Mind maps are hierarchical diagrams presented in a way that help compartmentalize different aspects of a concept. You start with a central theme, idea, or goal, and then add branches that create a map of things that relate. These are incredibly useful tools for people who prefer to visualize and interact with ideas during brainstorming sessions.
Many mindmapping apps are cross-platform, some are free, many require purchasing the app or subscription to unlock full features. Here we’ve featured five apps that are popular, offer a free version, have at least a 4.0 review rating on the Google Play store, and do not require an account to be created in order to make and save maps.
SimpleMind boasts multiple map styles and unlimited maps, in the free version. The paid version has features like templates, PDF export options, and more styles.
- No ads, even in the free version.
- It’s quick; using it on a Samsung Galaxy S7 is a smooth experience.
- Clean look that is reminiscent of Microsoft One Drive.
- It gets robust features at the paid-version level, but for those who really want to customize everything about how their maps look the free version might be a little frustrating.
Unlock the power of your universe with Mindly, or at least create a mind map that looks like a planet with several moons, which also have several moons, that also have…
- Another smooth app on Android, and no ads!
- Clean design makes for a distraction-free experience.
- Circles, if you love circles this is the mind mapper for you.
- If you don’t love circles this might not be the app for you
- A lack of customization could be a deal-breaker.
This one looks like something a developer might use. It forgoes big, comic-looking bubbles for tight borders and shaded lines. It feels good and seems like it has a lot of options right up front, but there’s more of a learning curve to it than the others.
- Another offering without ads!
- It reminds me of design software like Photoshop (or at least MS Paint).
- Adding pictures from camera or upload is very easy (and you can do it in the free version).
- 3 map limit for free version.
- Tiny icons will make you want a stylus.
This app makes it easy to customize the way your map bubbles look. The interface looks like something from a few years back, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
- No ads here either!
- You can really – quickly – customize your bubbles without much effort.
- It looks like the people behind Mindjet Maps aren’t supporting it anymore. We could be wrong about that – links inside the app take us to a sign-up page for a different app. Still worth checking out, but don’t expect updates.
If you love that ‘Android feel’ in your apps look no further than Schematic Mind, unless you hate ads. In fairness to the developer the app is smooth and was one of our favorites — the ads aren’t that imposing. Worth checking out, especially if you’re going to eventually get a paid version.
- This one is the easiest to use, tap on an item and a menu pops up – there’s almost no learning curve.
- It’s simple, looks fine, and works great.
- Ads. The only reason not to like this is, unless you unlock the premium version, you’ll see an advertisement at the bottom of every map.
The verdict, on all of these, is that it’ll be up to you which one ‘feels’ best, or aids you in visualizing your maps better. There’s no wrong answer here, especially if you don’t mind paying to unlock the full versions.