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New Apps Can Help Supplement Your Memory

Think of your smartphone as a tool that remembers things for you — or helps you improve your brain’s own memory skills.

Ever wished you’d recorded something the teacher said a couple of minutes earlier, or the brilliant words you’d just spoken to a friend? You can do that, sort of, with a mobile application called Heard, for Apple devices from Faalsa Labs.

Heard records a sound loop that runs as long as five minutes. With the app running in the background, you can tap the red “Heard” bar on your phone’s screen to bring up the app and save the latest recording loop. A “Pop, pop, pop” sound lets you know you’ve made a save.

Saved recordings go into a “library” list where you can add titles and search tags. With a tap, recordings may be posted to Facebook or attached to email.

This could be useful for interviewers who hate listening through long recordings to find the important material. Heard is free to download, but you’ll probably want to make the onetime $1.99 in-app purchase to extend the recording time from the basic 12 seconds to as long as five minutes.

For making a to-do list that will pelt you with reminders, test the free version of Remember the Milk, by Remember the Milk Productivity Ltd., for Android and Apple devices. The service spreads reminders among your devices and desktop or laptop to be sure you don’t duck an errand.

For $24.99 a year, Remember the Milk provides additional features, such as unlimited syncing among devices (the free version syncs once a day).

Fit Brains Trainer, by Vivity Labs for iPhone, uses games to boost memory and brain function. Games focus on brain functions such as concentration, problem solving, matching pictures and numbers and thinking fast.

The Trainer is free to download, with a limited number of its many games and levels available to test. But most are locked. Full access costs from $5.99 for three months of usage to $49.99 for “lifetime” access.

Numerous apps will remind you when to take pills. Some are free and some that I saw cost up to $3.99. RxmindMe, a prescription-reminder app for iPhone from Walgreen Co., opens with a disappointing legal disclaimer that it’s for “entertainment purposes only.” But the app appears useful anyway. Add your medications and the times they are to be taken.

Tap the plus symbol on the “Reminders” screen to begin entering information about a medication. There are daily, weekly, as-needed, birth-control and other categories. Reminders can be of several types, from “soothing synthesizer sounds” to a fire-truck siren.