Interested in Spanish learning apps but don’t know where to start? I’ve compiled the absolute best language apps for both iPhone and Android to get you started practicing.
It’s not every day that you commit to studying a new language and it’s an important step often times in your career, social life, and an opportunity to connect with hundreds of millions of people that speak Spanish daily.
Remember that many of these apps have pros and cons and may be better for different types of learner. I would recommend trying a few of these out and seeing which one feels the most natural and which one you find yourself enjoying the most. After all, this should be an enjoyable process and keep you engaged.
“I think it’s important if you’re American to have a second language, and Spanish is the language to have.” – Thalia, Mexican Singer
Why Learn Spanish On iPhone and Android?
You may be asking yourself why would you bother learning a foreign language on an iPhone or Android when you really just want to use your computer or go to a class. There are a variety of reasons that you may want to learn via different devices and platforms.
There is no one solution for everyone and you can be sure that even though you have experience learning Spanish in a classroom, you may find yourself enjoying another approach and a different tactic to learning.
One of the main reasons why I find using my iPhone to learn Spanish helpful is because it is always with me. Whenever I go to work, out with friends, for a walk with my dog, and when I’m laying on my couch I have my iPhone with me. Therefore, I can always use it to continue to expand my proficiency and continue to learn.
You will find that the iPhone and Android apps that teach you Spanish will engage you and continue to challenge you. When you can do this in bits and chunks while you’re waiting for the train, have 15 minutes in between classes or a meeting, or while you’re bored at home, you will notice that your skills dramatically increase.
Teachers often say that immersion is the best way to learn a language. Oftentimes, it’s not an option to immerse yourself into a different language because everyone around you doesn’t speak Spanish. However, having a Spanish learning tool with you on your iPhone or Android wherever you go allows you to be as close as possible to immersion as possible. And once you have another language under your belt, you’ll find you’re able to communicate with a wider variety of people.
Practicing bits and pieces every day keeps your mind dually thinking in your native language and in Spanish and teaches your brain to constantly think in Spanish and be ready for Spanish. So if you were a skeptic before, I hope you are a convert now and are willing to fully delve into the great apps I’ll review below.
Best Spanish Learning Apps – iPhone and Android
Since not every app that I will feature below will be available for both platforms, I will indicate which platform you can use for each of the various apps. When possible, I will feature apps that are available on both platforms so that you have a higher chance of it being available to you.
Duolingo is available for both Android and iPhone users and is the number one app for foreign language learning on mobile platforms. Best of all, it is completely free and never requires you to enter a credit card or asks you to make a payment.
Duolingo won the Best App Award in 2013 on both the iPhone App Store and the Google Play store and has been a hit ever since. Between Android and iPhone this app has 1.5 million reviews and 4.7 stars, an incredible feat for any app and really speaks volumes about how good this option is.
Let’s get into some of the features you will enjoy with Duolingo and functionality that will continue to keep you entertained and learning.
- Duolingo is available to learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, and English. So if you want to branch out from Spanish to another language feel free to try out something new.
- The lesson blocks are short enough to complete with little time and allows you to get a quick lesson in while you have a few minutes down time.
- All of the lessons are college quality which means you will have the very best education in Spanish and no watered down lessons.
- The app is incredible fun and allows you to track your progress and compare your results with other users. You can also gain achievements based on how many lessons you accomplish.
- The app doesn’t focus on grammar and you won’t see a lot of lessons on tenses, it is focused on splitting up the lessons into themes that go up in difficulty and from there you will learn nouns, adjectives, adverbs, question words, and a whole lot more.
- You can get several lessons in every day with only committing 15 or 20 minutes which means it’s easy to make progress and not be bogged down with hours of learning every day. The average time it takes someone to finish a lesson is 3-4 minutes.
You will notice that Duolingo does not get into the weeds when teaching you Spanish. It will teach you the key tenses, but beyond that you will learn the 1,500 most commonly used words in Spanish that will get you started in every day conversations. most of us use just a few thousand words in our normal daily talk and therefore you will be up to speed on daily conversations.
2. Rosetta Stone
The second app on the list is undoubtedly a service that you have previously heard of, Rosetta Stone. It is by far the most famous learning platform and is world renown for it’s ability to teach you various languages through little games and lessons. Again, it focuses on real life conversations and less on learning specific tenses and grammar.
You will find Rosetta Stone for both iPhone and Android platforms, which means you can use it no matter your choice on mobile phones. As expected with Rosetta Stone, you will be immersed in a number of different language options that will give you the option to learn both Spanish as well as a number of other options.
Available languages include: Spanish for both Latin America and Spain, French, German, Italian, Japanese, English, Arabic, Dutch, Filipino, Chinese, Portuguese, Polish, Korean, Russian, Swedish, and more.
One of the best things about using the Rosetta Stone app is that it is completely free. This is compared to the $240 you would pay on Amazon.com to purchase Rosetta Stone in Spanish. The main downside to this app is that you can take the first big lesson but if you want to continue after that you will need to buy additional lessons so this isn’t a great option if you want a completely free service.
I would recommend Rosetta Stone because it is a proven brand with a proven platform. They have invested hundreds of thousands if not millions of hours to perfect this Spanish learning program and with all that work and research behind it, you can be sure that you are getting a grade A+ product.
Another great feature is that you can access Rosetta Stone’s proprietary speech-recognition technology that allows you to speak into your iPhone to help the learning process.
You will find that Babbel is another one of the best Spanish learning apps that is available for both Android and iPhone devices. With this service you buy monthly subscriptions. The initial download and use of it is free but after the trial period you will be required to buy a 1 month, 3 month or longer subscription. If you only want to learn for a couple months before traveling to South America, this is a great option to get a several month subscription.
You can obviously learn Spanish, but you can also learn Russian, French, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Polish, etc.
Here are just some of the features you can enjoy while using the app.
- Babbel also has a speech recognition technology to help you learn Spanish quicker and enunciate better.
- This is a good app for both beginners and advanced users with courses that range the whole spectrum.
- The lessons are entertaining and allow you to have a bit of fun speaking, writing, and listening during your courses.
- Simple grammar exercises as well as a wide variety of topics to learn different nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.
- You can sync Babbel with your home Mac or PC computer so you can be on the same lessons and continue where you left off no matter what device you’re on.
- There are over 7,000 hours of learning that will take you from the most basic beginner to advanced and fluent.
Again, this may not be a great option if you don’t want to spend any money. Really the best option if you want a completely free platform is Duolingo. However, there are downsides to that app as you will notice it focuses mainly on beginner and intermediate and does not have a lot of advanced content. Whereas Rosetta Stone and Babbel have a lot more advanced content that will bring you to fluent.
Edit: Bonus: Mango Languages
Another app that I’ve started hearing about since coming out with this article is Mango Languages. Now, Mango Languages comes with a caveat, and that is it is normally a paid subscription service. However, if you’re a student, a teacher, a librarian, or in a number of other common positions, you may already have a free subscription through your school or public library. Talk to your librarian to find out for sure. (If you are a librarian, don’t talk to yourself. At least, not in public. Certainly not in your library, because libraries are quiet and your voice travels.)
Mango works a lot like some of these others I’ve mentioned. It’s essentially an interactive phrasebook. There are dozens of languages (they even have Pirate… but not Welsh, for some reason), and each language has numerous levels. Within each level are multiple chapters and within each chapter are multiple lessons. (How many are going to St. Ives?)
A lesson goes pretty simply: the narrator will present you with a phrase in a foreign language and have you repeat it. You’ll repeat elements in isolation, and you’ll put together learned elements to form completely new sentences. It will give you English sentences which you have to translate into the language that you’re studying. You can even record yourself and compare it to the audio files of the language, to listen “back and forth” to how you’re doing.
This works best if you’re working on a language in the Roman alphabet (this is the alphabet you are currently reading), as Mango does not take time to teach you a new alphabet. While you could eventually pick up Korean or the Cyrillic alphabet from these lessons, not being able to read as well as hear and speak is really going to impede you. Fortunately, most alphabets are pretty easy to learn when you apply yourself (I said most… I’m looking at you, Japan!) so this isn’t insurmountable, but it does bear notice.
The latest update of the app syncs the experience with all other versions. So you can have Mango on your iPhone, Mango on your iPad, and work on the Mango website as well, and it will remember your progress in each of those languages.
Mango uses a sort of “soft immersion” (my phrase, not theirs). Yes, pretty much all you’re going to be hearing for a while is the language that you’re studying, but it starts with tourist phrases—things you’re likely to need on a trip (getting directions, going to the sites, requesting emergency services). So, if you only need to bone up on your French for a Spring Break trip, maybe just do the first couple of chapters. If you’re trying to pass your SAT IIs or a Subject GRE, then maybe you need to run the whole course.
We hope that you have liked this break down of the
3 four best Spanish learning apps and got your fix in to learn Spanish wherever you are. Please share this post with your friends and family so they may learn Spanish as well and help you learn though conversations.
Feel free to comment below with your favorite apps and we’ll try them out and see how the compare with our top apps.