These top ten best apps can sharpen your brain, boost your memory, and even teach you a new language! Discover the best apps for getting smarter.
Were you aware that you can use your phone to expand your brain, sharpen your memory, and learn entirely new things, all on your daily commute? With the right apps, you can spend your time getting smarter instead of playing a mobile game to while away the time. We bring you the best apps for memory training, brain building, learning new things, and even for reducing anxiety.
The Best Apps for Memory Training
If you feel like your phone is taking away your ability to remember phone numbers, you’ll appreciate an app that helps improve your memory instead. Many of the most popular memory training apps, like Elevate, Fit Brains Trainer, and Peak, include games that sharpen your memory alongside various other cognitive exercises.
If your memory is your main concern, you can choose an app that focuses only on this area. Eidetic uses an approach called Spaced Retention to train your brain to remember more facts. It uses different exercises to boost your ability to remember phone numbers, bank account numbers, quotes, and interesting facts. There are notifications that you can set to remind you to do more exercises (presumably once you’ve been using it long enough you won’t need a notification anymore!) and tests so that you can track your progress. Over time, the tests become more spaced out to help embed the information in your long-term memory.
The Best Apps for Brain Training
Brain training apps are extremely popular today, so your first task is to choose which one you prefer. The best apps include cognitive profiling tests so that you follow a personal set of brain training games, allow you to compare your progress with others and give you regular feedback on your progress.
Lumosity is the classic brain training site that was developed by over 100 researchers. It offers dozens of fun games that put your brain through a workout in 1 of 5 areas—memory training, attention span, problem-solving, speed, and flexibility. You’ll be given a ‘fit test’ when you sign up, which measures your cognitive levels so that Lumosity can give you a customized games program. Lumosity encourages you to play a little every day, showing stats and comparing your performance with others in your age group for added motivation.
Elevate and Peak more or less follow the same model. In both cases, you’ll begin with a test to assess your current level. You’ll find plenty of minigames on both sites to sharpen different areas of brain ability, and stats tables to track your progress and compare it with others. Elevate encourages daily brain training across 3 or 5 games, depending on whether you’re using the regular or Pro version, which boosts your powers in particular areas of math, speaking, reading, writing, and listening as well as overall cognitive power. Elevate has a more serious approach than Peak, plotting your ‘streaks’ and raising the difficulty level as you improve. Peak’s games are a little more fun, and you’ll be encouraged to use it 3 times a week instead of every day.
Although the New York Times Crossword app isn’t an official brain training app like the others mentioned here, it’s been proven again and again that doing crosswords stretches your brain. The free New York Times crossword app offers the same high-level puzzles that appear in the paper, forcing you to improve your problem-solving skills, vocabulary, and lateral thinking. You can see a stats table to track your progress, too.
The Best Apps for Emotions
Most of the attention about brain-training apps focuses on the ones that strengthen your cognitive ability and intelligence, but there are also some apps that help increase your emotional intelligence. Fit Brains Trainer is unusual among brain training apps because it promises to strengthen your emotional intelligence as well as your cognitive functions. Alongside games to boost your memory, problem-solving, and focus, you can do fun exercises that improve your self-control, social and self-awareness, and social skills. Like the best apps, Fit Brains Trainer offers a customized program for each player, based on the tests you’ll do when you sign up. You can also track your progress and compare your stats.
Personal Zen operates along different lines, but it's just as effective. It's a very simple game played by following a happy face, but it was developed with the help of neuroscientists, and it's been clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. The app is designed to encourage you to promote positive thoughts and turn away from negative ones through just 10 minutes playing a day.
The Best Apps for Education
Your phone can hold more education than a whole university campus of professors. One of our favorites is the TED app, which lets you hold the entire brain-expanding TED library in the palm of your hand. Another option is Khan Academy, which offers thousands of videos lectures, informative notes, and structured exercises that teach math, science, economics, history, engineering, art history, and many more topics.
Finally, if you want to learn a new language in your spare time, Duolingo is the best choice. It offers courses in 23 languages, broken down into bite-size lessons that include practical listening and speaking experience. You’ll be encouraged to keep up a daily learning streak, shown your stats, and regularly reminded to refresh your earlier skills.
The Best Brain Training Apps for Kids
Although all of these apps were designed primarily for adults, many of them are also great for kids to use. Lumosity and Peak offer many brain training games that also appeal to children. Fit Brains Trainer has a ‘school edition’ which is aimed specifically at helping children to expand their emotional and cognitive intelligence. And, Khan Academy has lessons, video tutorials, and practice exercises in every subject organized by age and grade level, so you can find third-grade math problems as well as advanced calculus and post-doctorate mathematics.
Use Your Phone to Get Smarter Today
There’s no need to wait for the best opportunity to work on your brain. Thanks to these brain training apps, you can expand your cognitive ability, improve your memory, boost your emotional intelligence, and learn new languages, ideas, and modes of thought whenever you have 5 minutes to spare.