Best dating apps [2016]

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The temperature outside has dropped in many parts of the world and that means it’s officially cuffing season, the time of year when people want to get involved with another person in a way less naughty and much more meaningful. The cold weather easily lends itself to plenty of cuddling with a significant other. But for those of you without that cuddle buddy, you’ve got work to do. That perfect guy or girl likely won’t appear aside you at the coffee shop, strike up a conversation, and ask you out on a date. We all like to blame our singleness on something called “social awkwardness,” which is a different way of saying you’re nervous to meet new people. So you’re probably going to need a little help from an app or two.

It’s time for me to be your digital matchmaker.

Tinder

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More people are using Tinder, which is about as simple as they come, than any other dating app in the world and generates around 26 million matches ever day of the year. Tinder is built around choosing potential matches based on photos other users who are nearby have uploaded. It’s based almost entirely on looks because users just swipe left or right anonymously to make a decision. Swiping right means you’re interested in the other person while going the other way just moves you on to another person. The kicker, though, is that the people you swiped right for in approval will have to do the same for you two to be matched and begin exchanging messages.

Tinder uses authentication from Facebook, so I think it’s almost guaranteed that you’re swiping among a group of real people with similar interests and common friends. The app won’t send anything to Facebook — saving you from any embarrassment you may feel being on an online dating app. Information from your profile negates the requirement most apps have to complete a profile and answer a mountain of questions. Tinder gets everything needed from your Facebook profile.

Like most dating apps, Tinder is free with a premium subscription available. The two key features unlocked with a Tinder Plus subscription are Passport and Rewind. Passport allows you to change your location to anywhere in the world to experience a fresh set of locals that could be your next partner in life. Rewind, as the name suggests, makes it possible to take back that last swipe that you may or may not have intended to do. Trust me, I won’t tell your potential matches if you swiped left but took it back out of desperation.

People complain that Tinder is too superficial, but you have to have thick skin while dating because you never know when rejection will slap you in the face. Another downfall is that Tinder lacks a web version, limiting users to use phones and tablets only.

Play Store Download Link

OkCupid

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Can you believe OkCupid has been around for twelve years? It’s true. What started with only a web version in 2004 has since expanded to include apps across all major platforms. OkCupid is for anyone who wants their dating life to be accessible on their laptop, phone, and tablet. The service syncs across all of your devices, and OkCupid never pushes you to pay any money. Temporary bonuses exist but none of them are required for you to get the most out of the service.

OkCupid is one of the most complex dating apps because, when setting up a profile, you’re given a massive amount of questions to answer. These responses you provide will be the biggest player in getting OkCupid to show potential matches located in your area. A match percentage is displayed so you have an idea as to whether or not the person you’re about to message shares the same interests and views. But that match percentage is just that. It doesn’t actually mean anything and you’re free to message anyone on OkCupid. What you can do in order to increase the likelihood of chatting with a winner is taking advantage of the Tinder-like swiping feature to notify someone that you’re into them.

Like I said before, OkCupid is free but you can get access to extra features by joining their ‘A-List’ at a price that seems to vary by user. Being an A-List member introduces invisible browsing, read receipts, a bigger inbox, and username changes. It’s not at all necessary and I believe OkCupid offers enough to use without spending a dime because you can view entire profiles at will.

Play Store Download Link

Coffee Meets Bagel

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Coffee Meets Bagel was launched in 2012 by the Kang sisters but really became known by many singles after making an appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank. The service’s founders, who sought $500,000 in return for 5% equity of Coffee Meets Bagel, rejected an offer by billionaire Mark Cuban worth $30 million because he wanted to assume complete ownership of the business. Since that Shark Tank episode aired in January 2015, Coffee Meets Bagel has grown to be one of the top dating services out there.

It works in a way similar to Tinder because authentication comes from Facebook, but the difference with Coffee Meets Bagel is that it’s only going to recommend matches who are friends of your friends. Then the really magic can begin. Every day at noon, you’ll be presented with a single match (aka the “Bagel”) that was hand-picked based on common interests and geography. Coffee Meets Bagels says attraction is also included with the formula to create matches, but I’m not confident that there’s a real algorithm to determine it. Mutual friends shared between you and your Bagel are displayed, and then you can decide whether or not to like or pass on that Bagel within twenty-four hours. Assuming both of you like other’s profile, a private chat is built for you two to get to know each other more by exchanging messages and answering ice breaker questions.

Over time, Coffee Meets Bagel learns what you do and don’t like in an effort to improve the Bagel selection. And in case you’re the shy type that will never ask someone else out on a date, Coffee Meets Bagel pushes for you and your Bagel to meet.

The success of Coffee Meets Bagel for you, considering it’s still relatively new, mighty vary but the service claims to have generate over 1 million dates while matching five hundred pairs on a weekly basis. Does it hurt to try the app? No, because using Coffee Meets Bagel is free of any charges.

Play Store Download Link

Grindr

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Every of other app listed is missing something at the core that Grindr has: a focus on a specific group of people. Grindr is the world’s leading “social network app” for gay, bisexual, and sexually-curious men. It’s used by over 2 million users in two hundred countries on a daily basis, but those who enter Grindr should go into it with the understanding that the majority of fellow users are seeking hookups. Getting dates out of Grindr is certainly possible; however, don’t be surprised if a blank profile randomly messages you with something as brief and direct as “u lookin?” You’ll need to be a mature person to handle what Grindr’s users send your way.

Grindr is location-based, so all guys on your grid are within a reasonable distance. Select a profile picture and then you can read about the person before starting a chat with them. Profiles are limited to a headline, age, short bio, height, weight, ethnicity, body type, expectations, and relationship status. If that’s not enough for you to build the perfect profile, the app allows linking to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. That’s really all there is to Grindr before the messaging begins. Also, you can use some of the items as parameters for a filter to see the exact type of guy you want.

The popularity of Grindr, especially among gay men, is insane. Most forgo using anything else because the app gets the job done so well. Grindr’s population is high, the design is simple (albeit dated), and it’s free to use. Grindr Xtra adds things like an ad-free experience, push notifications, and unlimited blocks, and those features can be experienced at no cost with the free 14-day trial.

Grindr should greatly improve later this year because Beijing Kunlun Tech Company invested around $100 million in the company.

Play Store Download Link

Match

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A collection of the best dating apps wouldn’t be whole without mentioning the world’s top dating service, Match. Millions of singles have used Match because of its proven track record and success rate, leading to the service being first in dates, relationships, and marriages. Having twenty-one years of experience in the business has allowed Match to build an algorithm to deliver matches almost guaranteed to get along with you. Of course, the only downfall is lack of physical attractiveness between you and matches. An algorithm can’t solve what pleases the eye.

The Match app built like its own little social network with four distinct sections: Matches, Search, Viewed Me, Mixer. Matches goes match-by-match with profile previews, giving you to the option to express interest in someone or move one. Viewed Me tells you exactly who checked out your profile. Mixer, which takes notes from Tinder, presents a profile and asks you to swipe left or right; therefore, both of you swiping right will facilitate more interaction because you know there’s at least some type of interest. Always at the top of the app’s user interface are buttons for viewing chats, your own profile, and notifications.

The turnoff of getting yourself onto Match is its price. Although accessible on the web and mobile devices (and even Android Wear), Match is very expensive. A single month of Match costs $40 but you can pay a lower monthly fee by subscribing long-term. A commitment of twelve months lowers the monthly fee to $20. However, like any good service, Match offers free trials before telling you to pay for its superior algorithm. Will singles in their early-to-mid twenties use Match? I doubt it. But an older crowd will continue using Match because of its relaxed, feature-packed nature.

Play Store Download Link

Closing

Now do you think you’re ready to start dating in 2016? I think so. The options are so vast, and you don’t have to spend a penny to use really great services with the possibility of coming across your soulmate. Services like Tinder and Grindr focus on speed while Match and Coffee Meets Bagel put your qualities first. These services are available on most major platforms and have huge user bases, which means you better get going because a lucky guy or girl is waiting to chat with you!


About the Author: Justin Herrick

Born and raised in New Jersey, Justin is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University where he studied marketing with a focus on digital marketing. He's very talkative and enjoys discussing anything from technology and sports to video games and television. As for Justin's current device rotation, he carries around the HTC 10 and Nexus 9. In the rare case that his phone or tablet is not in his hand, he is either flicking through cards on his Moto 360 (2015) or typing away on the Microsoft Surface Book. Justin is patiently waiting for the day that Google replicates the Galaxy Nexus with modern day specifications.


  • Blane Stroud

    I’d be shocked to see someone get a date out of Grindr. Sex? No problem. A conversation? Crazy.

    • Justin_Herrick

      Hence why I said to be ready for those blank profiles messaging you for something wild. :-P