The safest dating apps to use in 2024

10 of the most popular dating apps tested for privacy 

Man and woman dating by the beach

In an era where swipes dictate the course of modern romance, concerns about data privacy have become paramount. As technology continues to intertwine with matters of the heart, the safety of personal information on dating apps is more critical than ever. In this digital age, where love connections are just a click away, finding a platform that not only sparks romantic chemistry but also prioritizes user privacy is essential.

In this article, we dive deep into the murky waters of app privacy, uncovering the safest dating platforms that prioritize data protection. So if you’re ready to swipe with security, read on to find the safest dating app for your happily ever after!

Which of the best dating apps for 2024 is the most data-hungry?

In time for 2024’s Valentine’s Day, the online publication Cybernews reviewed 10 popular dating apps (Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Badoo, Grindr, Her, Match, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, and Raya) based on their privacy practices disclosed on the App Store as part of Apple’s privacy requirements, to find out which of them are the most hungry in terms of data collection.

All of the 10 online dating apps reviewed collect personal data from their users, but the number of data they collect varies. Most of the collected data are necessary to keep the app running, but some of them are used for advertising and even shared with third parties, apps, and websites owned by other companies.

As of the publishing time of Cybernews’ report, Apple requires online dating app developers to disclose if their app is collecting 35 types of data or privacy points. These include contact information like name, phone number, user location, and financial details like payments and credit.

Additionally, online dating app developers are also required to list data that their online dating app links to their users, because those data are collected in a way that is linked to user identity, such as their account, device, or details like phone number.

All of the reviewed online dating apps disclosed that they collect data, which they link to user identity. It’s worth noting, however, that four out of the 10 reviewed online dating apps identify data they collect but do not link to user identity.

“To declare that data is collected but not linked to you, a developer must use privacy protections such as stripping any direct identifiers, for example, user ID, before collection, and avoid practices such as linking the data back to your identity after collection,” read a portion of the Apple guidelines.

Furthermore, Cybernews found out that six out of the 10 dating site apps collect some data that could be used to track their users across apps and websites owned by third-party companies or shared with a data broker.

All of the 10 dating website apps reviewed also declared that collect information about the photos and videos of their users, not to mention sensitive information such as sexual orientation.

Cybernews pointed out that sensitive information also includes details about racial background, disability, religious beliefs, or even trade union membership, and fortunately, none of the hookup apps it reviewed shared these sensitive details with third parties, even though all linked it to user identity.

Below is the ranking of the 10 popular dating apps reviewed from the most data-hungry to the least:

Grindr – 23 collected, 2 tracked

Grindr

Grindr is a location-based social networking and dating app specifically geared towards the LGBTQ+ community, primarily men seeking men.

Unlike general dating apps that encompass various relationship goals, Grindr is known as a platform for casual hookup. While relationships can blossom on the app, its design and user base cater more towards immediate connections.

It is the most data-hungry dating app on this list, collecting 23 points of data about its users for various reasons, including app functionality, analytics, and advertising. It links all of the collected data to user identity and tracks two types of data, namely device ID and advertising data, which it can share with other companies.

Bumble – 22 collected, 4 tracked

Bumble

Bumble is a dating app with a distinctive feature: in heterosexual matches, women have the power to initiate conversations.

Bumble’s core philosophy revolves around shifting traditional dating dynamics. By giving women control over initiating contact, the app aims to create a safer and more respectful environment for female users. This aligns with broader cultural shifts towards gender equality and empowers women to pursue connections on their own terms.

The app is second on the list of the most data-hungry dating apps, collecting user information across 22 data categories. All of the collected data is linked to user identity and used for analytics, third-party and own advertising, product personalization, and app functionality. Bumble also tracks user data in four categories, namely, coarse location, email address, device ID, and advertising data. All could be shared with apps and websites owned by other companies.

Badoo – 21 collected, 7 tracked

Badoo

Badoo, owned by the Bumble empire, positions itself as a social discovery platform with a strong dating focus. Unlike purely swipe-based apps, Badoo incorporates elements of social networking. You can follow other users, see their activity feed, and engage in discussions beyond direct messaging. This adds a layer of discovery and fosters connections beyond just romantic pursuits.

Badoo collects 21 types of data that it links to user identity to keep the app functional, as well as for its own and third-party advertising. It is also among the apps that track the most user data. Badoo users could expect their data across seven categories shared with third parties, including precise location, coarse location, email address, device ID, advertising data, other user contact data, and other data types.

Raya – 20 collected, 0 tracked

Raya

Raya, often nicknamed the “celebrity dating app,” is a private community app catering to creative professionals and individuals. While it still operates as a dating platform, several unique features set it apart from mainstream app experiences. Getting onto Raya is notoriously difficult. Instead of relying solely on algorithms, they have a rigorous application process. This involves a waitlist, vetting by existing members, and sometimes even invitations. This exclusivity aims to create a more curated and controlled user base.

According to Raya, the app does not track users, meaning their data may not be shared with third parties. It still collects 20 types of data about its users that it links to their identity for app functionality and product personalization reasons, as well as analytics and own advertising.

Her – 18 collected, 4 not linked, 8 tracked

Her

Her is a dating app specifically designed for lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender women and non-binary individuals. It prides itself on creating a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ women to connect with each other.

Her caters specifically to a community that often feels underrepresented or overlooked in mainstream dating apps. This creates a platform where users can connect with others who share similar experiences and identities.

It is an outlier on the list in that it tracks most of the data it collects about its users and links it to their identity. Out of 14 data types collected and linked to user identity, eight may be shared across apps and websites owned by other companies, including purchase history, precise location, coarse location, email address, phone number, user ID, device ID, and advertising data.

Overall, Her collects 18 different types of data for various purposes, but four of those are not linked to user identity, namely, crash data, performance data, other user data, and other diagnostic data.

Plenty of Fish – 17 collected, 2 not linked, 0 tracked

Plenty of Fish dating app

Plenty of Fish (POF), established in 2003, is a longstanding online dating platform with a reputation for being accessible, comprehensive, and free-to-use. Compared to many apps with limited free features and paid subscriptions, POF offers a robust experience even without paying. You can create a profile, send messages, search for matches, and see who likes you – all for free.

In terms of privacy, it collects 17 types of data about its users. Of those, two are collected but not linked to user identity, which is advertising data and performance data. According to the privacy practices provided by Plenty of Fish, the app does not track its user data, meaning it should not be shared with other companies.

OkCupid – 16 collected, 3 tracked

OkCupid

OkCupid boasts a unique position in the dating app landscape, known for its in-depth profiles, diverse user base, and emphasis on compatibility beyond just looks. Unlike swipe-based apps, OkCupid encourages users to fill out comprehensive profiles with questions and answers, revealing their personality, interests, and dealbreakers. This allows for deeper matching based on shared values and preferences.

OkCupid tracks its users’ purchase history, device ID, and product interaction, which may be shared with other apps and websites. Overall, the app collects 16 different data types, which it links to user identity. The app says it uses most of the data it collects for its own advertising and marketing, analytics, app functionality, and product personalization, as well as third-party advertising.

Tinder – 16 collected, 0 tracked

Tinder

Tinder, launched in 2012, remains a dominant force in the dating app world, known for its simplicity, gamification, and massive user base. Tinder’s signature swipe mechanic is quick, intuitive, and gamified. Swipe right on profiles you like, left on those you don’t, and wait for a mutual match to spark a conversation. This fast-paced format makes it easy to browse countless profiles, but some users find it superficial.

It collects 16 types of data that it links to your identity, which it mainly uses for analytics, product personalization, and app functionality. Some of that data is also used for third-party advertising, as well as the app’s own marketing, but none of the information collected by Tinder is shared with third parties, according to the app.

Match – 15 collected, 3 not linked, 1 tracked

Match

Match, established in 1995, is one of the pioneering online dating platforms, known for its focus on serious relationships, in-depth profiles, and personalized matching. Unlike some apps known for casual encounters, Match explicitly caters to users seeking meaningful connections and long-term commitments.

Match is also less intrusive when it comes to user data. Out of the 15 data points it collects about its users, the app only links 12 of them to their identity. Product interaction data, crash data, and performance data are collected but not linked to user identity. It tracks one type of user data, which is device ID.

Hinge – 14 collected, 2 not linked, 0 tracked

Hinge

Hinge positions itself as the “anti-dating app” within the online dating landscape. It champions the idea of finding meaningful connections and getting off the app once you do, aiming to be a stepping stone rather than a long-term destination. Unlike swipe-based apps focused on instant gratification, Hinge encourages its single users to create detailed profiles with prompts and photos showcasing their personality, interests, and values. This fosters engagement beyond just looks and facilitates deeper conversations.

Among major dating apps, Hinge may be the best choice for privacy-minded individuals. It collects user data across 14 types of data, which it says it only uses to improve the app’s performance and for its own marketing purposes. It links most of the data it collects to the user identity, except for crash data and performance data, which are not linked. The app does not track user data.

Check out the table below to find out which kind of data the 10 reviewed dating apps collect from their users:

Dating app data collection
Dating app data collection | Photo Credit: Cybernews

Frequently asked questions about dating app data security

Q: What are the other safest dating apps to use in 2024?

A: In 2024, some of the safest dating apps to use are eharmony, Coffee Meets Bagel, and other well-known platforms that prioritize user safety and privacy.

Q: How do I know if a dating site is safe to use?

A: Look for dating sites that provide security features such as profile verification, secure messaging, and a commitment to user safety. It’s also essential to read reviews and consider the site’s reputation.

Q: What are the best dating sites for finding a long-term relationship?

A: When looking for a long-term relationship, consider using dating sites like eharmony, which are designed to help users find potential partners based on compatibility and relationship goals.

Q: Are there free dating sites that are safe to use?

A: Yes, there are safe and reputable free dating sites available. It’s important to research and choose platforms that prioritize user safety and offer features to help daters stay secure.

Q: How can I stay safe when using online dating sites?

A: To stay safe while using online dating sites, always prioritize your personal safety, verify potential matches, and consider meeting in public places when taking the next step to meet in person.

Q: What are some tips for creating a safe online dating profile?

A: When creating an online dating profile, be mindful of the information you share, avoid sharing personal details too quickly, and use discretion when interacting with potential matches.

Q: Is it safe to use dating apps that offer video dating features?

A: Dating apps that offer video dating features can be safe to use if they prioritize user privacy and security. It’s important to use discretion and be cautious when engaging in video calls with matches.

Source: Cybernews
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