Nowadays we have the amazing ability to take our language learning with us, wherever we go. We no longer need to carry around a heavy grammar book or sit at a computer to study German.
The language learning industry is flooded with apps, all promising different methods to teach you German. In this post I will attempt to guide you through some of the best apps for learning German, all of which I’ve personally tried myself.
What I love about the apps you’re about to discover is that they all bring something different to your German learning journey. So no matter whether you want to practice your reading, listening, grammar, vocabulary or speaking, there’s an app that can help you.
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The Best Apps for Learning German
Best for: German immersion
- What is it? A Netflix style app for language learners
- Great for: Listening practice & learning through entertainment
- Key features: A huge selection of German TV shows with optional German subtitles that can be instantly translated into English & added to a flashcard deck
Lingopie is an online streaming service especially for language learners. You can access Lingopie on any device as well as your smartphone. You’ll recognise the familiar, easy to navigate Netflix style and have access to countless hours of German TV shows.
There’s something for everyone, whether you like drama, documentaries, action, travel, history or sci-fi. All the shows are in the original German and you have the option to switch on accurate German subtitles or watch the script scroll as the video plays.
One of my favourite features is that you can click on any of the words appearing on the subtitles and get an instant English translation. No more stopping to open up a dictionary app to look up a work and spoil your flow.
Lingopie also had a cool feature which automatically adds any words you lookup to a flashcard deck. You can then review these flashcards whenever you get the chance and the spaced-repetition software helps to get this new vocabulary into your long term memory.
How much does it cost? You can try Lingopie for free for 7 days (cancel anytime). If you want to subscribe it’ll cost $12 / month or $71.88 / year or get unlimited lifetime access for $199 (one-off payment).
Best for: Natural language acquisition
- What is it? A spaced-repetition app with useful everyday phrases
- Great for: Absorbing German in a natural way
- Key features: Clever spaced-repetition software which gets everyday phrases into your long term memory, without consciously memorising them
The key focus of Glossika is that it gets you to absorb German naturally. You are shown phrases and complete sentences which are also spoken by native speakers. You’re encouraged to repeat and record yourself saying the phrase out loud.
Spaced-repetition software, which I’m so fond of, shows the the phrase again at the best possible time for you to retain it in your long term memory.
The thing I love about this method is that it mimics the natural way native speakers learn their mother tongue. There’s no studying German grammar textbooks as children, they just hear complete phrases and sentences, which are repeated to them time and time again. Children then attempt to copy and say this phrase themselves.
Glossika offers a great way of getting complete phrases and sentences into your head, which you can actually use in everyday situations.
How much does it cost? You can try Glossika yourself free for 7 days (cancel anytime). After that it costs $16.99 / month.
Best for: Beginners
- What is it? A gamified but comprehensive app for German beginners
- Great for: Getting into a daily German learning routine
- Key features: 300+ bite-sized lessons on everyday topics, as well as some cool speech recognition software
If you’re just getting started learning German, but you’re looking for an alternative to Duolingo, Mondly is a great option. Mondly is a gamified language learning style app, which encourages you to work on your German a little bit every day.
You can work on customised daily lessons to get you into a regular language learning routine. Mondly also offers an enormous number of categories totalling over 300 bite-sized lessons, so you can learn vocabulary and phrases on topics you’re interested in.
Mondly uses speech recognition technology to help you practice your pronunciation and encourages you to listen to and say out loud conversation phrases.
Another great feature is that if English isn’t your native language, no problem. You can learn German while getting the entire app and all the grammar explanations in your native language.
How much does it cost? Mondly has a free version, which allows you to do the daily lessons. However if you want to unlock all the features of Mondly including being able to learn any category you want, Mondly Premium costs $9.99 / month or $47.99 / year (works out at $4.00 / month).
You can get a free 7 day trial of Mondly Premium to try it out first.
Best for: Vocabulary
- What is it? A flashcard app for German phrases and vocabulary
- Great for: Learning new words and phrases easily, on the go
- Key features: Learn up to 6000 German words & phrases and get them into your long-term memory thanks to the MosaLingua spaced-repetition system
MosaLingua is my favourite flashcard app. It’s so straightforward to use and has thousands of pre-made flashcards so there’s hardly any setup required (unlike apps where you create your own flashcards).
You get started by answering a few questions so the app can assess your German level and learning goals. It then uses this information to show you your first flashcards. If there’s a particular topic you want to learn about, you simply navigate the categories and select flashcards with words or phrases that you want to learn.
All single words are also used in a sentence so you can see the word in context and all the flashcards are spoken by a native speaker.
The spaced-repetition system shows you each flashcard at the most appropriate moment, that will allow you to get the word or phrase into your long term memory. This is decided by how well you recalled the word or phrase last time.
How much does it cost? MosaLingua offers a 15 day free trial (cancel anytime). After that it costs $9.99 / month or $59.90 / year (that works out at $4.99 /month).
Best for: Listening skills
- What is it? A podcast style structured German course for beginners to intermediates
- Great for: Improving listening comprehension through everyday conversations
- Key features: Immersion based learning rather than grammar study with opportunities to practice pronunciation & answer questions in German
The main feature of Rocket German is its podcast-style interactive lessons. Each module has 4 or 5 audio lessons at around 30 minutes each. An English speaking host introduces the lesson, and you then hear a conversation between 2 German speakers.
The conversations have a very natural, non-scripted feel and include plenty of everyday sayings, idioms and colloquialisms. The English speaking host then goes through the conversation line by line and explains each sentence.
You are encouraged to repeat what you hear, and there are gaps in the audio for you to practice your pronunciation.
Alongside the interactive lessons, you also get language and culture lessons. These are more blog post style lessons with clear explanations of all kinds of grammar and culture topics.
How much does it cost? Rocket German offers a free trial (cancel anytime) and offers the following one-off cost bundles (including discount): Level 1: $99.85, Levels 1 & 2: $249.90 and Levels 1, 2 & 3: $259.90.
Best for: Speaking practice
- What is it? A language exchange app where you can find a German speaker to practice written & spoken German with
- Great for: Working on your speaking whilst helping your partner with their English
- Key features: Have genuine conversations with real people & get your mistakes corrected
Tandem is quite a simple idea, where you make a profile describing your language level, interests, language goals etc. The app will show you people (for example German speakers) who want to practice your native language (let’s say, English).
You should easily be able to find someone who has similar interests to you, or someone who just looks interesting, and strike up a conversation with them. The interface is similar to Whatsapp, so text and audio messages, and audio and video calls.
You can start off by simply sending texted-based messages introducing yourself. If you’re feeling brave you can send short audio messages in German. You can even arrange to have a video or audio call with your new Sprachpartner/in (language partner).
I can’t recommend Tandem highly enough. I’ve met so many interesting people through the app, and so many German speakers are really helpful and patient no matter how many mistakes I made.
It’s fantastic whether you’re just starting out or want to have more in depth conversations. I found that because you start taking to many different people, often with text messages, you get to introduce yourself again and again. This repetition is key for getting those early conversations and phrases into your memory.
How much does it cost? I’ve saved the best for last, Tandem is completely free to use. It’s available on iOS and Android, so all you need to do is be brave, download the app and get chatting.
Why you should use apps to learn German
Most of us have our smartphones with us all the time, therefore it makes sense that using one or more apps to learn German is a great idea. As you’ve discovered, these apps are packed with useful technology that can help you retain loads of new German phrases.
You can also use apps to create an immersive environment no matter where you are. So if you’re away from home and want to spend an evening watching some German TV shows in order to pick up some new phrases, you can do that.
Finally, apps have an amazing ability to connect us with other people, so again, no matter where you are in the world you can strike up a conversation with a German speaker whenever you like.
How to choose the best app for learning German
Hopefully this post has given you some idea about the various apps’ features. It really is up to you to decide what you want to learn or work on, whether it’s listening, speaking, learning new vocabulary or just for entertainment.
All these apps have a free trial which I would encourage you to use. We all learn differently so my advice is to take a look around and see which one works best for you.