Wondering what are the best meditation apps? Look no further. Here you will find the best meditation app for your needs.
The last decade has seen a revolution in the millennia-old traditions of teaching and learning meditation. With the arrival of the smartphone, there has arisen the possibility of the a meditation teacher that is always available, always with you, helping you to learn to meditate under and and all conditions.
Currently there are dozens of meditation apps available. Most of them are not much more than a wrapper around a bunch of guided meditations. Nothing wrong with that, but they don’t really utilize the full potential for a meditation app to help you to actually learn to meditate better. Let’s look at several apps that do. As well as apps that are more of a turbocharged timer.
As an important note: I either help to create several of these apps, or to create content for them. My opinion is hardly unbiased. On the other hand, it’s not like I’m raking in the dough from these products, or trying to advertise for them. My enthusiasm is based on the fact that I actually believe in them and in what their doing. For the record, I have nothing at all to do with Insight Timer, Headspace, or Calm.
Insight Timer is my personal favorite meditation app. I use it every day. Why? Because I already have my own meditation practices, and I don’t need guided meditations on an app. If you’re the same way—you are already very familiar with the practice that you’re going to do—then Insight Timer is simply the best. It has exactly the features you want it to have:
- Your choice of many different bell tones, or chimes or blocks,
- Set any length of meditation,
- You can set many interval bells, each with its own choice of bell tone, number of bells, time setting, etc. This is an extremely handy and useful feature for anybody doing more complex meditation practices,
- Save your meditation settings as presets to use anytime,
- Keeps detailed statistics about your meditation practice,
- Awards milestones based on practice,
- Allows journaling,
- and sharing practice with others worldwide,
- All for free.
In terms of a clock-timer for meditation practice, it doesn’t get better than this, and it’s completely, 100 percent free of charge. I use it daily simply to time, structure (i.e. via interval bells), and keep a record of meditation practice. I love it.
However that’s only a small percentage of the features available in the free app. There are thousands of guided meditation programs, too. And the premium version has 10- and 30-day courses, as well as much more.
As far as I’m concerned, this is the number one mindfulness app in the world. You can download it on the iPhone app store or Google Play.
I really like Simple Habit—I should, because I was an advisor to the project and am one of the teachers on the app. There are hundreds and hundreds of meditations by first-rate teachers, and they add more content every month. There’s also an excellent interface for getting to what you want and need effortlessly.
The biggest downside, in my opinion, is that they use SH-branded introduction to every meditation, which is kind of invasive and markety for my taste. At least the voice and music that this intro uses is pleasant. Except for that, I like everything about this app. Furthermore, the team that creates the app, headed by the amazing Yunha Kim, is kind-hearted, dedicated, and fun IRL.
Another feature of Simple Habit that is unusual is that they have decided to create a guided meditation for virtually everything that can happen to a person. This represents one end of the spectrum of the way you could present meditations on an app: from a single practice used for everything to a bespoke practice for every possible situation in life.
The result of taking the “bespoke” angle on practice leads to some almost hilariously specific meditations on the app.
This is a brand new app focused on using meditation (and related techniques) for creating a better work experience for yourself and others. I created and am leading many of the meditations, so in some ways I think that this is the best meditation app. There are several other teachers on here, including the amazing Jessica Graham, Marc Coleman, and others.
This is of course the most popular meditation app in the world. It has some good aspects to it, as you might expect. For example, the content is created by someone who actually understands meditation—which is not as common as you might guess.
The main downside, however, is that it is pretty expensive. There is no free version (after the trial), and the monthly bill is going to be somewhere between 8 and 13 bucks.
This app is especially made for students of the teachings of Shinzen Young (of which I am one). I have had very little input into this app, for the record. It helps you to learn and practice in Shinzen’s style, which is both complex and comprehensive. As such, this is probably not a great app for beginners, but an excellent app for people who have learned the basics of meditation practice and now want to go much deeper into the Unified Mindfulness system.
Using the app is pretty simple. There are two possible voices for each practice, Shinzen’s and that of Juliana Raye, a top female student of Shinzen’s.
There has never been a better time in human history to discover and use the best meditation app. Please leave your reviews and experiences in the comments section below.
Michael, what are your thoughts on Waking Up and 10% Happier apps?
I’d also be interested in your thoughts on Sam Harris’s Waking Up app and mediation instructions in general, as he is also a big proponent of non dual type practices.
Thanks for your great blog and podcast!