It’s a well-known fact that our brain strength starts to decline over age, whether cognitive skills or structure.
So just like your physical self, you should train your brain too.
The decline in brain strength is inevitable, but the brain has the ability to keep growing and learning. Therefore, if you regularly train your brain with new skills and problem-solving exercises, you may be able to slow down this decline.
Now, if you are wondering how to train your brain?
Don’t worry; you don’t need a dedicated gym for it. Your smartphone is all you need to get a good brain exercise every day.
There are many brain training apps for Android and iOS that will challenge your brain with different exercises to improve brain skills like memory, focus, response, multi-tasking, problem-solving, etc.
If you are ready to train your brain, keep reading, and I’ll introduce some of the best brain training apps for Android and iOS.
Being over a decade old, Lumosity is one of the first few apps to provide brain training exercises. Unlike Elevate, Lumosity has actual mini-games instead of quiz-like games. There are over 50+ games to help you improve skills like speed, memory, attention, flexibility, language, math, and problem-solving.
The app will first ask which skills you are interested in exercising (you can select all too), and then you will go through a 3 games test to check your skills. The tests are definitely very challenging, and even after multiple tries, I could not get a perfect score on any of them. The test score will be shown in comparison to other people of the same age as you.
The free version has a limited number of games and only shows basic stats. You can get the pro subscription to access all the 50+ games with personalized stats and challenges. In both free and pro versions, you’ll have to complete different challenges to unlock more games.
Elevate is among the most popular brain training apps that offer over 35 interactive games to help you exercise skills like memory, processing, math, reading, focus, and more.
When you launch the app for the first time, it will make you go through a few quick tests to judge your current skills. They will give a score from 0-5000 to measure your skills, and this same score will be used for all the games inside Elevate.
The app has both free and paid versions. You can unlock up to 21 games in the free version and exercise 3 of them every day. The pro version unlocks all brain training games and lets you practice 5 different games every day with advanced statistics.
Most of these games are questions/answers but sufficiently interactive to keep you busy. I also really liked their tutorial for each game, making it a snap to understand how to play each game.
Like other apps here, NeuroNation also makes you go through a test to check your skills and score. The app offers 27 different exercises with over 250 levels that become tougher as you move forward. You can create a custom schedule, and the app will notify you when it’s time to train your brain.
Most of the exercises are simply “choosing the right item” depending on the situation. However, it’s tough to score high as each mistake sets you a level back, and each correct answer introduces a harder challenge.
I am sure you will really like that many of the games NeuroNation provides have multiple aspects that could change the outcome. For example, you can climb levels fasters using bonuses or choose a more optimal option when two correct answers are available.
The app also doesn’t bound you to a specific set of games to play every day. You can keep playing any of the games you like and however you like. However, some of the games are only available in the pro subscription.
I should add that I really disliked their tutorials. The tutorials give instructions while the real game is running, and the instructions are mostly just hints rather than accurate steps. So it can be a little frustrating to play a game for the first time, but it should work out fine once you understand the game.
Another great brain training app with exciting games can even help you control emotions and challenge your creativity. Peak offers over 45 brain training games that are personalized to your profile. The app’s free version is minimal and only gives access to 2 random games every day, so I recommend you get the pro subscription if you are serious about using Peak.
After the initial tests, you will be given a score, and a personalized list of games will be shown to improve on skills you lack based on the tests. There is also an option to set up reminders to exercise your brain. Interestingly, Peak’s statistics feature in the free version is much better than other apps. You can see stats repeatedly and compare them with other people without needing to upgrade to the pro version.
As far as the games are concerned, they are more advanced than “choose the right answer”. You need to have good math and language skills to play some of the Peak games. I would say Peak is best for advanced users who want something that could challenge their knowledge.
If you are looking for a rather simple app, then Brain Training might intrigue you. This app is quite a barebone with a simple list of brain training exercises, and that’s it. Each game has 15-20 levels that increase in difficulty every time you level up. You won’t find any fancy features like reminders or a stats page in it.
This doesn’t mean it is any less useful than the rest. The exercises it offers are actually straightforward to pick up yet very impactful. Some of the brain skills you can exercise include concentration, search, multitasking, left and right brain balance, memory, and math. Each skill has a dedicated game that can become extremely difficult at higher levels.
Best of all, Brain Training is completely free to use (contains non-intrusive ads), and games can be unlocked by medals earned via leveling up.
Download on Android
This is actually a logic puzzle game where you need to solve a riddle using clues. If you really want to hone your problem-solving skills, then this game can give you a good workout. The puzzle’s basic gist is to use the given clues and adjust the items’ position to solve the riddle. You need to jump between different clues and even need to go back to previous clues to understand the riddle.
There are over 5000 puzzles available distributed over multiple difficulties. You can increase grid sizes to make it more difficult. Of course, each puzzle will take quite some time to finish, so the app offers the ability to save data mid-game and even save it in the cloud. The game is free with ad support, but you can remove ads with the pro upgrade.
Left vs. Right
Another all-around good brain training app that offers 51 total games with the ability to track your stats. Unlike other similar apps in this list, Left vs. Right has a bit different category of games. These 51 games come under the categories of adaptability, reflex, reasoning, precision, patience, and awareness.
Here, games under patience, precision, and awareness are completely different from games found in other apps.
If these distinct categories appeal to you, then this app won’t disappoint you. In the free version, you can play games from 3 categories every day. Users who get the paid subscription have access to all the games and unlock the stats tab to view progress. Interestingly, you can temporarily (1 day) unlock pro features by watching video ads. It’s a nice option to have if you are not ready to pay but want to try pro features.
If you particularly want to train your memory and get a better vocabulary, then Mnemonist is a dedicated app for this. Mnemonist offers a simple words-based game where you need to memorize a list of words in a sequence and then write them in the same sequence. This enables you to train your memory and, at the same time, possibly learn new words.
The game has 29 built-in levels with varying difficulties that you can unlock with stars earned. When you are done with these levels, you can move to the custom level section to create your own levels with whatever difficulty you like. However, the custom level requires a premium account purchase (also removes ads), or you can watch a video ad to create a single custom level.
Download on Android
Although this isn’t actually a brain training app, it can help improve your brain strength. Duolingo lets you learn a new language using fun and interactive methods, just like a game. Many scientific researchers conclude that learning a new language helps in brain development. It has been observed that people who know more than one language have better cognitive skills.
Besides, knowing different languages is very useful in many other ways; it’s the gate to different cultures.
Elevate and Lumosity are definitely the best all-around apps to train your brain and keep track of your progress. It’s best to subscribe for the pro subscription as it gives full control, but even the free version offers sufficient content to keep your brain busy.
If you are new to this whole-brain training concept, I will recommend starting with the Brain Training app instead. It immediately gives you access to the exercises and won’t confuse you with complicating stats and tests.