Sick of your language learning iPhone app? Try this one instead

Screenshots of the busuu app
(Image credit: Busuu)

The busuu app logo

(Image credit: busuu)

iPhone/iPad - Free (In-app purchases)

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Looking for a new language learning app? Try Busuu, which has 14 languages to choose from, including French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Arabic.

It might not be the most popular language learning app, but it might be the most effective and simple, combining straightforward language lessons with feedback from a global community of native speakers. 

So whether you're learning a language at school and want to brush up on your skills, preparing for travel and want to know the basics or you're hoping to boost your career with some international knowledge, Busuu has you covered and will tailor your learning to your specific needs. 

You can access Busuu for free, but you won't have access to all of the lessons and you'll have to deal with ads. Try it for a while and see if you're left wanting more. If you are, sign up to Busuu's premium tier for $79.99/£79.99 a year or $59.99/£59.99 for 6 months.

Simple interface, interactive lessons

When you first sign up for Busuu you can choose a time commitment from as little as 5 minutes. The thinking is that the best habits are built up slowly and consistently over time. You can also select why you want to learn the language and Busuu will adapt to give you the most useful lessons. For example, you'll need different guidance if you're learning French in a business context compared to if you're just planning to visit on holiday. 

Aside from usual text-based lessons, Busuu is a really interactive app, with plenty of ways to learn that go beyond simple words on the screen. There's lots of video content and much of it features bite-sized lessons from native speakers, making it more likely you'll pick up the language and preparing you for the sound and speed of the language you're learning in real-life. 

Busuu will also connect you with a community of native speakers to have direct contact with. This way you can get localized knowledge and tips to improve from the people who speak the language every day. I also like that Busuu has a Smart Review feature, which cleverly saves all the grammar and vocabulary you learn during your lessons and stores them in one handy place, meaning you can easily refer back to it when you need a refresher session.

There's no shortage of great language learning apps available to choose from. I've used both Babbel and Duolingo on and off for years and I've found them to be straightforward, fun and (sort of) effective – although Duolingo's pushy notifications often drive me a little nuts. If you're happy with the app you're already using, this isn't for you. But if you're looking for a change, a fresh start or want to try app-based language learning for the first time, definitely check out what Busuu has to offer.


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Becca Caddy

Becca Caddy is a contributor to iMore, as well as a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than a decade, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality. Last time she checked, she still holds a Guinness World Record alongside iMore Editor in Chief Gerald Lynch for playing the largest game of Tetris ever made, too.

  • Steffi Silva Oliviera
    I like the idea of getting feedback from native speakers - that could really help improve my skills.