How to choose which dating app is best for an Indian?

An image of mobile screen showing different dating apps such as OkCupid Bumble and more. The mobile is sitting at the corner of a black and white key keyboard
An image of mobile screen showing different dating apps such as OkCupid Bumble and more. The mobile is sitting at the corner of a black and white key keyboard

If you’re new to the intimacy bloc or have recently come of age, you will have heard of dating apps but may not which one to go with.

If you wonder what different kinds of dating apps are there or where to find them, well, let me help you get started.

Let me just start by saying that all apps are not for everyone.

Even though you have heard of the most popular ones (like Tinder), it still may not be the best choice to rush into one based on the popularity.

You might want to ask yourself a series of questions before even shortlisting the ones that may fit your needs.

Questions like How old are you, what are you looking for? Have you dated before? Where are you from? Are you willing to spend money? Do you need help when it comes to dating? Do you associate yourself with a minority group or community?

All of these questions factor in when deciding what app you should use (or not use)

Recommended Read: Why do you need a dating app?

TLDR

Try to find a balance between the four factors: User base, Safety and Privacy, Interface and usability, and special features. Along with that, it’s important to check your relationship preferences like serious, casual, or apps catering to a specific community.

An AI image with prompt Create a more realistic scene of a person in a coffee shop, deeply engrossed in their smartphone, which displays the bright, colorful interface of a smartphone with different dating apps

Factors to consider before looking at dating apps in India

User base size

If you’re here that means that the moment you type dating apps in your region (India specifically in this case) you’re flooded with Playstore links and lists of all the apps in your region.

Most of them are sponsored and cater to hundreds and thousands of users.

But isn’t that great? Doesn’t more users mean more options to choose from? Not really. Let’s start this topic with a red pill.

What does it mean to have too many users on a dating app?

Too many users mean your profile is less likely to be sufficiently ranked to be shown to the first hundred users swiping on the app.

How?

Imagine if there are ten thousand users on the app and these profiles need to be ranked in a way that every profile is shown to everyone.

Obviously, some profiles will be shown before others. Isn’t it?

So what happens when you have 1000 men competing with the algorithm to be shown first?

Your profile will hardly even see the light of the day.

And even if your profile has been given a fair chance, it becomes important that someone likes you for the algorithm to push you forward.

That will require your pictures to be foolproof, to say the least.

You will have to appear good-looking, high-status, funny, wealthy, highly intelligent, or all of them to be the algorithm’s favorite.

Does that mean you should look at apps with fewer users?

Not really. The app mustn’t have too many or too few users so the number of choices becomes overwhelming or underwhelming.

But it’s more important the app uses the right metrics to judge a personality and show you authentic profiles.

Among all dating apps, Tinder has probably the largest user base, followed by Bumble, Aisle, OkCupid, and Hinge.

Privacy and security

This brings us to the topic of making sure that the app feels safe for you to share your private data.

For example, if the onboarding is very shallow and anybody with a simple picture and a Gmail account can get in, it could be low-security and prone to fraudulent activities.

If the app developers use low-security measures or have an in-house authentication, they may be prone to cybercrimes. If the app doesn’t have a paid version, then it can be flagged as concerning because a free tier will have people flock in great numbers, and that can compromise the quality of credible and serious lookers.

Some apps allow users to verify themselves through selfies, or KYC to add an extra layer of protection to their product suite.

Here an app like Bumble might encourage Selfie verification for its paid users (also showing verified profiles in return), and Dahlia ventures into Aadhar KYC verification for all its members planning to meet in person.

Interface and usability

It’s important to see which app feels good to use. This is not to say that it has to be simple. It has to be intuitive while also uncompromising with finding the right connections.

Most apps by default are swipe-based and for that reason feel the same as Tinder with a couple of UI differences.

That, if anything makes people want to not trust them. Hinge, for example, was one of the first apps to set its tone apart in both user interface and usability.

Even when people complained about its hectic profile creation, they liked the fact that it meant only serious people came on board and saw a more detailed profile moving away from the swipe-based approach.

Similarly, Dahlia came up with quizzes that helped people break the ice toward more intimate conversations.

Special features

Similarly, while Dahlia offers in its premium plan to set the date for you, Hinge allows users to like and comment on specific parts of profiles, cultivating curiosity and leading to higher engagement.

First things first: Check your own needs at the gate

Ask yourself this: What are you seeking in a partner?

You need to align your dating app choices with your relationship goals, whether you're looking for long-term commitment or casual dating.

Are you someone who belongs to the LGBTQ+ community? Are you willing to put in effort in profile creation or are you willing to pay money to have additional preferences? Are you looking for a meaningful relationship or just someone to have a shallow banter with?

When you know what you want, everything becomes easier. Not just in the context of relationships, but in life.

So decide what you want before moving to the next section of a comparative analysis of popular dating apps in India.

Now, based on your needs, let’s take a look at the popular apps on the internet that offer both free and paid versions, multiple features, and access to different communities.

Going forward, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about which app is fit for your relationship needs.

An AI generated image with prompt A modern digital age scene depicting a person sitting at a coffee shop table staring thoughtfully at their smartphone screen which is brightly lit

Comparative Analysis of Popular Dating Apps in India

Tinder

  • What the app is about: Widely used for its large user base and simple swipe feature. The basic idea is that one has to swipe right to like and left to reject a profile and mutual likes become matches that can then message each other.

  • Pros: Easy to set up a profile, large selection of profiles, addictive swiping (Even if they don’t swipe you back.)

  • Cons: Can lead to superficial interactions; and profile visibility issues.

  • Best for: Quick browsing and casual interactions.

  • Other considerations: The algorithm favors visually appealing profiles. pushes good pictures and is definitely more looks leading to superficial interactions.

Bumble

  • What the app is about: For Women, by women, Bumble targets women by giving them the power to initiate conversations. Their Bumble Bizz and BFF versions also allow networking and making friends as well. It’s probably the most popular app among women and also has a large Indian base now (along with Tinder, Aisle, and Quack Quack).

  • Pros: Popular among women; women get to text first so they feel relatively safe and empowered.

  • Cons: A large user base has even led to its saturation. The ‘women first’ feature hasn’t worked for the company in the ways they hoped it would.

  • Best for: Dating, and networking

  • Other considerations: One of their features to look out for is a 24-hour limit to initiate conversations.

OkCupid

  • What the app is about: The platform was once the flag-bearer of a renowned matching algorithm. Users appreciated it for its personalized connection suggestions, which were largely based on personality and interests.

  • Pros: Inclusive of LGBTQ+ community; question-based matches.

  • Cons: Quality went through a massive change post-acquisition by Match.com (Tinder's parent),

  • Best for: Deep connections based on more than just looks.

  • Other considerations: Slowly gaining popularity in metropolitan India.

Hinge

  • What the App is about: Their tagline claims it’s an app “designed to be deleted” because of its positioning on long-term relationships with a focus on interactive profile creation and ice-breakers

  • Pros: Users on Hinge can comment on specific parts of the profile and get the conversation going.

  • Cons: Lengthy (and frankly exhausting) profile setup; limited user base in smaller cities. Low penetration in India.

  • Best for: Serious dating.

  • Other considerations: Highly expensive as far as the paid plans are concerned.

Aisle

  • What the App is about: In its brand positioning, Aisle is an app made for Indians looking for serious relationships.

  • Pros: Filters for ultra-specific preferences.

  • Cons: users don’t get a lot of their worth in the free tier.

  • Best for: Seeking serious relationships with specific criteria.

  • Other considerations: Cost for extra preferences.

Grindr

  • What the App is about: An app made specifically for the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Pros: Features like location-based searches and chat translation make it easier for LGBTs everywhere to find their partners.

  • Cons: Regulatory issues post-acquisition.

  • Best for: LGBTQ+ community.

  • Other considerations: Post its acquisition in 2016, it has gone through multiple embargos and regulatory changes because of its association with the Chinese administration

Dahlia

  • What the App is about: A new app in the block with its focus on hyper-personalized matchmaking and relationship wellness.

  • Pros: Detailed personality insights; focuses on intimate connections through in-person meetups

  • Cons: This app has the lowest user base among all the other apps and is only functioning in metropolitan cities like Bangalore.

  • Best for: Deep, meaningful connections and wellness.

  • Other considerations: Users play games to further intimacy and then meet each other in real life.

Parting Note

Before you decide which app you want to first give a shot, it’s important you know where you’re based, what your intimacy needs are, what features excite you, and if you’re ready to be overwhelmed by the potential prospects that come with online dating, as opposed to traditional forms of matchmaking.

Remember, there are a gazillion more apps in the market. I just shared the ones that cover a variation in terms of market, purpose, function, and feature set.

From where we are, and where it seems we are heading, this is just the beginning for these dating apps or events in India. Hopefully, with their advent, we’ll have found something we truly crave: Companionship and understanding.

Next Recommended Read: Understanding Anxiety and Stress in Early Dating

Anurag is a filmmaker turned farmer turned entrepreneur. Originally from Faridabad, Haryana, he loves to read and write on the subjects of relationships, free will, faith, and similar 'delusions' that collectively make us human.
Having written and directed several films before, and then working with farmers in revolutionizing their supply chain, Anurag has now landed on his latest venture called Dahlia, a new-age matchmaking app that uses games to foster purposeful intimacy. His deep knowledge of human relationships coupled with scientific research has helped hundreds of individuals navigate the landscape of modern romance with authenticity and confidence.

Anurag is a filmmaker turned farmer turned entrepreneur. Originally from Faridabad, Haryana, he loves to read and write on the subjects of relationships, free will, faith, and similar 'delusions' that collectively make us human.
Having written and directed several films before, and then working with farmers in revolutionizing their supply chain, Anurag has now landed on his latest venture called Dahlia, a new-age matchmaking app that uses games to foster purposeful intimacy. His deep knowledge of human relationships coupled with scientific research has helped hundreds of individuals navigate the landscape of modern romance with authenticity and confidence.

Anurag Gulati Headshot

Anurag Gulati

Anurag Gulati Headshot

Anurag Gulati

Anurag Gulati Headshot
Anurag Gulati Headshot

Anurag Gulati

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