Once you pick that perfect selfie and write paragraphs to sell all your best attributes to your future mate, it's time to start browsing. This is where the big differences between these apps are apparent. For instance, Tinder, with its famous hot-or-not swiping interface, makes it quick and easy to find your next date. Bumble, on the other hand, puts all the power in the woman's hands; men can't even contact a woman unless she's expressed interest first. Others, like OkCupid, have robust profiles that let you dive deep into a user's personality (or at least the one he or she has decided to present to you), before you decide to go on the pursuit.
Julia* lives in Maine and, though she says she’s had the most success meeting people via Bumble, kept Tinder for her work trips. “I’ve held onto Tinder because it’s used more internationally,” she says. “I used to travel abroad alone for work a lot and would just get super bored. I downloaded Tinder for the first time in Buenos Aires because I wanted to practice my Spanish. Even if I don’t go out with anyone, at the very least it’s entertaining to scope out people in foreign cities.”
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Rather than who you know, self-described ''missed connections'' dating app Happn focuses on where you've been. It's a GPS based dating app that tracks your location in real time, and alerts you when you are a certain distance from another member. There's no personality matching, but you can link your account with Instagram and Spotify to let people see your interests. If you're OK with spontaneity then this app will intrigue.7
An endless roster of actively seeking singles (even ones with really niche preferences) are now accessible on your commute, and profiles are swamped with Uber ratings, food preferences and requests that we follow these complete strangers on Instagram (like we weren't going to stalk you anyway). With all this to consider, how are you expected to find time to pick the best dating apps to bless with your presence? How do you know what apps have the 'best' single people lurking on them?
Similar to other traditional players, OKCupid has in-depth user bios, but profile building isn't long or tedious at all — the questions are smart (and not mushy) and they're genuinely fun to answer. It does use swiping like Tinder, but you have a lot more to go off of than a lame bio and a selfie. You'll even get to see the percentage of how much you have in common based on question answers (and how much you don't). Speaking of questions, OkCupid has some that you won't see anywhere else: The same-sex couple ads are an obvious giveaway, but OkCupid has snuck in questions to weed out more conservative-minded people as a way to tell right off the bat if your potential match leans left or right. (It's not perfect, but it'll help meeting in person go a lot smoother.) Liberal ladies found that this worked to their advantage, as OkCupid released statistics showing that liberal-leaning answers to those questions made you 80% more likely to find love on the site. The entire site's ethos is built around numbers, and it's nice to know they can actually back up their algorithms.
If you think you're too old to exercise your thumb, think again. Millennials aren't the only ones who are dating digitally right now. Studies indicate that there are two major growing demographics when it comes to online dating: people under 25, and people over 50. How come? Well, look no further than marriage statistics, as people on average enter a first marriage around age 28, and given the divorce rate, often become single again later in life. In fact, a recent report indicated that while only 6 percent of Golden Year singles confessed to having online dating profiles in 2013, that number has doubled over the past five years, now teetering around 12 percent and growing. As mobile phones and tablets become more user-friendly for all ages, the barriers that might have once prevented silver bachelors from swiping no longer apply.