Happn is a location-based dating app that seeks to help you make connections with people who are nearby.
Or, as the app itself puts it, people you’ve possibly already met in real life – “ones who got away.”
And, it's quite popular. In Jan 2021, it reached over 100 million users worldwide.
The premise is simple: The app uses technology to match you up with people who you have crossed paths with in bars, coffee shops, galleries and so on. You can then use the app to break the ice and ask if they wanna meet up for a proper get-to-know-you chat.
You don’t even need to have crossed paths with someone, too. Happn also matches you with people who are currently nearby, and who you may be interested in but haven’t met yet. If the two of you have some free time, you can use the app to quickly arrange a meet-up.
With such an interesting and unique concept, it’s easy to see why Happn has become so popular in recent years. But is it the right dating app for you?
I signed up to it and checked it out. In this Happn review, I’ll be taking a look at its pros and cons, how it works exactly, its key features – and more.
- Great for meeting people who live/work near you
- Super simple user interface
- Free to send and receive messages
- Can only match with people within a 250 metre radius
- Though a dating app, you'll encounter matches looking for flings
- Aggressively promotes premium version
- Not suitable for people living in towns
Who Is Happn For?
- People who wanna make new local connections – At its heart, Happn is aimed at anyone who just wants to meet someone new right here, right now.
- City dwellers – Happn relies on well-populated cities to work because it’s designed to match you up with people who are within a 250 metre radius, and who are eager to meet as soon as possible.
- College students – If you go to college and want to meet new people on campus, Happn is a great option.
- Outgoing people – Happn encourages meeting up, which means it’s best suited for confident, outgoing people.
- Those looking for a hookup – Due to its nature, Happn is great if you and someone else are looking for a casual sex encounter.
Who Is Happn Not For?
- Those looking for a pen pal – Happn wants to get you off the app as soon as possible and meeting up with people! It’s not designed for lengthy message exchanges.
- Those who need a flexible dating app – Happn is strictly aimed at connecting you with local people. If you’re open to meeting someone who lives a fair distance away, this isn’t the app for you.
How Does Happn Work?
Happn is different to many other online dating apps because it’s a location based app that pairs you up with people who are located within a 250 metre radius of you. You can use it to meet up with people who are currently around the corner from you, in a nearby gallery checking out the art – or even sitting in the same bar as you! It also lets you find people you’ve already crossed paths with, and who “got away.”
It’s been around since 2014 and, other than the fact that it’s location-based, it works similarly to Tinder. People who use it make new friends, find hookups – and generally meet new people who live nearby and share the same interests as them.
Getting Started On Happn
Happn lets you sign up using your Facebook account but (thankfully) this isn’t mandatory. If you don’t have a Facebook account, or don’t wish to share your Facebook data, you can instead sign up using your mobile number or via your Google account.
Creating a profile is a super easy process and there’s no need to fill out any lengthy questionnaires. Instead, Happn just wants the most basic of information from you at this point – your name, your DOB and your gender preference. You can also add information about yourself – your education status etc – but again this isn’t mandatory.
Unlike a lot of dating apps these days, Happn doesn’t actually verify your profile using an email address. Some users might be a tad concerned by this but the good news is that everyone has to sign up using their Facebook or their Google account, which goes a long way to reducing the number of fake profiles and scammers.
Naturally, I recommend adding a few photos of yourself and a line or two in your bio about who you are and what you’re looking for. It’s super easy to do and shouldn’t take more than a minute or two.
Are Happn Profiles Real?
Happn is clearly aimed at the modern day dater who is looking for something quick and easy in terms of the app and how they meet new people. To that end, barely any of the profiles on here are what you’d call “in-depth” and filled with information.
Indeed, most of them contain the most basic of information – name, age and gender, along with a photo. Moreover, because Happn lets you hide your age and even your distance, some profiles don’t even let you see how old the person is. Being able to hide information is, however, only available to premium members.
Some profiles definitely contain more information about themselves, including their interests and what they’re looking for. You’ll find that most contain just a few pictures of themselves, though, which suggests that many people who use Happn judge whether or not to match with someone based entirely on their photos alone.
When you think about it, this kind of makes sense. After all, Happn seeks to connect you with people who might be sitting in the same bar as you. And whenever we meet people in bars, all we have to judge them on at first are their looks alone.
You will also find that there are some fake profiles on Happn. If you spot one, you’re advised to report it straight away.
Making Contacts On Happn
Happn is a dating app that doesn’t come with a search function, which means you can only find other users based on the preferences you’ve set, as well as your proximity. Indeed, Happn only lets you match with users who are within a 250 metre radius of yourself, which some people will find too restrictive.
Like Tinder and other modern-day dating apps, Happn doesn’t let you message someone unless you’re a mutual match. This means they have to send you a “like” and you have to send them one back. Only once you’re a match can you start chatting, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
It’s a good thing because it means people only get to chat to those they’re interested in right from the start, but it can be a bad thing for users who are finding it hard to land matches. Unlike Tinder, though, Happn does at least let you see who’s already “liked” you, which goes some way to speeding up the process.
There are three ways you can make contact on Happn: You can send someone a direct message, which is easily the most popular way to make contact, or you can send them a “Hello” (or FlashNote) This basically lets them know you’re interested in them, but that you’re leaving it to them to make the first move.
You can also send voice messages on Happn.
Happn has a handful of features – some are free, and some are only available to paid members. Let’s take a look at the free features first.
- Matching – You can match with nearby users as a free member.
- Likes – Free users can send and receive likes.
- Chat with crushes – Free members also get to chat with a crush (a match)
- Status updates – Wanna let people know what you’re up to and where you’re headed tonight? You can do that without paying.
- View pics – Happn lets you view other peoples’ pics for free.
- My Music Collection – If you’ve got a Spotify account, you can sync it to your Happn profile to showcase your music tastes.
Paid Membership Features:
- Send Hellos – Happn gives you access to ten Hellos per day to increase your chances of landing matches and starting up conversations. It’s worth noting that Hellos expire after 12 hours.
- Video calls – Free members are limited to a 5 minute video call each month, while premium members get access to 5 full video calls each month.
- Become invisible – As a premium member, you get to switch off your visibility whenever you don’t want to be seen for a few hours, days or even weeks.
- Change your privacy settings – Premium members also get to tweak their privacy settings so that they remain as visible or as ‘mysterious’ as they want
- No ads – Happn shows ads to free members, but if you upgrade your account you can remove them.
- Crush Time – Crush Time is a game that displays 4 members who the app claims you recently ‘met’ without even realising it. If you can correctly guess which one has liked you, you can then send them a message (if you wish).
- Voice messages – Voice messages are a great way of building more rapport and making them feel at ease that you’re a real person.
- FlashNote – FlashNote is a brand new feature for 2021 that forces you to start a conversation with someone based on their profile (as opposed to saying a generic ‘how are you?’)
- Similarities Badge – This is a pretty cool feature that shows you the interests you share in common with other users, which increases your chances of starting conversations with people who you’re more likely to get along with (in theory)
Is Happn Free?
No, Happn isn’t 100% free. It’s free to register, create profile, match with people, and free to send a message. However, there are upgrade packages that are designed to enhance the whole experience (and help you get more out of Happn).
Happn Membership Prices
Prices are as follows:
- $24.99 for 1 month
- $89.99 for 6 months
- $119.99 for 12 months.
Other than upgrading to the monthly premium packages, you can also purchase individual Happn coins, with prices for 10 coins starting out at around .20 cents per coin (around $4 in total). These coins give you access to extra features, including 10 Hellos per day
Happn App's Interface & Design
Like a lot of dating apps these days, Happn gives you the option of downloading a mobile app version of the site if that’s something you prefer.
How does the Happn app measure up?
It’s actually pretty damn good. This is hardly surprising because Happn was essentially made to be used on mobile devices due its concept (you’re meeting people on the move), and it’s clear that the developers have put a lot of effort into getting the app just right.
Like the web version of Happn, the app tracks the places you’ve been to even if you shut the app off for a while. That said, if you don’t want the app to keep functioning when you’ve closed it, you can switch to “Invisibility Mode” (recommended, although it’s only available with a premium subscription). It’s perfect for whenever you’re out and about but don’t wish to meet people at that particular time. After all, the last thing you want is for someone to track you down when you’re simply not in the mood for a meet-up.
On the other hand, it’s a shame that the app doesn’t let you block specific places, such as your own home.
On the plus side of things, though, the app is brilliantly designed – it’s both functional and easy to use, as well as pleasing on the eyes. Moreover, its geolocation works super well.
Is It Worth Paying For Happn?
As a free member, you can view other people's pics, update your status to let people know what you’re up to, match with other members – and send and receive messages. As a paid member, you get access to extra features, including the useful “invisibility mode” and an extra number of Hello’s each day.
Are the premium features worth it?
Happn is competitively priced. For comparison’s sake, Tinder’s upgrade packages are priced very similarly. That said, Tinder works differently to Happn and its premium package nets you more perks. However, because Happn is a location-based app, the fact that you can make yourself invisible when you upgrade is a bit of a godsend.
Overall, Happn is worth paying for if you’re up for meeting people who are close by and want to get things moving quickly. However, if you’re already landing matches and meeting up with people as a free member, upgrading your account will hardly seem worth it.
Privacy, Security & Customer Support
Happn will share your data with third party companies – but the good news is that they at least tell you before you sign up who they’ll be sharing it with. Moreover, it’s worth mentioning that, if you do sign up via your Facebook account, Happn and Facebook will have the ability to collect more data.
Other than that, Happn is a secure dating site that’s safe to use. Like all dating apps, however, you still need to practice personal safety. This means being on your guard against fake profiles, and doing what you can to minimise risk when you meet someone.
Happn lets you swap voice messages before you meet up, and it’s a feature that’s well worth using. We also advise that you always meet in a neutral place, such as a bar or coffee shop.
Before I signed up to Happn, I’d heard people calling it a “creepy stalker” app – but I soon found that this definitely wasn’t the case. The sign up process was fairly quick (although the site took a while to load) and as soon as my profile was loaded up, I was instantly shown potential matches.
It is slightly unnerving at first when you see the app tell you that you “crossed paths with X person an hour ago” and see that they passed by your house. But on the other hand, it’s a fantastic way to make local connections and meet people as soon as possible (provided you both agree to it!).
Fortunately, I live in a densely populated area, so I was able to land a few matches, chat with a couple of people – and even meet up. All in all, the app is super easy to use, it’s super uncomplicated (you literally just swipe Yes or No, chat and meet up) and, as long as you take steps to protect yourself, it’s also safe.
Naturally, the fact that you can match with someone you’ve crossed paths with in real life sounds pretty amazing. But Happn is obviously limited by the fact that most people you cross paths with won’t be on the app.
Moreover, Happn can also be a tad soul destroying if you find someone on the app who you’ve already seen in real life (and really fancied) … only to find out that they didn’t fancy you. On the whole, though, I had a good experience using it.
Read our comparison: Happn Vs Tinder to know which one is best for you 😉