If you haven’t downloaded any dating apps, you’re a rare case. Especially for the gays. Straight people have Tinder and Bumble that they “find friends” on, but in the gay world it’s rare to not be using the gold standard that is Grindr. But, a lot of us don’t know that there’s actually other apps that are popular too. Every time you go and re-download Grindr after you’ve deleted it in a rage, you may have seen an ad in the App Store for one of them.
Yes, it’s okay to check them out, because no, you won’t be the only person on there. Each one actually has different features, a different experience, and even different guys that may be more fitting to the gay that’s “looking” based on their preferred methods of interaction! Here’s a guide to break down those differences and stick with the app that’s right for you.
Of course we all know Grindr, but it’s important to get a baseline of the features for comparison purposes (and maybe you’ll learn something new). Using location, your home screen is a grid that shows all the guys near you. The green dot means they were online in the last 10 minutes, and if you message them while they have the app open, your message will say “delivered,” if not it will say “sent.” You can also star people as your favorites, and block up to 10 profiles a day with the standard app.
Your profile has one picture, physical stats, a headline that shows up in your thumbnail, and an about section. For other pictures, whatever you send in the chat will get saved in a limited bank of photos so you don’t have to go scrolling through your camera roll to find that pic where your ass looks great in your Andrew Christians. The standard account also has some filter capabilities so you can set the ages you see, what they’re looking for (dates, relationship, right now etc.), and their tribe (daddy, twink, leather). Recently they’ve even included a spot for your HIV status.
If you start paying for the app you get six times as many in your feed. You get full privileges to filter guys through on the physical stats and you can block as many people as you want.
For the other apps, let’s start with Jack’d, which you might remember as the main sponsor for Adore Delano’s music video “I Look Fuckin’ Cool” that featured Alaska Thunderfuck.
It still uses the grid format, but every square has the distance in the corner next to the green dot that shows if you’re online. You can use a similar filter to Grindr’s that has the same limitations if you’re not on the “pro” version, but if you want to see more people that are farther away, you can see who in the world was on the app most recently. You can also play a little game of going through profiles and letting people know if you’re interested in each other, and if you both are, you’ll get a message. It’s like tinder, but it’s not the main way you get around.
What’s different about the profile itself is that you can have three pictures, with one as your main, and also two “locked” pictures, that you can unlock for people at your discretion. There’s no nudity rules on these so go wild.
It’s a bit less private on this app for sure. You can access a list of all the profiles that viewed you, and there also are read receipts. I would say this app is more for the straightforward crew.
Scruff has a very similar interface to Jack’d. You don’t get the distance right in the thumbnail, but you have a global tab that gets you pretty far just like the Jack’d option to see most recently active users. You don’t get three pictures up front, but you can have a private album that you can unlock for people. You can also tell people you’re interested in them like on Jack’d, but you can also woof at them.
Scruff is a little bit more about finding the guy that you’re looking for in the bedroom. It asks you right away what type of guy you’re into, and then you get a search option for those categories within your feed. On profiles, it will say “I am muscle” or “I am military” or whatever you have picked at the top, and then how much hair you have on your body. I guess that’s why it’s called Scruff. Beyond that, you can list the types of guys you’re into, what you’re looking for, and your sex preferences and safety practices.
Hornet is a whole different ball game. You still get the grid, and you can have multiple pictures, including locked ones. You can also become fans of people, which is a weird concept, but it’s because Hornet tries to function like a social networking site.
The main page is a feed of what’s going on all over Hornet, whether its people joining or adding photos. You can like people’s activity and then follow them from there. On the discover page, you can search users by their handle or search hashtags from people’s activity. There’s even trending articles. Going through the discover tab and the main feed, a lot of the guys using it are on the younger side, which makes sense for a social networking type of app.
If you like Tinder, but hate that it’s straight oriented, then you’ll love Surge. You don’t get a grid, so you don’t have to worry about any creep in the world messaging you. You get to swipe through and find matches. Only thing is, as soon as you find a match, all of the private photos you have are visible to each other. If you don’t want to show everything off to everyone you’re interested in, you might want to keep your Andrew Christians on for those photos.
The only downside is there aren’t many people on using it. You’ll probably recognize a lot of faces you saw on Grindr, but for the most part, you don’t see many new faces.
By contributing writer John Stapleton