The Best Language Learning Apps for iPhone and Mac


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Wondering where to start learning a new language can be difficult. A variety of language learning apps on iOS are changing that with new approaches and challenges to engaging and engaging new and existing users.

Although there are App Store apps to choose from, finding the best app can be a bit difficult. While many apps offer the same basics, the small additions each provides are what set them apart.


While the app was initially released for iPhone in 2012, the Duolingo owl – the company’s mascot – has become more popular in 2021 with their viral videos on ICT Tac. While jumping on current trends, the company found a tactic to reach new audiences in a fun and humorous way.

Upon opening the app, the user will be greeted with the question asked whether they have an account or not. Creating a new account will ask the user a series of questions to personalize their experience.

Duolingo offers a long list of languages ​​- 38 to be exact – that you can select from (ranging from Spanish and French to Hebrew and Scottish Gaelic). Users can learn multiple languages ​​at once.

If a user is starting a new language with no previous experience, they should select “from scratch”, but if the user has previous experience, they can select “find a placement” to see where they are on the scale of Duolingo.

The application makes learning fun by using the method of sequences on the number of consecutive days during which the user continues his lessons. Missing a day will break the streak.

The lessons will begin by asking the user to translate sentences. If a user doesn’t know what the phrase or word translates to, they can tap on the phrase and it will translate it for them.

Other courses will focus on listening to verbal phrases and the need to select words, associate words with pictures and/or type the sentences via the user’s keyboard (these trainings are labeled as ” more difficult” and are included at the end of the course cycles). Each lesson has seven lessons and six lessons per subject.

For languages ​​that use distinct letters – like Hebrew – Duolingo offers to learn each character for the sound it makes, write them, connect letters to sounds, and match similar phrases to each other .

It costs nothing to take the courses, but each user gets up to five cores to use to continue their learning. If an answer is marked as wrong, a heart will be deducted.

More hearts can be collected either by completing the count of 450 gems (which are the in-game currency), paying for a subscription to the service where the user will get unlimited lives, or completing a practice round to earn a heart to resume their current course.

Duolingo offers a fulfilling experience for free, with additional costs added when you want to have unlimited lives, remove ads, increase progress faster, and test different levels to unlock more difficult content.

Success splash screens when completing a review, lesson, or course

Individual plans cost $7.09 per month ($84.99 for 12 months) and Family plans – which allow six people to use one subscription – cost $9.99 per month ($119.99 for 12 months ).


Drops offers the same learning objectives as Duolingo, but is based more on visual learning and presents it with an emphasis on individual words rather than phrases at the start with more simplistic animations and icons.

When starting a new word, the user will have the decision if he wants to learn this word or not. Swiping the word up with the user lost learning it – then moving on to the next one – but swiping the word down will introduce the user to learn the meaning of the word and continue the lesson.

Like Duolingo, Drops brings the excitement of keeping streaks and pushing users to keep taking their language learning lessons daily, but unlike Duolingo, skipping lessons for a day won’t hurt the streak. the user. Missing two consecutive learning days will void the streak entirely.

The app emphasizes that five minutes of learning can help a user better understand the language they are trying to master.

By doing so, a timer will appear in the upper right corner of the screen indicating the remaining time. After the time is up, the app will congratulate the user for reaching their five-minute goal. Users can continue learning beyond the five minutes if they wish.

The app offers lessons in the form of matching segments of a word to correctly identify a picture, connecting a picture to its name through the use of floating bubbles, and providing a Tinder-like experience – where a image will have a word below it and the user will swipe right if the word matches the image correctly or left if it doesn’t.

(Left) Match the word to its image. (Middle) Swipe right if the word and picture match, and swipe left if they don’t. (Right) Start screen for learning a new word.

Drops offers a basic and simplistic way to learn new languages ​​word by word.

The experience is free, but users have the option to start a seven-day free trial and then opt for a three-month premium period which costs $24.99, or pay monthly, which is $11.99 .

Rosetta stone

At the time, Rosetta Stone was widely used and advertised on Windows and Mac platforms, and as software that a user could purchase to learn new languages ​​in a remote location.

While this option is still offered, the company has begun the transition to an app-based platform to modernize language learning and make using its program more enjoyable for consumers.

If there has been previous experience with the desktop version of Rosetta Stone, the mobile version will be comfortable and familiar. The developers seemed to have brought the desktop version of the software and scaled it down to an app-sized version.

Rosetta Stone says each lesson could take five to ten minutes.

The app also allows the user to select the type of voice style they want to learn from. They can select the voice of an adult male, an adult female or a child. The application offers a selection of 24 languages ​​to choose from.

Match the spoken sentence to the corresponding photo

Users will begin by associating and speaking phrases. Shuffled, the user will hear a phrase spoken, then repeat it into the microphone. Other areas will allow users to match the spoken phrase to a photo showing what is being said.

The app brings a familiar user experience to a new platform that makes language learning more portable and easily accessible.

Payment options start at $44.99 for three months, $109.99 for 12 months, $299.99 gives unlimited access for 12 months (Lifetime Plus), and $199.99 for a lifetime subscription, although the service is currently up to $120 off For a limited time. Many core features will be free.


While Babbel offers fewer teachable language options, the app offers other features that other apps don’t seem to offer.

On startup, users will be introduced to similar questions asked in other apps, but when selecting a language, Babbel offers fewer options to choose from (14 languages ​​to choose from) than competing apps.

In a commitment to making language learning more engaging, Babbel offers features such as games, cultural insights, and live lessons for users to explore.

The games allow users to play small mini-games that help them understand the meaning or usage of words while trying to achieve a goal.

One game offered is called “Sink or Spell” where the user reads the prompt and then spells the word they think connects to it. It gives the same premise as the “Hangman” spelling game but the tries are calculated in gallons of gasoline left in a boat. If the user runs out of gas, the boat is blocked and the game ends.

Culture snippets will educate the user with a paragraph or two about the culture surrounding the language they are learning.

After reading the paragraph, the user will be prompted with a question specifically based on the information they just read. This allows the user to learn more than the language, but the culture that surrounds it.

(Left) Type the word that matches the picture. (Middle) Swipe back and forth depending on ease with the word. (Right) Say the provided word.

Live Classes allow users to reserve a spot in one of the video classrooms at a specific time of day. Classes are on Zoom and a participant must be 16 or older to register. If a user is ten minutes late for a class, they will not be able to join the class.

Users also only get two free courses and can take a placement quiz to see which courses are best for them. Participants can see what material will be covered in the course through a PDF link that is provided once they register for the course.

Although the app pushes a paywall for continuing to learn, Babbel offers features and educational information that other well-known language learning apps don’t.

Learning a language can be difficult and time-consuming, but current apps seek to break those mentalities by adding add-ons such as games, fun mascots, and digital rewards that users can earn while learning. While the platform for learning a new language has changed, companies still strive to convey the same goal to their users from the beginning – which is to help them learn and master – a new language.


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