Grindr is the original LGBTQ+ dating app. Since being the first dating app for the queer community to launch on the App Store, Grindr has expanded to 192 countries and over 27 million users. Grindr takes many classic features of other dating apps and targets them to the LGBTQ+ community. Users can filter profiles based on certain preferences, chat with interesting matches, and also narrow down potential dates using a distinctive geolocation feature.
Despite being hailed as a groundbreaking app at its inception, the way Grindr functions is essentially standard fare for online dating apps. What sets Grindr apart from the crowd is its target audience. Though its target audience does tend to be gay males, Grindr advertises itself as a dating app for the entire LGBTQ+ community. It also has the distinction of being the first queer dating app. Like most other dating apps, Grindr users create an account and find matches by exploring profiles and using a standard slate of filtering options. Once you’ve found a match that catches your eye, you can send a message. There’s also the option of a group chat to talk to multiple users at once.
There are a few distinct features that help Grindr stand out in a crowded field. Unlike many rival dating apps, including competitors like Scruff, Grindr doesn’t limit how free users can interact with other profiles. Many dating apps will limit the number of likes, comments, or potential matches available to free users. On Grindr, you have unlimited matches that you can interact with however you please, whether you have a paid or a free account. This is a distinctive feature that sets Grindr apart from all dating apps, not just those targeted to the LGBTQ+ community.
Grindr also boasts a convenient geolocation feature. If you spot someone at a bar, club, or any other location that catches your eye, you may be able to find that one person on Grindr. Grindr matches you to other users based on your proximity to each other, so there’s a chance the crush you spotted may come up on your feed.
Unfortunately, Grindr has some significant flaws that severely detract from the user experience. Almost as soon as you begin using Grindr, you’ll be inundated with a seemingly endless stream of popups and other advertisements. Grindr also has lax verification and security measures, which means you’ll likely encounter more than a few spam profiles. This is a sharp contrast to rival Scruff, which boasts that it only hosts real users and accounts.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, Grindr has had widespread issues with bugs and glitches. Users report app crashes, unsent messages, profiles that don’t load, and frequent outages. Though Grindr has attempted to address these issues with various updates, users still report an overall buggy experience. Grindr has also experienced major security issues. These include reports of user data being accessed by third-party companies. Grindr also made headlines in recent years when reports surfaced that their geolocation feature could be used to triangulate an individual’s exact location, and could easily be breached by hackers.
Though Grindr has since addressed these specific issues, these examples indicate a track record of lax security measures. Rival apps such as Scruff and Hornet go further, implementing methods like user verification and SSL encryption to protect user data.
Is there a better alternative?
Unfortunately, Grindr’s significant shortcomings mean that you won’t have to look far to find alternative LGBTQ+ dating apps. Hornet, for example, goes beyond the dating scene to create an entire social network for LGBTQ+ individuals. When you’re not browsing matches, you can curate a social feed with advertisements from businesses that support the LGBTQ+ community, in addition to posts from your friends and community leaders. Scruff is another excellent alternative to Grindr. Aimed specifically at gay men, Scruff includes strict security measures to eliminate spam profiles. Users can also select from a host of detailed filters to narrow down specific matches. It also has the advantage of sharing Grindr’s geolocation feature.
Though once the undisputed king of LGBTQ+ dating apps, Grindr has since been plagued with a variety of issues both technical and otherwise. These issues mean that other apps have far surpassed Grindr in the LGBTQ+ dating scene.
Should you download it?
Skip it. There are plenty of other LGBTQ+ dating apps to choose from that don’t share Grindr’s plentiful issues and flaws.