Free App Friday: 5 Tools To Help You Learn New Skills

It’s time for some new tricks, old dog–from cooking to photo-taking to origami.


Impress your friends! Make yourself more attractive date material! Or, at the very least, kill some time in a potentially productive way. These free apps will help you ditch your microwave, capture better-looking memories, and tap into your creative side.


1. Make More Than Toast

Learn to make grown-up food with Look & Cook (Android, iOS). The app pairs pretty pictures with easy-to-follow steps, giving even culinary cavepeople like me a fighting chance at making something that actually tastes like food is supposed to taste. There are over 50 recipes to choose from, so this isn’t one of those endlessly overwhelming recipe apps. The focus here is on learning to cook, and for that, the app shines.

2. Spruce Up Those Snapshots

Use the Learn Photography (Android, iOS, Windows Phone) app to get a handle on the basics and much, much more. Using a combination of videos and quizzes, you’ll learn about what to look for in a camera, various digital image formats, how to line up your shots, and a host of other best practices for capturing professional-looking photos.

3. Get Playful With Paper

The aptly named How to Make Origami (Android, iOS) teaches you the fine art of paper-folding. The app sports more than 70 patterns, each split into fold-by-fold steps accompanied by animations. Show off to friends, family, and complete strangers, or simply enjoy some quiet time while you craft a menacing dinosaur.

4. Start Strumming

Embrace your inner Hendrix with Coach Guitar (Android, iOS). The app cuts right to the chase, skipping basic chords and music theory in exchange for a virtual fretboard peppered with colored dots that show you where to put each finger, plus videos that demonstrate how each song is played. There is a handful of free, popular songs you can learn. If you decide you’ve got what it takes, there are a bunch more songs you can buy.

5. Develop Your Doodling 

The How to Draw (Android, iOS) app starts simple and lets you choose what you’d like to sketch from a variety of options. You’ll go line by line until you have a coherent image, and there are varied drawing styles that you can learn once you’ve mastered the basics. You can see the number of steps it’ll take to draw each image, ramping up to more challenging items as your confidence grows.