Your phone and its apps are some of the best tools to help yourself get used to your new life in Germany. With the right apps installed, you’ll have no trouble staying on top of German news, navigating around German public transport, knowing what the weather will be like and more. To help you do that, we’ve already explored the German app landscape for you! Yep, that includes the best apps to help you learn or translate German to boost your confidence regarding the language barrier that you might experience. We’ve sought out the best and the most popular free apps in Germany that will make your life here a little easier. I do expect you to know your WhatsApp and your Gmail and so we won’t be covering mainstream apps if possible. So, get your Android or iOS phone ready, open your favourite app store and download your Germany proof apps!
The vaccination effort in Europe is well underway, but it’s still a good idea to stay on top of the latest developments regarding the coronavirus until you’ve had a jab of your own.
A language barrier can be the greatest challenge that a new expat encounters in Germany. So, the best apps to learn German and translate text and phrases faithfully should be a key tool in your phone arsenal. Short of taking lessons, German learning apps are the best way to learn the most common words and phrases that have practical use in everyday life in Germany. So here’s our choice for the best German language apps:
One of the first things that will help you get to know a foreign country is figuring out where you’ll find a reliable source of news. News that isn’t framed too far by both right- or left-wing perspectives, but powered by factual journalism. Germany has an incredible amount of news outlets you could choose from! While news from an app isn’t as satisfying as flapping open a big, crunchy, physical newspaper, I’ve narrowed the number of news apps down to 3.
Die Zeit: If you’re interested in learning to read German, then Die Zeit has a nice app for you! Die Zeit is known for its long and detailed articles on politics, economics, science and other features, so it’s great if you’’re a little further than the basics. Remember the DeepL app I told you about? That will help you if you’re in a pinch here! In 2017, Die Zeit was among the most quoted sources in German Wikipedia, so that tells you enough about their reliability!
Deutsche Welle: Deutsche Welle is a public state-owned international news broadcaster. Alongside radio and television, they also have a very nice app and news website, which also makes the most important German news available in English. Perfect if you want to be up-to-date quickly and don’t have time to apply your German lessons in practice.
Local news: No matter where you go, there’s always a lot going on close to home! That makes it important to also keep an eye on local news sources because they know what’s going on in your city. Additionally,, these news outlets can also keep you informed as far as local events, concerts and other interesting happenings that you would miss out on otherwise!
Wird es Kaiserwetter oder Hundewetter? Shorts and sunshine or will it be raining cats and dogs? A good weather app will tell you exactly that! For this category, we have one handy app and one app that is a little more fun!
Warnwetter: Does what every weather app does: Give you information about the weather in the next few days! What sets Warnwetter apart from other apps is in its name: You can set up alerts for whenever it’s about to rain, snow or any other hazardous weather condition. Other apps can do the same, but the feature is usually not included in the free version.
Carrotweather: If you want your weather report with a splash of dark humour and sarcasm, then Carrotweather is the app for you! It has an ‘AI’ that tells you a new joke every day, as well as a colourful weather overview where survivors fight off zombies in the background. Seriously, though, Carrot tells you all the weather details and a handy weekly overview that will tell you how to dress for the upcoming week! Just download the app, meatbag!
For the best apps to get around in Germany we have a mix of apps that complement each other well. Everyone knows about google maps, so I’m not going to emphasis its capabilities here. Instead, we’ll take a look at 3 apps that help me get around no matter where I go!
DB Navigator: Deutsche Bahn Navigator is an app that will help you find the route and timing of pretty much any train in Germany! Very useful if you’re using the train for your commute or to visit cities further out. It also allows you to purchase tickets. Alongside this app, I recommend you also download the app for the local public transport provider, as they will give you information on buses, trams and other means of public transportation.
Waze: If you travel by car or bike and need excellent GPS and directions, then Waze is the app for you. IT clearly shows the route you need to take and will also alert you about traffic, road conditions and maintenance. Essentially, it’s an app that does everything a dedicated road GPS system as well!
Pokemon Go: Yep, you read that right! Catching Pokemon is fun, and it’ll have you explore your neighbourhood on foot or by bike to catch more critters. At the same time, the game will have you visit noteworthy landmarks and businesses, helping you get to know your area in the process. Most citiies also still have Pokémon Go groups that could get you some new social contacts!
Let’s be honest, we don’t always want to cook after a long day at work. So what are your options? Germany cities usually have a multicultural array of grocery and dining options, but with these apps, you’ll actually have them at your fingertips.
Lieferando: Lieferando is simple, you take a look at all the local restaurants in the area, make an order and they deliver it to your place! There’s usually a small delivery fee, but that beats having to go out for food yourself.
Too Good to Go: Supermarkets, bakers and restaurants usually have more stuff than they can sell. It’s no surprise that food is getting thrown away every day. But along comes Too Good to Go! Check out this app every day to reserve boxes at local restaurants and supermarkets that participate. You pay in advance to reserve a box, and then pick it up at the indicated time. A box contains a variety of items that are perfectly good, but can’t be sold for any reason from their due date to fruit or vegetables having an odd shape. In short: less waste and affordable food for you!
Banking: As we describe in our article about banking in Germany, you’ll do well to house your finances with a Germany proof bank. Whether you go with our recommendation and open an account with online bank N26 or work with another bank entirely, make sure you download the app(s) they might have available, to keep track of your finances on the go and maybe help you with your budgeting along the way.
Payback: Payback is a german app that claims to be your personal shopping assistant. Instead of carrying around cards, coupons, Payback saves all of that in their handy app, alongside discounts for the shops you visit regularly. Additionally, you score points for shopping at member stores (many supermarkets take part in it, so no need to go out of the way) which you can then turn in for products, vouchers and discounts at a variety of (online) stores.
Post & DHL: With the free Post & DHL app you have access to the most important postal and parcel services. from purchasing letter or parcel stamps to tracking trackable mail and packages, you can see it all on your phone or tablet.