In August 2013, during an interview with XXL, John Legend spoke about how long it took him to finish the album, saying:
"Well I did the Wake Up! album with The Roots in 2010, so it’s really only been three years in my mind, because I put as much energy and time into that as I would my own album. Then I did some shows with them and I toured with Sade, so I spent a decent amount of time on the road, and then I spent the past couple of years on the album. It took a little longer on this album than on previous albums, but I’m really just a year off my pace."
He also spoke about working with Kanye West on the album, saying: "I worked with Kanye more on this album than I had before, and I think part of it is just us connecting and getting together to create, given how busy he is and how busy I am. Just finding time for us to work together kind of added a little bit of extra time to the process. But I think it was worth it." He also spoke about how he feels this is his best album yet, saying: "I feel like it’s my best album yet, and I think creatively, we did some great things. The collaboration and the talent that we have on the album is better than we’ve ever had. As far as producers, co-writers and people just helping shape the sound. I feel like Kanye’s leadership was great in helping to do that. I really feel good about it."
The album's lead single "Who Do We Think We Are" featuring Rick Ross was released on March 25, 2013. On May 6, 2013, the music video was released for the single. The album's second single "Made to Love" was released on June 18, 2013, and the music video was released on August 1, 2013.
"All of Me" impacted American mainstream urban radio as the album's third single on August 12, 2013. On October 2, 2013, the music video was released for "All of Me". "All of Me" has since peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the highest charting song from the album and John Legend's first number-one single of his career. "You & I (Nobody in the World)" was serviced to urban adult contemporary radio in the United States on April 29, 2014, as the fourth single.
Love in the Future was met with generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 72, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 10 reviews. Andy Kellman of AllMusic gave the album four out of five stars, saying "This is a heavy, laboriously made set of songs. The list of producers alone includes Hit-Boy, Bink, 88 Keys, the Runners, Doc McKinney, Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Kanye West, and Dave Tozer pile on as co-producers and co-executive producers. Perhaps they ensured that the whole album would have its dramatic, slightly eerie tone; even the covers of Bobby Caldwell's "Open Your Eyes" and Anita Baker's "Angel" are a little uneasy. That level of sonic indulgence seems like it should be incompatible with an artist who is, essentially, a piano man, but Love in the Future is among Legend's best work, made for couples who are into one another for the long term while feeling a little daring and crazy. " Molloy Woodcraft of The Observer gave the album three out of five stars, saying "John Legend's fifth studio album is a far cry from his last, 2010's consciousness-raising, full-tilt collaboration with the Roots, Wake Up! The sound is positively pared in comparison, produced and programmed by the likes of Kanye West and Dave Tozer. Legend's voice is excellent throughout and comes to the fore on ballads such as All of Me." Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine gave the album three out of five stars, saying "At 16 tracks, the album moves surprisingly fast, with few songs outstaying their welcome, but it ultimately fails to successfully push Legend into the future." Logan Smithson of PopMatters gave the album an eight out of ten, saying "Whether you’ve fallen victim to cuffing season or you’re simply looking for some good music, Love in the Future can be your album. One could even make a very strong case for Love in the Future being Legend’s best album to date."
At USA Today, Jerry Shriver gave the album three-and-a-half stars out of four, writing that Legend "has crafted a deeply romantic and soulful dowry". Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone gave the album three and a half stars out of five, saying "On Legend's fourth LP, executive producer Kanye West helps give him a plush, nuanced palette to match his signature emotional generosity and strong sensuality – from mountainous piano crushers like "All of Me" to "The Beginning," which flips a freaking Sara Bareilles sample into a promise of endless babymaking rapture. And you know he's gonna cook the fuck out of some breakfast in the morning." Ryan B. Patrick of Exclaim! gave the album a five out of ten, saying "Love in the Future? Speaking of which, any forthcoming John Legend documentary should be titled The Curious Case of John Stephens. For a musical prodigy that first burst out of the gate with a lively debut album (2004's Get Lifted), Legend has settled into a languid musical stride, one akin to a Las Vegas lounge singer." Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe gave the album a positive review, saying "Don’t be fooled by the title of John Legend’s fourth solo record, as the music actually looks backward to sweeping romanticism and pop formalism. All of Legend’s strengths are present: keen melodies, smooth vocal understatement, and artful arrangements. Essentially, the disc plays like a love letter to his fiancee, supermodel Chrissy Teigen, yet it resonates." Julia LeConte of Now gave the album three out of five stars, saying "Overall, this sounds like classic John Legend. There is something wonderful about a timeless performer not bending to current musical fads. If it ain’t broke…."
The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 68,000 copies in the United States. In its second week the album sold 30,000 more copies. As of July 23, 2014, the album has sold 576,622 copies in the United States.
In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number 28, making it Legend's lowest-charting studio album at the time, and initially spent only one week in the top 40, dropping thirty-six places to number 64 in its second week. However, the success of "All of Me" caused it to re-enter the top 40 at number 36 in the chart dated February 16, 2014. Love in the Future has so far spent seven weeks in the top 40 (including six consecutive weeks since it re-entered the chart) and has reached a new peak of number 2, making it his highest-charting album to date and only his second album to reach the UK top ten.