Frustrations with Duolingo Plus

Yesterday morning I decided, after yet again experiencing connectivity problems on the train, to give Duolingo Plus a whirl. I like subscriptions over ads as a means of supporting Duolingo, but that's really a side benefit—offline skills are the killer feature. I feel like I have opened Pandora's Box.

My problem started with trying to find the option to get Duolingo Plus. Disappointingly, for the grand new monetisation strategy, it's really well hidden in the app. I searched through every menu option, but to no avail. Eventually I realised where I might be able to find it, and lo and behold after practicing a skill—which was already slow, due to the aforementioned connectivity problems being on a train—it was a little link entitled 'Go Ad Free'. Not entirely obvious that you can only get Duolingo Plus by following an oddly worded link immediately after finishing a practice session.

This took me to a page showing the three different subscription periods of Duolingo Plus, along with the prices in what appeared to be buttons. Swish. Unfortunately, clicking on the icon appeared to do nothing. I really wasn't sure if they actually were buttons or not. I only found out that my button assumption was correct when, after a minute or so, I was presented with a series of Touch ID prompts, a new one appearing every time I hit 'cancel'. I did attempt to pay with one of them but that appears not to have done anything according to either Duolingo or my account purchase history. This was when I first went to look for how to contact support, only to find out that in Duolingo that's not really a thing, even for (would-be) premium Duolingo Plus users.

This evening, having come home and now on a mostly reliable home internet connection, I decided to give it another whirl. After following the rather strange route to the purchase page I was this time able to actually buy Duolingo Plus. Hooray!

To my dismay, it appears the download feature which I'd jumped through all these hoops for doesn't actually work. It works on the greyed out skills with a download icon on the main screen, but the download icon on the detail screen for a skill appears not to do anything, at least on iOS 10. It turns into a spinner, but turns back to just the download icon if you exit the app or even just switch away from that view and switch back.

I went to report this bug in the hopes that it might be fixed relatively quickly. What I then discovered when I tried to submit the bug from my phone is that the bug submission 'submit' button just took me to the main help page. No confirmation or anything. I have absolutely no idea whether my bug report actually made it back to Duolingo; it appears not but how would I know?

As much as I love Duolingo and I've really enjoyed using it over the last few months, I'm pretty peeved with the experience of Duolingo Plus so far. The UX has strayed beyond frustrating into the realms of the kafkaesque.

October 4, 2017


I'm in nearly the same position. I subscribed a few weeks ago and downloaded two courses in their entirety and things seemed fine. A few days ago all my downloads disappeared and I am unable to download them again.

Do file a formal bug report, under "purchasing problems."

October 4, 2017

I became a plus user awhile back and now want to use the download feature but, I can't find it. My lessons no longer have the down load icon for the Spanish 2.0 tree?

June 22, 2018
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