Meditation has helped relax millions of people for thousands of years, returning them to their daily routines with a sense of calm. Contemporary studies on meditation indicate that it helps to reduce insomnia, decrease the effects of irritable bowel syndrome, and it may even lower the expression of certain genes associated with inflammatory disease. Modern technology has developed many supportive tools for people who want to meditate. Read on for the best apps to help you in your calming practice.
Apps available for both iPhone and Android have been reviewed on their iPhone versions.
Interface: Relax Melodies is a lot more than just melodies. The app features stunning natural scenes and is easily navigable to a variety of meditations.
Usability: There’s quite a lot to choose from in Relax Melodies, but you can get where you want easily.
Quality: Excellent. One of the app’s top features is that you can combine many sounds for a customized experience. For example, you can add some tree frogs to your rainforest noise.
More: Tune this app to nature sounds, binaural beats (which have been studied for positive brain effects), guided meditations, and more. Meditations focus on improving aspects of your life like creativity and awareness.
Interface: Meditation is ancient, but Buddhify is new. This friendly interface guides modern technology users in meditation practices for modern life.
Usability: The rainbow wheel of options asks what you’re doing — waking up, feeling stressed, taking a break at work — then dials in the right meditation for the moment.
Quality: Excellent. There are over 80 custom guided audio meditation tracks.
More: Each topic has timed meditations from five to 30 minutes. Rate your relaxation level and keep stats on your progress.
Meditation Timer Pro
Interface: Meditation is deceptively simple and Meditation Timer Pro is also beautifully simple, starting with its subdued tan interface.
Usability: This app excels in ease of use. Pick a length of time to meditate, set reminder noises for starting and ending your session (perhaps a chime to begin and galloping hoof beats to end), and you’re ready to meditate.
Quality: Very good.
More: You can choose a quiet background image for individual timer pages if you like. Statistics pages show your progress, while a meditation log keeps track of sessions.
Interface: Omvana keeps its interface simple with a calming field of blue fronted with attractive icons.
Usability: Easy to use, just click through to the guided meditation of your choice.
Quality: Excellent. The app has a huge library of guided meditations from global experts. App tools allow you to record your mood and receive guidance on which meditation is right for the moment.
More: Clearing your mind with meditation can be very powerful. And for many meditators, a clean-slate mind is exactly the point. But some practitioners like to focus on a particular life issue or area of improvement. Omvana helps you hone in on topics like health, wealth, and sleep, and supports your mind-quieting practice.
Take a Break!
Interface: Brilliantly clear seascapes are your relaxing introduction to Take a Break!
Usability: Not everyone has time to sit for a full, deep meditation every day — sometimes you just want to Take a Break! That’s exactly what this app’s usability allows. Take a 7-minute work break relaxation or a longer, 13-minute meditation.
Quality: Very good, with a choice of calming music or nature sounds.
The Mindfulness App
Interface: A serene field of blue is the first thing you notice upon opening the Mindfulness app. That’s a prelude to the calm to come.
Usability: This simple, easy-to-use pocket tool is great for beginning meditators and anyone more experienced. Choose how long you want to meditate and if you would like guided meditations led by the voice of longtime teacher Catherine Polan Orzech.
Quality: Excellent. The in-app store provides sessions by top meditation experts like Jack Kornfield and Jon Kabat-Zinn.
More: Set reminders to meditate throughout the day or just to take a moment to be more mindful.
Interface: Lively but not overwhelming animation keeps the mood light.
Usability: Beginners start with Headspace’s Take10 program to learn meditation basics in 10 minutes a day for 10 days. You can subscribe to broader programs to work on specific issues like sleep or relationships.
Quality: Excellent. Headspace has received rave reviews from the famous (Emma Watson) to just regular folks who have used it to increase their mental peace.
More: Sometimes you just need a little headspace. You know — a little time to rest your mind, collect your thoughts, and generally keep the top of your head from blowing off. That’s exactly what this friendly app can do for you.
Interface: This app will immerse you in scenes of natural beauty and bathe your mind with relaxing music and nature sounds.
Usability: Beginners can learn the basics of mindfulness meditation with the app’s 7 Days of Calm program.
Quality: Very good, if simple. If calm and sleep are your meditation goals, Calm has you covered.
More: Fifty guided meditations help you with other mind-tuning practices like self-confidence and creativity.
Interface: The app, developed by a group of mental health professionals who work with adolescents, greets users with a simple, cheerful smile. Smiling Mind’s goal is to spread the practice of mindfulness meditation among young people to fight depression, anxiety, and alleviate symptoms of physical and mental stress. The app’s creators also hope to start young people in meditation so they can develop a lifelong practice.
Usability: Users choose from age-appropriate meditations and can rate their mood.
Interface: Some apps guide your meditation. MindBody Connect guides you to meditation — and a host of other personal services. You’ll immediately recognize the helpful interface as a mapping and shopping tool similar to services like Yelp.
Usability: Book services from your phone, rate your experience, pay through the app (including with online gift cards), and save favorites. Use the in-app map to discover services nearby or get directions. You can also track your schedule and sign in to classes while on the go.
Quality: Very good. Find your perfect workout class, a beauty salon, a meditation class, and more.
Take Time to Meditate
Meditation’s many positive effects include a reduction of stress, better sleep, and better health. One study showed meditation caused positive brain effects that continued after sessions ended. It can be hard to find the right moment in your day to take time out for meditation. These apps can help you with that, providing reminders, tracking your progress, and giving you a variety of sounds and scenes to calm your mind.
We selected these meditation apps based on their potential to help people incorporate meditation into their lives in a number of ways. Additional factors considered in selecting these apps included user ratings, affordability, accessibility, format, functionality, and relevance to meditation and the needs of people who would like to meditate. Together, this collection represents a valuable cross section of helpful iPhone and Android apps that are designed to help users find ways to improve their mental outlook.
Please note: Healthline Networks does not endorse or warrant for fitness of purpose any of these applications. These apps have not been evaluated for medical accuracy by Healthline Networks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) haven’t approved them unless otherwise indicated.