There is an absurd number of apps available for studying Spanish. If you ever search through either the Apple or Android app store, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed with your options. Somewhat amazingly, you’ll probably also become discouraged by how low quality so many of them seem to be.
Luckily, a quick scroll through the app stores doesn’t accurately represent the quality of Spanish learning apps available today. In fact, there are a lot of excellent apps out there that can teach you nearly every aspect of the Spanish language.
You just need to look past all the junk. That’s what this article will do. I’ll ignore a lot of apps that are basically clones of other apps while highlighting ones that can really help you make a lot of progress.
I did also include some apps that I’m not personally a fan of because you’ll see them recommended fairly often. I’ll let you know why I don’t like them.
The apps will be loosely organized into the following categories…
A lot of the courses will fall into a few different categories, so I’ll try to put them into the section that makes the most sense.
Let’s see what we’ve got…
Apps that are really more like courses
Not too surprisingly, for a lot of courses (even the old-school ones), you can now access their whole course via an app. We’ll take a look at these first because they’re most likely to cover all of the categories and be a more all-encompassing resource.
There are several apps that are actually quite similar to Lingodeer. Or perhaps, I should say that Lingodeer is similar to them since it’s newer than most others. The reason why I’ve added Lingodeer before all of those is that it’s the one I’d most recommend new students get started with.
Like many other apps, Lingodeer structures it’s lessons around a variety of themes, such as color, food, animals, shopping, and so on. You’ll practice Spanish by completing a number of different exercises that test your understanding in a variety of ways.
There are a few reasons why I prefer Lingodeer to some similar apps. First, it’s free to use. Next, the sentences are recorded very clearly so the language you hear sounds natural. Also, they’ve included lots of grammar explanations for learners. Finally, there’s a bit more variety in the types of exercises which keeps things more interesting.
It’s not necessarily best for everyone though. It’s a bit better for casual learners whereas serious students would probably want to go with a different course instead. Review.
Pimsleur is an old-school course that began far before apps were a thing. They’ve also been in that group of courses that I considered to be far too expensive to justify paying for, costing $575 for their entire course. The reason why I list them here is that they’ve also added a subscription option, though not publicly listed it on their site. The cost for their subscription is far lower, only $15-$20 per month.
The reason why I like Pimsleur is that they get you speaking Spanish right away. The lessons mostly ignore the written language and grammar, while focusing on listening and speaking. Because of this, students who use Pimsleur’s courses will almost certainly end up with above average oral language skills. Considering most people studying Spanish want to be able to use it in conversations right away, that makes it pretty appealing. Review.
I’ve put these two apps together because they’re very similar to each other. Both offer online courses from universities around the world. Most courses are self-paced and you’re able to register at any time.
There are a few beginner level courses to choose from. Advanced learners could also make use out of these platforms by taking a course on any number of subjects, taught in Spanish. Unfortunately, intermediate learners won’t have so many options to choose from. These platforms are great for those looking for a more formal course. The courses are free and you can earn a certification if you’re willing to pay extra.
Duolingo is an insanely popular app, among the most famous language learning platforms in the world. In the Google Play store alone, it has been downloaded over 100 million times. It was launched in 2011, and being a free platform, has opened up language learning to people all over the world.
It teaches Spanish, among many other languages, in short and easy lessons. That, plus the addition of lots of game-like elements, really makes learning Spanish much less intimidating. It’s especially good for those who may struggle with staying motivated.
There are a few things I don’t love though. The biggest issue in my mind is that the recordings for many sentences don’t sound natural. This can be a huge problem for new learners. There are also lots of nonsensical sentences that you would never say, and their grammar tips aren’t included in the app. Still though, it’s not a bad way to get started with Spanish.
Rocket Spanish isn’t amazing, but also not bad either. It’s somewhat expensive, costing between $99.95 and $149.95, depending on how many levels you purchase. Fortunately, it is a one time purchase and not a yearly subscription.
Whereas Pimsleur focuses entirely on speaking and listening, Rocket Spanish includes a lot more grammar explanations into their lessons. They focus on teaching useful language and have tons of ways to practice what you’ve learned. Unfortunately, I found the audio lessons to be really boring, the cultural lessons to be lacking, and the exercises to be very repetitive.
Although that sounds pretty negative, it’s not a terrible course, just not great either. Review.
Babbel is pretty similar to Duolingo, Lingodeer, and a few other courses. It’s not at all a bad app or course, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the $14.95 per month. Babbel was started up in 2007, and until very recently, I would have been happy to recommend people to use it.
It’s affordable, teaches useful Spanish that you’ll need in real life, and explains grammar very clearly. However, in today’s landscape, I’m not sure that it provides enough value compared with what Lingodeer can do for free. Review.
Udemy is a platform where anybody can create and sell their own courses. It can be really useful for learning any number of skills, including Spanish. However, because anybody can create a course, the quality and topics can vary significantly. Although the majority of courses are aimed at beginners, there are a few for advanced students or covering unique topics.
Luckily, user reviews can help you figure out which ones are worth considering. The courses may seem costly, but they’re all discounted frequently to around $10 each. Just add the one you’re interested in to your cart, wait a day or two, and you’ll likely receive an email with a discount.
I think Mango Languages is a bit expensive and I personally wouldn’t pay to use it. But, it’s still a pretty solid course for beginners. For $19.99 you get access to courses in over 70 languages. It’s also available for free in many libraries, so it’s worth checking for there.
The lessons have a few unique features. First, they often include a written description of what a word sounds like which can help you with the pronunciation. They also include both literal and actual translations for sentences. Next, they color code sentences so it’s easier to match the English and Spanish words. Review.
Mondly is another app that teaches Spanish in a manner that’s similar to Duolingo, Lingodeer, Babbel, and Busuu. Unfortunately, in basically every area, they don’t do as well as those other options. The lessons aren’t structured that well, the design isn’t as good as other apps, they don’t explain important things like conjugation rules, among other issues. It also costs $9.99 per month to use their course. Review.
Rosetta Stone is somewhat similar to Pimsleur in that both courses have been around for a long time and have traditionally been crazy expensive. They’ve since added a subscription option, with the price starting at $79 for three months. However, in my opinion, this is still far too expensive.
The lessons are really repetitive and would get very boring. You’ll basically spend the whole time matching words to pictures and vice versa with no explanations as to how anything actually works. The idea is that kids learn without explanations, so that’s how you should learn as well. But, most would agree that adults benefit from learning how the language works. Review.
Starting at $67, I don’t think Synergy Spanish is a course worth paying for. Lots of people have commented that the app is buggy and feels outdated. This makes sense as the course itself feels very outdated as well.
Basically, you learn Spanish by repeating lots of sentences. There are some important things missing. For example, the lessons all use usted and never mention tú. Plus, you learn to say some really outdated things, such as, “I have to return the video.” Review
Apps to help you improve your reading and listening skills
Putting yourself in a position to read and listen to a lot of Spanish material around your level is extremely useful for improving your overall skills. Because both of these skills involve you consuming media, there are a number of resources that are worth looking at. With many of these apps, you’ll be able to practice both reading and listening simultaneously.
News in Slow Spanish is one of my favorite resources for improving Spanish. That said, their content is phenomenal but their app is below average, so it’d be better to use a mobile browser. They have two variations, one which teaches Spanish from Spain and the other is Latin American Spanish, along with materials for three levels – beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
They release weekly podcast episodes focusing on current events and culture, while also teaching some grammar and expressions. I love their teaching methodology as it’s both effective and a lot of fun. There are several different plans and durations available with costs between $16.90 and $25.90 per month. Review.
SpanishPod101 could possibly fit into the general courses category but because they’re mostly audio lessons and the structure isn’t completely linear, I decided to add it in here. They have nearly 2000 lessons from absolute beginner up to the advanced level. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those lessons are for lower level students.
Lessons follow the format of a podcast. Typically, there are two hosts, they’ll listen to a dialogue and then discuss and translate it, providing lots of grammar notes and other relevant information. It can be a bit annoying how much casual chatting in English occurs in the lessons. But, English is used less and less as you move up levels. Review.
LingQ is a very useful app where you can find interesting material to practice reading and listening, regardless of your Spanish level. Much of the content has actually been added by users, so you may already be familiar with some of the sources. For example, there are podcasts from Radio Ambulante, textbook passages, news stories, and much more. You can also add your own material to read.
As you read, words that you don’t need to look up the definition of will be marked known. This gives you a very inaccurate measure of how many words you know. There are a bunch of other features that I think are either pointless or bad value such as their avatars, points, and tutors. A subscription costs $12.99 per month. Review.
Beelinguapp is a pretty cool app that seems to keep improving. With it, you can read and listen to stories in Spanish, and many other languages. What’s unique is that you can have the texts in the two languages on the screen at the same time, or you can hide the second language if you’d prefer. The part of the text being read is also highlighted, making it easier to follow along.
Previously, most of the content was children’s stories, but they’ve been adding news stories, along with more interesting articles about a variety of topics. You can access a ton of the content for free. Previously, there was a pretty cheap subscription fee, but that appears not to be the case for now.
Amazon’s audiobook service, Audible, is a great way to get a ton of listening practice. You can find classics and current bestsellers narrated in Spanish. Not only that, lower level learners can find plenty of useful material to fit their level, whether that’s courses from the likes of Pimsleur or short stories written for beginner or intermediate students.
A subscription to Audible costs $14.95 per month which gives you one audiobook and two Audible originals. You can also get a free 30-day trial.
I personally love listening to hip-hop music in Spanish with Spotify. For me, that’s one of my favorite ways to get more passive listening practice, plus some of the music is just so good. But, even if you’re not looking for music, you can still find some helpful material to study. There’s a course called, “Learn Spanish in Your Car” and a bunch of podcasts related to learning the language.
Flowlingo is somewhat similar to Langliter, both are newer apps and focused on making it easier to read native Spanish material. You can also read native material and look up words as you read. Flowlingo does include the option to read from a variety of sources, such as Vice, Wikipedia, BBC, or you can search for anything else on the web.
They also have videos as well where you can watch and click on any words to see their meaning and a translation of the sentence. As you click words, they’re also saved and become flashcards that you can review later. There is a premium subscription that costs $8.99 per month, but it seems like most features are available for free.
Langliter is only suitable for intermediate and higher level learners that want to start reading more native content. With this app, you can read news stories in Spanish about a range of topics. As you read, you can look up words and see their definition in Spanish, as well as a translation and save them to flashcards to study later.
The app is still relatively new, and somewhat buggy. For example, there’s a pro version but if I try to upgrade to see the price, the screen never loads.
With FluentU you’ll learn Spanish by watching videos that use their interactive captions, allowing you to click on any word and see it’s meaning. A lot of people really love it, but for me, it was pretty disappointing. In theory, watching videos and tv shows would make studying much more enjoyable and get you to do more of it.
WIth FluentU however, it seemed like most of the videos were very short, disconnected, and not particularly interesting which made it hard to get into a good study rhythm. It costs between $15 and $30 per month but isn’t any better than free alternatives. Review
Apps that will help you with your speaking and writing skills
There aren’t nearly as many resources available to specifically help you with your speaking and writing. Still, most of the general courses will have some speaking component, and you can always practice mimicking anything that you listen to.
I’m also going to include italki in the section about tutors and language exchange partners. I wanted to add it in here because their “Notebooks” section is very useful and not as well-known. Basically, you can write anything in Spanish and share it with italki’s community. Then, some native Spanish speakers will come in and give you feedback on your writing. It’s a really easy, effective, and free way to improve your writing. Just be sure to return the favor and help others with their writing. Review.
Speechling is an excellent app to help you improve your speaking rhythm and pronunciation. One of the best ways to improve your speaking skills is by mimicking native speakers. Speechling makes it easy to do that. You can listen to a recording and then record yourself saying the same sentence, making it easier to spot the differences. This part and several other features are completely free to use.
If you’re willing to pay $19.99 per month, you can also send as many recordings as you’d like to a tutor and they’ll give you feedback on your pronunciation. More advanced Spanish speakers will benefit from the freestyle mode where you can record anything, or by describing a picture and sending your recordings to your coach. Review.
Busuu would probably fit better in the general courses section. However, I think their course isn’t very good and definitely not worth paying for. It’s similar to Duolingo, Lingodeer, and Babbel but still costs $9.99 per month. The structure of the lessons leaves you learning some obscure vocabulary before essentials. Also, grammar and pronunciation aren’t really explained particularly well.
The reason why I’ve included it here, and actually recommend people to check it out is that they have a language exchange section built into their app where you can practice writing and speaking in Spanish. They make it easy to get feedback from a native speaker. They also prompt you with pictures and videos which makes it easier to figure out what you should write about. This part of their app is both very useful and free. Review
Apps that help you learn and review vocabulary
In order to have any success with Spanish, you need to know a lot of words. While every resource I’ve mentioned so far will help you learn new words, the following apps have a bit tighter focus on teaching vocabulary.
Having a good Spanish dictionary on your phone is important. SpanishDict is the most often recommended dictionary. It’s easy to use, free and has some useful extra features. For example, when you look up a word, you’ll be given lots of example sentences using that word. You can also see how any verb is conjugated, hear how it’s pronounced, and see any phrases that use the word.
Memrise is a ridiculously popular app with over a million downloads in the Google Play store. Although they do have a premium version, which costs $8.99 per month, the free version will be sufficient for the vast majority of users. You can learn grammar and other things with Memrise, but it’s most suitable for learning vocabulary.
Memrise uses what are essentially gamified flashcards with a spaced repetition system (SRS). This way, the vocabulary you review shows up less often the better you know it, but if you struggle to remember a word, you’ll see it more often. It’s a really effective way to remember vocabulary. There are some courses created by Memrise and a bunch more that have been added by users. So, some are really good, and others not so much. Review.
Anki is a powerful flashcard app that is highly customizable. It can be a bit intimidating for new users as there’s a bit of a learning curve to get started using. You can create your own cards, adding in pictures, and audio, making it really useful to study vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structures. You can also find lots of shared decks created by others.
Like Memrise, it uses SRS, which limits the amount of time wasted studying cards you’ve already mastered while showing you difficult cards more often. It’s free to use everywhere except on iOS, which costs $25.
Lingvist has a somewhat minimalistic design and is straightforward enough to use. Its scope isn’t limited to learning vocabulary – grammar, listening, reading, and speaking are also included. You’ll learn words in a manner that’s similar to flashcards, but you’ll be given a sentence and fill in the missing word. You may be given a translation of the missing word or the whole sentences to help you out.
Additionally, you’ll have various challenges to practice other aspects of the Spanish language. It’s rather expensive, costing $22.95 per month, but that falls down to $7.50 if you were to purchase a full year plan ahead of time. Fortunately, you can try it for free before deciding whether or not it’s worth the cost. Review.
If you like the way that Lingvist teaches vocabulary but aren’t willing to spend money on it, then definitely check out Clozemaster. It’s a really effective app for growing your vocabulary and improving your reading skills. It’s available in a large number of languages and although the pro plan costs $8/mo, most would find the free plan to be more than sufficient.
I like it a lot because it teaches languages in context. So, you’re not studying isolated words but instead learning how words work within a sentence. There are thousands of sentences and you’ll fill in the blank with the missing word. You can either type it in or choose from a multiple choice option, what the missing word should be. The design makes it more fun as well, sort of like an old-school arcade game.
The Drops app teaches a total of 31 languages. It’s a simple, yet beautifully designed and intuitive app. However, I like the way it looks and feels, more than I really like it as a learning resource. Basically, you’ll be given words and pictures, hear the pronunciation, then you’ll slide your finger to match the word. Vocabulary words are split up into lots of different categories.
It’s free to use for 5 minutes per day, but if you’d like to use it longer, remove ads, or unlock all their categories, you’d need to upgrade to their premium plan which costs $9.99 per month. Although I’m not a huge fan, anything that could help you get into the habit of studying every day is worth trying out.
Apps that will help you find tutors and language exchange partners
The whole point of learning Spanish for most people is so that you can talk to people. Not surprisingly, finding a regular tutor or someone to practice Spanish with is probably the most effective and fun way to improve.
There’s no resource that I recommend as often as italki to anyone learning a new language. It makes finding a Spanish tutor very convenient and affordable. On italki, there are over 700 native Spanish teachers. This makes it easy to find someone that from whichever Spanish speaking country you’d like, that’s available at the same time you are, and is a good match for your learning style.
Finding a tutor is also much more affordable than you might expect. Over 200 of the Spanish teachers charge less than $9 per hour. If you don’t have any money for a tutor, italki is still very useful to find language exchange partners, ask questions about learning Spanish or get feedback on your writing. Review.
Verbling is a platform that’s quite similar to italki and a solid option for finding a Spanish tutor. I tend to prefer italki because Verbling has fewer teachers, and they typically charge a little more money. That said, Verbling is still very affordable especially compared with other options.
Their platform is also very well-designed, making it very easy to book lessons and take classes on their platform. Review.
HelloTalk is probably the most popular language exchange app. The app has been downloaded millions of times by people all over the world. You can text, send voice and video messages, correct writing, get translations and more. It’s free to use, but you can upgrade your subscription to the Pro or VIP plan which costs either $1.99 or $4.99 per month.
Speaky and Tandem are two apps that make it easy to find language exchange partners around the world. Both of these apps are quite similar. They have a nearly identical number of downloads and reviews are about the same between them. Since I haven’t tried either, I can’t comment too much on which would be a better option for language learners.
One downside seems to be that some users treat them as dating apps, so it’s worth being aware of that. Both are free to use, at least for the majority of features.
Lingbe has a smaller user-base than the other language exchange apps, but it also works a bit differently. Instead of having to find someone you’d like to talk with, you just hit the call button and are connected with a native speaker. You can also help others practice English (or another language). As you help others, you’ll earn credit that can be used to practice the language you’re learning.
HiNative comes from the creators of Lang-8, a site that used to be amazing for getting feedback on your writing. Unfortunately, they’ve suspended new registrations to Lang-8 and redirect people to their app, HiNative. It’s a Q&A app where you can ask questions to native speakers, get feedback on your writing, pronunciation and more.
You can do a decent amount for free, but there’s also a premium version that is priced differently depending on the platform you use. For Android users it’s $4.99 per month, while iOS users are charged $9.99.
There are a ton of apps for learning Spanish but apps aren’t the only useful resource available to learners. This page has over 160 resources that you may find helpful. Although I’ve included over 30 apps on this page, some of my favorite resources, like Baselang, weren’t included since they don’t have an app.
Regardless of how you choose to study Spanish, just be sure to have fun, stay patient, and do a little bit every day.