The more you experiment with Tingle, the more credits you earn for messaging – its developers claim this stops spammers and over-flirting but it also monetises Tingle via in-app purchases, meaning you’ll spend to keep in private contact with a catch.
Best for long-distance relationships: Between (i OS/Android, free) Between offers a private vault for storing and sharing memories with someone special.
This includes red- hot conversations and pics you wouldn’t want your mother to see, to more practical uses such as shared calendars for planning dates and travel.
Best of all, Between offers a lock function that’s activated if your phone is lost, stolen, or falls into the wrong hands.
Best for gay guys: Scruff (i OS/Android/Windows Phone, free) While Scruff offers a worringly long price list of in-app purchases for maximising man-to-man action, it also excels in free content.
This means unlimited videos, photos and text messaging, finding guys near you and further afield, a search and tracking tool to see who has been checking you out, and a ‘would like to meet’ feature where men must meet your criteria.
There are alternatives to Tinder or Grindr after all, says James Day Best for no-strings sex: Down (i OS/Android, free) Down is a rebranded version of Bang With Friends, which gives some idea where this is going, but with a new name comes new features.
You can now distinguish between those you want to date and those you want to do the dirty with by swiping up or down – you can swipe back if you accidentally skip someone.
Skipping those you don’t fancy remains anonymous unless they’ve liked you (awkward).
Social media plays a huge part here, firstly through Facebook friends, then via friends of Facebook friends.
A word to the wise: this makes it way, way scarier than Tinder and yet somehow more exciting.
Best for private encounters: Tingle (i OS, free) Tingle lets you talk or text without revealing a name and number.
Specify your height, relationship level and a pic or two, and the app finds potential partners nearby without pinpointing a location.
Once you’ve winked at someone and the feeling is mutual, the lines of communication are well and truly open.