Smartphone Zen: The 4 best mindfulness apps tested

At a time when life seems to be speeding up more and more, the search for mental calm has led many to the ancient practice of mindfulness. Originally rooted in Buddhist meditation, mindfulness has evolved into a universally accepted concept that emphasizes the importance of being present and fully focusing on the here and now without judgment. Amid the whirlwind of daily obligations and constant barrage of notifications, achieving this state of mental clarity can seem like an uphill battle. That's where the modern smartphone comes in—a device that, paradoxically, is both criticized for contributing to our stress and praised for its potential to provide solace through mindfulness apps.

The digital age has transformed smartphones into versatile tools that provide us with instant communication, endless information, and now a path to mental wellbeing. The proliferation of mindfulness apps aims to harness the power of these devices to promote better mental health by offering guided meditations, breathing exercises, and stress reduction techniques at the touch of a button. This article looks at the intersection of technology and mental health, exploring how mindfulness apps on smartphones are becoming an important tool in the modern quest for peace of mind. As we navigate the complexities of digital wellbeing, the question arises: can these apps truly provide a sanctuary for the mind, or are they just adding to the noise?

The rise of mindfulness apps: The first mindfulness apps were simple tools that offered a basic meditation timer or a selection of guided meditations. However, their potential to reach a wider audience quickly became apparent. Developers began working with psychologists, mindfulness practitioners and meditation teachers to create apps that not only guide users through meditations but also offer educational content, progress tracking and personalized mindfulness exercises. Today, there is a vast ecosystem of mindfulness apps, each with its own approach to promoting mental wellbeing. From apps that focus on meditation, breathing exercises and sleep to those designed to reduce anxiety and improve concentration, the variety of options available reflects the growing appeal of mindfulness in everyday life.

Choosing the right mindfulness app

With the myriad mindfulness apps available to us, choosing the one that best fits our mental health goals can be as daunting as it is crucial. The right app can be a loyal companion on the path to mental wellbeing, while a poorly chosen app can lead to frustration or, worse, a complete abandonment of mindfulness practice. Here's how to make an informed choice:

Understand your needs: Start by identifying your goals. Do you want to reduce anxiety, improve your sleep, or perhaps increase your concentration? Different apps target different aspects of mindfulness and mental health, so it's important to know your priorities.

Credibility and expertise: Look for apps that were developed with the input of certified mental health professionals or experienced mindfulness practitioners. Expert involvement suggests that the app's content is based on scientifically validated techniques.

Personalization and growth: A good mindfulness app should offer some level of personalization. This can range from choosing the length of meditation sessions to customized programs that adapt to your progress and changing needs.

User Experience: An app should be user-friendly and inviting. If the app feels awkward to navigate or if it has an unattractive design, you're unlikely to use it consistently. A simple design can often lead to a soothing experience.

Privacy and data security: Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary personal information or have unclear data usage policies. Your privacy should be protected just as much as your mental health.

Trial periods and subscriptions: Many apps offer free trials or a free basic version. Use this opportunity to explore the app's features and decide if the premium offering is worth investing in.

User ratings and reviews: See what other users are saying. High ratings and positive reviews can be a good indicator of an app's effectiveness and reliability. However, be wary of fake reviews and look for genuine feedback.

Regular updates and support: Regular updates show that the app is maintained and improved. Also, good customer support should be available to resolve technical issues.

Avoid Overwhelm: Start with a single application. Juggling multiple apps can be counterproductive and overwhelming. Dedicate your time to an app that feels right and give it a fair chance to make a difference.

Mindfulness outside the app: Remember that mindfulness goes beyond the screen.

The best app should encourage practices that you can gradually incorporate into your daily life without constantly relying on digital prompts.

NOW We have tested the best APPs on the market and found the following:

Mindfulness Apps Review:

Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer and Open

Headspace: A User-Friendly Guide to Meditation Headspace has established itself as a friendly, accessible introduction to the world of mindfulness and meditation. With its cheerful animations and easy-to-follow guided sessions, it is particularly appealing to beginners. Led by co-founder and former monk Andy Puddicombe, sessions are structured to gradually introduce the user to the practice of meditation. The app offers courses on topics such as managing stress and improving sleep quality. While Headspace requires a subscription for full access, many users find the cost worthwhile for the quality and range of content available.

Calm: The All-in-One Relaxation App Calm features a beautifully designed interface and a wide range of features that go beyond meditation, including sleep stories, breathing exercises, and soothing soundscapes. The app is often praised for its high audio quality and the variety of voices that accompany the meditations, including that of narrator Stephen Fry. Calm is aimed at anyone who not only wants to cultivate their mindfulness, but also wants a comprehensive tool to support relaxation and sleep. The app operates via a subscription model, but the extensive offering justifies the investment for many users.

Insight Timer: The Community-Centric Meditation App With a huge library of free content, Insight Timer is the go-to app for anyone who prefers a community-centric approach to mindfulness. It offers over 80,000 free meditations and a feature to connect with friends and meditation groups. Users appreciate the variety of guided meditations, music tracks, and ambient sounds available even without a subscription. Insight Timer also offers paid courses on specific topics, but its free features are particularly robust compared to other apps.

Open: The Modern Approach to Mindfulness Open is a newer entrant into the mindfulness space, but has quickly gained attention for its modern, minimalist approach. The app focuses on live and on-demand classes that include meditation, breathing exercises, and movement sessions. It's aimed at anyone who appreciates a real-time connection and enjoys being in a classroom environment. While Open offers a free trial, it operates on a membership basis and aims to create an interactive and engaging mindfulness community.


Choosing the right mindfulness app can transform your smartphone from a source of distraction into a tool for personal growth and mental health. By incorporating these digital practices into our daily routine, we can achieve moments of calm and clarity in an otherwise chaotic world. As technology continues to evolve, the potential of these apps to positively impact our lives is limitless. Embark on the digital journey to mindfulness.


Do you have any questions? Contact the author, Andre Hostalacio: