This Christmas is going to be a very strange one. For many of us it could mean more time on our own than usual. And what do we do when we’ve got a bit of time to ourselves – we unlock our smartphone, of course.

The rise in smartphone gaming and usage has been astronomical across 2020, with consumers spending a record $28billion in apps during Q3 of this year. That looks set to continue into Q4 and as we face further global restrictions approaching Christmas, the smartphone could once again be our savior.

But what are the types of apps you should be downloading to keep you entertained over the next few months?

Communication Apps

Naturally, if you still want to connect with friends, then apps such as Zoom and Skype are ideal for those wishing to speak to friends and family. You can chat to people across different devices, allowing you to enjoy conversations with the likes of Grandparents and elder relatives who may not necessarily have the latest iPhone or smartphone device.

Zoom in particular is remaining a popular choice, with 46 million downloads in September alone, with 26 million of those coming from Android and iOS platforms. The stocks have soared by over 600% and the software is proving to be the future of how we see and socialise with friends during uncertain times.

Bingo Apps

Bingo apps have also enjoyed a quite staggering rise in popularity over the last few months. Bingo apps were already on an upward trajectory and that has only increased as people look to find a replacement for bingo halls closing.

The shift towards bingo for mobile and apps has also been triggered by the fact there are also many social elements to them, with chat rooms within the apps thriving, with strangers from all over the country connecting.

That means not only is bingo fun with jackpots on offer, it also cures any sense of loneliness, with people and chat hosts available to talk to virtually 24/7.

Puzzle Apps

One of the major problems people have been suffering with during lockdown is keeping their brains occupied and functioning at full capacity during times when many people are off work.

Puzzles are scientifically proven to be beneficial for your brain, providing them with a mental workout that can help improve decision making, reaction times and working under pressure.

It all depends on what type of puzzle app you download, with apps such as Brain It On and Two Dots particularly popular with players in the app store at the moment.

Lumosity is also an app specifically designed to improve your cognitive skills and offers a range of fun training games, as well as track your progress.

Podcast Apps

While many smartphones will come with a podcast app automatically downloaded these days, if it hasn’t you should certainly download one.

Where outdoor exercise is one of the only things to get us out of the house, there are hundreds of excellent podcasts to enjoy and accompany you.

There are podcasts to suit all hobbies and interests, from sport to science, celebrity gossip and plenty of history and educational podcasts too. There are charts that can highlight the top ones in each category, so all you need to do is download them or stream them and away you go.

A good way to find a podcast is to explore the podcast awards, where you’ll find the best shows, many of which are already well established so you’ll have hundreds of hours worth of content to work your way through.