Let’s face it: we all want to be smarter. The only problem seems to be that programs that allow us to do so are very costly or not realistic with our everyday schedules. However, one tool that we overlook happens to be in our pocket. That’s right, it’s our iPhone.
The App Store has a wealth of applications that can help you exercise your brain, whether you have five minutes on hand or hours to spare. Plus, many of these applications are free. Today we have a roundup of 40 iPhone apps that help make you smarter. Read on to find out which ones made the cut.
Atlas by Collins is an extremely powerful (and pretty) tool that will help you gain knowledge about the world around you. You’re able to expand your world view through nine different globes, including political, economic and developmental maps, among others.
That’s right, one of your favorite games actually makes you smarter. Blocks helps exercise your logic as you try to maneuver the little pieces out of the way so you can escape. It’s fun, addicting and an easy way to get smarter whether you realize it or not.
Have five to ten minutes on hand? Charge Your Brain offers to improve your cognitive abilities in just that amount of time.
Charge Your Brain comes packed with many different mini games, each of which exercises a different type of mental activity, whether it be memorization, math or matching. There are three different difficulty levels as well, so you can always level up if need be.
Any game that supports research for Alzheimer’s disease is bound to be one that positively affects your memory. Circles does just that: exercises your memory while supporting a good cause.
Gameplay is a remixed version of Simon with circles that light up and make a tone when pressed. However, it gets progressively harder as you advance through levels and sections, and the game truly twists as you go on to maximize your memorization skills.
If you’re looking for a puzzler, there’s Clockwork Brain. Loaded with tons of puzzles that help exercise many different skills at a fast pace. It’s challenging and addicting, which only helps improve your brain’s performance by making you want to come back to the app.
Sure, Dictionary allows you to look up words you may not know, but the app’s Word of the Day feature is where it truly shines. It allows you to expand your vocabulary just one word at a time, which is often the easiest way to hold onto new words.
Studies have shown that people who speak more than one language are smarter than those who only speak one. Duolingo is an amazing program that offers an interactive way of learning new languages for free. The program currently teaches Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and English; new languages are added every few months.
Duolingo uses audio, text, and pictures in order to teach the language at hand. It works around a points and levels system: the more tests you pass, the more points you get and the further you level up in the program. Plus, it’s social, so you can see how you stack up against your friends.
If you’re looking for a powerful and reliable reference app, Encyclopaedia Britannica is for you. With over 80,000 expertly written articles, you are sure to find something that you didn’t know before or strengthen your knowledge on a subject you love.
Fit Brains Trainer helps you improve five major areas of your brain: concentration, memory, visual skills, logic and language skills. Plus, it has over 360 different variations of training in order for the app to give the best results to anyone who uses it.
Keeping up with the latest news is a great way to learn more about the world around you, and Flipboard offers an intuitive way to do so. The app’s use of tap and touch controls as well as media makes news an interactive experience that is never boring.
Eating smarter can also help you become smarter, but it’s hard to discern which foods are actually good for you. Many “health” foods are often worse for you than one that seems less healthy.
Fooducate helps you shop for healthy foods by scanning items at the store then assigning them a letter grade based on their actual nutrition. As a result, you’ll no longer need to worry about which foods are going to keep you stronger and healthier.
GEO Play Pro helps you get a feel for geography and the world around you through a fun and addicting game. To play, you drop a pin where you think the capital of the given country is on the map within the time constraint. Points are awarded based on how close you are to the actual capital.
The game may be played using capitals from the entire world, or you can opt to focus on just one continent at a time. Either way, you are sure to gain a familiarity with every country’s geography.
A great way to keep your mind nimble is to play iAssociate 2. To play, you guess words that are associated in some way or another to the word given. The more correct answers you guess, the larger the web grows. It’s not an easy game, but with practice it’ll bring a lot of satisfaction and a stronger mind.
Reading is an amazing way to stay smart and educated, and iBooks makes it easy to keep reading no matter where you are. The expansive library offered through iBooks is always growing, so you’ll never have to worry about running out of reading material.
A healthy imagination means a healthy mind, right? INSPIRO helps stimulate your imagination by generating random words that serve as prompts for whatever your heart desires: a story, a song, a poem — perhaps even a game. No matter what you make of it, it’s a great way to keep you thinking.
If you’re looking to learn something new, iTunes U has you covered. iTunes U has tons of university-level content available at your fingertips. Videos, audio podcasts, books and documents on any subject you can imagine are just a few taps away.
Like iTunes U, Khan Academy boasts a giant library of videos on any subject you may imagine. With over 3,500 videos covering any subject taught in grades K-12, you are sure to brush up on things you might have learned in the past or subject matter from a class you wish you would have taken in grade school.
Learnist is the hub for people who want to learn anything, whether it be academic or for a hobby. The app has countless source-fed articles and videos for people looking to learn anything. It’s hard to come out of this app without picking up anything new.
Being one of the most widely used brain training programs, Lumosity is sure to provide an amazing way to stretch your memory and increase your performance and attention.
Lumosity uses a series of games in order to stretch your cognitive ability. You are able to track your progress via the Brain Profile menu in-app, but you will feel the results as well.
Memrise is an amazing resource for people wanting to learn any subject. The app uses testing techniques, such as matching and multiple-choice, in order to teach a few concepts from subjects like English, math, languages, geography and even pop culture. This intuitive way of learning is sure to make the subject at hand stick with you for a long time.
The app only comes with language learning tools installed, but additional courses on any subject are available on Memrise’s website.
Owl is perfect for those of you looking for some off-beat facts. Hand-picked from Reddit daily, Owl is sure to deliver quality facts — not the ones that you’d find on bottle caps or kids’ menus at restaurants, but cool, actually interesting facts.
The one-fact-a-day model allows you to remember the facts, thus making it easy to share them with friends, making you feel and look smarter.
Poems by Heart delivers an easy and awesome way to stretch your memory by helping you memorize famous poems. From Coleridge to Dickinson to Wordsworth, you’ll not only exercise your memory, but gain a knowledge of poetry over the ages.
Not only does QuizCross help make you smarter, it also happens to be one of my favorite iOS games. QuizCross is a mix between trivia and tic-tac-toe, and boy is it fun.
While playing this game, you gain knowledge on a bunch of different subjects, including history, sports, music and science. It’s fun, fast-paced and competitive, making it the ultimate way to expand your expertise on various subjects.
Flashcards an effective way to learn new things, and Quizlet has made its name on the Internet by digitizing flashcards so anyone anywhere can have access to them. Thousands of flashcards on all subjects are available for free on the site, which gives you access to tons of information.
The mobile version of the program allows you to access all of your flashcards, so you can learn new things on the go. It even comes with two game modes so you can put your newfound knowledge to the test.
Sakura Quick Math allows you to brush up on your adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing skills. While the subject matter may be elementary, it’s a great way to improve the math you use on a daily basis as well as a great tool to keep your mind sharp.
This is a roundup of apps that make you smarter, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t shop smarter, too. Shop Savvy scans barcodes while you are shopping, then compares the price of the item to stores nearby as well as online retailers to make sure you are getting the best deal possible.
Slice It! puts your logic to the test by presenting you dozens of different puzzles that need to be sliced into equal parts. As you go on, the more obscure the shape you need to slice becomes, and often times you need to slice it into more pieces than before, making the game quite the brainteaser.
The Smithsonian museums provide an amazing opportunity to learn about nearly every aspect about the world around you. Luckily for those of us that don’t live near them, there is the Smithsonian Channel app.
Loaded with thousands of full-length and short videos and quizzes curated by the Smithsonian Network, you are sure to learn something new.
The endlessness of the universe provides infinite fodder for your learning. Star Walk helps make it easy to learn about the world beyond us through an interactive program that allows you to see what celestial bodies lie in the sky right before your eyes. It makes stargazing easy for those with no prior experience and an opportunity for people of all ages to learn.
One of the most beloved puzzle games, Sudoku offers a nice, brainteasing challenge for whenever you’re on the go. Filling each column, row and box with numbers 1-9 will be a huge challenge at first, but as you keep playing, you become smarter and will be able to beat even the hardest of puzzles with speed and skill.
Watching TED talks is a surefire way to get inspired. People of all different ages, cultures, and world views give TED talks about things that they care about, and their passion truly shows. Even after just one TED talk, you’ll leave with a new knowledge on a subject you might not have even known existed, and you’ll start thinking yourself.
Just like its video counterpart, TED Books are a great way to get inspired. Released biweekly, TED Books explore great ideas that will truly make you think. Plus, they’re short enough to read in one sitting, so it’s a great way to kick back without feeling guilty.
Studies have proven that running helps clear your mind and make you smarter and more alert. TempoRun helps you make your runs even smarter by matching your music to the pace of your run.
TempoRun sorts the songs in your music library by tempo — level 1 is a slow pace, whereas level 10 is a fast pace. Select the tempo of music you’d want to run to, and you’ll find that when your music matches up with your pace you get an easier and more fulfilling workout.
Yup, turns out that nostalgic addicting game is actually great for your brain. Studies have also shown that people who play Tetris daily thicken their cortexes, which means it’ll require less brainpower to complete the same tasks as someone who doesn’t play Tetris, thus rendering your brain more efficient.
Today in History allows you to brush up on your knowledge of the past by providing you facts about historic happenings every day.
You are able to see which important events, births, deaths and holidays occurred throughout the years on today’s date. By checking into this app daily, there is no doubt your historical knowledge will increase greatly.
Wiki Game turns the world’s favorite encyclopedia into an intuitive game. At its essence, you must start at one Wikipedia page and arrive at a seemingly unrelated Wikipedia page by clicking on hyperlinks.
There are many perks to playing this game. First, you’ll undoubtedly learn a little bit of something new on the pages that you stumble upon. Second, you’ll be able to draw connections between things you would have never thought were related, which is a great skill to have.
Another way to learn from Wikipedia is using the mobile app itself. In addition to the ability to look up whatever your heart desires, the app has a daily featured article, which allows you to easily learn about people, events, places, or objects that you might have never heard of before.
WolframAlpha is one of the most powerful reference apps available on the market today. As a result, the app is capable of teaching you — in a step-by-step manner — anything from earth science to mythology to differential calculus.
Yes, while YouTube has tons of brain-rotting content, there is also a plethora of channels that are devoted to teaching you something new in a short period of time. Channels like MinutePhysics, Vi Hart, Crash Course and Vsauce are all devoted to teaching you something you’ve learned in grade school in a new, entertaining light.
What Did We Miss?
With the wealth of available reference apps and games in the App Store, it is very easy to learn new things. What are some of your favorite apps that allow you to be smarter in every sense of the word? Leave a comment down below!