ULearn to Write Chinese is a pretty good Chinese stroke writing app for the iPad that currently free for a limited time. It is normally $2.99. This app is fairly easy to use and has a well designed interface. If you are looking for an app that teaches traditional characters, this is the perfect app.
The app demonstrates stroke order for each character and provides a practice character for you to trace. The app also scores your writing for accuracy so that you get instant feedback. There is also a “?” button which gives you a hint if you forgot the next stroke in the order which also will tell you which stroke number a particular stroke is.
This app covers the 1,115 most commonly used Chinese characters which is incredibly comprehensive. There are twelve “books” of multiple lessons. Each lessons cover a specific radical family which is how a Chinese dictionary is arranged. Each character page shows the pinyin, the radical root, a pronunciation guide, the number of strokes and the English meaning. What makes this app quite distinctive for me in a lot of the Chinese learning apps I have tested, is that there is a phrase button where you can see a list of common phrases that use that character. This list includes pronunciation and an English definition. What makes this app even more useful is that you can collect the phrases that you want to learn in a your collection which can be accessed from the app on any page. It would be better if they also included the pinyin in the collection.
If you are using this app with children or as a non-native learner, you are probably interested in learning vocabulary by topic. The only problem with this app is there is no way of grouping the characters that you are working on together. Hopefully, this is something that the designers may consider adding in the future. However, the work around for that is the search function. Unfortunately, you can not search with English and must enter a Chinese character to search. In order to do this, you need to go to Settings>General>Keyboard>International Keyboards. Select the keyboard input that you prefer to use. I personally use the Chinese Traditional Pinyin input. A “globe” icon will appear on your keyboard input which will allow you to toggle to the Chinese input. I type in pinyin to get the character list and just select the character that I want to use.
Another nice feature of the app is the game that they include for practice. You can practice matching Chinese with pinyin or Chinese with English meanings. This is a less painful way to get some extra practice in with Chinese. The only downside is that there is no way to only practice a small set of specific vocabulary.
Recommended for ages 8 and up. Grab it will it is still free!