Lockdown Busting Apps

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Want something to show for the weeks you have spent in lockdown?

Whether you want to learn a language or a musical instrument, make podcasts, get recipes for what's in your fridge, or improve your dance skills... there's probably an app for it. Here we recommend our top 10.


(Android/Apple – free)

This app is owned by Spotify, but it’s focused on podcasts rather than music. Making podcasts, that is. It will soon get you recording and editing shows, adding soundtracks and then publishing them to various podcast services. The app will also give you data on your listening figures.


(Android/Apple – free + optional subscription)

That guitar that’s been gathering dust for years? Its time is now! Yousician is one of the best apps for learning to play guitar (or ukulele) with bite-size lessons based on familiar songs, and, like Simply Piano, constant feedback – of the good kind. A subscription removes the free version’s restrictions.

Simply Piano

(Android/Apple – free + optional subscription)

If you’ve always wanted to play the piano, this app can help. It sets you exercises, then uses the microphone in your device to listen to your playing and provide feedback. It has a library of varied songs to learn, with two courses for free, and many more available with a subscription.

Candide Gardening

(Android/Apple – free)

If you have a garden, lockdown may have sparked your green-fingered ambitions. Candide Gardening is an excellent app to guide you, whether it’s in identifying plants, providing an archive of gardening guides or helping you find people who can answer your questions.


(Android/Apple – free + in-app purchases)

Coursera offers programming, art and design, sciences and business and other subjects across 3,500 online-learning courses, complete with video lectures and instructors, with fellow students to chat to. Some courses are free, while others must be paid for – and will award you certificates.


(Android/Apple – free + optional subscription)

More time at home should hopefully mean more time to try new recipes, but sourcing ingredients at the moment could present challenges. Yummly will develop your improvisational skills in the kitchen: not only offering guided recipes, but helping you find ideas based on the ingredients you have.


(Android/Apple - free + optional subscription)

Duolingo’s catchline – “Learn a language for free. Forever” – sounds a bit threatening. Thankfully, its app is excellent, with a wide range of languages covered and short, simple exercises designed for daily practice. Its optional subscription tier removes ads and adds more features.

Google Arts & Culture

(Android/Apple – free)

Nobody’s visiting museums or galleries for the moment, let alone travelling abroad to do so. A good moment for Google’s arts and culture app, then, which provides virtual tours of more than 2,000 “cultural institutions” around the world, using photos, videos and virtual reality.


(Android/Apple – free + optional subscription)

Promising yourself you will read lots of books while in self-isolation might be easy, but following through with the plan may prove more tricky. Blinkist is a clever complement to traditional reading: it condenses non-fiction books into 15-minute audiobooks. A subscription opens up its full library and offline listening.

Steezy Studio

(Android/Apple – free + optional subscription)

Got two left feet? You can still learn to dance during the lockdown. Just make sure you move fragile heirlooms out of the way before trying this app in the living room. It offers more than 500 video classes in styles such as hip-hop, dance hall and breaking (as we said, move the heirlooms first...).