100 Best iPhone Apps for Serious Self-Learners

Those who constantly strive to learn more from the world around them, who can’t pass up an opportunity to pour over a book or dictionary, or who take classes just to learn a bit more are a special breed. For those with an iPhone, the chances for learning just got a lot greater. Whether you are studying literature, science, or arts, there are apps that will enhance your ability to expand your knowledge base.


While the number of books and study guides available for your iPhone are just too numerous to list, the following apps offer fun and educational opportunities for those who love literature and want to learn more.

  1. Daily Haiku. Explore traditional Japanese haiku with a new one delivered every day to your iPhone.
  2. Stanza. This e-reader allows you to download free or paid books from a variety of places and has plenty of options such as varying fonts, sizes, bookmark, definitions, screen brightness, and more.
  3. Narrator. If you like hearing books while reading along or if you have children who enjoy looking at picture books, then this multimedia storytelling app will be a great addition to your library.
  4. Aristotle’s complete works (with search). Study the teachings of one of the most respected thinkers of all times with this app that allows for searching within the texts.
  5. Margins (book notes). If you like to take notes in the margins of your books, then try this app that keeps all your margin notes together on your iPhone.
  6. Book Quiz. Get quizzes with ten multiple-choice questions to test your knowledge of literature.
  7. The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Avid readers and literature students will benefit from this comprehensive text that provides insight to almost 1,200 troublesome literary terms.
  8. Zen Proverbs. Shake or tap your iPhone to get a new Zen proverb upon which to meditate each time.
  9. World Proverbs. Get almost 4000 proverbs from cultures around the globe that you can search, shake to find a random proverb, or swipe to go to the next one.
  10. Confucius. Find inspiration in this collection of meaningful sayings from Confucius.


The following apps range from learning about famous paintings by the masters to creating art through a variety of media.

  1. Art. Learn all about great artists and their works with this factbook app that also lets you quiz yourself to see how much you are learning.
  2. Art Gallery Premium. With over 7,500 works of art in their database, you can bring up your favorite famous work of art on your iPhone without having to travel to New York or browse to learn about artists you might not know.
  3. Art Envi Deluxe. Like having a giant museum in your phone, this app contains works by famous artists as well as specialized categories such as Japanese art.
  4. Kaleido. While not high on boosting knowledge, any art lover will appreciate taking photos and creating kaleidoscope effects with them.
  5. Photo Lab Daily. This free version allow you to take a photo with your iPhone and once a day you can use the Photo Lab tools to enhance your photos. There is a version available for a fee if you want to do more than one a day.
  6. MyPaint Free. Finger paint on a blank canvas or use one of your photos from your photo roll to find your artistic talent with this app.
  7. Pencil Pusher. This app allows you to draw as if with a pencil. Write, erase, choose from a variety of backgrounds, choose colors, and more.
  8. Bonsai. Learn the traditional art of bonsai care with this app that provides you the opportunity to adjust water, trim the tree, and monitor its overall health.

Foreign Languages

Whether you are planning to travel to Chinatown in San Francisco, California or just love learning languages, these apps will help you learn to speak whatever language your heart desires.

  1. Jourist Visual PhraseBook English. Use this visual aid with 20 different languages to help you show the person what you mean. It also include the written phrase in both English and your target language.
  2. iTranslate Ultimate. Translate words between English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian, then have the words repeated back to you in the target language with this app. This can be especially good knowledge to take with you to Houston, Texas, which is one of the top ten most diverse cities in the states.
  3. Translator with Voice. Get translations in 34 different languages with voice support on most of them.
  4. DragonDian. Use this dictionary to draw Chinese characters to quickly and easily find an English translation.
  5. WordPower Lite – Italian. This free app gives you one Italian word a day to practice and master by listening to audio, recording and playing back your own voice, and using flashcards.
  6. iSpeak Spanish. Translate between Spanish and English with this app that also allows you to hear words spoken in high quality English and Spanish voices.
  7. Gengo Flashcards – French. This app uses visual cues and the voices of native French speakers with flashcards to help you learn French. Take a picture of any object, then add the French and English words to it, and you have created your own flashcard to add to the stack.
  8. Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook. Whether traveling or learning Japanese, use this app to get over 600 written and spoken Japanese phrases.
  9. Byki German. Learn German in no time with this app that includes native speakers, quizzes, and a phrasebook.
  10. WordPower – Thai. Listen to 2000 Thai words for proper pronunciation and see the words and phrases in three versions–original Thai, Romanized, and English.


Some say the best way to learn about the world around you is through travel. If you abide by this philosophy, then check out these apps or these apps for traveling distance learners.

  1. The World Factbook. Learn all you want to know about over 250 countries and territories around the world with this app.
  2. USA Factbook and Quiz. Not only can you learn plenty of facts about the US, you can also get information by state, maps (highway and topographical), flags, major cities, and more. For example, did you know that Arizona is the sixth most populous state in the nation, or that the state flag of Louisiana features a pelican?
  3. Wine Enthusiast Guide. No matter where you are in the world, learn about wine, get expert reviews, and much more with this app that adds almost 1,000 new reviews each month and will help you sip just the right wine during your travels.
  4. Pack & Go. Whether you are planning a business trip or a weekend vacation, this app will help you plan, organize, and pack so that you don’t forget to take care of anything–including bringing gifts, unplugging appliances, and more.
  5. Where To? – GPS points of interest. Use this app in conjunction with your current location ability in the iPhone to find restaurants, shopping, entertainment, transportation, and more.
  6. Travelocity TravelTools. Get flight information, hotel locators (with reviews and photos), and personalized itinerary information with this free app.
  7. Frommer’s Travel Tools. Never carry a bulky travel guide again.
  8. Urbanspoon. If you are unsure about where to go or just can’t decide, use this app to narrow your restaurant choices based on criteria such as price or type of food, shake your phone, and get recommendations based on your location in North America, London, Sydney, and Melbourne.
  9. Tipulator – The Fun Tip Calculator. Enter the total of your bill and the percentage you wish to tip easily find out how much tip to leave. Have a whole group? It will also break down the total due depending on how many people you indicate are in your party.
  10. Travel Help!. Use this app to get emergency numbers (like 911 in the US), contact information for your home embassy, plus any other custom information you wish to add for over 260 countries.


Chemistry, biology, and physics are represented in the apps below as well as quizzes and science facts of the day.

  1. iAmino. Easily learn about the 21 proteinogenic amino acids with this program that promises a fun method of learning.
  2. AA+ Chemistry Study Cards (Exambusters). Get an entire chemistry course with this one app that can help prepare you for an exam or work as a supplement to a course you are already taking.
  3. Chemistry Formulas. This app provides an instant library of formulae that also allows you to add your own descriptions on the entries.
  4. Solutions. Calculate volume, weight, and molarity of chemical solutions as well as have access to two databases of Molecular Weight.
  5. EleMints. Try out this interactive periodic table that allows you to easily learn about all the elements.
  6. Biology Exambusters. Just like the chemistry version, this app brings you over 450 questions to help build your biology knowledge.
  7. AA+ Physics Study Cards (Exambusters). Here’s the physics version of the app too. This one provides over 600 questions that cover several topics in the field of physics.
  8. Science Fact of the Day. Get a fun science fact each day with this app that offers a great way to easily expand your knowledge of science.
  9. A+ Science Facts. This app provides facts from biology, chemistry, and physics to help boost your science knowledge.
  10. A+ Science Quiz. Each of these quizzes provides ten multiple-choice questions on topics including biology, zoology, astronomy, technology, anatomy, and chemistry.


Whether you are a medical professional or just want to expand your personal knowledge, these apps are sure to provide plenty of knowledge.

  1. Taber’s Medical Dictionary. Touting 30% more medical terms than other medical dictionaries, this one offers definitions, photos, Patient Care Statements, and more.
  2. Saunders Q & A Review for the NCLEX-RN Examination. Any nurse studying for the NCLEX exam will love this app that provides a practice exam that test you in over 20 different subjects.
  3. Normal Lab Values. Medical professionals or anyone interested in learning more about laboratory results will appreciate having normal values readily available.
  4. Medical Drugs. This app provides detailed information on hundreds of pharmaceutical medications.
  5. Diagnosaurus DDx. With over 1,000 diagnoses, anyone can perform differential diagnosis quickly and easily with this app.
  6. MedCards. This app replaces the laminated cards physicians carry around and also allows anyone interested in learning to have instant reference to such things as EKG values, Mental Status Exam guide, Snellen chart, and more.
  7. MedAbbreviations. Get over 13,000 medical abbreviations with definitions, explanations, a search feature, and more.
  8. Skyscape Medical Resources. Find all kinds of medical information such as drug information, evidence-based clinical information, medical calculator, and a med-alert based on a specialty of your choosing.
  9. Human Atlas. Geared for medical professionals, patients, and consumers, get a 3D explanation along with over 150 common medical treatments and conditions.
  10. Physical Exam. Whether you are studying for your medical exam or just want to have a profound knowledge of medicine, this app helps you learn from many different categories.


From calculators to math quizzes to flashcards, these math apps will have you learning more than you knew.

  1. MathU RPN Calc. Get this calculator developed by a PhD student at MIT and based on Reverse Polish Notation with over 80 functions available.
  2. Slide Rule. Check out this fun app that simulates a slide rule.
  3. Protractor. Have a protractor with you always in the palm of your hand that can measure anything and works with the camera in your iPhone.
  4. Abacus. This abacus is customizable and allows you to change the number of rows, beads, and more to have a working abacus anywhere you go.
  5. Math Quizzes for All Ages. Recommended from Kindergartners to senior citizens, this app will have you practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squares, and square roots.
  6. Formul8 – Formulas for Math, Science, & Chemistry. Get the most popular formulae for algebra, calculus, trigonometry, and more.
  7. Mathomatic. More than just a calculator, this math tool will help you solve algebraic equations and even shows the steps to get to the solution.
  8. Algebra Helper 1. With a focus on linear algebra, this tool will help you solve algebraic equations and show you how to do so step-by-step.
  9. AA+ Algebra 2/Trigonometry Study Cards (Exambusters). Get over 500 questions and answers written by teachers and college professors to help test you on your knowledge of advanced algebra and trigonometry.
  10. Geometry Facts Flash Cards. Learn shapes and the formulae commonly used with each using the flashcard interface of this app.


Nature lovers can learn more about stars, birds, wild animals, herbs, or find campgrounds and use water maps and tide graphs to explore for themselves.

  1. Star Walk – IYA2009 OFFICIAL PRODUCT. Take this app with you for a romantic stargazing or a walk with the family to understand what you see in the sky above you.
  2. Peterson Field Guide to Backyard Birds. Based on the first two digits of your zip code, learn all about the birds in your region, including images, range maps, descriptions, recorded bird songs, and a personal checklist to track your sightings. Now you’ll know when you spot a Gambel’s quail in Nevada, a Chuck-will’s-widow in Florida, or a Sora in Kansas.
  3. iLove Nature. Photographs and sounds recorded outside Taipei, Taiwan make up this app that includes animal identification and wiki links.
  4. Exposure Calc. Nature photographers can take advantage of this app that helps determine the proper exposure settings for any given scene.
  5. Wild Animal Wild Tones. Get 12 professional photographs that are accompanied by high quality sound recordings and information to learn about each of the animals.
  6. Natural Herbal Cures and Remedies. Learn all about herbs and how you can incorporate them into your life as a supplement to natural healing.
  7. iAroma. This app will help you learn all about the healing and restorative properties of aromatherapy with information on 95 essential oils.
  8. Find Campgrounds. Use this app to find campgrounds located near you within a 100 mile radius.
  9. US Rivers – Water Map Navigator. If you boat on any major rivers in the US, then this navigation map app is a great find for you. You can also geotag your photos into the maps.
  10. Tide Graph. Coastal dwellers or campers can get tidal information, moon phases, and sunrise and sunset times.

Christian Studies

Immerse yourself in the study of Christianity with these apps that range from full Bibles to Bible verses and quotes to prayers and texts.These are especially helpful for students pursuing a degree in Christian Studies.

  1. Touch Bible LE. Read both King James Version and New English Translation of the Bible with this app that also provides a place to keep notes and functions such as search, bookmark, and the ability to change font sizes.
  2. BibleXpress. Select from ASV, ESV, KJV, LBLA, NASB, NRSV, and TM versions of the Bible with this app.
  3. God’s Word. Manage daily devotionals and read, perform full text search, and bookmark the American Standard Version of the Bible.
  4. The Bible. Get customizable features with this King James Version of the Bible such as the ability to change fonts and colors, easy searching, auto scrolling, highlighting, and more.
  5. KJV Bible Audiobook. Listen to the King James Version of the Bible and choose to read along or read only as well.
  6. Top 100 Bible Verses. Find well-known Bible verses among others less common with this app.
  7. Bible Wisdom. Get quotes from Jesus and Old Testament prophets straight from the Bible.
  8. A collection of Holy Prayers. This app provides several popular and moving Christian prayers.
  9. The Way of the Cross Prayer. Use these prayers and meditations to walk along with Christ during His journey through His sufferings and death.
  10. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. Get this classic Christian allegory here complete with a scroll feature to make reading easier.

Reference Materials

The following reference material will appeal to anyone interested in gaining more knowledge. Ranging from dictionaries and thesauri to phrasebooks to quote books to handy facts, the following apps provide a plethora of information.

  1. WordBook English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Get definitions, history of words, pronunciation help, words of the day, crossword solvers, and more with this amazing dictionary app that is fast and easy to use.
  2. Dictionary.com – Dictionary & Thesaurus. Try this free dictionary for help with definitions, synonyms, word of the day, and more.
  3. Roget’s II – New Thesaurus. This app provides the full text in an interactive platform for a complete thesaurus experience that also works along with the American Heritage Dictionary.
  4. Spell Check. Type in a word to see if you spelled it correctly and get suggestions for correct spellings. This app also doubles as a dictionary.
  5. Conversation English. If you are learning English as a second language, try out this app that will help develop listening and speaking skills as well as teach about common idioms and more.
  6. wurdle. Play this word game to pass some extra time and help expand your word knowledge.
  7. Wiki Mobile. Easily access and browse Wikipedia with this app.
  8. iVocabulary. Boost your vocabulary in English, French, Spanish, Italian, or German with this app that even records your history to show how much you are improving.
  9. English Idioms – Oxford Dictionary. No matter if you are learning English or are a native speaker who just loves idioms, this app provides a complete definition as well as quizzes.
  10. 15,000 Useful Phrases. Writers, public speakers, and wordsmiths of any kind will love having access to this app that will help you select the perfect phrase for any occasion.
  11. Quote Book. With over 3,000 quotes, you can search and browse to find exactly the quote you want from over 400 different authors.
  12. Facts Daily. This amazing app includes reference material for everything from slang terms to time zones to cocktail recipes to ingredient substitutions to a basic first aid sheet and much more.