A comprehensive guide to the best dating apps on iOS

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Best Dating Apps
Don't spend another Valentine's Day alone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Spending Valentine’s Day on your own isn’t all bad (just think of the money you’ll save), but you probably don’t want to do it every year. And you don’t have to! There’s now a large and ever-increasing library of dating apps that can help you find the perfect mate.

With our comprehensive guide to the best dating apps on iOS, you’ll have no trouble finding love on your iPhone. We’ve got apps for mainstream dating, LGBT dating, casual hookups, and niche dating for those who have a strong interest in salad, marijuana, dead bodies, and more.

Mainstream dating

If your preferences are simple, you should have no problem finding a compatible partner with a mainstream dating app. They typically boast a larger number of users so it’s easier to find someone nearby, and everyone’s a little bit different.

It might take you a little longer to find your ideal mate using a mainstream dating app, but searching can be fun, and you’ll meet all kinds of new people along the way.

OkCupid

OkCupid

Another popular app with a large user base is OkCupid. It’s great for those who like to be a little pickier and want to save time by filtering out incompatible matches.

OkCupid’s matching algorithm takes the information you provide and helps you quickly find other users who might be compatible. You can find potential matches nearby or use the advanced search options to be more specific.

You can also take fun personality quizzes that help you find other users with similar interests and beliefs, or try the new “Flavors” system that offers “curated playlists of 10 potential matches” labeled things like World Travelers, Political Junkies, and Kinky Nerds.

Plenty of Fish

Plenty-of-Fish

Focused on simplicity, Plenty of Fish (POF) has fewer features than some other dating apps, but it makes up for that with a massive user base, with 50,000 new singles joining every day. You can also take advantage of almost all of its features without paying a penny.

POF’s simple profiles mean it’s easy to get started and quickly locate singletons nearby. You can use the filters to find people who are in your age range, have similar interests, or have children — or take the Chemistry Test to find matches with compatible personalities.

Plenty of Fish became one of my favorite apps when I was dating. I loved its no-frills approach that made searching simple, and I never had to sign up to a premium subscription to use necessary features.

Clover

Clover

Clover is another dating app that keeps things simple and affordable. You can provide it with as much or as little information as you want, then find people nearby or filter other users with a range of criteria.

Clover also boasts a unique “Mixers” feature, which lets you meet new people in AOL-style chat rooms based on similar interests. There are Mixers for just about everything from TV shows to hobbies, and you can create your own.

Match

Match

Match tends to be for more serious daters who are ready to settle down with the one. It claims to be number one for relationships and marriages, and its best features are behind a paywall, which means you’re less likely to bump into time-wasters just looking for fun.

However, it’s free to get started, and you can browse as much as you like before going premium. Its matching algorithm promises to deliver only the users that meet your standards, and allows you to be pretty specific about what you’re looking for.

Match’s massive user base means there’s never a shortage of potential dates, and just like Tinder, it has a quick “Mixer” feature that lets you swipe “yay” or “nay” on new suggestions when you’re in a rush.

Keeping it casual

So you’re not quite ready to settle down yet, but you want someone to have fun with? There are plenty of dating apps for that, too.

Tinder

Tinder

No guide to dating apps is complete without Tinder. It doesn’t always get the praise it deserves, but for the vast majority of people looking for a partner, Tinder is ideal.

It caters to everyone, and its simple swipe-to-like mechanic takes away all the fuss, making it ideal for even the busiest singletons. What’s more, Tinder is completely free, and so popular these days that you’re guaranteed to find a long list of potential partners in your area.

Tinder’s simple approach means it’s popular among casual daters, but you will find plenty of users who are ready to get serious, too. In fact, I met my current partner on Tinder and things have been going great for a while now.

Blendr

Blendr

Focused on fun, Blendr concentrates on your location to match you with other users in your area who want to chat (and more). It now boasts more than 200 million users worldwide so there are plenty of people to choose from, and it’s quick to get started.

Blendr lets you share interests and specify exactly “what kinds of activities you want to do with the people you chat with.” It’s ideal for those who know just what they’re looking for and want to get straight to the point.

Pure

Pure

Pure doesn’t beat around the bush (no pun intended); it’s a no frills hookup app that doesn’t pretend to be anything else, and it’s aimed at those who are looking for “an after-dark adventure” and not a serious relationship.

It’s so casual, in fact, that Pure lets you chat with other users for a maximum of one hour. The idea is that you get the small talk out of the way, agree on what you want and where you want it, then get down to business.

With no social media links or email addresses required, Pure is discreet, but you’ll need a subscription priced at $11.99 a month to enjoy it (though there is a 7-day free trial). You will also need to be 18 or over.

Down

Down

If you’re not so concerned about being discreet, you may want to try Down, which helps you find a casual partner based on your Facebook friends. Simply choose the ones you’d like to hookup with, and when the feeling’s mutual, Down will make you both aware.

Down also presents you with 10 or more people nearby every day, but you can browse as many profiles as you want. It’s also straight to the point; whenever you start a conversation with a new match, Down lets both users know exactly what the other is looking for.

Same-sex soul mates

Many of the apps we’ve already mentioned will help you find a same-sex relationship, but there are some designed specifically for the LGBT community.

Grindr

Grindr

By far the most popular dating app for gay and bisexual men, with over 5 millions users worldwide, Grindr makes it incredibly easy to find other men nearby.

Its simple approach presents you with 100 users in a location-based grid, then lets you chat and share images. You can “star” guys you’re interested in and block those you don’t want to talk to, or use the search filters to find the perfect match.

Her

Her

Her promises to be the biggest and best app for lesbians and bisexuals. Its friendly approach helps users find new friends when they’re not quite ready for new lovers, and connect with other LGBT users in their community.

Her also keeps users connected with lesbian news and local events, and lets you ask others for advice on almost any topic.

Scruff

Scruff

Aimed at gay men who want to be more specific when finding their next partner, Scruff boasts powerful search and filter features and uses artificial intelligence to learn more about you and the kind of person you might be interested in.

Scruff lets you choose communities you identify with and allows you to specify what kind of activities you’re into, then uses this information when finding a potential match. You can even share your PlayStation and Xbox gamers tags to connect with fellow “gaymers.”

Findhrr

Findhrr

Designed for “all types of gay girls,” Findrr helps you find a date whether you’re interested in sex, a good night out, or just want to chat. It’s open to single users and those in open relationships, and helps users plan the perfect place for their first meet.

Niche dating

If you have a particular hobby or interest and it’s important that your next partner shares the same, then you might want to check out some niche dating apps below that are specifically designed for exactly that.

Niche dating apps are also ideal for those who have tried all the mainstream dating apps and had no joy.

Hater

Hater

Instead of finding you a new partner based on likes and interests, Hater focuses on all the things you dislike.

The app presents you with cards that feature things like Donald Trump, slow walkers, gluten-free, Taylor Swift, and marijuana. You swipe up on things you love and down on things you hate, and then Hater presents you with other users who dislike the same things.

You then use left and right swipes — just like in Tinder — to like or dislike suggested users, and when you get a match, Hater lets you both know and you’re free to chat.

Luxy

Luxy

Built for wealthy singles seeking other wealthy singles, Luxy is only open to those who earn $200,000 a year or more. Over 40 percent of its user base earn $1 million+ as CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, super models, doctors, lawyers, and more.

In addition to connecting the rich with the rich, Luxy hosts Millionaire Singles Parties in locations like New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, and London. You can swipe left and right on other users to find a match, and send virtual gifts, which, ironically, cost nothing.

Whiplr

Whiplr

Whiplr is designed for those looking for a hookup with spicier sex.

Open to singles and couples, the app connects you with others who share the same kinks and fetishes. Its detailed member profiles and “kink surveys” make it easy to find an ideal match, or you can meet new people at a local “fet event.”

My420Mate

My420Mate

If you like to get high before jumping into bed, check out My420Mate, the dating app for cannabis users. You can browse your area for other singles with the munchies who might want to grab a bite to eat, or search for others with similar interests (besides marijuana).

Bristlr

Bristlr

If you couldn’t possibly imagine dating someone without a beard, you need Bristlr, “the world’s greatest dating site for people into beards; those with beards, and those who want to stroke beards.”

The app claims to have created more than half a million connections between those with beards and those who want to stroke beards, and is now used in over 100 cities around the world.

JDate

JDate

JDate is the dating app responsible for more Jewish marriages than every other dating app combined. It’s the place to be if you’re a Jew looking for local Jewish singles, and despite being a niche app, it boasts almost all the features you’d expect from a typical dating app.

FarmersMatch

FarmersMatch

As its name suggests, FarmersMatch is a dating app for farmers who want to connect with other farmers. You’re not welcome unless you’re a farmer, a cowboy, a cowgirl, or someone with a rural background and “good old-fashioned down-to-earth values.”

Dead Meet

Dead Meet

Now things are getting really weird. Dead Meet isn’t an iOS app, but we just had to include it. This networking site is aimed at those in the “death industry” who want to meet others in similar professions.

“Whether you have a background in pathology, organise funerals for a living or are a medical historian looking for a research collaboration,” then you’re welcome at Dead Meet. I don’t even want to imagine the first date conversations.

SaladMatch

SaladMatch

SaladMatch connects you with other people who share your love of salad. You say yes or no to others users, and when there’s a mutual match, you can chat.

It sounds like a pretty silly idea, but SaladMatch was designed by Just Salad, a healthy New York City restaurant concept recognized for its socially responsible reusable bowls and healthy menu that found customers were hitting it off while waiting in line for food.