When you’re in a long distance relationship, you’ll be glued to your phone. So may be thinking of getting some apps specifically for your long distance relationship.
In this post, we’ll go through some of the best apps for your long distance relationship. We’ll be covering the best apps for messaging, video calls, bonding with your partner, language learning, and travel.
I have a lot of suggestions here, so feel free to jump to the one that interests you most. Have fun!
The best apps for messaging
Gone are the days where you need to buy phone cards to call and message your overseas lover. Now you’re completely spoiled for choice—there’s a chat app for almost every situation.
Here are some of the best messaging apps for a long distance relationship.
A private messaging app just for the two of you
Between is the closest app to what I used when I was in my long distance relationship. (For reference, I used an app called Couple—formerly known as Pair. Unfortunately, it looks like the devs have abandoned this one.)
Having an entirely separate chat app was hugely helpful for me. I was able to separate our conversations from everyone else, and I was also able to set a passcode on the app to keep our chats private.
These separate chat apps also typically have some pretty cute features, like anniversary reminders, custom stickers and features, private calendars and photo albums, and more.
Between ticks off a lot of those boxes. Photos, videos, and notes are stored within the app, so you can keep your relationship neatly contained. It’ll also keep special dates, like anniversaries, birthdays, and travel dates.
Between also has call functionality if you’re looking for a good chat alternative.
Join other communities, and coordinate gaming sessions
This app is primarily used as a means of bringing together communities and friends. It’s also a great way to keep in touch with a single person.
Discord has a lot of built-in functionality. You can start voice or video calls with a single click, join other groups of your friends, and easily start screen sharing.
If you’re both into gaming, Discord is practically the standard for text and voice chat.
One downside is that the design may take some getting used to. When I tried using it with C, she wasn’t a big fan of the UI and the overall layout. Your situation may vary, of course.
Signal / Telegram
If you both take your privacy seriously
Privacy breaches are only becoming more common these days, and it seems like your private and personal data are at the whim of malicious actors.
You may also be uncomfortable with providing big tech companies access to your personal information.
Signal claims that everything transmitted through their network is encrypted, so no one can snoop on your conversations. The company is an independent non-profit, so there are no ads or trackers in the app.
If you really want to keep your history clean, you can also set your messages to disappear after a set amount of time.
WhatsApp / iMessage / Messenger / Hangouts
Because everyone else is using them
The big tech companies also have their own chat offerings.
These apps include plenty of features, like audio and video calling, integrated camera functionality, and the ability to create message groups.
Some of these apps, like WhatsApp and iMessage, are tied to your phone number. If you’re moving to a new phone plan, make sure to update your details.
Apps like WhatsApp also tout end-to-end encryption, but there are news stories out there about how that encryption may not necessarily count for much.
WhatsApp is also affiliated with Facebook, so if that makes you uncomfortable, then you may want to steer clear.
It’s uncertain as to how these companies will use the information in your conversations. However, the number of times I’ve written something in these apps and seen related ads not long after? It happens more often than I’d like.
7 Video Calling Apps to Try
If you’re looking for a dedicated video calling app, then you have plenty to choose from. Here’s a list of—what I think—are the best video calling apps for a long distance relationship.
My advice is to experiment and see which apps work best for your particular situation. For C and me, certain apps just looked really bad and performed terribly. Others, on the other hand, were very consistent and worked really well.
Make sure to give other apps a go if you’re not satisfied with your current experience.
|Google Meet||The official replacement of Google Hangouts. Integrated with other G-Suite applications, so you can start up a call from GMail.||Fairly good call quality between USA and Australia. Video fidelity could be better but audio comes through clearly.|
|FaceTime||Apple’s proprietary audio and video chat app. Can only be used with iOS devices.||For me and C, FaceTime offered the best quality and experience. There were occasional bouts of poor service, in which we usually fell back on other apps, but this was our bread and butter.|
|Skype||Skype has been for years and years, and it’s practically a verb at this point. Available on lots of platforms and offers both free calls as well as paid services to fixed lines.||This was one of our fallback solutions whenever FaceTime wasn’t working well for us. Honestly, calling from the USA to Australia didn’t look great, and we found that dark rooms looked bad with lots of artifacts and pixelation. However, it still did the job and was pretty consistent.|
|Discord||Discord includes integrated audio and video call capabilities, so you can seamlessly move from chat window to a face to face conversation.||C struggled a bit with Discord, but technically savvy folks should have no problem with this. Audio call quality was good.|
|Zoom||The video call service that blew up thanks to COVID-19. It’s main advantage is the extremely simple process to get on a call with minimal installation steps. There are free and paid tiers available, although one-on-one calls are unlimited in the free version.||C swears by Zoom, and it does offer a very consistent experience. International performance is not bad—group calls with my family were fairly smooth, and the only hiccups were down to my mum’s Wi-Fi connection. I’m personally not a big fan of the UI as it feels a little dated.|
|Messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.)||Most major messaging apps include some form of audio and video chat. You can jump from your chat straight into an audio or video call. They also support group calls if you’d like to introduce your partner to your friends and family.||Later in our long distance relationship, C and I would fall back on Facebook Messenger as well as Skype. Messenger offered better video call performance with less lag, especially over my 4G LTE connection while I was out on my lunch break.|
|Houseparty||If you want to spice up your video chats with games and custom backgrounds, Houseparty is a nice little alternative.||I was on a USA/Australia phone call with friends, and the video/audio performance was quite good. The mini-games were a nice touch, too!|
4 Apps To Help You Bond With Your Partner
If you’re struggling to find ways to bond with your partner, worry not! There are a whole bunch of apps out there to help keep the conversation flowing.
There are also apps out there to help remind you of each other in the form of a physical buzz or a text. I wish I had these devices when we were still apart!
Read on to learn about the best apps to bond with your partner while in a long distance relationship.
For a daily conversation prompt
Agape (pronounced “ah-gah-pay”) is a relationship app that prompts you with a daily question. You’ll be able to see each other’s responses and start a conversation with your partner about them.
There are several conversation themes available in the app, including “Long Distance Relationships”. At the time of writing, themed conversations are a premium feature. Be prepared to pay if you want to answer those focused LDR questions.
To connect on a set schedule
Longwalks is endorsed by Oprah Winfrey as a way to have more meaningful conversations. It describes itself as a way to help couples “reflect, connect, and grow together”.
The app offers a prompt for each day of the week, where you and your partner can journal together. Sharing your response will also unlock your partner’s response, so you can see your answers and talk openly about them.
Longwalks has a set theme for each day, so if you’re the kind of person that craves structure, Longwalks may be what you’re looking for.
Gottman Card Decks
A collection of conversation topics to draw upon
Inspired by the Gottman Institute’s “research-based approach to relationships”, this app offers questions to ask your partner. There are also things to do and say, such as attempting to answer questions as if you’re in your partner’s shoes.
There are several categories, such as Open-Ended Questions, “I Feel…” questions, Sex Questions, and more.
C and I did this based on PDFs filled with questions, and we enjoyed working through the list. Having everything in the app is a nice little package, and could help to kick start some more conversations beyond the usual.
A great way to let your partner know you’re thinking of them
This app is designed to be paired with the Bond bracelet. After you and your partner pair the app with your bracelets, you can send them a touch. This will cause a soft buzz in the bracelet, letting them know that you’re thinking of them, wherever you are.
The Bond Touch app also includes an encrypted, private chat between you and your partner. It also enables you both to share your current location, and a countdown for your next reunion.
I wish that C and I had these whenever we were apart! We used other apps to do the same thing, but having a physical bracelet I could feel buzzing would’ve been a game changer.
6 apps to help you learn their language
Do you and your partner speak in different native tongues? There’s no better way to show how much you care (and improve the quality of your communication) than by taking steps to learn their language.
Phone apps can help introduce and refresh key language concepts wherever you happen to be. It’s a great way to get started with a language, and perhaps delve into more complex tools later on, such as textbooks, language partners, and TV shows and movies.
Here are some of the best apps you can use to learn your partner’s language while in a long distance relationship.
A popular app that gamifies grammar and vocab
If you’re looking for a place to start, you could do worse than Duolingo.
With a slick interface, attractive design and cute characters, you can get up to speed on the basics of your chosen language. You’ll be chasing that sweet “ping” sound in no time!
It seems to be better suited for European languages, although it does offer some Asian languages too (as well as other novelty languages like Dothraki).
The lessons are bite sized so you can easily do a couple of lessons while you’re on the bus or you’re taking a toilet break.
It also encourages you to return by rewarding you for maintaining your “streak”.
Overall, Duolingo is a great way to get started learning a language while being addictive at the same time.
As good as it gets for learning vocab
Anki is software that helps you remember things more easily. It can be used for learning languages, as well as other things like studying for exams, memorizing music chords, or even remembering people’s names and faces.
It’s based on two concepts: active recall testing (when you’re trying to remember the answer to something) and spaced repetition (where you are quizzed on things over time instead of all at once).
Anki is widely recommended on the Learning Languages subreddit, so it’s well worth a look—especially if you’re looking to build up your vocabulary effectively.
At the time of writing the mobile app costs a hefty $24.99. If you can’t afford it right now, you can download Anki for your desktop for free.
An interactive way to learn more vocabulary
Memrise can help you learn more vocabulary and phrases in your chosen language.
One feature I was particularly fond of was videos of native speakers pronouncing the words, so I could see the mouth shape and hear a variety of tones.
Like most language apps, Memrise uses a spaced repetition system (SRS) to help you remember vocabulary.
Also, while it provides you with plenty of vocabulary and phrases, it doesn’t necessarily explain the grammatical rules behind what you’re learning.
Learn the relevant words fast
Want to be more practical in your language learning?
Speakly helps you learn the 4000 most commonly used words in your chosen language, so you can recognize common terms and phrases used everyday.
While people seem to prefer it over other alternatives, it does have a monthly cost, and is limited to a small suite of languages.
However, if you’re looking to learn a language they’re offering, and you want to learn the most commonly used words quickly, this app is worth looking at.
Helpful for easing into sentence structures
While the other apps are useful for building vocabulary, Mango Languages offers a conversational focus.
Rather than offering single words and phrases, Mango slowly works you up to whole sentences.
It also has phrases recorded by actual people, instead of computerized text-to-speech.
This will no doubt come in handy in simple interactions when you’re in your SO’s home country…and for impressing your SO, of course!
Mango Languages even offers languages such as Latin, if you’d like to take that route.
Finally, your local library may even offer Mango Languages through their online system! Be sure to check your local branch to see if you can get free access.
Great for Asian Languages
For Asian languages, I’ve seen a lot of recommendations for Lingodeer.
If you’re aiming to learn Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, or other Asian languages, it appears that Lingodeer comes highly recommended compared to other language learning apps.
It offers more than just vocabulary—it also covers grammar, sentences, particles, and verbs.
Lingodeer also offers some grammatical lesson content in the form of learning tips. This was particularly helpful for me, because I like to know what I’m learning, instead of just repeating sounds and phrases out of context.
The downside? Once you exhaust the basic content, it can be quite pricey at $11.99 per month, or $199.99 for a lifetime membership. However, there are semi-regular sales, so keep an eye out for those.
Recommended travel apps to make your trip stress-free
Visiting your loved one is one of the most important parts of a long distance relationship, and there are a lot of things to plan for!
Luckily, there are plenty of apps available to help make your trip go smoothly. Here’s my personal list of the best apps for long distance relationship travel.
Google Flights / Skyscanner / Hopper
For finding the cheapest and best flights
There are plenty of flight finding apps out there, but here are the three apps I turned to the most whenever I was planning my own trips.
- Google Flights isn’t an app at all—it’s a website. However, I found it extremely easy to use. The search and filtering options are great: define your preferred routes, airlines, and receive suggestions for cheaper itineraries. Google Flights also lets you book directly via the airline’s website.
- Skyscanner helps you see the cheapest fares available for research. (Keep in mind that cheaper fares usually mean longer layovers and trips.) Skyscanner also routes you through third-party providers. You might save a few bucks, but it can be risky booking through anyone other than the airline itself.
- Hopper is a neat little app that shows you the average prices for your desired flight throughout the year. It highlights peak and off-seasons, shows expected prices, and also notifies you of a good time to buy.
Hopper’s notifications were a huge help when I had to figure out when I could go visit C. It would tell me when was the cheapest time to buy, and alert me when prices would be at their lowest. I’d then pull up Google Flights and book my flight.
Google Translate / Microsoft Translator
When you don’t know the language, of course
If you’re going to a country where you don’t know the language, having a translator app is a life saver.
While not perfect, translation apps have vastly improved over the years.
Microsoft Translator also comes with a built-in phrasebook, which is perfect to pull up if you’re out and about. It also supports Cantonese—my family’s native language—so I have a soft spot for it.
Offline maps when you’re without a WiFi point
Google Maps is a fantastic mapping service when you’re driving or traveling. However, if you don’t have a reliable source of phone data, downloading a map is a more reliable alternative.
Maps.me offers offline maps for download, covering several continents, and it works great. It’s also completely free. Google Maps also provides an offline download function, but I find it fiddly to use and a little unreliable. The maps also only last for 30 days.
A simple, straightforward route planner
Wondering how to get from point A to point B? This app can map it all out for you in one hit.
Rome2Rio can take two locations and suggest routes to get from place to place, including train rides, bus routes, ferry services, and flights. Or, if you’re local, it can suggest walking directions, as well as bike and car routes too.