A Beginner’s Guide to Dating Apps
Tap here to meet your matches.
When you’re online dating for the first time, all the app options can be overwhelming. Here’s a cheat sheet for the current landscape.
Why it’s so dreamy: Tinder wasn’t the first dating app, but it’s the one that made “swipe right” a cultural phenomenon. If you swipe right on someone’s profile and they do the same for you, it’s a match! And either of you can start a conversation.
Good to know: Since Tinder touts nearly 2 billion swipes a day across over 190 countries, don’t stress if the first date doesn’t go exactly as planned. Someone else is right around the corner.
Don’t miss: A Tinder Boost rockets your profile near the top of the queue of your potential matches for 30 minutes. Get one per month with a Tinder Plus, Tinder Gold, or Tinder Platinum subscription.
Why it’s so dreamy: Ladies first here—when two heterosexual people match in Bumble, only a woman can start the conversation. (For all other matches, either person can.) If you don’t start chatting within 24 hours, the match disappears—a great incentive to take the initiative!
Good to know: Sending a reaction to an element of someone’s profile is an easy way to show interest. Tap the smiley face icon on a photo or something they wrote to shoot an emoji or a comment in response—they’ll only see it if you match.
Don’t miss: Not looking for a love match? Switch from Date mode to BFF mode to swipe your way to a new bestie, or Bizz mode to land your next professional gig.
Why it’s so dreamy: Succinct profiles are standard in most dating apps, but in OkCupid, the scroll’s the limit. Its longer, more detailed profiles let you put it all out there.
Good to know: To foster deeper connections, OkCupid’s detailed questionnaires help the app calculate a compatibility score between you and a potential match. (Look for it next to their name at the top of their profile.) The more questions you answer, the more fine-tuned your matches will be.
Fun feature: Sign up for Incognito mode and your profile will remain invisible to everyone on the site until you like or message them.
Why it’s so dreamy: Daunted by the idea of filling out a dating app profile? Hinge helps you showcase your best self with conversation prompts (think “Two truths and a lie” or “Let’s debate this topic”) that create fun and flirty ways to engage.
Good to know: Hinge’s insightful algorithm and limit of 10 likes per day (no cap for Preferred Members) make for more meaningful matches. If a profile really grabs your eye, elevate your like by sending a Rose instead—you get a free one each week and can always purchase more.
Fun feature: Updated daily, Hinge’s Standouts tab rounds up profiles you’ve previously liked in the Discover feed and displays top prompts from people the app deems most your type.
Why it’s so dreamy: Although most apps offer some LGBTQ+ friendly features, HER is created specifically for lesbian, bisexual, and queer people. And it isn’t just a dating app—it’s a community. Jump into group discussions with others who share your interests and experiences.
Good to know: Give your profile some flair with Pride Pins, the virtual equivalent of the glossy enamel style that adorns IRL lapels. Andro? QPOC? Lipstick Lez? Wear it proudly.
Don’t miss: Use the Communities and Events tabs to make new connections—romantic or otherwise—and find LGBTQ+ events online.
Coffee Meets Bagel
Why it’s so dreamy: Coffee Meets Bagel focuses on “high-quality matches” so you don’t have to spend all day mindlessly swiping. You’ll get a manageable, curated list of potential matches (Bagels) at noon every day.
Good to know: If you match, the app provides a few icebreakers to get the conversation flowing like...a delicious cup of coffee. Can’t get enough java? Buy Beans—CMB’s in-app currency—and unlock features like read receipts and extra Bagels.
Don’t miss: With CMB Premium, see when your messages are read and learn more about your matches.