Learning another language can be challenging, especially since it requires daily practice to make any real progress. Total immersion by going to a country that speaks the target language is not an option for most people. However, there are ways to have a partial immersive experience, including the use of language learning apps.

To create your own immersive experience without having to leave home, you can make the most of several types of media. Listen to German pop songs when you are exercising. Make an interesting German show a part of your regular viewing on Netflix, Hulu, or other streaming service.

The best thing to do though is to download a few language apps and find the ones that work best for your needs. From vocabulary, to quizzes, to actual language speakers, there is an app that can give you daily practice learning German.

using a smartphone

Why Apps Work

Apps are both easy to access and so varied that you can find a few apps that work well for how you learn and what you need to practice. Since you can access them from a computer, tablet, or smartphone, it is easy to work daily practice into your routine.

With most people saying that they don't have enough time to study, apps make it incredibly easy to work around time issues. You almost certainly have your smartphone with you most of the time. When you are waiting for a lift, bus, train, or are in line, you can study German. You can also use the apps over lunch breaks or during walks.

Apps are incredibly convenient. You can also find one that focuses on whatever language you want to study.

The following apps are free or inexpensive. This makes it very easy to get started as soon as you have a few minutes to download them and start finding which ones work best for you.

A young man happily using an app

1. Speechling

Speechling is unique, not only because it is completely free, but because it focuses on actually talking. People tend to be very self-conscious about speaking in their target language.

Speechling pairs you with a coach and gives you feedback on what you say. No matter what stage of learning you are at, you will be able to feel more comfortable with one of the key aspects of learning - speaking German.

Speechling onboarding page

Why It Works

Getting over the initial fear of speaking German is something that prevents many people from progressing. By building your confidence, it is easier to feel comfortable speaking with others.

If you use Speechling, you may be able to move to HelloTalk a good bit faster. The confidence you gain from speaking with a coach will make it easier to talk to native speakers, which is the ultimate goal.

The Cost and Compatibility

For everything you get, Speechling is free. Feedback for your recordings happens within 24 hours. If you would like additional coaching, you can upgrade your account.

Speechling is available online (Firefox and Chrome) and on Apple and Android mobile devices.

Duolingo homepage

2. Duolingo

Duolingo is one of the go to apps for many language learners, including German. There are two paths that you can take to get started:

  • Start from the beginning - this one is for those who are entirely new to German. You start with the basics, just a few basic words with repetition.
  • Take a placement test - this is the path to take if you have completed some basic German classes. The test will determine where you should start based on how you score on the test.

Why It Works

Duolingo is so popular because it lets you choose what you want to work on and what you have time to do. You can set up daily goals and reminders to help you ensure that you study daily.

The app provides visuals, auditory, and verbal practice. This helps you to understand German from several different angles. It is a unique type of interaction that gives a better sense of the language.

The more you study, the more points you get (the points are called Lingots). You can use the points for things like a streak freeze (in case you have a day where you forget to use the app or don't have time).

You can track your progress through the different lessons. You can also monitor your achievements to see how far you have come.
There is a social element to it as well. You can invite friends to join and have friendly competitions. You can also join clubs and challenge yourself against other people learning German.

There is a lot for you to explore. Find the types of stories, dialogue, and incentives that will keep you excited to learn.

The Cost and Compatibility

The basic version of Duolingo is free and gives you everything you need to learn German.

If you would like to access additional features, you can pay for the Duolingo Plus subscription price. This not only gives you access to download lessons to learn offline, but an ad-free experience.

Duolingo is available online and on Apple and Android mobile devices.

Drops signup page

3. Drops

Drops is an app that gives you a way to focus on just vocabulary. Easily one of the hardest aspects of learning any language is developing a robust vocabulary. To have a conversation in German, you need to have a large enough vocabulary to get past "Hello."

Drops gives you a focused approach to learning vocabulary based on a specific topic. The more sections you master, the more vocabulary that appears in each lesson. This is great for learning new words while reviewing vocabulary you already know.

Why It Works

Flashcards used to be a great way to learn words, but it isn't easy to carry cards around with you. This app provides the perfect solution - something like flashcards on your phone. Just going through one lesson a day can help you increase your vocabulary a lot faster.

It tracks how many days you have studied, as well as making sure you study 15 minutes each day. Since it counts down from 15 minutes, it is much easier to keep studying for just a couple more minutes until that clock reaches 0 minutes.

The Cost and Compatibility

One of the best parts of Drops is that it is free.

Drops is available on both Apple and Android mobile devices.

GermanPod101 signup page

4. GermanPod101.com

GermanPod101 gives you pre-recorded discussions followed by discussions of the vocabulary and grammar. You can go back and review the lessons to hear the proper pronunciation by native speakers.

Why It Works

Although you aren't getting a chance to speak, you can hear a more natural conversation, learn about culture, and start wherever you want. There are different tiers based on your current skills. Find the one that is right for you.

The ability to choose the lesson you want to review means that you can find something that reinforces what you learned in a class or a discussion.

It also has worksheets, a vocabulary section, and a lot of other additional features to help you review each lesson.

The Cost and Compatibility

Like most of the apps on this list, you can enjoy the basic features for free. If you would like additional features, you can upgrade your account.

GermanPod101 is available online, Apple, and Android.

Wie Gehts German signup page

5. Wie Geht's German

One of the trickiest aspects of learning any other language is getting the phrases right - and that is the focus of Wie Geht's German. The types of phrases you learn are divided into your current abilities.

Why It Works

It is incredibly easy to get overwhelmed trying to know the right phrase to use. This app helps you focus on phrases based on your skill level. As you master more of the language, you get to use more complex phrases.

You can focus on the phrase category, making it easy to muse the app to supplement a class or lesson.

The Cost and Compatibility

The app is free, making it easy to get started memorizing phrases that you need in the very beginning.

Wie Geht's German is available online, Apple, and Android.

Der Die Das signup page

6. Der Die Das

Learning German articles is one of the most difficult aspects of learning German for an English speaker. This app focuses on just this aspect. By practicing German articles, you will find it easier to identify them as you get more comfortable with your vocabulary.

Why It Works

If you have started to learn German, you know that it can be difficult to be certain which of the three articles to use. The app Der Die Das will help you get more confident with this tricky aspect. The more confident you are, the easier it will be to feel comfortable conversing.

The app is comparable to flashcards, but focuses on one of the most problematic aspects of learning German. It is also fun because it approaches the topic like a game.

The Cost and Compatibility

The app is free, giving you an easy way to practice articles starting today.

The app is available on both Apple and Android mobile devices.

HelloTalk signup page

7. HelloTalk

HelloTalk is a unique app on this list. It is gives you practical experience in learning the language - you get to talk with native German speakers. Clearly, this is not an app you should use in the beginning, but once you get more comfortable with your knowledge, you can find native speakers who will be more than happy to help you learn German, and you can help them learn English.

Why It Works

HelloTalk gives you something that the other apps don't - actual experience messaging and talking in German with people who speak the language.

You get to find people to chat with and you can message whenever you have time. It is important to keep in mind any time difference between yourself and the people you talk with on the app.

Make sure to take the time to read about proper etiquette to use the app. There is a strict ban on dating on the app or making other people uncomfortable. This can be difficult when you consider how different the cultures are. In most cases though, native speakers will be understanding and will help you to understand where you went wrong.

The Cost and Compatibility

The app is free if you only want to practice German. If you are interested in working with people in other languages, you will need to upgrade to a Renewable Subscription account.

HelloTalk is available on both Apple and Android mobile devices.

App use in many tasks

Making the Most of Apps

Apps can do a lot to boost your understanding of a language. They also make it easy to make time to learn. Get accustomed to opening a language app whenever you have a couple of extra minutes.

By filling any down time you have with a few minutes of studying, you will find that you learn and retain more in a shorter period of time.

Most of the apps on this list have tracking. If you aren't able to use an app for a day or two, you will be able to quickly get back into studying.