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Tech review: Apps to help you find your Valentine

Hinge's goal is to match people based on

Hinge's goal is to match people based on personalities. Credit: Newsday/Hinge

On Valentine’s Day 2021, no one has to be reminded that dating is hard — and dating amid a pandemic is unfathomably hard. These four dating apps are among the most popular, and while they have their share of success stories they also come with an array of caveats.

Tinder

(iOS, Android; free/subscription)

The most popular dating app in the world, especially among those younger than 30, Tinder has made "swipe-right" a standalone slang term for approval. Tinder is mainly used by daters looking for "flings," but many report finding long-term relationships. The free tier offers limited functionality, including only 100 right-swipes a day. (Tinder Plus is $10/month.) As with all dating apps, beware: Some profiles are fake, and cybercriminals lurk trying to extort money.

Bumble

(iOS, Android; free/subscription)

Unlike other dating apps, women initiate the conversation with Bumble; the man has 24 hours to respond. (For same-sex dating, either person can initiate a match.) A paid tier ($33/month) allows for more potential matches and extends the 24-hour response time. Bumble, which is trying to expand beyond dating to become a professional network like LinkedIn, just held an initial public offering and is now a publicly traded stock.

Match Dating

(iOS, Android; free/subscription)

One of the oldest dating apps for the web and mobile devices, Match has added new features that work well in the pandemic. Among those are video chat — a good way to meet safely without actually meeting, and an aid in discerning that your potential matches are really who they say they are. The filters to find a match are among the strongest of any dating app. The premium tier ($36/month) has more features, including letting you browse anonymously.

Hinge

(iOS, Android; free/subscription)

What makes Hinge different? Its motto is "designed to be deleted," indicating it expects you will find a partner, or at least a date, quickly. Unlike other dating apps, Hinge’s sign-up procedure is long as its stated goal is to match people not only on whether they are physical attracted to each other but on personality. Hinge offers a "premium" tier ($20/month) with added features.

Play your cards right

Received the COVID-19 vaccine? You’re probably happy – but don’t overshare your happiness. The Federal Trade Commission says don’t post a photo of your COVID-19 vaccine card or printout on social media because they have personally identifiable information a cybercriminal could use for identity theft. Instead, the FTC suggests posting a photo of that “nifty adhesive bandage on the injection site.”

Binge-watching, binge-eating

We did a lot of streaming, screening and eating last year. An Arizona State University study found that people who spent the most time on screens — defined as a combination of watching TV and using mobile devices — had the “least healthful dietary patterns” and were most likely to overindulge in less nutritious fast food. The study also found a link between heavy use of smartphones and low-quality sleep.

One-sided coin

As Bitcoin prices boomed in 2020, with millions around the world signing up for day-trading accounts during the pandemic, it remained largely a hobby of young men. In a new report, online broker eToro said women make up only 15 percent of Bitcoin traders on its platform. Along with Robinhood and Coinbase, eToro is one of the most popular venues for crypto-investing.

– BLOOMBERG NEWS

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