Best apps to help you stay connected to loved ones while practicing social distancing

There are a string of apps to help you stay in touch with family and friends during the coronavirus outbreak. (Getty Images)

We know during the coronavirus outbreak that staying physically apart from family and friends will help save lives, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay close to them - virtually, so to speak - over the coming weeks.

Thanks to modern technology, there are a host of apps that will allow you to still catch up over coffee - or wine - with loved ones, once you’ve clocked off from working at home.

You’ll probably already know how useful Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and WhatsApp video calls are for holding a conversation from your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

There’s even the new very slick Facebook Portal which features a high-tech ‘smart camera’ that follows you around the room so you can chat more freely.

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However, there are other more affordable - and entertaining - options to help you socialise with others while in quarantine.

From digital book clubs to the pub quiz and exercise classes, these will make you feel like no time has passed at all.

7 best apps to help you stay connected right now

Houseparty | Free on App Store and Google Play


This video-chatting app may have been first released in 2016, but it has become an overnight hit as the pandemic has sent people to the confines of their homes.

It allows you to throw “parties” of up to eight, and play games like ‘Quick Draw’, ‘Trivia’ and ‘Heads Up’ with them.

You can also send ‘Facemail’ - or a video message - to users not online, and jump into other gatherings you see your friends in.

Wordfeud | Free on App Store and Google Play


This clever app lets you challenge friends and family to a game of Scrabble from the comfort of your own separate living rooms.

You can join in up to 30 games at one time - which can feature two to four players - and chat to opponents as you place letters on the board.

ZOOM Cloud Meetings | Free on App Store and Google Play


Another video-chatting app that has been around for a while but that is now experiencing something of a renaissance in the current more solitary climate.

As well as remote office meetings and university lectures, people have reportedly been using it in recent days for virtual happy hours, yoga sessions and dance practice.

Bookship | Free on App Store and Google Play


There are a host of book club apps that help you organise meet-ups to discuss new reads - but this one is unique in that it encourages you to select and chat about novels virtually.

You can share thoughts and observations on particular passages with other members, and even read books for free via it.

QuizUp | Free on App Store and Google Play


The closest thing you’ll get to a pub quiz in the foreseeable future - go head-to-head with family and friends on a range of trivia.

Test your general knowledge, or choose from thousands of special topics, including Harry Potter and sports.

Yubo | Free on App Store and Google Play


A socialising app with a difference - this one allows you to make new friends around the world - and it has attracted more than 25m users since it was launched in 2015.

You can make new connections at the swipe of a finger, and then chat and video call them.

Fiit | Free on App Store and Google Play


This isn’t just like any another exercise app that allows you to workout from your living room or garden - it allows you to train with friends and compete in live leaderboards.

There’s a 14-day free trial and then various membership options giving you access to hundreds of classes to guide you to lose weight, get strong, improve flexibility and de-stress.