How to Make an App Like Tinder: Things to Know and Costs
Updated 13 Apr 2023
More and more people are going online to find a life partner. That is why apps, chats, and dating websites have become extremely popular these days. If you're going to build a Tinder clone app, you should be familiar with some ground rules and be aware of your pending expenses. The cost of a Tinder-like app depends on the complexity of it's functionality and the development company you choose. Roughly, the basic Android or iOS app may cost you $50,000-$55,000 based on average hourly rates of $50 in Eastern Europe. If you want to build apps for both platforms simultaneously, your budget will strike and exceed $100,000.
Let's move forward to find out the details on how to develop an app like Tinder.
How to Create a Dating App Like Tinder: Algorithms
The aspiration to build a Tinder clone doesn't fade over the years. Obviously, that's due to it's stunning popularity. Just take a look at the figures below:
Popularity of Tinder
The statistics are quite impressive. So you may be interested in what makes the dating app like Tinder so in-demand. First of all, Tinder functionality is really simple for users. Actually, it lies in swiping right and left for liking or skipping a particular person respectively. In case the other person returns the affection, Tinder creates a match.
Tinder is open for integration with Instagram. Users can access the Instagram profiles of their matches. Note that Tinder supports logging in with a Facebook account. So users can see whether they have common friends, common interests and favorite places.
Techniques to Know to Make Your Own Tinder App
Despite the fact that the Tinder functionality may seem very simple at first glance, it hides fairly complex algorithms invisible to users. Consider the following peculiarities when before you build an app like Tinder:
- Users can only see one person at a time but there are thousands of users swiping left and right simultaneously.
- Each user (or, at least, particular groups of users) sees people in a different order. It means that the developer's task is to structure the profiles into different groups.
- A specific algorithm must be in charge to define who and when to show to create a match.
The Tinder's matching algorithm should be implemented on the server-side of the application. The back end can be made with the help of Java, .NET, React or other server-side technologies. It’s a good idea to ask specialists to help you with tech stack for Tinder app clone development.
How to Build a Dating App Like Tinder: Features and Technologies in Use
The algorithms above are not the only points that you should pay attention to when considering how to make a dating app like Tinder. The app has many other functions. Their implementation needs a certain amount of time and money. Let's look at them one by one.
1. Authorization and user profile
To build an app like Tinder, you should use a Facebook authorization engine. It is usually implemented via an open authorizations protocol, like OAuth. The registration is implemented so that the app itself does not remember the login and password of the social media account (in our case - Facebook). However, it uses these credentials to create a new account within the application. Another way to log in is by using the phone number. To make your own Tinder app, you can go further and use any of the existing kinds of user authorization. Our specialists will eagerly help you choose the best.
After authorization, it'd be a good idea to onboard them showing the main app’s functionality. We’ve developed an open-source library named SlidingTutorial for that case.
Sliding tutorial example
Profile editing is implemented using both the client and server sides of the application. On the client-side, the user enters/edits the data (gender, bio, photos). On the server-side, appropriate records are saved.
Tinder allows creating a web profile so that it could be found even beyond the application. When clicking the 'Like me on Tinder' button the user is redirected directly to the application or to the Play Market/App Store in case the application is not installed.
The mechanism is as follows: the client-side sends a request to the server. The server remembers that the user wants his photo to be seen when clicking the link. The server generates the link and shows the photo to everyone who clicks it.
This is how Tinder works with users and their profiles. Try to use the same approach when you create an app like Tinder.
2. Settings and notifications
Like any other app, Tinder allows adjusting settings for the convenience of users. For example, you can enable or disable notifications for new matches, receiving messages, likes, super likes. You can also choose preferable units of measurement for displaying a distance (km or mi).
Receiving notifications can be implemented via the interaction of your application with Apple / Google servers. The server sends push notifications to the app. To build a Tinder clone with similar functionality, your development can use FCM (Firebase Cloud Messaging) for Android and APN (Apple Push Notifications) for iOS.
Along with usual settings described above you can adjust Tinder-specific settings, like enabling/disabling discovery so that other users could or could not find a profile, choose to show men, women, or both, specify the search distance and the age range of the users to be found. So, if you want to make an app like Tinder, ensure that user accounts are set up properly.
3. Geolocation and communication
Geolocation is the basis of the application. Without it, the app would be useless since it is all about finding people near you. Your app development team can make use of Geolocation API and Core Location to create a dating app like Tinder. For Android, they may use android.location package and MapView classes, for iOS — the CLLocationManager class and Map Kit framework.
In Tinder users can chat with each other only when they have mutual likes. Otherwise, the chat is disabled. As a rule, this function is implemented via the RESTful API or using HTTP. Permanent socket connections are not involved in order not to overload the server. The polling interval is set up depending on the frequency of the messages being sent.
Users can connect their Tinder profiles with Instagram to make recent Instagram photos available on Tinder. The content from Tinder does not go to Instagram though.
4. In-app purchases
A prevalent part of apps like Tinder enables extra in-app purchases to provide access to advanced functions, such as super-likes, account boosts access to viewing who swiped them right, and others. Lots of people feel the need for such extended capabilities and are ready to pay fees for the premium subscription. To illustrate, the function of boosting your account enables the user profile to obtain more views for a set period of time, like a number of hours or more. By implementing such features, you deliver your audience a broader functionality, enhanced customer experience, and more advantages for which they are ready to pay.
In-app purchases serve as a brilliant monetization model to obtain revenue from users who avoid long-term subscription plans with regular payments but would like to purchase a set number of extra functions. This enables the user to adapt their in-app capabilities within the one absolute app and get the number of features they need. Such market giants as Hinge, Bumble, Tinder and OkCupid have these opportunities available.
To allow in-app purchases, developers use payment gateway integrations. They aim to seamlessly and securely accept digital payments from users. Such integrations deliver accelerated and secure transmission of a user’s personal and payment details across a dating application and one or several payment processing systems. Stripe, Braintree, PayPal, and Amazon Pay are the most popular payment gateway integrations.
Discover practical tips on how to create a dating app and monetize it properly
Now you have an image of how to make an app like Tinder. However, the list of features cannot make the whole list of costs needed to build a Tinder app clear. Visible options are just the tip of the iceberg. Do not forget that you should implement such important things as the database structure, data access object (DAO) layer, Rest API, etc.
Monetization Models to Build App Like Tinder
Let’s list the most popular models of obtaining profit from your dating app, the list of monetization methods is as follows:
The most widely-applied and popular way of monetization is via premium subscription, which accesses extra functionality such as:
- Prolong the timeline to text back to the user
- Accpunt boosting to be ranked higher and get more views
- A set number of add-ons like super likes, gifts to users, and others
- The opportunity to see the users who has liked your account
- Opportunity to apply more filters for profiles displayed by the app for a potential match
- Enable an incognito mode for advanced privacy protection
- Reading receipts
- Unsending and deleting messages for both sides
- Expiring text messages or sent images
- Saved texts in messaging
- Bigger number of accounts to display
We’ve already observed this monetization model earlier- users are charged with a certain fee to get the access to any advanced function required.
Advertisements in the app
Due to the freemium access to all the in-app features, lots of popular dating solutions comprise online advertisements via Google Adsense or the similar vendor on the free plans. While surfing the app, users have the banners displayed on the platform. To stop the ads demonstration, they pay for the ad-free premium subscription. Thus, even when using freemium, the app can still be monetized, accessing third-party companies to the broad audience through in-app promotions, and with no restrictions to the user within leveraging the dating platform’s functionality. Tinder is the bright example where such a model is implemented.
In some cases, applications allow external companies placing their advertisements in the app. Among the practical examples, Grindr has an opportunity to register for promotion in their platform. They enable the opportunities of displaying the in-app advertisements, reports for the banner efficiency, geo-targeting, forming the amount of investments, and applying their visual layout capabilities for designing your customized promotional chart. Such a model is in wide usage as it serves as an excellent way to access to the LGBTQ members for commodities and services that may seem relevant for them. They also ensure Advertiser account-powered interactions, in which stakeholders with the investments that surmount 20,000$ are linked to the Grindr ambassadors for a broader capabilities and streamlined way for their promotional demands.
Expensive Simplicity: Design to Create App Like Tinder
Quality and simple design are, probably, the main things that attract customers in Tinder. Users do not want to spend a lot of time trying to find out how to deal with your app. They expect it to be intuitive and easy to use. In this regard, Tinder is a great example of a user-friendly interface.
So consider UI/UX design services as a part of your budget for app development. Focus on looking for a vendor with a relevant experience of designing dating apps.
Interface of a social media app by Cleveroad (source: Dribbble)
Aside from that, here are some UI/UX design trends for app development to keep an eye on and increase the client experience:
The trend for the next year will only progress. Many users have pointed out that the dark app mode has come in really handy for them. The core reason is that the option with the less amount of light is much more comfortable for the eyesight. In Particular, dark mode will become a must for the part of your users who enjoy using the dating app in the evening, which is actually prevailing. It allows faster falling asleep and does not affect the quality of sleep. What's more, there are not that many dating platforms on the market having such a function, so your app will definitely stand out from the crowd.
The UI/UX trend includes the implementation of tactile interactions in the mobile version, the opportunity to modify the shade for diverse options of the palette, the visualization of the required page loading, the motion, animation on the transition, the unique response to the tapping of certain buttons on the app. Such an individual approach provides a closer interaction between the user and the platform. More often than not, this contact has a positive effect on the client.
Personalization and customization
This is a feature by which you can determine what your target audience is specifically interested in and offer them the most relevant option. The personalization algorithm is an important part of UX design to make your dating app relevant in the long run.
In the current and coming year, many businesses will emphasize the implementation of interactive trends, which also contributes to improving the personalization of interactions with software solutions. The main goal of UI design is to interact with the user's site, to follow minimalism and convenience.
Make an App Like Tinder: Get Inspired With Popular Platforms
For your inspiration, let’s discover some popular dating apps that are considered to be currently leading ones.
Bumble is a female-oriented dating app, with a booming popularity. Their revenue at the end of the fourth quarter, March 2021, was equal to $165.6 million, with 31% of growth. They claimed to have 2.7 million paying users.
The main difference between Bumble and its competitors is that here the initiative is in the hands of women: if there is a match between heterosexual users, they can send the message first. If a woman chooses not to do so, after 24 hours the match will simply disappear.
Bumble gets revenue by delivering a premium subscription and a boost for the user accounts. Such a way to monetize the app is very similar to the one offered by Tinder. The premium subscription provides users with such advanced opportunities such as lengthening the amount of time to answer (as it was mentioned, initially- 24 hrs), selecting the advanced filters, and displaying who liked the account.
The boost allows users to purchase “Super Swipes'' and “Spotlight.” Super Swipes are a way of interacting with the other person that you are very into them, and the Spotlight raises the number of shows you get on your profile. This platform also ensures extra opportunities for making friends (Bumble BFF) and discovering the new individuals for business-networking relationships (Bumble Buzz), in the one solution. By doing this, Bumble engages the huge number of users who can leverage the app’s capabilities for a diversity of goals.
The promotional statement of Hinge is “the dating app designed to be deleted.” The core peculiarity of this solution is to be efficient, rather than widely used. This makes this platform beloved by many users. The strategy of dating on Hinge is distinct from other dating solutions. Still, it comprises the identical integral features for getting acquainted with the new people, it does not comprise casual dating as the element of its goals, which is stated in its promo text. Hinge has 6 million monthly active users, and roughly 400,000 paying ones.
The app generates income with “Preferred Membership”, which accesses extra functionality like viewing the accounts that liked you, having unlimited likes, setting advanced preferences and filters within the choice, and “boosting”, with which your profile is discovered by the higher number of people who surf the Hinge app.
eHarmony is an excellent platform for those who are looking for serious relationships and discovering new people whose final goal is to be involved in a long-term relationship. The feature distinguishing this app is that it requires users to enter the in-depth personal details and respond to a diversity of questions to assist the app in picking the audience with the most appropriate profiles suitable according to their preferences and tastes. With eHarmony, users get more information about the individual prior to starting the dialogue.
eHarmony offers paid membership as well as the free trial period within its monetization model. It allows an unlimited number of likes and messages.
How to Create an App like Tinder: Development Team
Pay attention to the location of your team. If you are going to hire someone to build an app in the USA or Western Europe, be ready to double the costs of the project. However, developers from Eastern Europe can do the same for much less money. For example, the average Estonian outsourcing company charges $50/hour to build an app like Tinder.
So, if you want to build a Tinder clone, the project team will most likely consist of:
- 2 Backend developers
- 1 UI/UX designer
- 2 Android developers
- 2 iOS developers
- 1 Project Manager
- 1-2 QA engineers
Apart from the team composition, let’s consider the integral steps to take to create app like Tinder:
- Solution stage. During this step, you apply to a reliable tech vendor, together with whom you clarify all the details associated with the project, its scope and peculiarities.
- Discovery stage. This implies outlining all the requirements, creating the project roadmap, and clearing out all the details before the project execution. At Cleveroad, we calculate the rough estimate as well as create design concepts during this stage.
- Implementation. Developers create the app architecture by sprints, designing its core features and making them operate as it was set during the first stage.
- Deployment. Once the product is ready to be launched, Quality Assurance engineers test the application to eliminate the bugs and operational flaws before the release. After making sure that the software solution operates as it should, the software development team deploys the product on the market.
- Maintenance and support. After the release, the app continues to be enhanced by the team of dedicated developers, who extend the functionality and get rid of the issues in the app’s performance.
Let's list some technologies from the tech stack our team uses for such a dating app development:
How to create a dating app like Tinder: Possible tech stack
What is the Cost of Tinder App Made Up Of?
All the features listed above require a certain time for development. Take a look at the table below to know how many hours iOS and Android developers need to deliver the basic functionality of a Tinder-like dating app.
- Authorization - 22 hours
- GPS location - 7 hours
- Settings - 60 hours
- User profile - 85 hours
- Matching functionality - 90 hours
- Notifications - 25 hours
- Communication - 125 hours
- 3rd party services integration - 30 hours
However, it's never enough to know the time of development. The project delivery process covers points that significantly add up to application costs.
Underneath, we’ve estimated an approximate time required to build a Tinder-like app. The total price is based on an average hourly rate in Eastern Europe — $50/h.
Please note that quality assurance time isn't included in this estimate and should be calculated additionally.
|Type of work||iOS||Android||iOS & Android|
Web (back-end, admin panel)
670h (equal for one and two platforms)
DevOps and meetings
Release to production
How cost estimation is done for your project:
We make two types of estimates for our clients: rough and detailed.
A rough estimate is calculated into the Discovery phase to orient the customer to the project's price. Its accuracy may vary from 75 to 25%. This type of estimate includes:
- The general section describes the preparatory works that don’t change much throughout the project. It contains project specification, database setup, and REST architecture.
- The development section consists of the 'business logic' and 'UI/UX' columns, where we indicate the appropriate number of hours needed to fulfill a specific part of work.
- Third-parties integration aims to save the developers' time and the clients' money. Here we list the external sources to apply and determine the time for setting up.
- The non-development section addresses technical writing. It comprises all the materials related to the project at the first stage.
- The suggestions section includes different recommendations relating to the project improvements.
Note: The cost estimation described above is a rough estimate.
A detailed estimate is prepared with the obligatory participation of the developers and has almost 100% accuracy. It’s based on wireframes, project specifications, and other documentation. If a client already has a ready-made documentation package, our team will provide a detailed estimate within two business days.
Our Expertise to How to Build a Dating App Like Tinder
Cleveroad is a skillful software development company with headquarters in Eastern Europe. Since 2011, we have been helping startups, SMBs, and enterprises to get custom native apps for iOS and Android and provide cross-platform app development services on Flutter that fit your needs and budget requirements.
We offer a variety of benefits for every client to deliver your own app like Tinder:
- A detailed consultation on your project from our Business Analysts
- An experienced team that quickly adjusts to new requirements and changes and integrates into existing workflows
- All required specialists available — mobile and web developers, DevOps, designers, PMs, QA engineers, analysts.
- A team of high-skilled and certified QA engineers ensuring the high-quality of mobile solution
- Fast development process meeting all the deadlines
- Innovative tech stack and development approaches
Cleveroad has already delivered custom dating apps for our clients before. GreenLight is one of them. This app focuses on US regions where Tinder isn’t very popular offering an adjusted user experience.
The app works similarly to traffic lights. Greenlight stands for superlike, Yellow light is used for ordinary like, while the Red light means dislike. Apart from that, the app has a full-fledged chat and offers to answer daily questions so that matching users could know each other better. Here are the technologies we used for this project:
Tech stack we used to develop GreenLight, a dating app
To create a Tinder-like app and learn the approximate budget required for it's development, you should decide on the set of features. It’s impossible to estimate the time to build an application without knowing it's functionality in detail.
Ready to create your Tinder app?
Our Business Analyst will make a custom estimate of your project covering cost and dev hours.
It heavily depends on the app’s complexity and so it's features. Talking about a basic version of Tinder, it may cost starting at $80,000 per platform (iOS OR Android) or $120,000 for both platforms.
The price is based on the average hourly rate of outsourcing companies in Eastern Europe — $50/h. If you plan to build the app in the US, Canada or Western Europe, the named prices can double and even triple.
The main rule here is to research the market backwards and forwards to adequately estimate your chances of grabbing a part of it. The next thing to do is form a list of project requirements including features, business logic, and design nuances.
Then, you should go find a development team to help you with it. In our experience, similar projects need the following specialists:
- Two Backend developers
- One UI/UX designer
- Two Android developers
- Two iOS developers
- One Project Manager
- One or two QA engineers
Again, the main rule here is to research the market backwards and forwards to adequately estimate your chances of grabbing a part of it. The next thing to do is form a list of project requirements including features, business logic, and design nuances.
Then, you should go find a development team to help you with it. In our experience, similar projects need the following specialists:
2 Backend developers 1 UI/UX designer 2 Android developers 2 iOS developers 1 Project Manager 1-2 QA engineers
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