K-pop, bulgogi, Korean cinema, soju… There are plenty of reasons to learn Korean, and there are plenty of ways to learn.
Although this list of Korean apps is quite large, it still doesn’t cover all the options out there. The fact is, most learners will need to combine a number of resources together in order to learn Korean.
We’ve tried out a ton of them ourselves. Hopefully, this helps you figure out which ones really stand out and which ones may not be so worthwhile.
There are some great resources that didn’t make this list simply because they don’t fall into the app category, and there are surely more apps that didn’t make this list, but here are some of our favorites.
Best All-Around Course: 90 Day Korean
Best Course for Oral Communication: Pimsleur
Best Interactive Course: Lingodeer
Best Grammar-Focused Course: Talk To Me In Korean
Best TOPIK Test Prep App: TOPIK ONE
Best for Learning Vocabulary Easily: Memrise
Best Customizable Tool for Studying Vocabulary: Anki
Best for Learning Vocabulary from Context: Clozemaster
Best for Podcast-Style Lessons: KoreanClass101
Best for Interesting Content at Various Levels: LingQ
Best for Side-by-Side Reading and Listening: Beelinguapp
Best for Watching K-Dramas: Viki
Best for Improving Pronunciation: Speechling
Bet for Learning to Write Hangul: Write it! Korean
Best for Getting Feedback on Writing: italki Notebooks
Best Chatbot: Eggbun
Best Q&A App: HiNative
Best for Finding a Tutor: italki
Apps in this category take a more comprehensive approach to teaching a language than other options on this list. Instead of focusing on one aspect of language learning, they touch on a variety of skills. They’re good for learners interested in getting as much speaking, listening, writing, and reading practice all in one place. These apps also often have their own curriculum.
Don’t let the name fool you, this course isn’t claiming to get you fluent in just three months. There are actually four 90-day modules, making it a year-long course split into more manageable sizes.
This course is really well done. It excels at providing detailed explanations and instructions that almost guarantee you’ll understand each language point as it’s presented. The material also builds on itself exceptionally well, making the learning process feel natural.
For a slightly higher price, there’s the option to get unlimited access to your own personal Korean coach to make the experience even more comprehensive. Review.
If you’re someone that finds grammar a bore and just wants to get speaking as quickly as possible, this might be the language app for you. Instead of spending time with lengthy grammar explanations, Pimsleur gets right into communication by prompting the user to speak almost as soon as they begin.
The lesson style is very engaging, requiring the learner to interact with each activity, and the app is made even more exciting by the attractive images and animations it uses. You’ll need to find supplementary study materials if you want to develop written proficiency in the language, but Pimsleur is a good option for those especially interested in oral communication. Review.
This one may not be as popular as similar app Duolingo, but it deserves to be. Lingodeer was first designed with Asian languages in mind, and it does a better job teaching them than a lot of other options, Duolingo included.
Lingodeer courses are fun to use. It’s a game-like experience with exercises that are short and sweet. The app also just looks nice, which makes using it a nice experience. The quality audio recordings, variety of activities, and good grammar explanations are what make this app stand out.
Its downsides are that the material builds on itself in strange ways sometimes and that it isn’t the best resource for developing communication skills. Review.
This resource uses high-quality audio, video, and text to provide a wealth of material for learners of all levels. A lot of the content, including the entire grammar course, is available for free, giving it a wide appeal.
Talk To Me In Korean (TTMIK) is refreshing in that many of its courses are taught in a creative fashion that makes the learning experience interesting. The focus with this resource is certainly on instruction, however, which means you may have to look to additional resources to get enough practice.
This app gives users the incredible flexibility of being able to prepare for the TOPIK exam right from a mobile phone. The app simulates the actual TOPIK exam and even has material from previous exams. There are at least 100 questions at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, and you’ll be able to get feedback on your performance.
There’s also a built-in English/Korean dictionary and access to audio files. This app is available for both Android and iOS.
Here are some more popular apps that act like an inclusive course. They didn’t make our list of favorites, but they’re frequently recommended and could be the right choice for some learners.
It’s free, fun to use, and insanely popular, but most learners would agree that the Korean course on Duolingo isn’t that great. Review.
These courses are free and allow the learner to progress at their own pace, but are more formal than other methods. Learners can also pay to receive a certificate upon completion.
The Rocket Languages series is a popular one that usually offers decent grammar explanations and audio lessons. The Korean course fails to give good instruction on Hangul, which is disappointing. Review.
This one is easy to use and has some cool features and a slick design. It’s got a pretty solid course for beginners, but not for higher levels. Review.
Mondly is similar to Duolingo and Lingodeer, in function, but doesn’t perform quite as well in pretty much any area. Review.
This is one of the more popular resources out there, but also one that isn’t likely worth your time. The value is low for the money and you’ll probably only learn basic conversation skills. Review.
Rosetta Stone is notorious for its immersive approach to language instruction. It’s expensive, extremely repetitive, and lacks any language explanations. Review.
Offering courses in an impressive number of languages, Transparent Languages doesn’t do much more than help you memorize words and phrases. Review.
This app does a great job of teaching the Korean writing system. It offers historical background information as well as helpful pronunciation explanations to give learners a comprehensive understanding of Hangul.
It also includes quizzes, lessons, flashcards, and reading material to provide useful practice with the language. The Hangul animations and accompanying audio solidify it as one of the better apps for learning how to write in Korean.
Another incredibly popular app, Memrise can be a great tool for learning vocabulary. It works much like a gamified flashcard app but is more engaging than similar options. It also boasts loads of free content, much of it created by other users. There are official Memrise courses for Korean that include videos and high-quality audio. The app uses spaced repetition to make your study time more effective.
While Memrise is pretty great for vocabulary acquisition, you’ll need to utilize other resources in order to get a complete education. Review.
When it comes to customization, Anki is hard to beat. On its own, it’s a pretty barebones resource, but it is as powerful as it is lightweight. It gives users the ability to create their own study materials exactly how they’d like them. This means it’s easy to create custom decks of study materials using any images and audio you like.
There’s a little bit of a learning curve, but it can make a super-effective learning tool. The app uses spaced repetition and there are quite a few user-created decks available in Korean for download, meaning you might not even need to make your own if you don’t want to.
This app is particularly well suited to anyone with an affinity for retro-style games. Clozemaster uses points, leaderboards, and levels to make learning vocabulary more of an engaging experience.
The way it teaches vocabulary is interesting, too. Instead of just testing your ability to perform direct word-to-word translations, you’re shown new words in the context of a sentence. This is supposed to get the learner accustomed to seeing the word as it’s naturally used. It also means the app favors a sort of immersion style of teaching vocabulary.
This app isn’t ideal for absolute beginners or anyone interested in learning grammar or speaking skills, but it offers a lot for free. Review.
Naver is the leading search engine in Korea, and it’s got its own language tools. The Naver Korean Dictionary app is a powerful tool for any Korean learner. It provides related forms of words along with grammar tips and pronunciation examples recorded by voice actors. It also uses examples from pop-culture to keep things relevant and interesting.
Naver Papago is a translation app that offers nifty features like image translation, audio translation, conversation translation, and website translation. It supports translations between Korean and 13 other languages.
Not all that glitters is gold — Drops is beautifully designed and easy to use, but it lacks substance. The free version could make a decent supplementary study tool. Review.
Not a feasible way to learn Korean on its own, but this app plays just like a game. A cool option for learners looking for an educational game.
This is another app that looks and feels just like a game. Learn and practice Hangul characters through boxing.
Fluent Forever gets users to create their own flashcards in order to make them more meaningful and uses spaced repetition to help you remember them faster. Grammar explanations are lacking and some features are still in development. Review.
This is another one with an incredible selection of languages, but it doesn’t offer much depth. It only teaches set words and phrases. Review.
This app provides different verb conjugations in Korean.
KoreanClass101 is full of content. There are thousands of audio lessons detailing grammar points, conversation tips, and interesting cultural information. It’s one of the better places to find listening material at the beginner and intermediate level, but there’s limited content available for learners at the advanced level.
While the listening practice opportunities are great, the overall structure and progressions of the lessons don’t provide a comprehensive educational experience. You’d probably have to use this app alongside other resources for well-rounded study. Review.
Reading in a new language is often both rewarding and difficult. LingQ attempts to make the endeavor easier by allowing you to quickly and easily look up unknown words as you read.
As you read, the app keeps track of the words you don’t have to look up and marks them as “known.” The idea here is that by creating a library of the words you know and the words you don’t, you’ll be able to focus your study time on reviewing only words you don’t know. This is a cool idea, and it really is easy to look up unknown words quickly, but the review option isn’t amazing.
Another cool feature with LingQ is that you can upload your own reading material, ensuring that you’re interested in the content. In fact, most of the content on LingQ has been pulled from other sources.
Another reading tool, Beelinguapp can help you interact with Korean text by showing a translated version of the material alongside the Korean. Translations can be done in many different languages. You can listen to the audio of the text as you follow along — the text is highlighted as it is spoken. There’s also the option to toggle the translated version of the text on and off so you won’t end up relying on it too heavily.
New material is added regularly, covering everything from news articles and topical pieces to children’s stories. There’s a lot of content available for free and a paid subscription for premium content.
Korea’s got its own unique culture and arts scene that is beloved by many. Diving into the world of K-Dramas and K-Pop can be a stimulating way to help you along in your Korean-learning journey. The Viki app offers access to a ton of Chinese and Korean media. Watch for free with ads, or pay for ad-free HD viewing.
There’s also a Learn Mode in the Viki app, specifically targeted at helping language learners. It works much like the Language Learning with Netflix Chrome extension, displaying bilingual interactive subtitles. You can even click on the subtitles to get definitions, synonyms, and pronunciation. This is a really cool opportunity for Korean learners to get exposure to Korean culture.
This is an app designed to help users learn simple Korean phrases through dialogue lessons with native speaker audio.
FluentU uses interactive subtitles to turn watching videos into an educational experience. Access to videos with authentic Korean is useful, but the price is a bit steep for what it offers. Review.
This is another app aimed at making it easier to read Korean material. The app has a tool to help you look up words and a review option.
This app doesn’t have a built-in language learning aspect, but it does give you free access to quite a few Korean language radio programs.
This is one of the better options out there for learning to sound natural when speaking Korean. Language apps are notorious for providing minimal or low-quality pronunciation practice, but it’s where Speechling excels.
One of the best ways to learn pronunciation is through mimicking a native speaker, and this is the approach Speechling takes. You can actually submit a recording of yourself speaking Korean and have it evaluated by a teacher. Getting humans involved is a great way to get quality pronunciation feedback. A free account allows you to submit a limited number of recordings per month, a premium account grants an unlimited number of submissions. Review.
Learning to read and write Hangul is a central component of learning Korean, and it’s what this app focuses on. Practice through bite-sized lessons on your phone whenever it’s convenient and take customizable tests to commit what you’ve learned to memory. There are also challenges and stars to keep things interesting.
You’ll start out learning to write the characters with an on-screen guide until you’re able to create the character on your own. As far as convenience goes, it’s hard to beat this method of learning Hangul. The app has over one million downloads.
As with pronunciation, many language apps struggle to give good feedback when it comes to writing. Computers just aren’t able to give nuanced, detailed writing feedback (yet), especially for non-native writers. Humans are still the most reliable source when it comes to writing help, and italki brings learners together to make this happen.
Mostly known for being an online tutor directory, italki also works as a language exchange platform. Its Notebooks feature allows users to “publish” pieces of writing on any topic they like to be corrected by another user that’s fluent in the language. This is free to use and is a great way to get trustworthy writing advice. Review.
This quirky app delivers language instruction via chatbot. Lanny is the name of your virtual instructor, who is supposed to bring users from a beginner to conversational level mostly via chat interaction. The app follows a set curriculum and teaches vocabulary, phrases, and grammar. There are quizzes to test your ability, audio recordings for practicing pronunciation, and interesting notes on Korean culture.
This might not be quite the same as interacting with a real human, but it might be the next best thing. The convenient mobile interface will especially appeal to some learners.
HiNative takes advantage of the world wide web to connect language learners with native speakers, and the result is super useful. The app makes it easy to post a question about Korean that will be exposed to plenty of users that are proficient in the language. It’s especially useful for tricky questions that aren’t easily answered by a textbook, dictionary, or Google search.
You can ask for specific translations, ask about the difference between two words, and even find out if you’re saying something correctly. It isn’t meant to be a comprehensive language-learning resource, but it’s a great tool to keep handy. There’s a paid membership that offers some extra features, but the basic features in HiNative are free. Review.
There are quite a few online tutor directories out there, and italki is among the best. This is in part because of the large number of tutors on the site and that they’re more fairly compensated than on other platforms. The high number of tutors means that it’s easy to find someone that fits your budget, schedule, and teaching preference.
For Korean, there are well over 100 tutors available, with prices ranging from $4 to $80 per hour, with most tutors charging between $8 and $20 per hour. The variety in teaching styles and levels of experience is great, meaning you’ll surely be able to find someone that suits your needs. Review.
Both of these apps make it incredibly easy to find one or more language exchange partners. This is especially true if you’re fluent in English, as it’s one of the most popular languages to learn on the apps. There are plenty of native Korean speakers on each app looking to speak with a native English speaker.
Both apps have built-in language tools to help facilitate communication between two people that don’t natively speak the same language. These include in-app translations, a correction feature, and the ability to use text-to-speech technology, though you’ll have to pay for unlimited translations. They both also have some social features to make it easier to find language partners you have something in common with.
Tandem has a slicker aesthetic, and HelloTalk is a bit more “fun” feeling, but both apps work really well. We did a side-by-side comparison you can read here, as well as full Tandem and HelloTalk reviews.
A potentially good alternative to italki, Verbling has stricter requirements for its teachers, meaning there are fewer and the average price is higher. Review.
Another online tutor directory with a massive number of teachers and cheap prices, Preply doesn’t pay its teachers for trial lessons and takes an unusually high commission. Review.
This is another social language exchange app with lots of users and that’s easy to use, but there are a fair number of users that are using the app for purposes other than language exchange. Review.
There are a lot of different ways to learn a language, and what works well for some doesn’t at all for others. That’s part of why this list is so long. That, and that there are so many different aspects of language learning.
Of course, apps aren’t the only way to study Korean, and there are plenty that didn’t make this list, but it should at least be able to steer you in the right direction.