The absolute best apps and digital tools for long-distance relationships

Being apart shouldn't be hard.


Jam Kotenko


Published Mar 6, 2016   Updated May 27, 2021, 3:14 am CDT

Keeping the romance alive is hard work for most couples, and it’s especially challenging for those of you who are required to maintain it at a distance.

Thankfully there are apps that make it easy for you to make your long-distance relationship work really well, and sometimes so well that you forget your lack of proximity from your significant other. With the widespread adoption of various online dating options that you can use on your computer and mobile devices, being apart from your beloved for long periods of time is far less of an issue than it once was.

Here are some fantastic tools you can use to connect with your significant other for those times you can’t be together in real life:

1.) Skype or Google Hangouts

Considering the slew of newer, hipper video chat services out there, Skype might be the last thing on your mind when you are looking for a client that’ll let you stare at your loved one’s beautiful mug, but as someone who successfully met, had a long-distance relationship, and married someone I met online, I can attest to how reliable Skype is for video chat dates. 

Jam Kotenko/Skype

You can install it on your laptop or your handheld device and instantly chat with your boo, either through audio or video. You can also instant message, share screens, and send photos and files to each other. You can even keep your Skype session going in the background while you do something else on your device and it’ll be like they’re right beside you. Heck, you can even pretend to be on a date and have dinner or watch a movie at the same time.

Jam Kotenko/Skype

If you prefer to keep everything connected to your Google account, you can also try out Hangouts. Like Skype, it allows you to have a one-on-one conversation with your special guy or gal. You can instant message each other, send photos, maps, emoji, stickers, and GIFs. Of course, you can also do voice and video calls, all the while doing all the other things mentioned in the previous sentence. It’s a lot of fun.

2.) Facebook Messenger

Do you have an insatiable habit of refreshing your Facebook feed every ten minutes or so? Then Facebook Messenger might be a great option for you. You can text chat, send photos, videos, stickers, and GIFs, and you can do voice and video calls as well. Additionally, you can leave each other voice messages and send your location on a map. You can even send each other money! You probably already know all this, but just in case, we’ve compiled a handy-dandy guide on how to maximize Facebook’s messaging app if you need a refresher.

Jam Kotenko/Facebook

3.) Facetime

If you and your partner own iOS devices, Facetime is definitely a much more convenient alternative to Skype or Hangouts. It doesn’t really have bells and whistles—it’s straight up voice or video calling, which is perfect if you just want to say a quick hey to bae.

If, however, you want to use Facetime for a longer chat session and you don’t have a Mac computer, be prepared to use one of your hands to hold your iPhone.

Jam Kotenko/Facetime

4.) Apple Watch Digital Touch

There’s another thing for Apple fans to use to share their love from afar: a feature that literally lets you send your heartbeats (among other things) to one another. Of course, you’ll both need to have an Apple Watch to make it work. Here’s how it works:

  • Press the side button to bring up the Friends interface.
  • Choose your significant other from the list.
  • Tap on the Digital Touch icon located in the bottom center of your Apple Watch’s screen.
  • Place two fingers lightly on your watch’s screen. It will bring up a representation of your heartbeat. The duration of the heartbeat you send your loved one is determined by how long you keep your fingers on the surface.

Your partner should receive a notification. When they open it, they’ll be able to feel your heartbeat on their wrist. They can also respond by sending their heartbeat back to you.

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5.) Snapchat

If you don’t have time for an actual video chat, Snapchat is the next best thing, especially for those moments when you’re feeling, well, naughty. The messaging platform is known for its ability to transmit disappearing photo or video messages, making your communication with your darling extra exciting. Just make sure you send your sexy snaps to the right person.

Of course, you can keep it wholesome and just send each other wacky selfies made better by lenses.

Selena Larson/Snapchat

6.) Avocado

If your Facebook and Snapchat accounts are too crowded, you can venture into private apps that let you stay connected with your partner and no one else. Avocado lets you send private messages that may contain photos, videos, doodles, and text. You can share photos and videos in a shared media gallery you can both easily access. If you feel like bragging, you can also share photos from your gallery on other social media platforms.

If you’re a practical couple, you’ll appreciate the ability of the app to let you share lists and calendar events. You can also send your location and get notified if your beloved’s battery is low. Instead of a Facebook poke, you can send a hug or a kiss by holding the phone to your chest or tapping on a photo.

7.) Couple

Couple is pretty similar to Avocado. It lets you send text and voice messages, share videos, and take photos with filters. It lets you send stickers, play games, and sketch together in real-time. It also lets you share to-do lists and calendar reminders so you don’t forget important dates and tasks. And rather than putting your phone to your chest for a cyber hug, you can do a “thumbkiss”, which makes your device vibrate when you and your partner touch the same spot on your screens.

Additionally, like Snapchat, it lets you send “secrets” AKA photos that disappear after a fixed time.

8.) Between

Between is yet another couples app you can use privately with your loved one without having to worry about bothering anyone else with your cheesiness. There’s one-on-one chats that come loaded with stickers and stamps, private photo albums that lets you store and share intimate snaps with each other, and a shared calendar that lets you keep track of each other’s day-to-day activities.

Additionally, you’ve got weather updates and an event box function that lets you find the best deals for things that’ll keep your relationship exciting. You can also set up a lock on the app to keep it safe in case one of your phones is lost.

9.) Sex toys for two

If you thought this list was limited to just apps, you’re wrong. A big part of every romantic relationship is sexual fulfillment, and there’s no reason long-distance couples should be excluded from that. We-Vibe has a line of sex toys for couples, one of which is the We-Vibe 4 Plus, a vibrator that can be controlled via app—you have the vibrator, your partner has the app. (Or vice versa.)

Through the app, you can control the vibration pattern and intensity by simply touching the screen. You can even create custom vibrations to make stimulation a little bit more interesting. Additionally, the app allows a secure voice, chat, and video function, letting you experience sexual pleasure accompanied by your long-distance lover every step of the way.

Illustration by Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Mar 6, 2016, 2:31 pm CST