11 apps that will make you smarter

Smart Apps to Help You Disconnect

Despite the constant hand-wringing that smartphones will lead to the downfall of society, there's mounting evidence that your phone habit may not be so bad after all.

In fact, there are ways your phone might actually be good for you.

We've compiled a list of apps to boost your brainpower, hone your memory, and even improve your emotional intelligence.

The science of how exactly our brains work — and how much we can train them — is constantly evolving, but one thing's for sure: there's no better way to get smarter while waiting in line at the grocery store.

Whether you use an iPhone or an Android phone, there's something here for you.

This is an update of an article originally written by Dylan Love.


Combining reading, writing, listening, and speaking exercises for maximum progress in minimal time, Duolingo is a free (and beautiful) app designed to help you learn one of 13 languages.

And you don't have to be traveling any time soon to reap the potential benefits: research suggests that becoming multilingual boosts your cognitive power. Moreover, the process of learning a new language — whether or not you ever become fluent in it — may actually help you delay cognitive decline in old age.

Price: Free

iOS / Android


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Not only will reading teach you about discreet topics — mandatory drug sentencing, the early work of Alanis Morissette, SpaceX — but it may also increase the raw power of your mind. Regular reading helps keep your brain sharp as you age, boosts your vocabulary, enhances your memory, and improves your analytical thinking.

Also, it will make you more interesting at parties.

Price: Free



With the Kindle app, you can systematically work your way through all of literature on your morning commute. Almost any book you can think of is available for purchase, but you can also download anything that's out of copyright (i.e., most of the Western canon) for free.

We already know that reading is generally good for you, but recent research suggests that immersing yourself in a novel boosts emotional intelligence and increases your capacity for empathy.

Price: Free

iOS / Android

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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