All around the globe people are finding themselves in a position where they must work, school or entertain themselves from home for an unknown period of time. The internet is proving to be our saving grace as we pull ourselves through this sorry mess.
Many of the web-based tools we've been using to keep in contact with friends and family are already free, and most online streaming subscriptions offer free trials. But it's been incredible to watch as a great number of companies recognise that their premium tools and services could provide a much-needed lifeline - especially to those who are clinging to every penny as we face an uncertain financial future.
Below we've compiled a list of some of these now free online tools and services that you can take advantage of during lockdown. We'll keep adding to the list as we come across them.
You might also like our advice for those unable to work remotely - Tips to prepare yourself to come back ready to win.
Free mobile data and calls for pay monthly customers
Vodafone is offering half a million customers and all vulnerable users on pay monthly plans unlimited data for 30 days during the Coronavirus crisis. Customers should check the VeryMe rewards in the My Vodafone app for more details.
O2 has also extended its support to customers, waiving data charges for advice and support services, and awarding all pay monthly customers free access to unlimited voice calls.
Virgin Media is also offering pay monthly customers an extra 10GB of data and unlimited voice calls.
Free IObit tools to clean up and speed up your computer
Until 27 March, or for as long as stocks last, IObit is giving away free licences to its range of tools designed to speed up or clean up your computer. You can download two products from a choice of Advanced SystemCare, Driver Booster, Malware Fighter, Uninstaller, SystemCare Ultimate and Software Updater completely free.
Free kids TV from Virgin Media
Until 21 April, Virgin Media is making seven of its kids' TV channels free to watch. These include Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito, Nickelodeon, Nick Jnr, NickToons and Nick Jr Too. The Thundercats Roar premiere on 6 April will also be free to stream.
Existing customers on Mixit and Maxit packages will automatically be upgraded.
Free kids TV from Amazon
Amazon is offering free content for children during the COVID-19 outbreak. It has everything from Peppa Pig and In The Night Garden to Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom. You need an Amazon account to watch, but you do not need to be an Amazon Prime customer (though new customers can access a 30-day free trial to also take advantage of big kids' TV).
Three months free Deezer Premium
Music might be one of the things that helps you get through the working day in the absence of friends/colleagues and other background noise. Music-streaming service Deezer is offering all its premium-tier products free for three months in light of recent events.
27 free GOG games for PC
To encourage gamers to stay indoors and prevent spreading infection, GOG.com has opened up 27 games that are completely free to play on Windows (some also work on Mac).
Free Steam games including Drawful 2 and Football Manager 2020
There is only a few days left before the offer expires at the end of the month, but right now you can play Football Manager 2020 completely free when you download it from Steam on Windows or Mac. The game usually costs £39.99.
Drawful 2, which is much like Pictionary but works with multiple players joining in remotely, is also free to download and keep when you download before 11 April.
Free Headspace subscription for NHS workers
It usually costs $69.99 per year, but popular meditation and mental health app Headspace is offering free subscriptions to all the UK’s NHS workers in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. The offer is open until 31 December.
All other users can access a two-week free trial to Headspace.
Free Sleep Cycle Sleep Aid premium content
Battle those sleepless nights with free access to premium Sleep Aid content in the Sleep Cycle app. It will be free until further notice.
The app tracks sleep and wake cycles, offering detailed stats to help you chart sleep quality over time, and can even detect snoring.
Extended trial of Auro Personal Training App - and discounts for NHS staff
If you're starting to go a bit crazy indoors, physical exercise will lift your mood and help keep you in shape. The Auro Personal Training App includes more than 150 audio workouts and yoga exercises that don't require any equipment.
Previously offering a two-week free trial, Auro has extended this to a month and is now offering all NHS staff a 50% discount.
Peloton is another fitness purveyor that has extended the free trial for its app - find out more here.
Free three-month subscription to Fender Play
There's nothing better than music to help you chill out and relax, and this lockdown has us all rather stressed out.
Fender is hoping to help the situation by offering Brits three months of free access to Fender Play, which is a complete online learning platform with guided videos for guitar, bass and ukulele.
Free three-month trials of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro X in the US
Over in the US Apple is extending a free trial of its Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro X software, making this downtime the perfect time to learn new skills. Let's hope it brings it to the UK, too.
Free LinkedIn Learning course on remote working
If you have time on your hands, why not use it to broaden your skills? LinkedIn Learning is an established platform offering video training courses on a range of subjects. At any point you can sign up for a month's free trial, but right now the company is also offering a range of remote working courses for free.
Three months free access to Rosetta Stone for students
Free Minecraft Educational Content for kids
Until 30 June, Mojang is offering a range of educational worlds as free downloads for its popular Minecraft software. Among the content on offer is the ability to tour the International Space Station or exlore inside the human eye. Educational worlds include lesson plans that focus on creative writing, build challenges and puzzles.
Free Audible stories for kids
For story time, Audible is offering a selection of free audiobooks in six different languages. There is a range of content on offer, from educational titles to creative stories.
Free security software subcriptions
Bitdefender is well-known for its consumer antivirus software, but in these tough times it is extending its enterprise-level package to all healthcare organisations, completely free for a year. Sign up for a free Bitdefender security package.
Kaspersky is also extending its free enterprise software to healthcare organisations. Find out more about claiming a free six-month Kaspersky subscription.
Trend Micro's offering is for all businesses, and upon signing up you'll be given a download link to share with your employees that is good for six months of free access. Find out more from Trend Micro.
Free LogMeIn Emergency Remote Work Kits
LogMeIn may be well known to office workers for its remote-networking tools, and with many businesses now finding themselves in a situation where they rely on these tools it is doing what it can to help.
An Emergency Remote Work Kit will be provided to all front-line service providers, including healthcare and education workers, non-profits and any existing users. These packs offer business-wide access to LogMeIn products for free months.
Free access to Microsoft Teams Premium features
Microsoft Teams, an online service that makes it easier for remote workers to collaborate, is free for all personal users - but Microsoft is automatically upgrading free accounts and allowing businesses to sign up for free for six months.
Premium features include increased storage, scheduled meetings and the ability to record meetings.
Free access to Google Hangouts Premium features
All G Suite users will be able to access the Enterprise version of Google Hangouts for free until 1 July. This allows up to 250 people to simultaneously join a call, live-streaming to up to 100,000 people, and free call recording.
Relaxed restrictions on Discord Go Live
Discord Go Live is another tool used for groups working remotely to keep in touch, holding online meetings or streaming presentations and screen-sharing apps. It is free for up to 10 users, but that restriction is temporarily being relaxed to allow up to 50 people to collaborate.
Free TechSmith software for businesses
TechSmith Snagit and Video Review are now free for businesses to use until 30 June. Using these tools you'll be able to capture, edit, annotate and resize images, record meetings, lectures and presentations, and collaborate with others in real time.
Businesses should apply for the offer on the TechSmith website.
Free Adobe Creative Cloud access for existing users
Adobe Creative Cloud offers Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, InDesign and other useful tools on a monthly subscription basis, but it's not cheap. Now Adobe is offering 60 days free access to existing users. It's not actually part of a COVID-19 initiative, but we figured you'd like to hear about it all the same.
To take advantage, log into your Creative Cloud account and click Cancel. Adobe will offer to defer your next payment for two months to tempt you to stay.
The company is also offering free access to Creative Cloud desktop apps to school and university teachers and students until the end of May - you can request access here.