“There’s an app for that” might seem something of a cliche now, but it’s managed to swell into quite the digital age truism. Critics may dismiss mobile entertainment, education, and organization as The End Of Communication As We Know It, but in many ways the available tech — when applied correctly, of course — might very well make us even better. Sharpening the mind, particularly after the school years wrap, is one such way apps can help propel individuals forward and fight off the encroach of stagnation, and we’ve found 50 of the best to do just that.


  1. Sketchbook Pro for iPad: One of the best apps for artistic expression around (and there’s a free version, too!), perfect for digital painters and illustrators. (iPad, Android)
  2. PicsArt – Photo Studio: Snap, edit, and share photos and take advantage of the app’s text, clip art, and drawing features to make something special and fun. (Android)
  3. iMovie: Apple fans have a great way to shoot and compile their own films and trailers while moving around and avoiding shooting permits, guerilla-style. (iPhone, iPad)
  4. Symphony Pro: For musical types, Symphony Pro allows for compositions and playbacks on the go, as well as the ability to import and export a wide variety of different file types. (iPad)
  5. Brushes: Another amazing artistic resource where users whip up gorgeous scenes with a plethora of different digital painting options. (iPad)
  6. Adobe Mobile Apps: Unsurprisingly, multimedia darling Adobe provides its acolytes with a swoon-worthy suite of creative apps, focusing on editing text and photos as well as creating images from scratch. (varies: Android, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry Tablet)
  7. Caustic 2: The part of you that kinda sorta wants to be a DJ might find Caustic 2, a delightful app for creating electronic music, exactly what it needs to get the beats thumping. (Android)
  8. Sketcher 3D Pro: Draw up practical or fanciful designs in a three-dimensional modeling studio that also doubles as a makeshift physics lab for on-the-go science. (Android)
  9. Swankolab: Swankolab earns a right fair amount of love for its painstaking attempts to re-create working in a darkroom (remember those?) for the digital generation. (iPhone)
  10. 123D Sculpt: Play with clay and never worry about cleaning up the mess afterwards! Unless you have, like, super greasy fingers or something, in which case you will. (iPad)


  1. Look and Listen – Memory Game: Similar to the classic memory game Simon, Look and Listen features an escalatingly difficult series of light and sound sequences users are expected to parrot back. (Blackberry)
  2. Draw Something: Creativity and competition collide in a ridiculously popular application with rules similar to Pictionary. (Android, iPhone, iPad)
  3. Chess ?Chess FreeFree Chess: The ancient, enduring game requires enough strategy to keep that mind occupied during quieter or commuting hours. (iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry, respectively)
  4. Stack the Countries: Although meant for kids, adults will undoubtedly learn quite a bit about geography both physical and human in this addictive nation-stacking trivia game. (iPhone, iPad)
  5. Brain Age Test Free: Perfect for brain fitness freaks wanting to improve their memories, Brain Age Test Free offers up puzzles and games specifically to help the grey matter mature. (Android)
  6. Brain Fitness Pro: While it may not necessarily deliver on the promise to increase IQ, this popular collection of challenging activities (mostly memory-related) passes the time in a most educational manner. (iPhone, iPad)
  7. Words with Friends: Sort of like Scrabble, but not identical, Words with Friends helps bolster those vocabulary skills while hopefully building up a few friendships along the way. (Android, iPhone)
  8. Mathemagics – Mental Math Tricks: Train that brain to perform quick, even difficult, calculations through exhilaratingly interesting exercises involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. (iPhone, iPad)
  9. Fantastic Contraption 2: Build wondrous devices and soak up a few things about physics along the way, courtesy of this all-ages app equally viable for kids and adults. (iPhone, iPad)
  10. Checkers ?Checkers FreeCheckers: If chess isn’t really your thing, checkers also piques the mind with its own unique strategy requirements. (iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry, respectively)

Physical Fitness and Nutrition

  1. Fooducate: Because eating well and working out regularly both promote brain health, anyone looking to improve their minds should educate themselves on proper nutritional habits. (Android, iPhone)
  2. Pedometer FREEAccupedo PedometerTreadIt Pedometer for Touch Screens: For you walkers and runners out there, these apps help you keep track of your steps and break your own personal records. (iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry, respectively)
  3. GoodFoodNearYou: Search for the healthiest meal options within a given radius of a zip code, college, airport, or landmark and pick up a few good fitness tips along the way. (Android, iPhone, Blackberry)
  4. Hatha Yoga – Your portable yoga studio: It costs $9.99, but if you’re serious about your stretching, this hatha yoga app, with its personalized instruction, is probably your bestest friend forever. (iPhone, iPad)
  5. RunKeeper: Despite the name, bikers and walkers also benefit from RunKeeper’s GPS-enabled and manual tracking, community, iPod synch, social media sharing, and more. (Android, iPhone)
  6. pzizz sleep: Insomnia sufferers needing to rest their brains might want to take advantage of pzizz’s soothing sleep system using neuro-linguistic programming. (iPhone, iPad)
  7. GAIN Fitness: The ultimate personalized fitness regimen asks users to plug in what equipment they own and how much time they can allot for workout sessions. (iPhone, iPad)
  8. Absolute Fitness: Absolute Fitness involves and all-in-one interface that tracks both workouts and one’s diet, with statistics, graphs, and even a diary function.(Android)
  9. MyFitnessPal: MyFitnessPal users log and share their progress with both exercise regimens and their caloric intake, exchanging ideas about what strategies work and don’t work for specific needs. (Android, iPhone/iPad, Blackberry, Windows Phone)
  10. SparkPeople: One of the largest social networks for fitness and nutrition tracking, sharing, and conversing is now available on smartphone and select tablet devices. (Android, iPhone/iPad, Blackberry)


  1. NYTimes CrosswordShortyz CrosswordsNew York Times Crosswords: Whether crowdsourced or pulled from one of the most notoriously verbose games sections, crosswords engage and educate during those quieter moments. (iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry, respectively)
  2. Magic Puzzles: Play well over 600 jigsaw puzzles of varying complexity without ever having to worry about missing pieces again. (iPad)
  3. World of Goo: You don’t have to be a Richard Feynman to have fun with physics while pushing around balls of goo and using them as the mediums in various construction projects. (Android, iPhone/iPad)
  4. Sudoku (Free)Sudoku FreeSudoku Supreme – Free: Play the ubiquitous number game from the cozy comfort of the smartphone or tablet with whichever app meets your gadget needs. (iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry, respectively)
  5. TetrisTetris free, : Not only is the classic stacking game Tetris a beloved time-waster, it also manages to engage the mind in some pleasant ways with its deceptively difficult patterns. (iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry Playbook, respectively)
  6. Cross Fingers: Oldschool wooden slide puzzles inevitably receive a digital upgrade here, with additional tangram action to keep things exciting. (Android, iPhone/iPad)
  7. Psychometric Test: Classic tangrams challenge users to form pictures using only seven shapes, keeping the mind’s problem-solving skills sharp. (Blackberry)
  8. Alchemy: Players start with four elements and end up having to combine them and create over 380 different mixtures through a series of engaging puzzles. (Android, iPhone/iPad)
  9. FIT Block Puzzle: By the developers’ own admission, FIT Block Puzzle blends Tetris and tangrams together into a unique brain-teasing experience. (Android)
  10. Slice It!: Break out those high school geometry skills and hack up shapes into pieces of equal size, which proves far more difficult than it sounds for most non-mathematicians! (Android, iPhone/iPad)


  1. Goodreads: Seeing as how reading is fundamental, participating in a community specifically devoted to recommending and rating books probably works as a means of molding the mind for better things. Provided one avoids Fifty Shades of Grey. (Android, iPhone/iPad)
  2. Pulse News: Follow all your favorite blogs and news sources and stay on top of the latest stories and opinions from around the world you’re your chosen industries, at least. (Android, iPhone/iPad)
  3. Instapaper: Simple and effective, Instapaper saves websites for offline reading anytime, anywhere. Battery permitting, of course. (Android, iPhone/iPad)
  4. Kindle: Turn that smartphone or tablet into an ebook reader with access to thousands of public domain classics and for-profit digital versions of today’s bestsellers. (Android, iPhone/iPad, Blackberry, Windows Phone)
  5. iBooks: In case the Kindle app just does not gel with your Apple device, a similar reader is available straight from Benevolent Technological Mother herself. (iPhone, iPad)
  6. Project Gutenberg: Venerable repository of public domain reads Project Gutenberg unfortunately floundered on other platforms, but still manages to make itself still available to Blackberry users looking to score some free ebooks. (Blackberry)
  7. Nook: Barnes & Noble includes a few free ebooks and access to a staggering cache of other novels, nonfiction, comics, and more at varying costs. (Android, iPhone/iPad)
  8. Reeder for iPad: Catch up on Google Reader and other RSS feeds as well as share favorite articles and blog posts to social media. (iPad)
  9. Flipboard: Aggregate social media and news feeds for custom digital magazines to peruse in private or share with interested friends. (Android, iPhone/iPad)
  10. Readability: Catch up on all your favorite websites without all those pesky ads and other most unaesthetic distractions that totally ruin the internet reading experience. (Android, iPhone/iPad)