“Finally someone has released a rather fantastic mind reading app that genuinely triggers that “wow – how did you do that?” response.” Derren Brown Blog.

Ever wanted to read a person’s mind? Well, now you can with Telepath, the new mind-reading iphone app that the wonderful Sarah Angliss and I are releasing today. The idea is simple. Someone thinks of a number or image, and mentally sends their thoughts to the iphone. They then turn over the iphone and are astounded to discover their thoughts on the screen. Here is Telepath in action….

I hope you like it. As we say in the video, Telepath can also be used on dates, so can even improve your love life. Feel free to guess how it might work or, if you buy it, let others know what you think (but no giving away the actual method!).

Telepath has been months in development and we are very proud of it. Hope that you like it too.

Download directly onto your iphone or itouch, or visit the Apps Store.

Update: Telepath does not use voice recognition, nor are there any hidden extra devices! Also, it will work on the 2nd generation itouch, but not the 1st generation itouch.

Update 2: The nice people over at Derren Brown Blog have had the great idea of having people film themselves performing Telepath and uploading the video onto You Tube.  If you do film one, let me know!


  1. Yeah… I think voice recognition too. Every time she picks a number you make her say it to you and then you repeat it. Or you use that creepy language that Derren Brown uses ” so we know what number we’re looking FOR (4)” 😛 Still fun, though! 😀

  2. This is a complete speculation: I’m guessing it has to do with the cues the user sends to the target. For example, Richard shook the phone twice when the target was to be 2, and he took a sip of his drink when it was to be “get a drink.” So the app doesn’t read anyone’s mind so much as some protocol is used to select an answer in the app beforehand (perhaps by touching it), and then it’s up to the performer to implant the suggestion for that “choice” in the target.

    Basically I’m guessing it’s a very simple form of neuro-linguistic programming.

    1. Wait, no, he shook it 4 times on the first one. Hm. And I don’t notice any specific stresses on “two” or “to” or whatever.

      Subliminal message on the screen?

  3. Shakes to activate voice recognition.

    The one with the drinks may be a little trickier. Finger to prompt her into saying “party” or “drink”?

    That’s my guess. 🙂

  4. It will be a a primer or subliminal diffrence to the number, symbol that will draw the subject to pick the reveal answer.
    So “2” might be slightly brighter (or more contrast etc.), the subject is forced a “free choice” = 2
    Am I right? (:

    PS “If you want to impress someone like Jenny” as Harry Hill may say: “ooh dirty boy!” (; >.<

  5. I guessed, paid my $0.99, and was correct 🙂

    Nice trick. Will be a good companion to “Rising Card”, another trick iPhone app that convinces people that “It must be voice recognition!”

  6. to vinyarb:
    I was wrong anyway, I over-thought the answer.

    If you download the app, it tells you how it works; however, you can work it out by watching the video here… <__>

  7. PS is not a link to a new video, I meant the video on this site. “<__>” is sneaky eyes looking for the clue.

  8. To non-iPod Touch/iPhone owners and people who don’t want to pay for app: The answer is in the video. Watch and listen to it all, remember it’s not voice recognition. And the subject has to tell the operator her answer before the reveal.

    What is odd? What is out of place?

    1. Only things that seem out of place to me is the shaking of the phone and the music. Had a theory about the music but that seems too risky.

  9. I’m guessing there’s a mini Derren Brown inside the phone which correctly reads the right answer….
    Haha, I can’t look at the video at work, but will be checking later!!

  10. I see only two possibilities if we can rule out voice recognition and bluetooth remote.

    1) He’s studying her eyes and where they are most likely looking at, and turning the iphone a certain way to get the answer he thinks she chose.

    2) It’s going through the options on a timer. I noticed that he varied how long he waited until he asked her to turn it over.

    I think #2 is correct simply because the screen is faced down, away from view.

    1. Hmmm, I’m not sure. On the first one he asks her to turn the phone over, and she says “shall I go for it” and then pauses and does it. Which would suggest that it’s a very long gap (which would make the 4 unlikely) or something else again.
      I’m intrigued. While I would happily spend the .99c it’s the hardware cost that is holding me back. But I will happily give someone at work a dollar tomorrow so we can sort this out.

  11. Oh, and my first thought was something to do with tapping the phone. My feeling is, the only way this can work is if the owner of the phone somehow communicates to the phone after he finds out the answer.
    I also assume that, therefore, if the owner of the phone doesn’t know the answer then nothing happens (like Clever Hans’ owner not knowing the answer to the maths puzzle).
    I’m a bit intrigued by the “2” that comes up on the screen at the start of the video. I don’t think the power of suggestion would be strong enough to be as accurate as Richard claims the app is, though, so I think it’s a bit more concrete than that.
    Essentially I am using words to cover up the fact that I really have no idea.

  12. I’m guessing it uses the accelerometers and a timer. That is, the number or image displayed depends on how long the phone remains face down. Once the subject makes their choice, the trick is to get them to turn over the phone at the right moment. Fill in the intervening time with chatter, for example. A bit like forcing a card.

  13. Have purchased but, without giving anything away, will not work on v2 ipod touch or earlier (even if runnig V3.0 software). I have passed my comment onto Richard as this should be made clear.

  14. My best guess is that it is the camera, and showing a gesture to the phone, you need 3 gestures defined to transmit 1 out of 4 options (4th being not doing any gesture).

    The timing is a little bit tricky (while still possible), but it can be combined with the camera for best results. It involves the difficulty of having a difficult person trying to slow things down, or speed them up.

  15. Sorry, I should have used the correct nomenclature and said it won’t work on the 1st generation ipod touch (ie prior to autumn 2008)

    1. From that, I’d guess that the built-in speaker is key. Ah, so, the song indicates the correct time to pick up the phone. That’s much easier than just a straight interval timer. It’s just a matter of stalling until the right part of the song is playing.

    2. Thanks for pointing that out. It will work with 2nd gen itouch, but not 1st gen. Sorry about that – happy to give you a refund or send you something nice. Please email me.

    3. Nice one Richard Wiseman. It’s not the money, but the principle. I bow to you, Prof. osu.

  16. Is that tinkly music coming from the phone? It sounds like a simple loop of four chords. If the phone has an accelerometer then it could presumably detect a suitably timed nudge to the table.

  17. Kewl! But I just looked this up on my iPhone and wasn’t telepathic enough to see there’s no free trial version. 😦

  18. It is that to do with the sparkle noise. Basically when u shake it. It cycles through numbers 1 – 4 that sparkling noise u hear every 10 seconds is a number. U ignore the first one as u shake it. Then say they pick 2. U wait for two sparkle sounds turn the iPod/iPhone the right way and that stops the cycle. Voilà lol

  19. My friend has it, and says that it is v clever, and something to do with the distance that people are from the phone.

  20. Seems like it has to do with how long the phone is facing down. Maybe it rotates through each of the four choices every 30 seconds or something?

  21. Would this work in another language? I’m from Chile, South America, and I want to know if it would work for me. I don’t need the app to be in spanish, I just want to know if it’d work with the victim saying the number in spanish.


  22. May I reccomend the iPhone/iPod Touch app Alter Ego, a port of the classic text based life sim which leads you from birth to death. Originally co-writen by a psychiatrist.

  23. Duh, Occam’s Razor people. The simplest solution is that Richard has psychic powers.

    Or maybe his iPhone does. Haven’t quite worked that out yet…

  24. It has to do with timing. When it was ‘4’ he wasted time by talking a lot. When it was the martini (which is in the ‘1’ spot), he had her pick it up immediately. The four choices cycles in fixed time increments i.e. every ten seconds. My best guess!!

  25. From what i’ve read here this app doesn’t use voice recognition, which completly threw of my theory on how it worked.
    That being said i’m just wondering if this app requires the user/s to speak in english. Might be a dumb question considered what i just wrote. Still, i want to buy this app. But if i have to talk in english everytime i do the trick on someone, it would pretty much ruin it.

  26. OK, I watched it 3x and my wild guess is that that its all about the timing of when the phone is picked up. The magical music is the cue:

    1. When the phone is face down on the table, the screen slowly scrolls through the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, while the magical music is playing

    2. Depending on the number the “victim” chooses, the owner will use the music as a cue to know when the phone needs to be picked up

    3. Once the phone is picked up, the number sequence stops, and the correct number is displayed.

    So if someone is doing this trick on you, and they ask you to turn the phone over, say “ok” but then pause for 5 seconds, and see if the phone still displays the correct number.

    I hope I am wrong and haven’t spoiled it for everyone…but at the same time, I want to know if I am right!!!

  27. I really really really REALLY wanted to buy the app of Telepath and I live in the US and the app is only in UK stores. Can they make it available for the US store too?

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