Best Dictionary app for iOS?

So, while looking at the Ultimate Resource list, I didn’t really see anything that mentioned iOS apps, and specifically, dictionary apps. Any other topic that mentions it seems pretty old but if I am missing something, please let me know.

I am basically looking for a good pocket reference/translator that I can use on the go. Preferably one that allowed you to download the contents for offline access since the cell reception at my job is awful. I would love it to use kanji and list the readings in kana. I have used iTranslate and it gives words but then the readings for the kanji are in romaji and even worse, they are the wrong reading half of the time. For example, when looking up “Wednesday” this is what I get:

mizu you hi

Well that’s completely wrong and useless. I want something that I can really rely upon. Any advice?


I’ve tried three dictionary apps on iOS, but by far the best one I have is Midori, it’s fantastically made and very useful, well worth the price. It has a translate feature, but I never actually used it.


Definitely Japanese. I think it’s even free now (was around $20). Have used it for years.


I recommend imiwa (意味は) and/or tangorin. They’re both free and work offline.

Google Translate is also good because you can use the camera to read kanji in and then look them up!

I’ve also installed Midori, but never got into the habit of using it.

And, finally, I think jisho has an app. I didn’t get it because it’s not free. But my favorite electric dictionary so far is their free online one. I like it because 1) it shows want kanji level of words, and 2) it shows whether whatever you looked up is a “common word” or not.

I have it, but never really saw a reasons to use it instead of the free ones I mentioned above. Maybe it’s just force of habit.

What feature(s) did you find that made you like this particular app?


imiwa is great, it is what I used when I lived in Japan and had very poor cell reception (yay 田舎), and it never let me down.

Thanks for the replies everyone! I will have to download all of these (or at least the free ones first) when I get home on my wifi. These all seem like pretty legit options. While I was searching around for those I also stumbled across these two:


Has anyone tried either of these? They look nice but don’t know how they would work. The first one is free with an in-app purchase so I guess I will just try it too.

Thanks again everyone!

The problem I have with the “Japanese” dictionary app is that if you close it and reopen it a second later it leaves the word/kanji you were on. I wish it would just remember what I was looking at. Otherwise it’s pretty good.

To those using imawa, when I tried it I got the warning about compatibility since it hasn’t been updated since 2014. If they don’t update it, it will probably stop working by iOS’s next major (or possibly minor) update, whenever they fully drop 32-bit support.


Yeah I agree that’s the most annoying aspect. I read that they’re planning on rewriting the app this summer, so keeping my fingers crossed that this will get fixed.

Do you have a link to that information? I’d be interested to read it.

I’m using Shirabe Jisho, it’s really nice (and free) app in my opinion.


I didn’t know imiwa, I just downloaded it and will give it a try. Had tangorin before Midori and it was ok but clunky and not updated. I like midori because it works well and goes way beyond what I need from a dictionary app and it’s kept updated. For online dictionaries, definitely is my go-to.

The translation feature is my favorite part of Midori. You can cut and paste a few paragraphs of text into the application and it will automatically add furigana to the text and provide the definitions for the words below. It doesn’t truly “translate” it just defines words.

OTH, the search logic on Midori is awful compared to Aedict 3 (Android) that I use on my phone. Aedict has lots of logic to look up words if you are unsure if it uses “small tsu” or “doubled vowels”. Even the English to Japanese finds much more accurate suggested words from an English search. It’s my biggest complaint with Midori.

Even with that said Midori is my favorite iOS dictionary. I think it is better than the free ones available.

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I have used both “Japanese”, “Imawa” and “Midori”, and the latter is the one I’ve stuck with. But I’m kinda wondering if I should add a 100% Japanese dictionary too…

I’ve used “Japanese” but the one I’ve stuck with is Midori. It’s nice and seems to be still be actively developed.

How much did the midori app cost when you guys bought it? I seem to recall it being listed at $10, but it’s $5 now. Not sure if I’m misremembering or if they dropped the price.

Fairly certain mine was ~$9.99, so they must’ve dropped the price. (Maybe it’s on sale?)

My favorite app though. Love that the “translate” feature doesn’t actually translate, it just functions to help define words you don’t know. Lets me figure out a sentence first.

I just downloaded it and the translate feature is amazing!

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I use Shirabe Jisho too and it’s great! :+1:

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