Have you ever wondered how to make a dating app like Tinder? In this dating app builder tutorial, we are describing step by step how to make your own Tinder clone in React Native, by leveraging our premium dating app template. There’s no coding required. After completing all the steps in this tutorial, your mobile dating app will be fully functional, and you can literally submit it to the Play Store and Apple Store today. This is how your app will look like in a few minutes. Gorgeous, right?
Using React Native to create your own dating app is a great way to launch on both iOS and Android platforms, given the cross-platform nature of React Native. The benefits of using a React Native dating app builder instead of a traditional app maker is that you can fully customize a template as you wish, given you already have the complete source code. However, there’s no coding required to get the basic features that are already showcased on the app template page.
1. Download our Dating App Template
When you buy our mobile app template, you’ll get the full React Native source code, the Sketch design file and all the assets that are showcased on the product page (icons, assets, colors). By default, the app backend is hooked up to our Firebase account, so you’ll need to change it by following the steps in this dating app builder tutorial.
On a high-level, here’s what you need to achieve before publishing your dating app to the world:
- Install NodeJS 10+, if you don’t have it yet
- Run the dating app template on Android and iOS
- Wire up your own Firebase account
- Publish the app to the App Store and Google Play.
We are going to assume this is not the first time you run a React Native app, but for the non-coders out there, here’s how you can install Node 10+.
2. Run the Tinder Clone on Android & iOS
To run the freshly downloaded app template on iOS or Android, you need to first open an iOS simulator or an Android Emulator. To do that, you’ll need to install Android Studio (for Android) and Xcode (for iOS), first.
Instead of using a simulator/emulator, you can also just plug a physical phone into your laptop/computer.
To build the dating app template on iOS, simply run the following command in your Terminal (make sure you’re located in the unarchived app template folder):
npm install && cd ios && pod install
This will install the pods (via Cocoapods), which are all the dependencies used in the iOS project. After this, open the Instadating.xcworkspace file in Xcode and build and run the app (Command + R). For more details on how to run our React Native templates on iOS, please follow the Running on iOS tutorial, that explains how to set up your environment as well.
To run on Android, similarly, just run:
npm install && react-native run-android
Note for Windows users: If you are on Windows, we recommend you to use Visual Studio Code IDE (a.k.a VSCode), which has a built-in terminal where you can run the above commands. Install the “Terminal” extension, and you’ll be able to see a terminal tab in your console:
3. Link Your Own Firebase Account
By default, the mobile dating app template is using our public Firebase account. In order to link it to your own Firebase database, you’ll need to create a Firebase account, a new Firebase project and inside that, a new app.
If you need more details on how to handle Firebase, you can follow the steps outlined in our React Native Firebase documentation.
For those who already know what they’re doing, simply download the configuration file from Firebase and override the default one in the app template folder (GoogleService-Info.plist for iOS, and google-services.json for Android). Once you do this, run the app again, exactly as you did at step 2.
If you’ve just created your Firebase account/project, chances are it’s completely empty. This means you don’t have any users yet in your database, let alone messages or swipes. So let’s create some.
4. Test Your Dating App Builder
First of all, you need users. So create a few users, by registering them in the mobile application. Then check that they show up in Firebase Auth tab, in the Firebase Console.
You should also double check that there’s a collection in Database -> Cloud Firestore named “users”, and it contains all the users you’ve just created. Upload some photos too, for each user, in order to get things going.
Once you have a bunch of users, you’ll start getting Tinder swipe cards on the home screen. Now you can swipe left and right, in order to build matches. If you swipe right mutually, on two users, you’ll get the matching screen.
Once a user has at least one match, you can open the chat screen and test the chat functionality.
5. Customize Your Dating App
Most of the React Native source code lives in the src folder. In this section, we are going to describe how to make common customizations to the code, in order to make your app unique. You don’t necessarily need to know how to code since everything is pretty straightforward.
5.1. Changing the Color Scheme
By default, our color scheme is inspired by Tinder. If you’re looking to go with your own branding color, good news: you only need to change it in one place. Open the src/AppStyles.js file and change any colors in the _colorSet section. In this file, you can also change the font sizes and the icons.
5.2. Customize an Individual Screen
All the screens live under the “screens” folder in src. So open it, and identify the file corresponding to the screen you want to skin.
Depending on how advanced of a change you want to make, this might require coding skills. You can get away with much of the effort, by only modifying the styles section, which usually lives at the end of the files. The components have clear & expressive names, so modifying the CSS-style properties should be pretty straightforward.
As you can see, with this dating app builder you have full over the source code, so you can literally make any changes you want. This is a huge benefit since all the DIY app makers out there are extremely limited from this perspective.
If you want to make advanced changes, but you don’t know how to code, you can simply hire a cheap freelancer on Upwork to make the customizations for you. Our code is clean and modularized, so any decent modification should not take more than a couple of hours.
That’s it. You ran the dating app template, you linked your own backend and you made unique customizations to your app. Time to publish it to the app stores.
If you run into any issues with this dating app builder, please contact us and let us know. We are going to update this documentation as we receive feedback from our customers.
Enjoy your brand new shiny dating app!