best apps for learning spanish like a boss

15 Best Apps for Learning Spanish Like a Boss in 2021

Learning Spanish?

Have a smartphone?

Then you’re in luck.

You can learn Spanish with songs and music.

You have fantastic Spanish podcasts at your fingertips.

And of course, you have a sea of apps for learning Spanish.

So where to begin?

Don’t worry, we’ve found 15 of the best apps for learning Spanish in 2021, and for having fun while you’re at it. 

In fact, you’ll feel just like you’re playing a game on your smartphone.

Let’s dive straight in.

15 Best Apps for Learning Spanish Like a Boss

Below are some of the best Spanish learning apps available in 2021, as well as a few alternatives to some “oldies but goodies.” Download and learn!

Top Spanish Learning Apps

1. FluentUbest apps for learning spanish

FluentU Website | iOS | Android

Price: $$ (free trial available)

Description

FluentU is one of the most unique apps on this list. As a Spanish learner myself, I cannot overstate the benefit of native content in my study strategy from FluentU.

This app is for serious language learners looking to take their Spanish to the next level. After months of book learning, the FluentU app was like a breath of fresh air to my study routine. Many of the components I had struggled with such as communicating with native speakers and listening finally improved thanks to the native input from the app.

Being a firm believer in doing what I love when it comes to studying, choosing content that personally interests me from the vast video library makes the learning process much more enjoyable and engaging.

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.

FluentU has a wide variety of videos topics, as you can see here:

learn-spanish-with-videos

FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. 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.

Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.

learn-spanish-with-interactive-captioned-videos

Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.

learn-spanish-music-videos

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

practice-spanish-with-adaptive-quizzes

The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re studying with the same video.

Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the iOS or Android FluentU app.

FluentU is highly recommended for people who are audio-visual learners and want to learn more about Spanish or Latin American culture.

2. DuolingoDuolingo

Duolingo Website | iOS | Android

Price: Free

Description

Among all the apps here, Duolingo probably has the highest ratings of all—it won the Best App Award in 2013 in both the AppStore and the Google Play Store.

Duolingo Spanish is split up into units that have a certain theme (e.g. education, work, medicine), and it’s designed so that each unit goes up in difficulty. Units are generally divided into two types: tenses and others (e.g. nouns, adjectives, adverbs, question words, pronouns, etc.). It’s very unique in the fact that it’s not grammar intensive—as a matter of fact, apart from about 10 of the most commonly used tenses, you won’t see any grammar lessons throughout the app.

Within each unit, there are sub-units. Each sub-unit covers about seven to 10 words. Each unit can have anywhere from one to 10 sub-units.

Inside each sub-unit, there are six types of exercises that teach you these words, building on what you already know: the voice recording, where you read a Spanish sentence out loud after hearing a native recording; English to Spanish translation of a phrase; Spanish to English translation of a phrase; matching a photo to a word; rearranging words to form a sentence; and multiple-choice questions.

There are about 20 questions per sub-unit.

If this sounds like a lot, think again.

Duolingo was designed to be quick to use, so it uses a very focused approach to distill lessons down to the bare essentials. What that means is if you can commit about 20 minutes of time every day to go through three to four lessons, you’ll be able to finish all the lessons in about three to four months’ time (taking into account word loss over time).

It’s really well-paced.

There are also some really cool additional features as well—like following friends, setting a daily “track” to measure progress, word loss meter, Duolingo’s virtual currency (lingots) store, etc.

Recently, they’ve added a Duolingo stories feature which allows you to practice your Spanish comprehension with engaging short stories. Your points from the Duolingo story feature go towards your XP!

Overall, Duolingo really manages to teach Spanish in a simple way by honing in on the 1500 most important words that are most commonly used in daily situations.

3. Rosetta Stonebest apps for learning spanish

Rosetta Stone Website | iOS | Android

Price: Free (for a demo account) $$

Description

Among the 15 apps here, Rosetta Stone is undoubtedly the most famous learning methodology and sits as the oldest language learning app.

Rosetta Stone is designed very differently than most language apps that are on the marketplace today. Instead of learning Spanish through English, it is designed for us to learn Spanish through Spanish.

In other words, it’s trying to teach us Spanish the way we’d learn it if we were children starting to learn the language.

Within the platform, you’ll see that all words, phrases and audios are in Spanish—you’ll literally be getting zero translations to English. It’s that immersive of an experience!

On top of its learning component, it also has a platform where you can schedule lessons with a live tutor every other lesson. So if you enjoy practicing Spanish by talking to native speakers, this might be a great bonus feature.

Speech recognition within the platform has also been praised because it has been designed to specifically recognize the pronunciation of non-native speakers. I’m sure you can relate—but when we’re learning a new language in the beginning, there are a lot of words we know but end up pronouncing in a weird accent, which can result in a raised eyebrow or a frown from native speakers. The enhanced speech recognition really helps offset this.

Overall, I have to say that this is a pretty intensive method. But if you’re a language enthusiast (and a purist at that), then this might just be what you’re looking for. See more information on the official site here!

4. MindSnacksMindSnacks-Spanish

iOS

Price: $ (free trial available up to 4 levels)

Description

Among these apps, MindSnacks is probably an app that’s most suitable for Spanish learners studying Spanish in school.

MindSnacks is often a widely praised iOS Spanish app that treats learning Spanish as a game rather than being taught entire phrases and grammar points.

When you first enter the app, you’re taken to the homepage with nine games, and each game is based on content that’s centered on a certain theme, like food, home or school.

For example, there’s a game called Swell. In Swell, an English or Spanish word flashes on the screen. Two choices are then given for the Spanish and English equivalents. Before the time runs out, you have to select the correct answer. If you select the wrong answer, you’ll lose your streak. And it gets faster and faster with every word, so you have to know your words really well to select the right answer quickly!

Nine other games are also available for all vocabulary sets.

One thing I’ll comment about MindSnacks is that the graphics are tailored for young children. If you don’t mind this, then it can still be a fun way to learn Spanish, and an effective one too.

5. Memrisebest apps for learning spanish

Memrise Website | iOSAndroid

Price: $$ (for pro version)

Description

Memrise is a very unique language learning app. Unlike other apps, its sole purpose is to help you memorize Spanish words, hence the name “Memrise”. And in my opinion, it’s also one of the most creative iOS Spanish apps for learning Spanish words around.

There are different modules in the app, and many more lessons in each module. For example, for Spanish, there’s “Learn Basic Mexican Spanish,” “Advanced Spanish,” “Spanish Vocab by frequency” (4650 words), and “250 most commonly used Spanish words”.

One lesson in each module typically helps you learn 15 words.

Each lesson generally consists of a Spanish word, its English meaning and an audio recording.

However, it’s the methodology that really got me interested. Instead of just rote repetition, it helps you learn through funny ways of thinking about a word. For example, bañarse, a reflexive Spanish verb that means “to bathe oneself,” is remembered by “However shy you are of nakedness as you bathe yourself, you’ll never be able to ban your arse from the bath!”

In similar examples, you get ridiculously funny sentences that contain both the Spanish word and its meaning. And because it’s usually hilarious (sometimes it comes with a picture too), it’s that much more memorable than had you stared at the word on a piece of paper.

This is a really creative way to learn words in a foreign language, with some pretty slick humor too. Memrise is highly recommended for all who find it tedious to memorize new words.

6. FluenciaFluencia

Fluencia Website

iOS / Android: No app, but the site is mobile-friendly

Cost: $$

Description

Fluencia is an online-based platform that teaches Spanish through a highly visual method. So instead of a lot of text, there are a lot of visual aids to guide the learning process.

There are 10 levels for Fluencia, with 10 units per level. After going through all the lessons, it reckons that you’ll be on par with someone who studied Spanish in college for a year. Not bad for 50 units of lessons, eh?

Within each unit, there are various types of lessons covering conversation, vocabulary, grammar, culture and communication.

It’s really a mix of how the lessons are presented. At times, there are conversations you can hear and follow along, there are also places where you have to type the translation of an English phrase, and there are places where you match the picture with the correct Spanish phrase.

The platform itself is very intuitive and easy to use. There are also lots of pictures and visual aids cleverly weaved into each lesson. One thing I thought was interesting is that Fluencia actually customizes its lessons. For instance, after every unit you complete, there’s a review session. That review session is based only on words you’re weaker at, so it’s helpful for remembering tricky words in Spanish.

And because Fluencia is online (instead of developed as an app), this Spanish app provides a great user experience for both iOS and Android devices.

7. MosaLinguaMosalingua

MosaLingua Website | iOS | Android

Price: $

Description

MosaLingua is a platform that is designed to teach Spanish using several efficient methodologies, such as SRS (which helps calculate review dates based on how difficult you find words as you learn them), focusing on 20% of the most important vocabulary, as well as ingraining words into long term memory.

I found the fact that it focuses on 3,000 most common words and phrases to be attractive—after all, the golden ratio really holds in many situations; you really only need about 20% of the language to get through 80% of daily situations.

As with most language learning apps, there are distinct sub-categories of words and phrases, so it’s very well organized. Also, you’ll find that for all Spanish words and phrases, there are native speaker recordings, so you won’t go astray in pronunciation.

With both the iOS Spanish app and the Android Spanish app receiving largely positive user ratings, this is an app you don’t want to miss.

8. Busuubest apps for learning spanish

Busuu Website | iOS | Android

Price: $$

Description

Unlike many other Spanish apps, Busuu has a vibrant community of active users. This also means that out of speaking, listening, reading and writing, Busuu is an app that has a big speaking component, so be prepared for a lot of oral practice.

In a nutshell, Busuu is an online Spanish learning platform, and like Open Languages Spanish, it divides up levels according to the CEFR.

Inside each lesson, it takes you through the lesson material in a well-paced sequence.

  • You start off with learning some key vocabulary
  • This prepares you for the lesson dialog
  • After the lesson dialog, you practice writing on the topic for other members to see (and hopefully edit)
  • Then you arrive at the speaking practice session with native speakers in the community
  • Next, you record the phrases indicated on the screen
  • Finally, there is a lesson review

In other words, you’ll be covered in all four areas of language learning (reading, writing, speaking, listening)—but I feel like this is a platform best used to learn spoken Spanish.

One really cool feature is that you can do a mock conversation. At the end of a lesson, you’ll be taken to a dialogue with two people. One person’s part is already recorded, and then you have to record your part. At the end of it, the app combines all the parts together and plays the conversation as a whole, which I think is pretty neat.

Among all apps listed here, Busuu is probably the best iOS and Android Spanish app that draws heavily on the strength of its community. Highly worth checking out if you like connecting to people.

9. LingualiaLingualia

Lingualia Website | iOS | Android

Price: $$$

Description

Similar to Busuu, Lingualia is a complete platform that takes you through Spanish lessons in a well-designed sequence based on your level.

Lingualia offers units that range from the A1-B2 levels of the CEFR, and there are about 50 units per level, so there’s quite some material to comb through.

Each unit is based around a theme, very much like how we learn Spanish as a foreign language in school.

Each lesson has a few components to it: the dialog, vocabulary concepts, grammar points, similar words and checkpoint exercises. The dialog is where it all begins, really. You’ll hear these audios spoken out loud, which are all recorded by native speakers, so the conversations flow naturally.

After seeing the dialog (presented in Spanish), you’ll go through vocabulary. This is where new words and some colloquial phrases are introduced as key words to learn for the lesson.

Of course, as with a traditionally presented course, the lesson doesn’t end without a bit of grammar. The grammar topics are highly relevant to the level you’re at, which can be concepts like indirect pronouns and the preterite tense for beginner levels, and the imperfect preterite tense for advanced levels.

Before the review of the lesson, there’s also an interesting section where two similar words are presented, and examples are given to show you how to distinguish between them.

Outside the lesson, there are also several other features: the challenge section, where you can “fight” either with the computer or another user in a quiz-like test and an activities section, where you can practice your Spanish writing.

Overall, this is an app that really resembles learning Spanish in a traditional setting (without the homework assignments and the demanding teacher!), and a comprehensive app at that.

10. SpeakEasySpeakEasy

iOS | Android (no longer available on Android)

Price: $

Description

If you’re looking for something more practical to take with you on the go, SpeakEasy might be something for you.

A true mobile app available only for mobile platforms, SpeakEasy is essentially a travel-friendly phrasebook to take with you. Most phrasebooks you’ve bought probably had something like “ke as dee-cho” as a pronunciation aid for “¿Qué has dicho?”. But SpeakEasy actually offers native recordings for most phrases and words, so you’ll be able to copy these native recordings easily.

Another cool feature it has is the slow playback feature—if you hear a phrase and it’s too fast, you can play it back at a slower speed to listen to it more carefully.

A recent update also included a new feature to the app—flashcards. So if you want to really learn Spanish, and not just for emergency travel use, it’s a great way to review learned phrases and words.

11. SpeakTribebest apps for learning spanish

iOS | Android

Price: $$ (free trial up to level 4)

Description

The SpeakTribe app centers on practical communication skills and helps you become familiar with the Spanish language in approachable sentence chunks, questions, quizzes, phrases and more. The sentences can be audibly played and are focused on the most commonly used Spanish words and phrases.

In this way, SpeakTribe shares many similarities to the previously mentioned Duolingo app.

Images are also matched with these phrases and are available in most of these activities.

The app is leveled and progresses in difficulty. The basic idea behind the app is that once you have a solid grasp of the foundations in Spanish you can move on to more complicated or challenging components of Spanish learning. Because of this, the lessons focus on high-use and high-value vocabulary and grammar.

Essentially, the app is designed to help you become familiar with Spanish in the shortest amount of time possible.

For example, if you’re wanting to learn the difference between the two “to be” verbs in Spanish ser and estar then this apps is a great option as you will be introduced to these differences with simple Spanish sentences. There are additional grammar pointers in between the lessons which help to solidify the knowledge and challenge your comprehension.

Speaktribe also has another fun feature which is the listening and multiple-choice functions which means you’re able to turn your lessons into more “game styles” approaches.

This app is perfect for a beginner looking to acquire all of the basic “tools” of the Spanish language and will allow you to practice sentence mining. You’ll also be able to start creating your own sentences with relative ease.

12. HiNativebest apps for learning spanish

Android | iOS

Price: Free

Description

HiNative is a super fun app that functions in a similar way to an online chat app. The only difference is that with HiNative, users ask questions related to language and grammar usage to native speakers of that language.

While it’s not necessarily a language learning app in the sense that it provides courses or materials for learning, sometimes having a native speaker explain a confusing part of Spanish makes all the difference to your own comprehension.

These moments can be fairly common when learning Spanish!

You can earn points for answering questions targeted in your own native language. There is a large user base meaning your Spanish questions will almost definitely be answered.

If you’re just getting started there’s a template feature that can help you formulate your questions with ease.

Plus, I find it a great way to ask questions related to the feel or sound of my sentences when studying. I will commonly ask whether something I have written sounds native and then provide the full sentence following on from this. Native Spanish speakers will then comment and correct my sentence or sentences.

While I wouldn’t recommend this app as a central learning resource it can be very useful to have in your back pocket when those inevitable Spanish learning questions pop-up! If you’re searching for a quick answer to a question that’s been bugging you then this is a great option and you’ll find most of the app users are more than happy to help out.

As an added benefit, it’s also great to join a group of language learners and help others as you progress on your own journey. Many users have found the app a beneficial way to ask additional questions related to culture, slang and other specific components of Spanish learning.

Plus, it’s fantastic for your own motivation and to maintain your learning as you are also giving something back to the language learning community.

13. Cudu (Spanish conversation practice)best apps for learning spanish

Android

Price: Free

Description

If you’re after a fun little app that teaches you Spanish conversation then be sure to check out Cudu.

Cudu provides you with typical Spanish daily conversation practice in text form. You can converse, listen, read and learn from dialogue-based lessons. This approach can certainly assist with retention and learning in context.

However, please note that a basic knowledge of Spanish is required to access the full potential of the app and to get started.

There are over 100 topics to choose from covering daily life and common conversation topics. The app helps you get familiar with the “flow” of Spanish conversation. The app also uses heaps of common expressions and idioms which will give your Spanish a native boost.

The app is also great if you need some practice constructing sentences in Spanish. Recent updates to the app include an error correction test and voice recording practice meaning it will question your language choices if it appears that you have committed an error.

Of course, you’re speaking with a robot so keep that in mind when using the program. But, for a foundation in Spanish conversation forms, it can be a great starting place.

Basically, if you’re a beginner with some Spanish knowledge, it’s a great introduction to Spanish conversation especially if you want to take it step by step!

It can also be of benefit if you haven’t quite worked up the courage to talk with a Spanish-speaking native (yet).

Consider Cudu your gateway to more complicated Spanish forms and learning.

14. ClozeMasterbest apps for learning spanish

Android | iOS

Price: Free

Description

While you may not know the word cloze I’m sure you’re familiar with the testing method. A cloze test is essentially a form of reading comprehension testing in which words are removed from a selected test. The testee is then is expected to fill in the blank space with the appropriate vocabulary word.

Sound familiar? Although it might bring back dreaded memories of high school Spanish classes the ClozeMaster app has taken this traditional method and gamified it with a retro user interface. Plus, there’s a leaderboard injecting a little bit of competition into your sentence study. I use this app frequently and can promise you that it’s heaps of fun and quite addictive.

In terms of Spanish learning, the app is great for vocabulary building as you’re forced to read sentences carefully and consider the context of the sentence to determine the missing word. Many users report a growing familiarity with Spanish after using the App with a very natural progression.

Similar to the FluentU program, ClozeMaster uses a spaced repetition system that encourages language retention as your progress is ranked by the frequency of the words as they appear and your correct or incorrect responses.

Overall, this is a popular app that will help with reading and vocabulary learning. Plus, if you’re proficient you can make it to the top of the leaderboard and be immortalized as a Spanish vocabulary master!

15. Beelinguappbest apps for learning spanish

iOS | Android

Price: Free

As a big fan of reading and literature, I couldn’t leave this list without a reference to Beelinguapp! The app is reading-based and allows you to read texts in your native language and Spanish at the same time. What’s great about the app is the simplicity and usability. As I often neglect my reading study in Spanish Beelinguapp is a great option to keep my motivation high.

In addition to reading, you can also listen to recordings of the text by native Spanish speakers and highlight the text for playback. This is known as the “karaoke reading” function.

I love this option as it makes the reading a really immersive and engaging process. It’s also super helpful when it comes to learning pronunciation. You’ll also find some music and news content on the app however the reading option is my preferred approach when using this app.

As an added bonus, it also functions offline which means you can squeeze in some reading and listening practice on the go.

What’s great is that you can determine the intensity of the lesson. You can read for pleasure or turn it into a more immersive and educational Spanish reading lesson.

The app states that it is for learning languages, practicing pronunciation and having fun and I have to say that I quite like that!

Spanish Learning Apps That Are No Longer Available

Cat SpanishCat-Spanish

Cat Spanish Website | iOS

Price: Free

Description

As an iOS app to learn Spanish, Cat Spanish is also one of the most unique apps out there.

A spin-off project by the same creators of Memrise, Cat Spanish is a Spanish app with a humorous slant: all the pictures, features and design are themed around cats!

Inside the app, you’ll move along a track to complete challenges, which are oriented around commonly used Spanish phrases. Generally, there are lessons that show a (cat-themed) picture, along with a Spanish phrase and its English translation. After familiarising yourself with phrases, you’re given multiple-choice quizzes to see how much you remember.

What’s really unique about the Cat Spanish app is that the cat photos aren’t just random cat pictures taken from the web, they’re actually relevant to the Spanish phrase you’re learning.

For example, if you’re learning how to say “please” in Spanish, “por favor,” you’ll see a cat standing up with his hands held together, eyes looking up, like a human saying please.

In addition, there are brief grammar lessons in between to let you understand the grammar component of the Spanish phrase you just learned. For example, after learning “tengo miedo” (I’m afraid), it’ll explain that instead of saying I am afraid, in Spanish we say, “I have fear.”

Another great feature about the Cat Spanish app is that you can add friends to the game. So as you progress along the track and complete challenges, you’ll see how you’re doing compared to your friends.

Overall, if you’re a cat lover, seeing cats on almost every screen can make learning Spanish just that much more fun!

As of 2020, Cat Spanish is no longer available. I highly recommend learners check out “Fun Spanish by Studycat” as an alternative, though. Like Cat Spanish, it uses a cute kitty cat to teach more than 200 Spanish words over 70 lessons, and it is available on iOS and Android.

Open Language (formerly Spanish Pod)OpenLanguage

Open Language Website | iOS | Android

Description

To me, Open Language has a really professional feel to the platform that sets it apart from many of the other apps. Among language learning apps that have a more “serious” feel, it’s probably one of the best Spanish apps for Android and iOS alike.

Open Language Spanish is broken up into many courses. Here, you also see where the professional feel comes from—Open Language Spanish courses actually correspond to the 6 levels of the CEFR. So instead of promising to teach Spanish, it promises an equivalent proficiency from A1-C2 of the CEFR, which is very useful for benchmarking your progress against an internationally accepted scale.

Each lesson is centered around a dialogue between two hosts. The two hosts repeat the Spanish dialogue several times and interject English comments here and there to explain new Spanish terms.

After you listen to the audio recording, you can see the dialog transcript below, a summary of the vocabulary you cover, an expansion section for additional words and phrases, a grammar section covering one to two grammar points, and exercises to strengthen what you learned.

Overall, if you’re a serious Spanish student, or someone looking for a course that’s based around an accredited standard, Open Language Spanish may be something to check out.

As of 2020, Open Language is no longer available. A good alternative, however, is an app called “Spanish Conversation” which is available for Android. Through over 500 conversations, you can learn authentically spoken Spanish as well as access written Spanish transcripts of each conversation and translations into English.

Final Thoughts on Spanish Apps

As you can see, while all of these Spanish apps have many similarities, each one of them is designed with a slightly different purpose in mind. Some might be better at teaching words, some might be better at teaching grammar, while others might be great for practicing your speaking.

So, depending on how you want to learn Spanish, you might choose a different app that best suits your purpose.

The best of luck with learning Spanish!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.

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