The 12 Best Apps to Learn German According to Real Learners
Want to learn German?
Well, there are many apps for that.
Don’t just choose any old app for your German journey, though.
Even if you find one that incorporates reading, writing, listening, speaking, and straightforward grammar, you need an app that’s going to deliver.
You need an app that you know has actually taught other learners the German language!
In this post, you’ll find apps that have gotten the green light from real German learners. Here are the 12 best apps to learn German based on real user reviews from the Google Play Store.
Key Features: Vocabulary building, grammar tutorials, reading practice.
Try Duolingo: iOS | Android | Web
The first app on our list is probably one that you’ve heard of before, probably because of its owl mascot that sends push notifications to smartphones around the world. In fact, Duolingo is perhaps one of the most popular language learning apps and has been named one of the best apps to learn German. It holds a 4.6-star average rating on the Google Play Store.
Contrary to popular belief, Duolingo isn’t a single program. To deliver high quality learning content, Duolingo uses multiple features to teach the German language.
The first is the core Duolingo app. This one leads learners through a German-learning “tree” that focuses on various vocabulary and grammar topics (called “skills”) such as numbers in German, school, food & drink and government. As of August 2022, there are 160 skills to learn across nine units. Each skill helps learners master vocabulary and grrammar constructions through various audio, speaking, reading and writing exercises.
The second offered program is called Duolingo Stories, and it is exactly as it sounds. Duolingo Stories uses short, interactive stories to teach new vocabulary and see the language in context. Each story has a full written transcript and authentic German audio recordings.
Additonally, there are features for keeping track of practiced words and online classes for practicing with a real German speaker.
Key Features: High frequency vocabulary, visual learning, German audio.
Try LingoDeer: iOS | Android | Web
Like Duolingo, LingoDeer has a loveable mascot as well, and it is in the form of, well… a deer! Holding a 4.5-star average rating on the Google Play Store, LingoDeer is well-rounded and definitely one of the best apps to learn German.
LingoDeer’s German course focuses on native German audio and vocabulary building tools. During the lessons, the learner is introduced to various high frequency words, and then there are several activities to help them master the words. Each word and sentence comes with real German audio so that you can learn through reading as well as listening.
On LingoDeer’s learning platform, there are topics such as plurals, family, professions and negation. Each lesson builds on previous ones, but the vocabulary remains topical so you know that the words you are learning are ones that you will use in real German conversations.
Each lesson introduces words slowly and allows the learner to master them through different activities such as matching, cloze sentences and multiple-choice questions. LingoDeer also has a handy progress section in the app that lets you track your learning streak and set daily learning goals for yourself.
Key Features: Online immersion, video learning, speech recognition.
Try Babbel: iOS | Android | Web
Based on the Biblical Tower of Babbel, this app aims to decipher the world of language learning and help you master German. Its true test of time is that since its inception in 2008, it holds a 4.6-star average rating on the Google Play Store, making it one of the best apps to learn German.
Babbel focuses on helping learners acquire vocabulary and grammar through online immersion methods. This is primarily done through real German video, authentic German audio and engaging dialogues. The program then uses various activities such as fill-in-the-blank exercises and speech recognition to have learners use the language actively.
Babbel focuses on high frequency vocabulary for beginner learners, but it also has advanced courses for those who already know some German. There is even a Business German course that learners can complete for specialized vocabulary and grammar construction for German workplaces.
Outside of the main program, there are numerous vocabulary building tools such as a dialogue trainer and flashcards to give learners more opportunities to master new words.
Deutsche Welle’s Learn German
Key Features: Long-term learning, real German video, extensive comprehension and grammar exercises.
Try it here: iOS | Android | Web
Deutsche Welle (German Wave) is a major German-language media company that offers comprehensive German learning materials on their website and in app form. The app itself holds a 4.2-star average rating on the Google Play Store.
Well-rounded courses focusing on native, German-only video and audio to guide learners through vocabulary and grammar. The first three courses for the A1, A2 and B1 levels (beginner to low intermediate levels) revolves around a video series called Nicos Weg (Nico’s Way).
The story follows Nico, a young Spanish immigrant to Germany, and his friends as they navigate daily life in Germany. Each lesson comes with a video with real German actors as well as readings, comprehension exercises and grammar tutorials.
What is perhaps the most useful about this app is the amount of support material on the Deutsche Welle website. After completing the core courses, there are other courses for learners to complete as well as material for learners who have reached the B2 level (upper intermediate) or above. In my opinion, this makes it one of the best apps to learn German to a high level.
Key Features: Ever-growing German library, built-in dictionary, flashcards.
Try LingQ: iOS | Android | Web
LingQ uses a language learning method called “comprehensive input.” This method has been shown effective in numerous studies for many language learners around the world, making LingQ itself one of the best apps to learn German with a 4.4-star average rating on the Google Play Store.
This method used on LingQ means that learners use readings and audio clips that they can understand most of, but are just a step above their level so as to challenge themselves. Each lesson on LingQ has a percentage beside it, showing how many known words are used in the lesson. This allows learners to choose lessons in the sweet spot for learning new vocabulary.
The best part is that LingQ uses written and audio-based German readings and podcasts to teach the language. Further, even if you start as a complete beginner, there are lessons for all levels of German are available as well as user-generated content being added every day.
Each lesson has an audio clip and corresponding German transcript. Each word can be looked up in built-in dictionary and then turned into a flashcard (called a “lingq”) for later review.
Key Features: Bite-sized learning, authentic German dialogues, vocabulary exercises.
Try Busuu: iOS | Android | Web
Like some of the other best apps to learn German, Busuu also offers courses for all levels of German learners starting with beginners and allowing for learning at the intermediate and advanced level. As such, learners have given Busuu a 4.4-star average rating on Google Play Store.
The main idea behind Busuu is bite-sized lessons. These allow for small bursts of learning during otherwise busy schedules. The lessons focus on listening to authentic German sentences and dialogues and then completing various exercises to practice newly-acquired vocabulary and structures.
Outside of the main pathway of the course, Busuu also offers vocabulary learning tools that allow learners to repeat words and phrases through quizzes, matching, cloze sentences and voice-input.
The app also includes short grammar tutorials and the ability to practice with real native speakers of German. This is invaluable for trialing real German conversations and getting pronunciation feedback.
Key Features: Gameified learning, high frequency vocabulary, bite-sized learning.
Try Drops: iOS | Android | Web
Drops is a relatively new app to the German-learning game, but its 4.3-star average rating assures that it is one of the best apps to learn German.
The method for Drops is simple. Learning is based around being introduced to and practicing words and phrases in manageable chunks. Fittingly, these are called “drops” in the app. Each “drop” adds to a growing pool of previously-learned German words that can be used to easily have German conversations and understand German media.
The lessons are progressive, meaning they build on one another from the beginning stage, and they advance through multiple levels of German.
Each lesson revolves around a certain topic, and learners practice new words through various interactive, gamified activities. The app also sorts learned words into what it perceives as “weak” and “strong” topics, allowing you to easily figure out what topics need more work to master.
Key Features: Authentic German videos, video transcripts and translations, grammar tutorials.
Try Seedlang: iOS | Android | Web
If you’ve been around the German block before this post, chances are you’ve encountered the makers of Seedlang before. In fact, Seedlang is the companion app to the wildly popular YouTube channel Easy German.
Based on the reaction to Easy German’s YouTube videos, it’s not hard to understand why Seedlang is one of the best apps to learn German with a 4.5-star average rating on the Google Play Store.
Each lesson revolves around a video where a host speaks with people they meet on the street about a given topic in real German. The German used in the video is completely spontaneous, so it can be challenging at times, but this type of immersive learning is ideal short of moving to Germany yourself!
The lesson then has various vocabulary building tools, transcripts, vocabulary lists and even short grammar tutorials to help you master the words and constructions used in the video. Better yet, new videos—and thus, new lessons—are being added every week.
Key Features: Spaced Repetition System technology, large selection of flashcard decks, suitable for all German levels.
Try Memrise: iOS | Android | Web
While the idea behind Memrise is simple, the results are monumental—so much so that a deceivingly simple flashcard app has garnered a 4.6-star average rating on the Google Play Store.
That’s because Memrise takes flashcard learning to an extreme and has thus become one of the best apps to learn German.
For starters, each course revolves around decks of hundreds if not thousands of German words, and there isn’t just a couple German courses: there are literally hundreds. These are created by Memrise itself and users alike. That means that there are flashcard decks for every level of German as well as specific topics such as German verbs, Business German and Academic German.
Each word in the deck is presented to the learners as a flashcard, and then the app’s Spaced Repetition System (SRS) algorithm takes over. In short, SRS allows you to review flashcards at critical intervals for the German word and its meaning to transfer into your long-term memory.
This idea is so wildly effective that SRS is actually backed by real brain science.
Key Features: Conversational German, authentic German audio, visual learning.
Try Mondly: iOS | Android | Web
Once named Facebook’s App of the Year, it’s not hard to see why Mondly has a 4.7-star average rating on the Google Play Store and has been hailed one of the best apps to learn German.
Mondly is primarily a conversation-based app, allowing learners to master the language through common conversational vocabulary topics. This is perfect for learners looking to speak German with real native speakers or travel to a German-speaking place.
After an interactive dialogue, the lesson allows the learner practice words and phrases through flashcard-based activities. These include both audio and visual activities. The app also has several separate vocabulary building and grammar tools to enhance learning.
Key Features: Reading practice, built-in dictionary, quizzes and flashcards.
Try Readle: iOS | Android | Web
In-app German immersion is simple with Readle, an app that strengthens reading and comprehension in German with 4.8-star average rating on the Google Play Store.
In short, Readle is an app that uses real German stories to teach the language. These stories range from the A1 to the C1 level (beginner to advanced learners), and they are based on both traditional and contemporary German tales. This is great for learners who perhaps want to learn German for academic or professional purposes.
Each word in the story can be looked up in a built-in dictionary. This is perfect for finding the meaning to an unknown word without having to exit the app altogether. Further, interactive quizzes and flashcards can be used to reinforce understanding and vocabulary after the story is finished.
Key Features: authentic German dialogues, comprehension activities, vocabulary building tools.
Try MosaLingua: iOS | Android | Web
The last app on our list has the highest rating. With a 4.9-star average rating on the Google Play Store, this app could be a great addition to your German-learning inventory.
The basis of Mosalingua’s German app is conversation. That is why Mosalingua takes over 80 authentic German dialogues and turns them into learning tools. After the dialogue is presented, each comes with comprehension activities to make sure you’ve understood what was said in the dialogue.
Next, you can use a variety of vocabulary building tools such as flashcards, pronunciation tools and Spaced Repetition System technology to help you get new words and phrases into your long-term memory.
But Mosalingua doesn’t just stop at videos and comprehension exercises to be one of the best apps to learn German. Learners can enhance their German experience by opting for German teachers. This can be great for perfecting the pronunciation of German words and learning how German is actually spoken by everyday speakers.
With such as great selection, finding the best apps to learn German is just a click away. Simply log onto your favorite app store, download your app—or apps!—of choice and swipe your way to German fluency!
What’s your favorite German app? Let us know in the comments.