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Life Hacks: 

7 brain training apps that will make you smarter

Whether it’s making the world a better place or just planning out your summer holiday, smartphone apps have become omnipresent in our daily lives. They wake us up in the morning, they help us get around during the day, and when it’s time for bed they’ll even track our sleep. Along with the many benefits, though, are concerns that spending all day staring into screens will rot our brain cells. That might be a little dramatic, but delegating our every responsibility to a cellphone can’t exactly do us the world of good either.

The solution? Well, it’s right there inside your smartphone obviously. Admittedly that sort of defeats the point and there are plenty of other ways to to keep your brain active, but they’re not always convenient. Brain training apps, on the other hand, are perfect for those brief periods of downtime as you wait for a bus or travel to work. So, where should you start to get your daily brain boost?

The 7 best brain training apps

1. Elevate

brain training apps

Named Apple’s App of the Year in 2014, Elevate is a pretty good place to start. The personalized brain trainer adjusts itself according to your performance, throwing up a variety of cognitive tasks each day to kickstart your morning. Exercises can train anything from mental arithmetic to precision and pronunciation – just pick the area you need to improve in.

Download for iOS or Android.

2. DuoLingo

brain training apps

Another great way of keeping your brain active is by learning a new language. By far the best app for beginners is DuoLingo, which offers 10 extensive language courses to be completed whenever you have the time. The developers say that an 11-week university language course can be completed in 34 hours using the app and, best of all, it won’t cost you a dime.

Download for iOS, Android or Windows

3. New York Times Crosswords

brain training apps

Brain training apps don’t have to be as complicated as learning a new language, it might just be a case of filling in a crossword. The New York Times’ crosswords are an institution, and having been first published in print back in 1942, they’re now available as a subscription service or completely free if you just want to dip in now and again.

Download for iOS or Windows.

4. Lumosity

brain training apps

Similar to Elevate, Lumosity is an app of games and puzzles designed to get you thinking. Developed by a team of neuroscientists, the app takes a slightly more scientific approach, complete with figures and schedules to plan and chart your progress. It might begin to feel a bit like homework if the games weren’t so nicely designed and beautiful to look at.

Download for iOS and Android

5. Brain Bomb

brain training apps

Ready for a real challenge? Brain Bomb’s developers claim that just 1% of people are capable of completing its app, so take on its 180 mind exercises and see if you can make it into that elite group.

Download for iOS.

6. TED

brain training apps

There’s more to brain training apps than button-bashing mini games, and what better way of expanding your intellect than sitting in on a talk with one of the world’s leading minds. The TED app gives you free access to its entire archived, allowing you to browse, stream and even download your favorite talks so you can watch offline.

Download for iOS or Android.

7. Circles

brain training apps

Finally, Circles is a minimal memory game for iPhone that will not only train your brain, but also help towards Alzheimers research and support programs. For just $0.99 you’ll get full access to the app’s 120 levels, while doing your bit to help ease one of the world’s cruelest afflictions.

Download for iOS.

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