Let’s face it: Dating is hard.
Where do you meet people? How do you get them to know you might be interested? Which dating site works best? Single people know there are thousands of ways to meet a potential significant other. Whether that means trolling the bars and coffee shops of your city or reluctantly agreeing to let your friends hook you up on a blind date with their friend, dating has become a complicated mess of connections, potential and frustration. How to make sense of it all?
Fortunately, there’s an app for that. Actually, there are thousands of apps for that.
2012 saw an explosion of dating apps, helping the social apps category to pass gaming as the apps that people spend the most time with, according to a Flurry report.
It makes sense. Dating apps are designed to get you to spend a lot of time with them, trolling through photos and profiles either out of genuine interest or morbid curiosity. Either way, from the serious platform to the creepy and stalker-ish, here are some of the most popular dating apps on iOS and Android to help smartphone users find love (or maybe just somebody to cuddle).
These are the mobile dating apps that everybody's talking about.
This new iPhone app that is all the rage among the college crowd. Tinder is an anonymous, location-based app that allows you to look for singles in your vicinity. The app will look for people near you it thinks you may like. If you do, you can "Like" them. If they Like you back, you can chat right within the app. It is kind of like Highlight or Banjo for singles. Some people find it kind of creepy, but thousands of satisfied (no pun intended) college students may be on to something.
Let's Date: iPhone
Calling itself, "the Instagram of dating," Let's Date tries to eliminate the creepy and awkward portions of the online dating world. Whether that is even possible, given the genre, is hard to tell. Let's Date lets you to create a "dater card" through your Facebook profile and browse other people's dating cards. When you see when you like, you hit "Let's Date." If the other person likes you too, you can chat through the app to set up the encounter. When the date is over you can leave feedback and earn badges. Yes, badges. Because we always wanted an app that gamifies dating.
The Ones With Potential
These apps have some buzz, but can't the hype of Let's Date or Tinder.
This "flirting" app connects to your Facebook profile and theoretically uses your astrological sign to help you make connections. In reality, it is just a way to connect your Facebook profile to a "dating" app and gives you a bunch of random, sortable lists of pictures and profiles. You can chat and share pictures, and get "stickers" for random "achievements." Moonit is free but has an extensive in-app purchase system based on its Star Membership feature. To connect or flirt with a potential match, you have to use the Stars, a virtual currency. You can purchase more stars or become a Star Member for $9.99 a month with discounts for signing up for longer periods of time.
Yet another location-based flirting/dating app that uses location and your Facebook profile to help you connect. Blendr's mix of location and profiles is more granular and specific than Moonit's and does not tack on the silly astrology quotient. It has an "Encounters" setting that lets you cycle through nearby people but allows you to do so only with "Super Powers" - yet another expensive in-app purchase currency/subscription model.
Still another location-based dating app that connects to your Facebook profile. MeetMoi gives users more specific profiles than some of its competitors, but really isn't all that different from Blendr or Moonit, except for a slightly slicker user interface.
These traditional Web-based dating sites have mobile apps associated with them.
Mobile-only dating apps are a little bit like the Wild West. You are not quite sure what you are going to get for your time and money. Services like Match.com are a little more trustworthy, a little more reliable. You are still going to pay, but there are more predictable expectation of what you are going to get and who you might meet. Tied closely to the Web version of the service, Match.com app is easy to use and understand. It does not connect to your Facebook profile.
From a pure platform perspective, there is really not that much difference between Match.com and eHarmony go about finding you a mate. But the eHarmony apps are much slicker and more enjoyable than Match.com's. This is app design with thought and insight as opposed to just trying to copy the style and feel of a website onto a mobile device. Say what you want about the inherent charms of eHarmony vis-a-vis the competition, the app is certainly slick.
In the war among Web-based dating sites, OKCupid has long been the nerdy, slightly neurotic destination compared with the stuffier Match.com and eHarmony. The younger crowd in particualr, swears by it. From an app design perspective, it is really nothing special - using the classic mobile layout of top and sidebar menus, messaging and photos, and the ability to find people near you. The kicker? Unlike basically every other app or service listed above OKCupid is totally free.
Something For Everybody?
- Dating DNA: One of the first dating apps on iOS or Android - but few have heard of it.
- Skout: Similar to Tinder or even Banjo or Highlight.
- iLove: Dating app from Germany that recently went global.
- Lovoo: A "flirt radar" location-based meeting app.
- Singles Around Me: Another in the location-based "social discovery" genre. For iPhone, Android and even BlackBerry 10.
Finally, if you have a very specific dating interest (looking for love with a sea captain or a farmer, for instance), check out this roundup of interest-specific dating sites from BuzzFeed. Be warned, however, some of these preferences are extremely specific.
Are you looking for love through your mobile device? What apps are you using? Have any good, bad ... weird experiences? Let us know in the comments.
Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.