The 7 Best History Apps That Make Learning History Exciting

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Thanks to interactive learning methods, smartphones can turn even the dullest subjects into enjoyable and informative experiences.

History is typically a course that doesn’t attract excitement from many. But with the right apps, you can overcome its monotonous image and maybe even have some fun. Here are seven apps for people mulling to learn more about history.

1. The History of Everything

The History of Everything is a free app with a modern, sleek interface for taking you back in time. Scroll through its timeline-based design to shift across time periods and learn about their most significant events.

The app covers a vast range of topics from various eras including the Big Bang, Dinosaur Age, World War I, and more. In addition, you can tap individual entries to read further about them. You can also favorite posts, making it easy to quickly revisit them later.

Download: The History of Everything for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Historical Calendar / Today in History

Historical Calendar tells you what happened on a particular day (throughout both ancient and modern-day history) in chronological order. By default, the app shows events from today’s date, but you can manually switch dates if you’d like to.

You also have the ability to look up keywords for locating specific moments. The app segregates the data into categories like deaths, holidays, and similar.

Along with a short description and images, Historical Calendar has options for copying, sharing, and even exporting excerpts. Once you’re done educating yourself, you can test your knowledge by heading into the Quizzes tab.

Historical Calendar is only available for Android, but a similar app titled Today is History is a good alternative for iOS users.

Download: Historical Calendar for Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
Download: Today in History for iOS ($4)

3. History Timeline / Timeline

If you’d like a platform that focuses more on data than anything else, try History Timeline. It puts all sorts of important events in a scrollable, dense timeline. You can zoom in or out to view even more information and tap individual entries to see more about them. History Timeline attaches Wikipedia links if you want to read further.

Moreover, you will find options for favoriting articles and filtering the timeline by age or topics. History Timeline also has a handy custom filter feature through which you can configure specific periods and jump straight to them whenever you need to.

History Timeline is only available for Android, but a similar app titled Timeline is a suitable replacement on iOS.

Download: History Timeline for Android (Free)
Download: Timeline for iOS ($4)

4. Google Arts and Culture

Learn more about the world’s most renowned artists with Google’s Art and Culture app. The app illustrates stories behind popular artwork and cultural accomplishments from history. You can explore a vast variety of topics to read about as well as visualize these works.

Head into the Nearby tab and you can educate yourself on your area’s cultural history. If you own an Android phone, you can do this in virtual reality through a dedicated Daydream app.

For a bit of fun, the app also has a fun tool called Art Selfie that lets you find your lookalike from the past.

Download: Google Arts and Culture for Android | iOS (Free)
Download: Google Arts and Culture VR for Android (Free)

5. History Skills on Google Assistant

If you’re overwhelmed by the above apps, history-related skills on Google Assistant are a great way to get started. There are plenty of services available for Google Assistant which allow you to take history quizzes, check what happened on a particular day, or simply learn a random fact.

To browse such skills on Google Assistant, you will need to launch it. You can do this by holding the Home button on an Android phone, or opening the app on iOS. Then hit the Explore button at the bottom-right corner.

There, you can search for history through the bar at the top and install the skills you’re interested it. To fire one up, just speak its launch phrase while talking with Google Assistant.

Check out our introduction to Google Assistant if you’re curious what else it does.

Download: Google Assistant for iOS (Free)

6. History Tours on Google Earth

Similarly, you can go on virtual tours of monumental historical events thanks to Google Earth.

Virtual tours on Google Earth let you visit several locations where a particular iconic moment took place. You can walk through step-by-step and read up on them as you proceed.

For instance, a chapter titled In Mandela’s Footsteps walks you through the legendary political leader and former president of South Africa’s road to freedom in this virtual tour. The series highlights places that played a critical role in his life. These include the University of Fort Hare, which was one of the first to allow non-white people to study, Johannesburg’s Crown Mines, where he worked as a night watchman, and more.

These virtual tours are available under the Voyager tab in the app’s left navigation drawer. Inside this, head over to the History section.

Download: Google Earth for Android | iOS (Free)

7. Civilisations AR

The BBC brings its massive history collection to life with the Civilisations app. The app comes with the ability to superimpose ancient artifacts onto the real world. That allows you to inspect their various intricate details and learn how they came into existence.

In addition, the app has a photo mode so you can snap a picture of yourself with the objects to share elsewhere. There are only a few options for now, but we expect the BBC to add more soon. Thankfully, unlike most BBC content, this is entirely free of cost.

Download: Civilisations AR for Android | iOS (Free)

Unique Ways to Learn History Online

With these apps, you’re certain to have an endless supply of historical facts and stories. In particular, Google Earth and Civilisations AR go an extra mile to make the past come alive.

If you’re looking to continue pursuing knowledge on your computer, check out some websites for learning history in new and unique ways.

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