The Ultimate Guide to Dating App Development

Nowadays, people do not meet each other at a library or through friends, the most romantic way to find your partner in 2024 is to swipe right. That’s why we created a comprehensive guide about the dating app world. Learn about the necessary features, dating app development costs and timelines, and find out how to create a dating app. Let’s go!

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Dating App Development
Table of contents

3 common types of popular dating apps

Dating App Development

The type of the dating app depends on the matching algorithm. Some apps utilize geolocation, matching potential dates by how close they are geographically. Other apps have questionnaires, or they target a specific audience. Let’s take a closer look at these app types:


It matches you to people who are in a certain geographic location. For example, Tinder with customized proximity that allows you to set if you want to see people who are no more than 1/2/3/4 miles away.

dating app development


These apps ask their users to complete a survey about their values and expectations. Then, a machine algorithm uses the answers to match people. That is how eHarmony’s online dating site and app work. Also, there is a app that matches people based on their music preferences. Basically, there are infinite ways to create a new user experience, you just need to find what’s important for people. 


Niche dating apps are targeted to a specific group. You probably know about Pure, an anonymous app for hookups. As they say on their website: “Pure is for when you’re looking for an after-dark adventure, not a relationship. It is quick, direct, and discreet.” That is the perfect description for the niche they have occupied. 

Current apps are usually a mix of all these types, but we recommend using this classification when defining the audience and main features for your app.

App category Example
Geolocation networks Tinder, Bumble, Hinge
Questionnaire-based  eHarmony,
Niche-based Pure, Grindr

Essential features of Tinder-like dating apps

Here is a list of 7 features you should definitely implement when you make your own dating app.

A personal profile

Many dating apps go above and beyond to come up with unusual features for their user profiles. For instance, Tinder allows users to sync up with their Spotify accounts and add favorite artists to the profile description.

Another example is Hinge that introduced voice chats and prompts in the bio in October 2021. With this feature, users can add a short audio clip to their personal profile to help people get to know them better before a first date.

The launch of the voice prompts went viral on TikTok, attracted new users, and brought attention to the update — around 46% of the audience have tried the prompts and 13% of newcomers skipped the onboarding to go straight to the audio.

dating app development

Social media integration

We recommend thinking about privacy and reliable background checks beforehand, and one of the best ways to do that is social media. Generally, apps like Tinder implement social media account integration and thus pass the buck to Facebook. 

In the best-case scenario, you can find people’s real names, schools and friend lists there. Some apps, like The League, rely not on Facebook, but on LinkedIn. Others require additional forms of identification.

When it comes to dating and personal data, safety is one of the major concerns, and background checks are crucial. Users entrust their photos, location, and sexual preferences to you, and they expect it to be secured. 

You should figure out what works best for you and how you want to authenticate users on your dating app – with a mobile number, social media account, ID, or reference code from someone they personally know – options are unlimited.

Dating App Development

Geolocation features

Let users decide how far they want their match to be. Maybe, their dream partner lives in France, Spain, Mexico or even Bali? Don’t limit the choices. Implementation of this feature will also help your app increase the customer retention rate (CRR) — with broadening the area in which people can discover new dating app accounts to look at and swipe. To identify user location, you can utilize the smartphone’s GPS or data from the WI-FI network connection.

Dating App Development

Matching algorithm

Think about how to match users and how often to do that. Some apps use survey-based algorithms, based on questionnaires people fill in about their lifestyle, hobbies, work, romantic preferences, and goals to achieve. Tinder uses a user-driven swipe – to the right if you like a person, and to the left if you want to move on.

Dating App Development

Push notifications

They help to increase a dating app’s engagement. It can be notifications about a new match, a new message, or just a friendly reminder to check the app. As a provider, we recommend using Apple Push Notifications Service for iOS, and Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) for the Android app.

Dating App Development

Ice Breakers

To help users start a conversation, you can suggest some questions to ask a potential partner. For instance, “What is your favorite day of the year and why?”, “If you win a million dollars, what would you spend it on?” or “What is your dream getaway?”. This will give users ideas of what to ask about, and will make them feel more comfortable and even thankful to your dating application.

UI/UX design and copywriting can be your solution that help users with communication problems and spark an interest in sending a text first. Try to keep it positive and empathetic — relationships are related to the emotions, and that is where users tend to feel anxiety and lack of assertiveness. 

Also, you can try to utilize voice and video calling features to push the communication possibilities to the next level.

Premium options

They are a way to earn money and offer users to pay to unlock some extra features. 

For example, the basic plan on Tinder allows you to see people who are up to 100 km away from your current location, but with Tinder Gold, you can choose any location and look for your perfect match in specific places like Paris, Istanbul, Los Angeles or Seoul. 

Or maybe voice and video calling can become your stand-out premium feature. For people that don’t want to waste time on dates, if there’s no chemistry with the other person.

Dating App Development

How to monetize your dating app

There are numerous dating app monetization strategies if you decided to make your own dating app. It’s undoubtedly a profitable venture — for instance, Tinder revealed their earnings report for 2019 – the company made $1.2 billion on swipes and matches. There are several ways of boosting your app purchases:

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Profile upgrade

There are three options: Tinder Plus, Tinder Gold, and Tinder Platinum, and each of them has its own benefits. Let’s take Tinder Gold as an example – the upgrade allows users to enlarge the searching area, look for people in different regions, and see how many likes they have gotten. The cost of this feature varies from $15.00 to $83.99, and depends on location, age, and gender. The app gives you a choice – you can subscribe, or make a one-time purchase.

Dating App Development

Interface upgrade

Same idea – if you accidentally swiped someone to the wrong side and want to rewind, Tinder will offer you to upgrade your plan to access extra features like rewinding.

Dating App Development

Ads that occasionally pop up between swipes

Dating apps serve as perfect marketplaces for brands because you can collect and analyze user behavior and their data, in order to suggest advertisers a suitable selection of target audiences for their product needs.Dating App Development

How much does dating app development cost?

Let’s discuss the budget and calculate how much money you need for dating app development in 2023.

The general rule is, the bigger mobile app development team you hire and the more complex an app you want, the more you have to pay for the development.
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In our case, the average development time is 4 months. Here’s what you get in this timeframe.

  • UI/UX design (including everything you want — from gamified elements like swipeable Tinder cards to quizzes on an idea about a future partner)
  • Frontend development (we use React Native to cover a larger market by building a location based dating app for both iOS and Android)
  • Backend development
  • Project management (to distribute the tasks over developers, supervise all of the elements, to ensure they are finalized on time and to report to our clients)
  • QA Testing (to perform tests on every part of a mobile app, find any possible bug that might occur, and get rid of it before the official launch)

Overall, the team of 6 people will work on your dating app development. 1 UI/UX designer, 1 backend engineer, 2 frontend engineers, QA engineer, and 1 project manager. 

On average, an online dating app with a basic set of functions built by the Purrweb team costs around $54,400. We develop minimal viable products, because it is the faster and more safe way to check if your idea works. 

If it turns out to be in demand, you can always put additional functions and develop the application to the ideal. To create a dating app that’s fully packaged is several times more expensive and has more financial risk if something goes wrong.

We can recalculate the final dating app costs of the development in case you want to add or take out extra features when approving concepts or mock-ups.

Stage Approximate costs
Project estimation no cost
UI/UX design 7000$
Development stage 45000$
QA Testing 7200$
Project management 9900$

The best technology stack for developing a dating app

At Purrweb we work with the React Native framework that allows us to build a dating app like Tinder, quicker than if we used other technologies. Thanks to React Native, we also don’t need two teams to create a dating app for iOS and Android. Instead, we create two different dating apps with one codebase, while native UI-elements will make them perform like solutions built with Swift and Java. Your users won’t feel any difference between them. 

Moreover, React Native has a large community and a wide ecosystem. This allows you to quickly eliminate errors and expand functionality.

Our experience says if you want to test a business idea, React Native is the perfect solution that saves time and your budget. At Purrweb, the average time required to develop a fully-functional React Native app from scratch is 4 months. Once it’s done, go share the product with users and get initial feedback, or present it to investors and get financial support.

To learn how to choose a contractor and make sure they do not steal the startup ideas, check out our article with the instructions.

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A step-by-step dating app development guide

It’s easy to create a successful app when you know your target audience and their requests and have a dating app development team that you can trust. If you dissect this big task into small steps, it will make the process even easier. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create a dating app.

Step 1. Find an idea

For that, you need to understand what people are missing now in dating apps. Research or even your personal experience will help you figure this out. The main thing is that the problem should concern a lot of people, and your idea really solves it.

Step 2. Plan the project

In this stage you define the app’s functionality, choose the way of mobile development (MVP or full packaged app), find a team, and budget the cost of dating app development.

Step 3. Create a design

You need to think about how your application will look. It is better to offer the team a number of references that will help them more accurately implement the idea. UI/UX designers will then check how usable it is. It is important to make the user experience as simple and comfortable as possible.

Step 4. Develop the app

The team, using different programming languages and frameworks, will develop the filling of the app: the frontend — what is visible to the user and what he can use, as well as the backend, which stores all data on the server.

Step 5. Test the app

Before the release of the app, it is necessary to give it to QA testers. They will find possible bugs and report them to the dating app developers for fixing.

Step 6. Release the app and get feedback

Now, when everything is ready, launch the app in the App Store and Google Play. Don’t forget to collect feedback from users after some time. This will allow you to improve the app, add important features, and as a result increase the audience even more.

How do dating apps create matches?

Dating apps use algorithms to create match suggestions. With the information you provide, including personal info (like geolocation and age), preferences you set, and how active you are on the app — these apps try to find the best possible match for you.

We’ve broken down some of the most widely used dating app matching algorithms below:

Elo rating system

A hand holding a chess piece over a chess board

Just like in chess, every “match” will affect you score. Which will determine the next “match”

Originally created to rate chess players, the Elo rating system served as the foundation for the Tinder algorithm. As revealed in a 2019 blog post, an “Elo score” was formerly used by Tinder’s algorithms to measure how well other profiles engaged with yours. Tinder “scored” you according to the way potential matches swiped on you, in addition to recording your individual Likes (right swipes) and Nopes (left swipes).

However, the Tinder blog claims that the ELO score is no longer used. According to the blog post, actually using the app is the user’s most crucial action. The longer you use Tinder, the more information the app has about you, which should allow the algorithm to learn more about your personal preferences. The more time you spend using the app, the more often prospective matches will see your profile.

Gale Shapley algorithm

Hinge is a dating app with a slogan: “designed to be deleted”, so it doesn’t have swiping, or an Elo rating system. Hinge’s director of relationship science, told Vice that Hinge uses the Gale-Shapley algorithm. This Nobel-prize winning algorithm was created to use in “trades” that can’t be done with money. Things like organ donations and assigning medical graduates to their first hospitals.

It works something like this: How can we pair up 10 single women and 10 single men? Let’s tell one group to pick their first choice, if they get rejected — they move on to their second choice. This will continue until there’s no one left who wants to get matched.

One of the algorithm’s major advantages is that it creates a stable matching, where none of the unmatched elements prefer each other over their current partners. This eliminates scenarios where two people are matched but have a mutual preference for another person.

Like with Tinder, Hinge’s matching algorithm is not about the profiles you swipe on, it’s about how potential matches interact with your profile. And, just like Tinder, the more you use Hinge the more the algorithm understands who you’re interested in, which can get you better matches.

Hybrid methods

OkCupid is one of the oldest dating sites that has the most robust user profiles of all its competitors. Before OkCupid date matching went one of two ways:

  1. A search function presented users with a series of profiles to read based on their preferences.
  2. Only a small number of randomly selected profiles were presented to users each day by the algorithm.

OkCupid went with a hybrid of these two methods. They used a matching system that also gave users the option to search through profiles and even had their compatibility percentage with other users, displayed right on their profiles. 

On OkCupid, you can build the most thorough profile, with over 4000 questions and over 60 sexual orientation and gender options. If it’s important to you — you can display it, so your best possible match can find you.

A profile on OkCupid, with some of the questions about the user

OkCupid uses the answers from users in an attempt to make the person more important than their photos

Using the answers you provided, OkCupid calculates a match percentage with other users to see how compatible you are. Basically, you’ll have a high match percentage if another user shares your search preferences and question-response patterns and is seeking the same things in a romantic partner.

You can see your match percentage with the other person on every profile, so you can immediately have an understanding of how like-minded you are.

Elo rating system Gale Shapley algorithm Hybrid methods
How it works It scores users according to how potential matches swiped on their profile, in addition to recording their own likes and dislikes. It tells one group to pick their first choice, if they get rejected — they move on to their second choice. This continues until there’s no one left who wants to get matched. Combines features of different algorithms, in order to get the best possible result for the user.
Pros Easy to implement, straightforward and the most commonly used Creates a “stable matching” scenario Completely customizable and a perfect fit for niche apps
Cons Ratings heavily rely on user’s appearance, which can ruin their experience with the app Hard to find a reliable way for users to quickly get to know each other and make the right decision It can take a lot of time and money to fully develop and implement
Let’s start the dating app development process today!
We look forward to hearing from you. Contact us for a free project estimate within 48 hours.

How to attract new users to your dating app

You can get new users to your app through many different sources. The main ones are organic and referral traffic, and social networks like Reddit or Facebook. Let’s get deeper into each source.

Organic Traffic Strategies

Generating organic traffic involves making your app’s presence and content as appealing as possible to consumers without the use of overt advertising. To draw users in a genuine way, it’s essential to use strategies like app store optimization (ASO), high-quality content creation, social media engagement, influencer marketing, and encouraging user-generated content.


This will help attract the reader’s attention when scrolling

Referral Traffic Techniques

Users recommending your app to their networks are what drive referral traffic. Your traffic can be greatly boosted by setting up a well-organized referral program. To do that, you can start working with companies with similar target demographics, and form partnerships with influencers. These tactics encourage current users to spread the word about your app and tap into larger networks, increasing user acquisition and building a sense of community involvement.

Leveraging Reddit and Community Engagement

You should be careful and respectful when you start using websites like Reddit. You can tap into Reddit’s user base, by: becoming an active member of relevant subreddits, sharing anonymized success stories, offering valuable insights, and occasionally advertising in alignment with subreddit guidelines. This strategy positions your app as a solution within the community, encouraging trust and recognition among potential users.

strategies of leveraging Reddit and community engagement

While each of these strategies can be very effective, only combining them will ensure an ongoing stream of new users for your app. 

Develop your cross-platform dating app with Purrweb

The dating app market is a fast-growing and profitable place to begin your startup in 2024. The pandemic taught us to date online and there is an appetite for new features like voice clips, video messages and calls and mutual online activities.

You can make an option to watch a movie together, schedule a sweet and special message for morning or order flowers right in the app. If you have an idea to develop an online dating app like Tinder, the perfect time to start executing it is now.

If you are still on the fence, look at stats — the dating app audience is rocketing, and within 4 years it is expected to reach 270 million people across the world. Tinder made $1.79 billion in revenue in 2022, an 8% increase on the year prior — more than Reddit, VSCO, Shazam, and millions of other apps.

In order to build a dating app, the first thing you are advised to do is to define your niche. Who do you want to lure to your network and why? Then figure out key elements – feel free to use our list of 6 features your app needs, or just ask us about specific details for your upcoming project.

We will be happy to help you develop a dating app. With us, it will take you 4 months to create an app like Tinder and will cost you around $69,100. You can check our portfolio with previous projects and reviews hereIf you’re ready to start, fill in the form below and we will contact you within 24 hours.

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