10 apps that will sharpen your mind and memory

best apps train brain header

So you go to the gym five times a week and drink Muscle Milk to keep your body tight, but do you ever think to exercise your brain? The brain can be easily forgotten when doing pull-ups and eating kale, but exercising it is arguably more important than staying in shape. When your muscles fail you in the coming decades, your brain will be the only thing left. Lucky for you, there are apps that can help keep those synapses firing just as fast as the first time you learned how to properly do a squat. Here is a list of 10 that won’t take too much time and might actually help you remember where you put the remote. 

Fit Brains Trainer (Freemium)


We have already done a full review on this gem and the conclusion that it’s not too bad. It offers 10 different game sets to help different areas of the brain such as concentration and memory. It wants you to go through a task from each category every day and keeps track of your progress in a color coded graph, so interpreting the data is like another test. Our guinea pig ended up improving with a week of daily work, so it is very possible it might do what it claims. It couldn’t hurt, either way. 

Lumosity ($15/mo)


Perhaps the most well known of the brain training apps, Lumosity appears regularly on TV commercials, so that must mean something – they have a big marketing budget. Lumosity is widely considered the cream of the crop when it comes to brain training apps. Unlike Fit Brains, Lumosity only asks for three to five days of training a week in various categories. The games are fun with a better variety of challenges, so it doesn’t feel like you’re playing the same thing over and over again. We have a feeling that the numbers it shows at the beginning are extra low so you feel like you’re improving, but if it motivates you, why not. 

Brain School (Free)


This app features a psychedelic Einstein mascot, so there no way this couldn’t work. Brain School isn’t as structured as Lumosity. It allows you to play whatever game and solve whatever puzzle you want, when you want. This open approach is ideal for those who don’t like to be told what to do and simply want to play the brain games of their choosing. Brain School claims it offers more than 100 levels in 20 different games but they are easy to blow through. It also doesn’t show you your progress in a convenient graph, but it is a fun way to pass the time and actually think a little bit for once.  

Sudoku (Free)

photo 2 (1)

If you haven’t heard of Sudoku, you haven’t been in an airport or a bathroom in the last 10 years. This puzzle became all the rage a few years ago when people realized they sucked at crosswords and wanted something challenging but beatable. Basically, you have a grid with random numbers filling some of the spaces. You have to make it so that all the numbers in each box, row, and column add up to 10. It’s difficult to explain, but there are instructions in the app. Things can get pretty wild. The New York Times did a piece on how it can help with memory and list making skills, so if you’re lacking in those areas download this baby. It comes with three levels of varying difficulty so you can progress through the app and still stay sharp. 

Clockwork Brain (Freemium)

photo 1 (1)

“Train your brain the steampunk way” is what the motto for this app reads, basically summing up the puzzles perfectly. Most of the games are similar to those in Fit Brains Trainer and Luminosity but they are explained by a little gold robot and everything looks like it came right out of a factory during the Industrial Revolution. So really, the only added thing you’re getting with Clockwork Brain is the unique look and feel of the games. However, it is cheaper than the other two.

Next Page: Five more great brain training apps

1 of 2