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Technique to train the working memory! nBack app



Train the working memory in a spare time! If you always carry your iPhone / iPad, you can easily do nback tasks.

What’s nBack task

The nback task is a method of measuring temporary memory ability (working memory ability) introduced by Kirchner in 1958.

This is done in the form of answering the Nth previous question, and the temporary memory ability is evaluated based on the number of consecutive correct answers and the value of N.

If it is 1 ‘back, the result of the first question is memorized and the process of the second question is performed. After processing the second question, answer the result of the first question. The temporary memory ability is measured in such a procedure.
After processing the third question, answer the result of the second question.

Effect of nBack task

The nBack task was found to have the effect of not only measurement but also improving temporary memory ability itself, and is now being treated as one of brain training.

Training temporary memory skills in the nBack task not only improves computational skills and long-language reading comprehension, but also has a positive effect on various other cognitive functions.

If the N-back task is used in addition to walking, which is highly effective in preventing dementia, the effect of preventing dementia will be higher.

nBack task app

There are many apps on iPhone and iPad that can perform nBack tasks. “N’Back”, which I will introduce next, is one such app, where you can perform nBack tasks on your iPhone.

Please see here for the Android version.

Research paper

The research papers using the n-back app “NBack for iPad” are introduced below.

The effect of n-back training during hemodialysis on cognitive function in hemodialysis patients: a non-blind clinical trial. Renal Replacement Therapy 6, 2020.

iPhone app N’Back

The iPhone app “N’Back” is a game-style nBack task app. The task is to count the indicated color, or shape.

As long as you answer correctly, it will last semi-permanently.

N’Back three ways


The figure to count is displayed for a moment and disappears. If you don’t have the ability to instantly count figures in addition to temporary memory, you can’t answer correctly with this method.

This flash method is a bit frustrating until it can be done smoothly. But when you can do it, you can experience the comfort of riding a musical rhythm and feel good.

But if you get used to it too much, you’ll feel unsatisfactory and probably less effective at training your working memory.

In other words, the ability has improved. In that case, increase the value of N one by one to increase the difficulty.


The slow method is basically the same as the flash method. The difference is the time displayed.In the slow method, figures are displayed longer than in the flash method.

If you feel that the flash method is too difficult to do, practice in the slow method.

If you can do it with the slow method, please try the flash method.


In the step method, you count the figures at your own pace, then press the button to move to the next display, so you do not need the ability to count figures instantaneously.

How to use N’Back

This section explains how to use the iPhone app N’Back, focusing on the flash method. That said, it’s easy, just set the conditions, press the start button, count the shapes and answer.

Set conditions

Tap the gear button on the upper left of the main screen to display the setting screen and set three conditions.


Use the top selector to set the value of N.

flash / slow / step

The recommended method is the flash method, where you can experience comfort.If you find the flash method too difficult, try the slow method or the step method.

shape / color

Select whether to count figures by shape or color.

There may be some differences in brain science between shape and color, but it is not clear at this time. Personally, it feels a little easier to do with color, but it seems that there are also individual differences.

Figure counting and answers

When you press the start button to start, all you have to do is count the figures and answer N times later.

This is an example of a screen that counts by color. In the example, the number of blue is asked, so count as 7.

This is an example of a screen that counts by shape. In the example, the number of squares is asked, so it is counted as one.

This is an example of the answer screen. In the example, enter the answer to the third question.


Score table

If you are not playing, tap the score button at the top right to display the score table.

The score table is divided by N value, by method, and by figure type. The score table for the current conditions is displayed.

Unwanted scores can be deleted.


Press the reset button to stop playing. Play will be reset. If reset, it will not be recorded in the score table.

Sound On / Off

You can turn it off if you want to play quietly or if the sound effects are noisy. Just press the bottom speaker button. You can easily turn the sound on / off even while playing.

N’Back app free version and paid version

The iPhone app “N’Back” has a free version and a paid version. Even with the free version, ordinary people can train working memory.

The difference between the free version and the paid version is that ads are displayed and the maximum value of N. In the paid version, you can do up to 10’back(N = 10).

The free version can be upgraded to the same function as the paid version by in-app purchase. First of all, please try the free version.

App Store

Free version

App Store

Paid version

BrainWorkout7 (iPhone and iPad app)

BrainWorkout7 is an iOS app that contains 7 brain training mini games such as N’Back.

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NBack 3D (iPhone and iPad app)

NBack 3D is an N’Back app that counts rotating 3D figures.

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App Store

Free version NBack 3D

NBack for iPad (iPad app)

There is also an iPad app with the same function as the iPhone app N’Back. It is an iPad app called NBack for iPad.

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App Store

Free version NBack for iPad Lite

App Store

Paid version NBack for iPad

N’Back 10 Dual (iPhone and iPad app)

“N’Back 10 Dual” is an n-back app that handles two tasks at once. This is a dual-task version of “N’Back 10”.

nback PAD icon

App Store

N’Back 10 Dual

n’Back Color (iPhone and iPad app)

The task of n’Back Color is to count by color.
It’s easy to use and you only have to set N. N can be set up to 12.

nback color

App Store

n’Back Color

N’Back Butterfly (iPhone and iPad app)

N’Back Butterfly is a game-like nBack app.

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nbackButterfly スクショ1

The insect net is displayed at the top, and it moves down while it disappears. It is a simple game where you move morpho butterflies and get through them so that they do not get caught in the insect net.

App Store

Free N’Back Butterfly