Putting “ukulele” into the App Store search yields a surprising number of results. How do you know which are worth your time (and phone memory)??
Well, here’s my top picks, tried and tested by yours truly. The majority of ukulele apps for iPhone are tuners, so my first two recommendations are the best ukulele tuning apps.
Tunefor Ukulele by rui quin – free (more tuning options available paid)
Tunefor Ukulele is an easy to use tuner that utilises visual feedback to let you know whether you need to tune the string up or down. Pluck a string and it automatically detects which one you have played. If the orange/red bars light up on the left, tune it up higher. If they light up on the right, tune it down lower.
Bonus – Tunefor Ukulele also includes a free metronome. Tap the little metronome icon in the very top right of the screen. You can set the tempo either by selecting the desired beats per minute, or by tapping on the screen. There’s also more advanced options if you understand a bit of music theory.
Guitartuna by Yousician – free (more tuning options available paid)
Guitartuna (which has a ukulele option) also uses visual feedback using a marker on a line (and “too high!” or “too low!” warnings) to indicate whether to tune the strings higher or lower.
The settings for the free ukulele tuner say “Ukulele: Soprano in C” – don’t sweat it if you have a larger size ukulele, it still works just fine.
There’s options for songs and educational games in the footer of the app, unfortunately these are for the guitar so not much use to us uke-ers.
Bonuses – Guitartuna also has a free ukulele chord library and a free metronome within the app. The metronome has a simple interface where you can select the tempo by beats per minute or tapping on the screen.
The Ukulele Teacher has a popular YouTube channel (over 700k subscribers at the time of writing!) with loads of free video tutorials. The app (like his YouTube videos) has brief sponsor messages in the free version, though you can upgrade to pro for a couple of dollars to remove those.
The app has a basic tuner (one of the others described above that gives visual feedback on how in tune you are is probably better for this purpose). There’s also a chord library with every possible chord you could ever dream of wanting to play, a scales library (which could be better presented in the current version), and some useful options to customise the app (left hand mode! Lefties rejoice!)
The app also includes access to all The Ukulele Teacher’s YouTube videos. While his videos aren’t the most professional, he’s an extremely enthusiastic and clear teacher. The videos are searchable, or viewable by latest upload, song title, artist, most popular, or “kids stuff”.
Yousician is the mother of all music-learning apps. It’s free for a certain number of lessons per day, or you can subscribe to upgrade. See this site for a very comprehensive Yousician review.
Yousician has a fun, game-type (and extremely professional) feel to it. Because it utilises your phone’s microphone, it can give you feedback as to your timing and whether you are playing the right note. You can speed up or slow down the tune you are learning, which is a huge advantage over learning from YouTube tutorials (or even in-person classes).
One thing I didn’t like about Yousician is that the game level-type approach means I was tempted to whizz through songs and lessons when learning an instrument requires repetition. This is of course something you can rectify through your own diligence by going back and practicing songs and skills repeatedly.
While there’s a few other non-tuner ukulele apps, I have yet to find another one that’s particularly useful. Hopefully that will change over time as new apps are released, so I’ll be keeping my eye out and updating this post when I can!