5 Free Smartphone Apps That Actually Make You Smarter

5 Free Smartphone Apps That Actually Make You Smarter

I don’t like to spend a ton of money buying apps for my smartphone. I’ll test the waters, installing and uninstalling one free version of something that interests me or another, until I’ve exhausted all the non-paid options.

What can I say I’m eternally cheap with some things. Thanks to the following 5 Android and iOS apps, I can honestly say that I’m not getting any stupider though!

Following are a few that I actually like to recommend to people for increasing cognitive performance (enjoy!):

1. The Ted App

Ted App

The Ted Talks app is free and allows you complete access to their entire library of insightful and engaging talks that have been released over the years. Ted Talks are a must for anyone who’s an entrepreneur and really anyone interested in bettering themselves. You can watch their videos on YouTube, but I find the quality is often very lacking going that route. I can’t speak about iOS because I hate it and ditched it a couple of years ago, but I also find the YT app crashes on my Droid a lot, making this app a must for me. You can download and store your favorite talks on your phone or tab for later and the app has a pretty decent playlist feature for sorting your favorite content by topic.

Get the Ted App:

iOS / Android

2. Lumosity Brain Trainer


Truly, I don’t know if studies like this one have any merit at all when it comes to Lumosity and other brain training games and their ability to increase your IQ level. Personally, I don’t care either. Lumosity really does challenge your brain, to the point it can get a little sore with extended use of this app! You can test out a limited amount of the games they offer with the free app, but if you find yourself starting to get hooked, you might want to upgrade to their monthly subscription, which is just over $11 a month. Truthfully, I use this one in spurts. Downgrading when I’m into something else, then upgrading on the months I feel the urge. This app can make you feel like a kid again with all the strange mental puzzles it offers.

Get Lumosity:

iOS / Android

3. Duolingo


Duolingo is, and probably will always be my favorite app. There’s a lot of back and forth in the medical community about whether learning a new language does actually make you smarter or not, but the resounding opinion seems to be that it does. One of the best things about Duolingo and their teaching method is that they really treat you like a complete “language idiot” from the moment you plug in the language you want to learn. The app teaches you spelling and grammar textually and works with your microphone to test your speaking skills during each session (though this feature can be frustrating at times, since it rarely understands you no matter how clearly you speak). You still have to practice on actual people to become fluent, but this app is much better than reading a book or listening to guys like Michel Thomas try to teach you a language via audiobook.

Get Duolingo:

iOS / Android

4. Khan Academy

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a comprehensive app that can teach you almost anything if you’re willing to plug away at it: math, algebra, chemistry, history, economics, and more. It’s actually one of the biggest factors in my decision to leave iOS in favor of the much less expensive and easier to deal with Android operating system. Why? Too many bugs after iOS updates that killed my music library, ruined the functionality of my favorite apps like Khan Academy and well, enough of that. I hate Apple, you get it. There will always be bugs with something that can promise so much teaching content, but I’ll bet this will quickly become a favorite if lifelong learning is what you’re all about.

Get Khan Academy:

iOS / Android

5. TradeHero


Maybe you’re an ETrade fanboi and prefer to stick with more mainstream stock trading apps. I find TradeHero to be much more newbie friendly than some of the more popular platforms. The app gives you $100,000 fake dollars to play with and allows you compete with other “Heros” who have the app installed (shoutout to SaraHQ if you’re reading this!) The cool thing that sets this one apart is the social dynamic, allowing you to trade with and follow other users, seeing the strategies they’re using and (hopefully) learning from their mistakes. There are 22 exchanges you can trade on and I would say that the pricing is as close to real time as you’re going to get outside watching CNN or CNBC minute by minute.

Get TradeHero:

iOS / Android



Main Image Credit: FaceMePls/Flickr

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