There is no denying that mobile devices and the advancement of their technology has had an impact on how we conduct our lives. From being able to Google the name we don’t remember, to ordering food delivery, to finding answers to homework questions we just don’t understand, to turning on our heat before we get home, mobile devices and the internet has changed how we operate. But the most impact that it has had is in terms of romance and dating. Our mobile devices have become almost intrinsic when it comes to communicating, meeting up with, or discovering new and interesting people. With the advent of numerous top dating applications for relationships, it’s now easier than ever to download an application or jump onto the web and have tons of new connections right at your fingertips. So What Are Dating Apps, What Do They Look Like and How Do They Work?Well, to put it simply, a dating application, whether you are using an online web version or an actual downloaded application on your mobile phone, is a location-based platform that allows you to message, flirt, chat and meet attractive individuals who are a “match” with your profile. Typically, one will venture onto these platforms in order to have romantic encounters with others who are local to their geographic area. For instance, if you live in Scottsdale, Arizona, you’re going to meet with other Scottsdale singles.A dating application will have a few key features that shape what it looks like; namely an engaging user-experience design, an extremely easy to use user-interface and instant response gratification. Typically, you will see these three similarities in all dating applications:1. User Profiles: no one wants to fill out massive forms anymore, so instead dating apps have made it simple to input your bio-data into the program. They ask you what your political views are, your eating habits, beliefs and ask for a profile picture and short biography. Once you start actively using the website or application, the algorithm will pick up on your patterns, honing your profile down even more.2. Easy Login: although you can sign up with an e-mail and password, nowadays most dating applications will have a third party login. Why? It’s quicker and easier and no one has to remember what e-mail they used or password they needed to login. Instead, it is a one-click button process that gets individuals up and running in seconds.3. Individual Customization: dating applications allow you to be flexible with your profile page. Not only does this allow you to extend your personality outwards to the local world but it keeps you engaged with the application.In terms of how a dating application works, no one really knows this. Each web and mobile application has different strategies and methods in place, but none of the algorithms have been revealed, just speculated about. What we do know though is that it is all about matching up your expectations and profile cues with those around you who also have similar tastes and likes. Do you only want to be matched with men who are into fitness, or women who have no children? Do you only want incredibly attractive matches or only care about matches that have the same political views as you? Do you only want to date other Scottsdale singles or do you want matches from the next town over? These types of questions get answered when you create your biography and fill out the long-form questionnaires.Should You Try a Dating App for Relationships?The main thing here is that a lot of dating applications have been given a bad reputation for causing people to not settle down due to the plethora of match choices that they have. It’s also been said that a lot of dating apps have “removed the romance out of dating,” (Quinn, 2017) when in reality they just focus more on that first initial step of: do you find this person attractive? For instance, when you head to the bar looking for a hook-up, the first thing you’re going to assess is whether you find the person attractive; mobile and web-based dating applications do the same thing but in cyber-space. So for those who are looking for an actual relationship, all you have to do is look at Scottsdale dating applications that are more favourable for individuals who are relationship-minded. Once you have found an application that you like, there are a few more things that you can do to ensure that people know you are looking for a relationship and not just a hook-up.1. Be Honest About Yourself: adding in your unique personality quirks will always get you better quality matches because people are looking for different types of relationships. If you just put up a generic profile, looking to get as many matches as you can, you’re not going to find high-quality match ups which are ideal for potential relationships.2. Say You Want a Relationship: if you are talking to someone who you really like, it’s important that they know what you are looking for and vice versa. You don’t want to allow feelings to hang in the air without ever committing to them because then you end up heartbroken. It is also completely okay to say that you desire a real relationship rather than just a hook-up. Don’t be afraid to state what you are looking for, for fear of scaring people away. The same goes for individuals who just want sex – be honest and you will attract what you are looking for. 3. Be Responsible About What You Want: this is to echo the above point; stringing along someone who takes you out on nice dinner dates just for the intimate sex that comes at the end of the date is not extremely attractive. There are those out there who take people out on dates to find out whether they would like to marry this person or have a long-term relationship with them. It’s okay to not know what you want, but it is important to make sure that the other person knows your intentions.4. Don’t Be Afraid to Make the First Move: especially if you are a woman because it allows you to create opportunities for yourself. Don’t worry about scaring them off, because communicating and being honest will only make you more successful in your matches.Who Are Dating Apps For?Essentially anyone who is looking to either hook-up or find a real relationship. The market has been completely saturated with web and mobile dating applications, so there is an application out there for every type of person. For instance, if you only want to hook-up with people who mutually like you, there is Tinder, if you want a traditional dating experience, there is Zoosk, Match, and OkCupid, if you get easily overwhelmed then there is Coffee Meets Bagel and if you want a hook-up or relationship based on your beliefs and religion then there is Jswipe, Minder, and Cdate. For those who are “important” or have high-standards then there are a few applications that have a vetting process that you have to go through just to use the app; see The League and Raya.How to Pick the Right Dating Application?It can be extremely difficult to pick one of the top dating apps for relationships once you’ve decided to try out the online dating world because there are so many with different motivations and goals. However, there are a few things that you should run through before deciding on one to sign up for.1. Reputation: this is the first thing you want to look for on the Google App Play Store or the IOS App Store. Go through the reviews and take a look to see if the reviews match the reputation and rating that the application has. If it is rated only 4.3 stars, then find out what is bringing down the rating and what caveats people have had with the application. By taking the time to look at what people are saying about the application, you can avoid ones that may not be right for you or give you qualms about the platform. 2. Affiliate Links: be cautious online both in the application that you choose and what you click on within the application. Unfortunately, some applications will have affiliate links attached to them, either to incentivize you to use the application or to get your personal information from you to then sell to a third party. You may also come across some individuals within the application who are just there to spread their affiliate links and “network” with you. Avoid clicking these at all costs!3. Number of Users: this is an important distinction to make because it can have an effect on the quality of your matches and your conversations. For dating applications that have a surplus of women on it and fewer men, you may find that more casual flings are happening because the men are taking every opportunity that gets thrown at them (can you blame them?). On the flip side, when there is a surplus of men on the application, you may find that the “dating culture emphasizes courtship and romance” (Birger, 2015), where the men are looking to attract a life-long partner. The prevailing sex ratios of the current real-life demographics does have an effect on what dating culture carries on in cyber-space and so it is very important to know what type of user base you are jumping into.4. Interests and Age Groups: not every dating site or downloaded application will work for you. Make sure that you take a look at the age groups and interests that are associated with the application. For instance, Tinder generally has a younger age group who are more closely related to the millennial generation which boasts interests of fitness, spontaneity, risk-takers, passionate ideals and ideas as well as work-life alignment (Burns, “7 Millennial Traits”).In addition to the above, keep in mind that you are attaching personal data and more than likely, your entire Twitter or Facebook Profile, to these dating applications, so data security may not be the most secure. With this said, make sure you take the appropriate steps to ensure your safety when corresponding with and meeting up with new people.What Are the Top Dating Apps for Relationships?Here is a nice varied break down of applications that you can use to find a relationship:1. The League Free & Paid Membership: is a newer application that caters to those who either have high-standards or are picky about what they want. The application does have a free and paid membership, but it also has an entire vetting process, meaning you may not even get accepted. The positives about The League is that you won’t ever find any fake profiles, there are no randoms and your profile will never be seen by people who do not match your criteria. This application is all about the seriousness of online dating, which means you will need to connect your Facebook and Linkedin profiles to get started.2. Bumble Free – upgrades available: is what is known as a “female-first” dating application which means that all women have to make the first move by messaging first. It is similar to Tinder in that it has the same swiping method of interaction, but the woman only has twenty-four hours to message the male before the connection disappears. The male can extend this time by another twenty-four hours, once a day. The demographic age range is around mid to late twenties and is made up of a more creative crowd with a higher caliber of conversation. The overall vibe of the connections is better but if you can’t take a self-esteem hit when a guy doesn’t respond to your message, then it may not be for you.3. Tinder Free – upgrades available: has a younger core audience, ranging anywhere from 20-30 years of age, who are extremely well connected and social. However, it has an extremely large demographic of people which means it may take forever to find that ideal relationship and you may go through a lot of communications with people who just want hook-ups. Overall, it’s extremely easy to set up by just logging in with Facebook or Twitter and the swiping left, right and up can be addictive. A positive about the application is that you will only be able to talk to people who have mutually swiped right on you.4. Coffee Meets Bagel Free: is a heterosexual dating app that gives women the power. Every day a curated list will go out to each woman who have already liked them. If the woman likes back then a chat room will open up where you can message one another. What makes this app a bit different than others is the fact that the profiles are a lot more detailed than other applications. It is really good for people who already know what they want in a relationship and don’t want to carry on small talk for ages. The only downside is that the process can take forever as the application isn’t as simple as others say like Bumble and Tinder. 5. OkCupid Free: is an application that is more relationship-based than others on this list and is populated by young professionals who range anywhere from mid-twenties to thirties. It is not a location-based application and has filters for ethnicity and age. All matches are made on a percentage based model which is taken from your questionnaire answers. The only con with the application is that people can drop by your profile and leave likes, but you won’t be able to see who is liking your profile.6. Hinge Basic = Free: takes a bit of a different approach than other applications. Its basic membership is free, while it’s full membership is $5 a month. Instead of creating a profile, you create a detailed story and viewers can actually like individual portions of that story rather than the whole story itself. This ensures that a connection is fostered through what resonates to both the viewer and the person with the story. Plus, these connection points act as a way to start a conversation. The process for sign up is relatively detailed, so most who are using the application are at least invested in a positive outcome rather than a one-night-stand.7. Zoosk Free & Paid Membership: is extremely similar to OkCupid, but rather than using a percentage based match system, they are transparent in their data-driven features which hinge off of a behavioral match system. This means that eventually, you can find out whether you are “globally popular” on the application through data that Zoosk compiles about your profile. Quick match features are available and you can spend as much time tweaking your profile information as you want to ensure a refined and perfect match. 8. Match.com Subscription Based: is a more traditional dating application that does have a subscription fee, making it more likely that users are interested in long-term relationships. It has a clean and intuitive interface, plus an enormous user base due to being around since 1995. It has a wide variety of individuals in their twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties. The only issue is that its filtering system isn’t as great as it could be and younger individuals may not want to fork out the subscription fee.9. Senior People Meet Free to Browse: is one of the largest dating sites available to singles who are over the age of fifty-five with over 2.4 million visits a month. They do have a free trial and a free registration for browsing purposes, but if you want to communicate with other members through chat than you need to pay a subscription. Signing up is incredibly easy, giving you several sections to fill out and you can browse through profiles on your own or only view the suggested matches. You can send video and audio messages, flirt with members and see who has liked your photos and who has looked at your profile.10. Jswipe Free: is another ethnoreligious dating application for Jews. It has been described primarily as a Jewish Tinder but doesn’t have as much of a hook-up vibe as Tinder does. Generally speaking, it claims to have users from over seventy different countries which means it has a pretty large user base. The number one thing on Jswipe is to make sure you put in the correct location radius for your matches as otherwise you are going to get matches that are more than 100 miles away which can be disappointing if you have a good conversation going with them. It has a clean interface, has in-app upgrades and uses a similar matching mechanic to Tinder.11. Christian Mingle Free Trial & Subscription Memberships: is a faith-based dating application that caters to only heterosexual Christian singles. It is known for casual dating and deep relationships and has a ton of pros associated with it like a quick setup, 24/7 customer service, a ton of search functions, a clean layout and reasonable monthly memberships. You can update your interests every week, browse through a qualities based filter system and contact customer service either by phone or e-mail. The match system works off of your About Me, Fun Facts, Ideal Match, Short Essays and basic information sections.12. Mutual Free: is a dating application that helps Mormon singles who are outside of Provo, find meaningful connections that lead to real relationships that have the standards and commitments that these singles require or want. The application is similar to Tinder, but highlights more than just profile pictures and instead looks at mission location, mutual friends and shared interests. 13. First Met Free: is a bit of a casual application in that it helps individuals meet up with new people who have the same goals and interests and isn’t necessarily about creating deep meaningful bonds. The application is tailored to people who want to date, find happiness, flirt, chat or find companionship but does not have one specific oriented goal. Matching is made off of three interests that you pick and you login with your Facebook account. The app allows you to create a profile, browse through matches, connect with individual via mail and even join chat groups.Overall, the number one thing to keep in mind when you choose to date online is that it takes time and effort and not every application will be right for you. Some people swear by online dating and have found their perfect partner, while others have horror stories; the key here is to find out which top dating application suits you be defining what you want to get out of the experience. If you are looking for a relationship, vet out the above list of applications and remember to be honest and open about yourself and what you want when you do find those connections and make those matches.