has turned its attention to matching people up on a deeper level. By answering questions and filling out your profile, the app s algorithm will suggest people who share your interests in the hope you ll build more genuine connections, which you can easily see from a compatibility score next to other users. You can also link up your Instagram account if you think it gives potential dates a better idea of what you re all about. Nick said:
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The OKCupid dates I went on were often the most interesting, with people I could genuinely chat to. The app is free and, unless you use its quickmatch Tinder-style feature, it s all about browsing lots of profiles and breaking the ice with a message. But this focus on messages isn t always good news. Sarah said: The fact you can easily message for free comes with the downside that you might get a fair few unwanted messages. Now is, as you can maybe guess, all about meeting up right now. For some that might sound romantic. For those that like to plan, it s panic-inducing. Once you ve signed up, you select a time window when you re free and then choose what you d like to do, like coffee or drink or entertainment. This immediacy is refreshing in the murky world of will we ever meet or just awkwardly flirt for weeks before getting bored? Online dating woes. Dating blogger told us: I did a lot of research into online dating and Now is the solution to what I found to be the single biggest complaint of women on Tinder - no more pen pals. But it turns out that an app designed for instant dating gratification doesn t always attract those looking for a long-term partner. Louise said: It could just be because of the area I live in, but in my experience most of the guys on Now are only after one thing right now, and it isn t romance or a coffee. . Ahh Tinder. It s been blamed for everything, from and to global warming (okay, we re making that last one up). But no matter who you ask, it seems to have become synonymous with casual dating and hookups rather than those looking for long-term love. It s ideal if you re looking for something not so serious, but that s not to say you won t find a more long-term partner. After all, we ve all got a friend-of-a-friend who married someone they met on Tinder, right?
Unless we re all just referring to the same couple. The premise is simple. You re shown someone s photo. And then repeat a couple of thousand times. Hayley Minn told us: I used to love it, it's so easy to use and fun, but it now feels like a game more than anything and I've never had a date lead to anything serious. Despite the fact it seems to be losing its edge, we included it because it s still popular, and the large user numbers mean the more chance of dates. Louise said: I m sick of it, but most people are on it. And I ve had a few good, well, mediocre, dates. For many women that we chatted to, this was a breath of fresh air in the often seedy and overwhelming world of online dating and cringe-worthy first messages. Hayley told us: I LOVE it! The woman speaks first, and it means guys are way more likely to speak to you if you're not just one of many. It also seems that the higher quality experience and focus on women being in control attracts a slightly better standard of men. Louise told us: The men are better, looks and personality. You re prompted to ask a series of questions, but you can choose which you answer. The idea is you can build an authentic picture of yourself, with answers, photos, details about what you re reading or listening to and even video. So you re more likely to find someone with genuine shared interests, rather than just a nice face. The biggest difference is there s no hot or not? You can like someone s activities and photos, which reminds us more of Facebook-style interactions, but packaged up within a dating app.
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Does this all sound a bit too good to be true? That s maybe because it is. Sarah said: Hinge definitely sounds good in theory. But I haven t had a date through it yet. I m trying to stay patient and positive, but I think the instant buzz of Tinder might have ruined me. Plenty of Fish is another app that allows you to create a profile, answer questions or just upload your favorite selfies. It s got a large user-base and when it comes to success rates, it really divides opinion. The huge choice of, erm, fish, tend to mean there are a few long-term love stories and lots of okay I guess dating anecdotes. Louise said: It s a totally mixed bag. Be ready to hunt for people through the droves and droves. I ve had a few fun dates through it, you just have to put the time in to weed through the rubbish. Paul said: All I ever hear from men is that women never reply, and all I ever hear from women is that they get too many messages. That said, we know personally of one real world couple that are now married having met through Plenty of Fish, so love can be found here! Match. Com is another older dating website that s evolved over the years to become one of the most popular apps. The profiles are detailed (if people fill them in), which means you can find out more about someone before you speak to them, and location-based searching means you re shown people who live or work nearby. One of the most interesting developments to Match. Com s proposition is group dating events, which sound weird but could set it apart from the rest. Paul said:
I love that match are evolving by introducing dating events. They have the potential to be the future of dating and it's nice to see one of the top online companies acknowledging that, without losing their original identity. If you're serious about finding long-term love as a gay man, Chappy may well be the best app option on the market. Built from an idea by Made In Chelsea's Ollie Locke (stick with us. ) it's a respectful community with a higher quality user than some of the sleazier apps. Letting you choose between Mr Right and Mr Right Now it's fun and playful if you're in the mood for some quick company, while offering a bit more depth for those looking for a bit more. According to Basil it's greatest feature is a slider at the top, where you can indicate what you're after, so only like-minded guys will populate your feed, but the app experience from that point onwards, is basically Tinder. Another app, another promise to provide more meaningful connections. Meet Coffee Meets Bagel. Ladies, you ll be served up a Bagel (that s what the app calls men) each day at noon, which are only the Bagels (or. Erm. Men? ) that have already liked you. The idea is it ll cut out time wasting and lead to a greater chance of a connection. The app also has a recently launched premium feature, which serves up more information about your matches, like how likely they are to reply to you. It s another idea that sounds good, but does it really work? We re yet to find anyone who has found what they re looking for through the app. Paul said: I like it but I'm not yet convinced. It hasn't captured my imagination quite yet but I do hope they prove me wrong as it has some really good elements to it. After a hairy hookup? Scruff takes the basic dating app experience, and tailors it to gay guys looking for burly, furry men, also known as bears, polar bears, cubs and otters.
Scruff quotes over 67 million worldwide users, and has recently expanded into AirBnB style travel accommodation, with a gay-friendly slant, also letting you know if fellow travellers from out of town are looking for some company. Paid tiers unlock additional features for committed users, but the free experience is worthy of inclusion here. Basil enjoyed the instant messaging, whether you've been highlighted for a positive match or not. It means there's not instant rejection, but be ready for unsolicited messages too. He encouraged using the private gallery feature to have more meaningful interactions with would-be dates. Do you ever daydream that you ll experience a romantic movie moment when you lock eyes with someone and then you re together for all of eternity? But then you glance at someone in the street in real life and instantly look away again because you re shy and awkward and not a fictional character? Well, Happn wants to try and resolve that and turn every walk down the street into a dreamy chance to find love. You fill in your details like you would with any other app, but then your phone s location smarts kick in and you re shown people who are nearby. Whether that means they live near you, work near you, have the same Sunday morning routine, or anything else. Nick said: I met a lot of great people through this app. You re bound to have similar lives if they keep showing up near you. Plus, it takes the pressure off because you re already in each other s proximity - you can easily go for a drink. But there are drawbacks to the find people nearby USP. Nick continued: The problem is, if you go on a bad date, you ll see the same person again and again. Hayley said: I used to love this. But then it keeps bringing up the same people over and over if you're doing the same commute everyday as other people. Taste Buds wants to connect you up with people who share your music interests, which is why it calls itself Tinder for music lovers, as if everyone on Tinder doesn t love music? If someone s music tastes are a dealbreaker, this app will weed out anyone who isn t destined to sit and listen to your favourite artists with you.
Paul said: It s a really nice idea.