12 Apps We Can’t Believe Are Free

There’s no doubt about it — my smartphone is making me dumber. Thanks to the marvels of technology, I’ve forgotten basic math (thanks, iPhone calculator), I don’t know how to get anywhere (thanks, Google Maps), and my spelling is on par with a fourth grader’s (thanks, autocorrect). The smartphone dumb down is a problem that I think more than a few of us have in common, but how can we fix it?
Don’t worry — I’m not about to suggest we all move to off-the-grid bunkers in the Mojave Desert to reconnect with our pre-technology selves. That’s just unrealistic. The only way to get me to stop using my iPhone is to pry it from my cold, dead hands. So, if we’re not going to throw out our phones — can we at least use them to make us smarter?
Here’s the good news: Yes we can. We’ve rounded up 12 apps that put the “smart” back in smartphone. These apps all have the ability to teach you new skills, or help you bone up on existing ones. I’ve found an app for just about anything — from knitting to coding to cooking. And the best part? They’re all free.

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