Want to improve your memory or train yourself to relax? Grab your smartphone – with thousands of interesting apps for all devices, there are many ways you can train your brain with technology. Here are twenty of the most interesting brain training apps for all types of goals. They’re sorted below by category, including apps that train your brain to concentrate, relax, learn, accomplish goals, and even memorize better.
Apps That Train Your Memory
Improving memory for names, faces, information and other data can be helpful for anyone’s daily life.
1. Eidetic (iOS)
The Eidetic app aims to help make memorizing numbers and facts easier by using spaced repetition. It allows users to add banks of phone numbers, quotes or other facts to memorize, with built-in formats for several popular categories. Eidetic sets retest reminders with different options, with the idea that spacing out tests helps long-term memory. Eidetic is available on iOS, and is free to try, but the full version costs $1.99.
The Lumosity brain-training app is fairly well-known, based on scientific principles, and gets very good reviews. It incorporates different games and exercises to train different areas of your mind including attention, memory and problem solving. The program sets reminders and allows you to track your progress. Limited access is free via iOS, Android and browser apps. The full range of functions is accessible for a monthly subscription of $11.99.
3. Peak (iOS)
Similar to Luminosity, Peak is an app designed to train several areas of the brain, including memory, focus, problem solving, agility and language. It includes 21 games and creates personalized brain workouts and goals for users. Peak provides analytical feedback and graphs for tracking performance, and gets very high reviews from users. Peak is available on iOS, and is free to use. Unlimited access and more in-depth tools are available in the pro version for $4.99 per month.
4. Memory Trainer (Android)
The Memory Trainer app is one of the more popular brain games on Android with pretty good reviews. It includes different workout sessions designed to excercise spatial and visual memory, focus and concentration with different simple activities such as matching. Memory Trainer is available on Android for free with ads.
Apps That Train Your Brain to Learn
One focus of many brain training apps is developing better brain plasticity, or the ability to analyze situations, make decisions, apply logic, and absorb new information.
If you like Sudoku or want a different challenge, then Kakuro is definitely a must-try. Kakuro involves larger and more complex grids in which you must identify the digits in the rows and columns based on their sums. It involves a little more math than Sudoku, and is good for exercising your mental math and problem-solving skills. Real Kakuro is one of the more popular apps in this genre, and it is free on iOS and the Google app store (with ads).
6. SAT Vocab by Mindsnacks (iOS)
Though designed with SAT test-takers in mind, this app can help anyone expand their vocabulary. SAT Vocab trains on you on 500 words using nine professor-designed games derived from proven memorization techniques. It trains you on spelling, context, antonyms and other facets of vocab building. SAT Vocab is available on iOS. It is free to try, but the full version costs $4.99. Other language packs in French and Spanish are also available.
7. Math Tricks (Android)
If you want to improve your speed at mathematical calculations or learn helpful mental tricks, this app can help. It contains problems and step-by-step solutions to train your brain to solve basic and complex equations better. Math Tricks includes sections for adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and squaring. Math Tricks is available on Android, and is free with ads. On iOS, Mathemagics offers similar math training for $2.99.
The app from Vocabulary.com takes a less intensive approach to vocabulary building. It allows you to look up the meanings to words with plain-text explanations, grammar tips and pronunciations. But, it also includes a game with a point-based achievement system to encourage you to learn new words. Vocabulary.com’s app is available on iOS and Android for $2.99.
Want to train your brain to learn a new language? Duolingo offers programs focused on beginner and intermediate learners for around 20 languages, including Spanish, German, French, Chinese and more. It is very highly-rated and very popular, with several games and training methods, goal setting and progress monitoring. Duolingo is completely free, and available on iOS, Android, Windows and browser apps.
Apps That Train You to Relax
If your mind keeps you up at night or you struggle with stress, there are several types of apps designed to help promote relaxation and encourage deep sleep.
This app by Calm.com offers different types of guided meditation and relaxation in sessions as short as two minutes. It also offers different nature scenes, ambient sounds and more. Based on the free meditation sessions at Calm.com, these tricks allow you take a short break from daytime stress or relax at night for better sleep. Calm is available in iOS and Android, and on browsers. It is free to use, with premium options available.
11. Brain Wave – 32 Apps Advanced Binaural Brainwave Entertainment Programs (iOS)
Using binaural beats, the Brain Wave app claims to encourage certain brain wave patterns for specific reactions. This version includes programs for a variety of brain training, including sleeping and napping, studying, concentrating, energy, alertness, critical thinking, stress relief and more. The binaural beats can be paired with white noise, nature noises, or iTunes music, and the app gets good ratings. The Brain Wave app is available in iOS for $3.99. Individual apps with fewer programs grouped by category are available for $0.99.
12. Binaural Beats Music (Android)
For Android users, the Binaural Beats Music app offers 15 binaural tracks for sleeping, studying and meditation. Background noise levels can be adjusted and the app is well-rated and has a hypnosis function as well. This app is available for free in the Google appstore for Android.
13. Long Deep Breathing (Android)
Breathing is an automatic function, but training your brain to consciously control your breath rate and depth is helpful for relaxing and beating stress. The Long Deep Breathing app uses visual and audio cues help you practice and master deep, slow breaths. In the app, you can adjust the length of a session and the duration of breaths to match your level. A timer with a gauge helps you space out breaths, and verbal instruction can also be turned on for beginners This app is available for free in the Google appstore for Android.
If you want to train yourself to meditate, this app is ready to help. The free version includes 10 sessions of 10 minutes each that guide users through meditation and mindfulness. You can track progress, partner with a friend, and get reminders and rewards for achievements. The premium version offers additional levels and lengths of programs for further meditation training. This app is available for free in the iOS and Android app stores, with premium features for a monthly subscription of $12.99.
Insomnia is often a result of stress or not being able to turn off thoughts before bed. Guided relaxation techniques can be helpful in this regard, as they distract you from normal patterns and help you enter that sleep state. The Relax and Sleep Well app by Glenn Harrold also includes one 27-minute guided hypnosis session voiced by a professional therapist for deep sleep paired with relaxing background sounds. A longer session is available in the premium version. Relax and Sleep Well is available on iOS and Android for free, with the longer sleep session available for $2.99.
Apps That Train Your Brain to Concentrate
Concentration and focus are important brain skills for getting things done at school and work. Some apps help you minimize distractions, while others provide exercises.
16. Concentration Aid with Classical (Android)
Since music with words can be distracting, the Concentration Aid app offers a list of classical songs to promote focus while working or studying. Based on the concept of the Baroque effect and the Mozart effect, specific songs are chosen which are structured in a way that promotes mental activity. If you aren’t sure what classical songs to add to your collection, this app could provide you with a good introduction. This Concentration Aid app is available on Android for free.
17. Pomodoro Timer (iOS)
Based on the scientifically-proven Pomodoro technique, this app is designed to help you manage focus and energy in order to improve productivity. The app allows you set it for a specific amount of time – 25 minutes is suggested – during which you have a specific goal in mind to complete. When it reminds you, you take a short break and then repeat. After the fourth interval, you take a longer break. The idea is that the periods of work with scheduled breaks helps maintain focus and prevent burnout and procrastination. The Pomodoro Timer app is available on iOS for $1.99
18. Pomodoro Challenge Timer (Android)
For Android users, the Pomodoro Challenge timer offers the same timed focus and break functionality. You set your goal or subject to work on, start the timer, and work until the designated break time. This app also provides data on activity and productivity to track yourself and projects, as well as achievements The Pomodoro Challenge Timer app is available on Android for free with optional upgrades.
Apps That Train You to Be Healthier
One of the biggest parts of developing better habits is training your mind to get used to doing them, and remembering to include them in your day. Several apps are designed to promote a healthier you by providing reminders and motivation.
19. Stand Up! The Work Break Timer (iOS)
Several recent studies have highlighted the health risks of sitting and being inactive for hours on end, but when you’re hard at work it can be difficult to remember to take a break. This app lets you set timed reminders for different intervals with quite a few functions, and comes pretty well-rated. Stand Up is available on iOS; the app can be used for free, with the full alarm package for $0.99.
20. Happify (iOS)
The Happify app features games and activities designed to boost mood and build skills for happiness. Using research from psychologists and neuroscientists, the activities work on skills like thankfulness, self-confidence, savoring and empathy. There is even a social aspect to the app. Happify is available on iOS; the app can be used for free, with pro features for additional costs of $12.99 per month.
The Lift app aims to help you improve your life in more ways than one, from fitness to better moods, to productivity and more. Like a life coach in your phone, this app lets you choose a goal, choose from three types of coaching – advice, motivation or prompting – and then work towards your achievement in a community-based setting. Users can also hire real-life coaches through the app Lift is free, and is available on both iOS and Android.
If you’ve tried any of these brain training apps or have other favorites, share in the comments below!