What a great time to be learning French!
As long as you have a smartphone, you can learn with French podcasts, YouTube channels and music.
And, let’s not forget, mobile apps.
But you might be thinking, which French language learning apps should you start with?
No worries—we’ve put together a list of the 19 best apps for learning French in 2021.
Let’s dive straight in.
19 Best Apps for Learning French Like a Boss in 2021
Website: FluentU French
iOS / Android
Price: Free trial available; then, pay monthly or annually for a full subscription.
Best for: listening, native French videos and audio, pronunciation practice, flashcards.
FluentU is a really unique app because it immerses you in real French, no matter where you are.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the French language and culture over time. You’ll learn French as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.
You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with FluentU's adaptive quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning and play the mini-games found in the dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
As you study, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a 100% personalized experience.
It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
Brainscape Learn French ASAP
iOS / Android
Price: First level (level 0) is free. Additional levels at a cost to unlock.
Best for: pronunciation explanations, grammar tips, reading, listening, flashcards.
At first glance, you may be thinking, “what’s so special about French flashcards?” but let me tell you, these flashcards are pretty special.
For starters, each flashcard comes with native French audio, so you can hear exactly how a French word or phrase is pronounced in order to perfect your accent. Secondly, these flashcards are completely in context. They don’t just present French words and translations by themselves. Instead, they include words that are in complete sentences for relevance.
Further, each flashcard comes with in-depth explanations of grammar points, so you’re learning new words and how to fit them into your existing French at the same time.
Add in a Spaced Repetition System that uses your brain’s memory patterns to present learned words for regular review, and this flashcard app definitely offers more than meets the eye.
In fact, as an added bonus, there are four complete French levels from zero (no knowledge of French) to four (intermediate knowledge of French) as well as a collection focused on French verbs. At the end of all five courses, you will have mastered more than 15,500 cards, which will definitely provide you with a robust French vocabulary.
TV5Monde: Learn French
iOS / Android
Best for: native French video and audio, vocabulary, grammar explanations, reading, writing, listening.
If you’re familiar with French media, you may recognize TV5Monde: It’s a native French television channel that broadcasts TV shows and news in France and all over the world.
Using its repertoire of videos, TV5Monde offers a well-rounded French learning app that allows you to learn the French language completely from native French speakers.
The app has four levels of French starting at the Common European Framework of Reference for Language’s A1 level (complete beginner) up to B2 (high intermediate). Each level has dozens of videos featured native French audio on an array of topics such as everyday life, news stories, history, cooking and fashion.
Each video comes with complete subtitles in French and transcriptions to follow along. This transcript also comes with a translate feature, allowing you to translate from French to English or to another supported native language such as German, Arabic, Korean or Vietnamese.
After each video, there are also a number of exercises to check your understanding as well as help you to grow your vocabulary and grammar skills. Such exercises include multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blank questions and crosswords. In fact, the app itself boasts of having 3700 exercises across its four levels.
iOS / Android
Price: Basic functionality is free. Full features unlocked with in-app purchases.
Best for: speaking and listening, language exchange with native speakers.
Tandem has been described as the “Tinder of Language-learning Apps,” but don’t let that label make you think that people on the app aren’t taking learning seriously. Tandem is a French conversation app that allows you to practice French with native speakers and to build meaningful, long-term language-learning partnerships (“tandems”) with people all over the world.
The premise is simple: Tandem acts as a matchmaker service for finding language partners. Simply fill out your profile (a picture of you and a short description of your goals is often enough) and scroll through the scores of other profiles of people with similar language aspirations as you!
In an ideal situation, you’ll find a native French speaker, and you’ll spend time practicing French in exchange for letting that person practice English (or another language you speak!) with you. Learners have the option of conversing through the in-app messaging functionality or taking their exchange off-app and using an audio or video calling service such as Skype or Hangouts.
But Tandem’s features don’t end with a simple language exchange. To help learners make the most of their experience, the app also has an in-app translation feature, voice messages and personalized tutors that can be purchased at a per-lesson price.
The written messages come with message correction capabilities, meaning that your French partner can edit the written messages you send them. This is great for partners to help each other speak more naturally and correctly.
500 French Conversations
iOS / Android
Price: Basic functionality is free. In-app purchases and ad-free content is available at a price.
Best for: conversation practice, listening and speaking, everyday French expressions and vocabulary.
The basic premise of this app is simple and quite self-evident: 500 French Conversations is an app that offers, well… 500 authentic French conversations!
The conversations are short and to the point, and they’re perfect for beginners and intermediate learners looking for speaking and listening practice.
The conversations themselves cover topics such as school, work and daily life, but with a library of 500 conversations, there’s no topic out of reach. The conversations are in no particular order, so you don’t need to complete preceding conversations to skip ahead and unlock the conversation you actually want to study.
The script for each conversation is available in French and in English, and after listening, learners can practice with useful fill-in-the-blank exercises to test their listening and speaking skills. 500 French Conversations would be a great addition to a French speaking app like Tandem.
Price: Free with in-app purchases.
Best for: vocabulary building, listening, reading.
MindSnacks is a beautifully designed iOS app for French learners. Even though the app is geared toward students, I suspect you’ll find the iOS French app to be highly enjoyable in helping you learn new French words.
Widely acclaimed for its game-oriented approach to learning and revising words, MindSnacks helps you learn new words through nine games. The app is divided up into different units of vocabulary like food, jobs and transport. For each vocabulary set, you can use these games to help learn and strengthen new words.
In one game, a word flashes on the screen, and you have to match it to the drawing. Get as many correct as you can every round for high scores. In another game, a bunch of French words and English words appear as balloons. Your challenge is to match as many pairs as possible.
With over 50 vocabulary sets available, you’ll find that these games will help you get through most of the heavy lifting in an entertaining way, helping you comb through the basics in no time.
iOS / Android
Price: One-time low price to install, plus in-app purchases.
Best for: listening, conversation practice, everyday vocabulary and phrases, flashcards.
MosaLingua is a platform that’s a good blend between an interactive French app and an audio phrasebook.
What makes MosaLingua unique is its use of the Spaced Repetition System (SRS) when presenting new words. Basically, SRS is a way to calculate when words should be presented for you to revise just before they’re about to be forgotten. That way, in the long term, the words you learn will stick with you a lot longer.
With over 14 categories and 100 sub-categories, all with conversations and audio files to boot, and covering over 3,000 phrases in its audio phrasebook, MosaLingua is designed to help you absorb all this material (and keep it!) in the shortest possible time.
MosaLingua has received largely positive ratings for its iOS French app and its Android French app. Overall, MosaLingua French is a great course to check out.
iOS / Android
Price: Free. Premium features for a price.
Best for: vocabulary building, listening, conversation practice (with a chatbot).
Mondly is a pretty well-rounded app for learners who want to get a broad introduction to the French language. While Mondly is a little lacking on the grammar end of things, it’s definitely good at effectively teaching new and useful vocabulary for French learners.
Mondly claims to have 1000s of lessons to help you learn all the French you need for conversations with French native speakers. It hosts lessons based on topics such as food and drink, school and travel, and within each lesson, learners do a variety of activities to learn the words and phrases that go with each topic. Such activities include matching, fill-in-the-blanks and sentence building. Repetition really is key here, and you get loads of it with Mondly!
But Mondly doesn’t use simple flashcard-based activities: you can practice using actual French with a real French speaker. A French chatbot, that is!
Mondly’s chatbot allows you to have French conversation in a safe, in-app setting. Make a mistake? That’s okay. The chatbot will do its best to help you so that you don’t make the same mistake with a human native French speaker.
iOS / Android
Price: Monthly subscription fee; the price comes down when buying a yearly plan.
Best for: vocabulary building, repetition, spelling, listening.
Surprisingly—or not—the idea behind this app is actually in its name! Learners quite literally master the French language one drop at a time.
Each drop is a word or a short phrase, and learners practice this word or phrase’s meaning and its usage by dragging it around the screen in various activities. These activities can be picture matching, true or false and word and sentence building. This app is so gamified that it’s easy to forget that each drop is growing your bucket of French fluency.
Drops focuses on practical vocabulary and doesn’t weigh the learner down with tedious grammar rules and explanations. The vocabulary revolves around words and phrases that are most useful to the learner at the beginner and intermediate stages of learning: food, shopping, transportation and many others.
Best of all, Drops keeps track of your progress by linking it to a traveler’s proficiency level. As such, it lets you know how well you’d fare in a French-speaking country.
Mango Languages French
iOS / Android
Price: Free with some library memberships.
Best for: listening, reading, flashcards, everyday vocabulary and phrases, travel vocabulary.
Do you want to learn French online but don’t know where to start? Should you focus on grammar, vocabulary or listening and speaking practice?
Well, the good news is that you don’t have to choose! Mango Languages French is one of the best all-around apps for learning basic French. And best of all, Mango Languages is free with certain library memberships in Canada and the United States. Simply log into your local library and see if your library has a partnership with the app.
The primary Mango Languages French course has four units with five lessons in each. Each lesson revolves around a written and spoken French conversation. The subsequent activities include dissecting the grammar and vocabulary used in the dialogue through a flashcard-based approach.
In addition to its basic course, the Mango Languages French app allows you to record your own French audio to accompany each French word and phrase. This is great for comparing your recordings to native French speech and practicing the accurate pronunciation of French words and phrases.
Mango Languages French also has grammar and culture explanations, and it uses Spaced Repetition System (SRS) technology to help you review flashcards at regular intervals to keep learned vocabulary in your long-term memory.
iOS / Android
Price: Free trial available; subscription required for full access.
Best for: digital immersion, listening, reading, speaking, vocabulary building.
It’s almost impossible to mention language learning without mentioning Rosetta Stone.
One of the oldest and most popular learning methodologies around, it’s now available as a mobile app.
Without going into the gory details, Rosetta Stone sets itself apart from many other language methodologies by offering a completely immersive experience. From the very beginning, it teaches French purely through French—there’s not a word in English inside the course.
By doing this, it simulates the environment that it believes is most conducive to learning a new language—when we were young children learning to speak our mother tongues.
Even though it can seem alien at first, by linking concepts and objects directly to French words (instead of their English equivalents), Rosetta Stone is a method that has great long-term benefits.
You’ll be taken through a well-sequenced program where you’ll be exposed to words, sentences and phrases that build on top of what you’ve already learned.
For instance, you might be taught the French word for man (l’homme), woman (la femme) or water (l’eau) through pictures. A phrase might then be shown to you that says “L’homme et la femme boivent de l’eau.” (The man and the woman drink water.) You might not know the word boivent ([they] drink), but based on what you’ve already learned, along with visual aids, you can probably guess.
If you’re a stone-cold beginner in French, and you’re looking for a French iOS / Android app that allows you to learn French in a pure way, Rosetta Stone might be what you’re looking for.
Of course, you’re probably aware of the downside to Rosetta Stone: It’s expensive. That said, the program offers a free trial that you can take for a spin, and you can occasionally find some great discounts and sale prices on the site. And if you’re a student, you’re in luck—there's a special student discount!
iOS / Android
Price: Basic app is free. Premium subscription is available for additional features.
Best for: flashcards, listening, reading, speaking, vocabulary building.
One of the most innovative free apps for learning French words I’ve seen in a long time, Memrise is an excellent choice for your learning needs if you’re struggling to remember French words after a while.
Since a recent update, Memrise includes community-created as well as professionally-created courses. Their staple French courses, for example, have been created by French teaching professionals. This means that the French flashcard decks focus on the most useful French words for their level, and they include video and audio clips of native French speech.
In addition to these are the community-created French courses. These are created by everyday learners or amateur French teachers, but they are packed with useful French words and phrases. While they may be missing video and audio (or both), these are fantastic for picking up where the professionally-made courses leave off. Further, because they’re created by the community, they are constantly evolving with new content being added daily.
Memrise has many modules ranging from Basic to Advanced levels, where words are presented in batches of 15 centered around themes like verbs, thoughts, feelings and colors.
A really creative way of tackling one of the most difficult problems of learning any language (acquiring vocabulary), the Memrise iOS and Android French apps are definitely worth checking out.
Français Authentique (Authentic French)
iOS / Android
Price: Français Authentique is free. Membership with the Français Authentique community is possible where learners can access additional learning materials.
Best for: listening, native French audio, vocabulary and phrases, transcripts and exercises.
This app is based on the successful Français Authentique YouTube channel. As of January 2021, Français Authentique’s YouTube channel has over one million subscribers, and its host, Johan, has helped countless people improve their French through his French vlogs and podcasts.
Français Authentique’s YouTube channel is completely in French, and as such, the app is also completely in French. This includes the actual in-app audio and video content as well as the descriptions and supporting materials. Because of this, this app is recommended for those who have at least a solid basis in French such as high beginners and intermediate learners.
The audio and video content revolves around podcasts produced in slow, clear French. Podcast topics include common French vocabulary and grammar topics, lifestyle vlogs and Johan’s interest in self-improvement and productivity.
New audio and video content are constantly added, and PDF files can be downloaded from the app for learners to follow along.
iOS / Android
Price: Limited features with a free account; full features for a monthly or yearly subscription plan.
Best for: vocabulary building, listening, reading, flashcards.
The concept behind LingQ is two-sided.
On the first side is French content you love and want to learn from. This makes a world of difference when you’re trying to learn French. On LingQ, you can find written and audio content on virtually any topic from history to travel to culture to classic French literature. Simply browse LingQ’s ever-growing library of content, choose a lesson that speaks to you at your French level and dive in.
The second side of LingQ is its fully interactive reading interface. Each word in LingQ is clickable, and you get an instant translation of the French word into English. Better yet, you can turn every unknown French word into a flashcard, or a “LingQ,” as it’s called in the program. With these LingQs, you can review them using the Spaced Repetition System and make them into known words, effectively transferring them into your long-term memory.
This app is incredibly effective. The technique of instant translations and flashcard creation makes learning smooth and painless, and the endless supply of French content will keep you excited at each stage of learning.
iOS / Android
Price: Monthly subscription fee with various levels of access (Basic, Premium and Pro).
Best for: In-depth French lessons, French-only learning, vocabulary building, grammar practice, listening.
Frantastique isn’t your typical swipe-and-click app: It’s actually a fully functional platform for well-rounded French lessons delivered daily to your phone.
Each day, a new Frantastique French lesson arrives on your device. The lessons seem a little out-of-this-world, and I don’t only say that because of their value. The lessons actually revolve around stories about aliens! In fact, these cute aliens take us through various aspects of French culture from Edith Piaf to Victor Hugo, and they teach us loads of French along the way.
After listening to and reading a short scene about the aliens’ adventures in French, learners study various aspects of the French language presented in the aliens’ scene. Oftentimes, learners practice newly introduced vocabulary and grammar structures, and there are plenty of practice exercises for reinforcement.
Best of all, after the learner completes their daily Frantastique lesson, it’s sent off to be marked. When it returns, all the errors are pointed out with accompanying explanations. Frantastique really goes above and beyond to elevate the learner’s level of French. You can read our review of Frantastique for more in-depth information about the program!
iOS / Android
Price: Free download with in-app purchases.
Best for: listening, reading, writing, speaking, vocabulary building, practice with other learners and native speakers.
Busuu French is a very different app than what you’re used to. Like all other apps, there’s a learning component, but what makes it really unique is that, unlike other apps that are geared towards personal use, it has an active community of users to help you practice speaking French.
The Busuu app is also based on the CEFR, so its material is highly certifiable. In each lesson, you’re typically taken through key vocabulary, the dialogue, a writing exercise, a practice speaking session with native speakers, a dialogue recording and a lesson review to close things up.
Similar to Open Languages, it’s very comprehensive in the topics it covers, and the exercises are designed around speaking, writing and listening.
So if you’re someone who prefers a program with a lot of different exercise types to it, and lots of native speakers to practice with, the Busuu French app for iOS / Android might just be the thing for you.
Price: Low one-time price to download.
Best for: vocabulary and phrases building, native speaker audio, flashcards, listening, reading.
SpeakEasy is actually a phrasebook app available for iOS and Android you can take with you on the go.
Armed with native speaker recordings, you can be sure that you can get the whole experience when traveling to a French country. So when you find yourself in situations where you have to speak French, you have these recordings to fall back on.
Some cool features of SpeakEasy are the slow playback feature and flashcards. This way, you’re really armed with everything you need to succeed with learning and practicing new French phrases!
iOS / Android
Price: Free; paid monthly premium subscription available.
Best for: listening, reading, speaking, writing, vocabulary building, grammar tips.
Among all the apps here, Duolingo probably strikes the best balance between learning French and being fun, like a game. And it’s got some serious accreditation to boot. It was the winner of both Apple’s App of the Year (2013) and Google Play’s Best of the Best (2013) awards, so you can bet it’s really well designed.
In a nutshell, I think Duolingo really excels in simplifying. Even the design speaks for itself—with a cute green bird as its mascot and a clean, minimalist theme, it’s certainly easy on the eyes!
What Duolingo does is breaks down everything—adjectives, question words, tenses, abstract nouns (words like “feelings”), technical terms and more—and chunks them together into neat units. There are about 60 units in total for Duolingo French, so you’re probably going to be busy for a while.
One of the best things about using Duolingo is that it’s really quick to use. Inside every unit, there are sub-units, where Duolingo teaches you about seven new words. It does this through a combination of fun exercises such as rearranging sentences, matching a picture to the word and repeating a phrase in French to be assessed.
And there are only about 20 of these questions per unit, so you can get through it pretty quickly.
The great thing about Duolingo is that you don’t need a huge time commitment to use this. If you only take 20 minutes every day to go through three or four units, you can probably get through all the units in Duolingo in three months. That’s 1,500 words in three months! In fact, there are a total of 3,000 French words in the Duolingo French course.
On top of that, Duolingo has other great features including the ability to follow friends, an XP “track” to benchmark your progress, a virtual currency store to buy new clothes for your bird mascot, a word meter that designs review lessons based on your familiarity with words and more. Duolingo also has a sister program built into the app to assist with your French mastery: Duolingo Stories. This program uses words from the original course and helps you learn French through short, interactive stories.
In all, Duolingo is a great iOS French app and Android French app that actually succeeds in teaching the committed student French with less than 20 minutes of daily practice.
Highly recommended for beginners! If you want to learn French online with a free app, Duolingo is a great place to start.
Pro Language’s French English Translator
Best for: speech-input and written translation, copy and paste functionality, French audio.
Pro Language’s French English Translator is a translation app that supports both French and English input. Whether you want to translate a single word or you want to copy and paste a full text from your device’s clipboard, the app offers an accurate translation from either English to French or French to English.
In addition to its written-input functionality, the app also supports speech input. Simply say the French or English you want to translate and get an instant translation into the other language. Do you want to actually hear how the French sounds? Well, lucky for you, Pro Language’s French English Translator also includes text-to-speech technology.
It’s a Great Time to Be Learning French with Apps
As you can see, many of these apps share a common goal: to distill learning French into its bare essence and present it in fun, digestible lessons.
Learning French online through apps is truly a great tool for French learners…whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner.
Of course, each app is designed with just a slightly different purpose in mind. So, not every app might be for you. But hopefully, after this post, you have a better idea of the types of French learning apps available for both iOS and Android devices, and whether they’re suitable for you.
Merci et bonne chance! (Thanks and good luck!)
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.