2020 has certainly been a year for the history books. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the way that we live our lives and transformed our everyday routines. Lockdown, quarantine, and social distancing restrictions have meant that a lot of us are feeling more lonely. But using apps to stay connected with friends and family when you’re far apart can have a good impact on your mental health.
These 10 apps to keep you in touch with the ones you love will make staying in touch fun, varied and easy. From fun games to personalized video calls, screen sharing and relationship management, these (mostly free) communication apps for iOS and Android are the ones to download.
By the way, discover 10 great ways on how to stay in touch with friends here.
Top iOS and Android apps: Download these 10 apps to help you stay connected with friends
#1 Squad – for hanging out like you’re together in person
Squad is a relatively new app that provides you with the chance to hang out with all of your squad. Users of this app can switch back and forth between screen sharing and video chatting. There is so much that you can do with this app, with the only limit being your imagination. Unlimited text video and screen sharing means that you could watch videos together, share images. Or just do your own thing with company!
#2 MyPostcard – for providing a tangible lasting connection
Postcards are a great way to keep in touch with family and friends from all over the world. There is nothing quite like receiving a card from someone we always look forward to hearing from.
The MyPostcard app makes the whole process so much easier. Simply download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play and create your very own messages. You can even upload photographs to personalize your postcard. There is a whole host of pre-written messages to choose from to make sending your thoughts even easier. This is one of the best apps to stay connected with friends and family in the offline world.
#3 Whatsapp – for easy everyday messaging
Whatsapp is one of the most downloaded apps in the world for good reason. With free calls, texts, and video chat, it’s a great way to stay in touch with your long-distance family and friends. Plus, voice notes are perfect for having a conversation or sending a quick message when you don’t have time for a proper catch-up. This Facebook-owned instant messaging service works on all smartphones to send encrypted messages over the internet.
#4 Garden – one of the top relationship manger apps to stay connected with friends
It’s not just about how to stay in touch with people, but sometimes also about when to. The app, Garden helps you stay connected with friends by reminding you when to reach out to your loved ones. Simply set up the your chosen contacts and specify how often you’d like to be in touch. You can even add notes of what your last conversation was about. It’s like a personal relationship assistant.
#5 Fight List – a way to spend the time with friends
A family feud style game, Fight List is super competitive and an exciting way to stay in contact with friends and family. Basically, in 40 seconds you have to come up with as many words as possible that are associated with the word on the screen to get the highest score. There are thousands of different themes available. You can use Jokers and revelation wands for help, chat with your friends, and play against other real players online.
#6 Snapchat – the app for fun spontaneous sharing
Snapchat is one of the most popular apps for staying in touch with long-distance family and friends. Download the app, create an account, and easily be able to chat with the people you’re connected with – or make new friends!
Live Stories mean that you can keep everyone updated with your goings-on. But the joy of Snapchat for some people definitely lies with the unique filters, with so many to pick from. You can also choose how long your snaps last for, and get notified if the person you are talking with has taken a screenshot. Snapchat is available on most smartphones, and it is free to download.
#7 House Party – a more adventurous video call
Along with Tiger King, bread baking and rainbow painting, House Party was a popular pastime during lockdown. The face to face networking app offers virtual communication with up to eight different people. You can play games like Heads Up! and Quick Draw. You can either go on Private Mode or crash stranger’s / friends parties, with the ability to drop in and out of video chats or ‘rooms’ as you please. It’s a great way to get to know friends of friends!
FYI – it’s received a lot of bad press about being unsafe. But the consensus by most reliable news sites is that the rumours about hacking are untrue and are part of a smear campaign.
#8 Zoom – the app for a virtual party
Another app that has been a hit this year is Zoom. During lockdown, this virtual video app has been used for everything. So many of us were using Zoom to learn, work, make music, do workouts together, have group dinners and so much more. Providing clear audio and good quality conversation, this private chat room allows for up to 1000 participants – time for that virtual party!
Sessions are capped at 40 minutes but you can upgrade to premium if you need longer.
#9 Netflix Party – the app to stay connected with friends over a virtual movie night
Bringing Netflix and chill (in the strictest sense of the words) to the virtual world, Netflix Party is one of our favorite apps to stay connected. Each person needs an active Netflix account. You will soon be chatting while watching movies or TV shows with your besties. One person needs to download the Google extension from Netflix and then share the link with the others. Whether it is peculiar crime documentaries, period dramas, or reality TV, the chat feature means you can react as you watch!
If you need some ideas for movie night, check out our top 9 favorite travel films of all time here.
#10 Words with Friends – the app for a competitive games night
A social multiplayer game with a Scrabble-like twist, Words with Friends is one of the world’s most popular word games, and it is free to download on Google Play or the Apple Store. It is a great way to get competitive with those you love, and the lack of a time penalty means that you can take it at the speed that is best for you both. Both of you will need to download the game and create accounts before adding each other as friends.
Will stay connected with friends with these apps?
Remember to set up reminders in Garden and start reaching out to people when you’re feeling lonely, or when you suspect they are. Staying connected and staying together will get us through this!
If you want to learn more about how to stay social despite the social distance, read these 14 ideas.