Mental Health is still a taboo topic in many countries, including India. It is stupid, seeing how our ancestors heavily focused on the mental aspects of our life through Yoga and meditation. While we give special care to people with physical illness, a mental problem is stigmatized. I don’t know what it will take for us as a society to recognize it as a problem, but I want to convey that it’s not wrong to talk about it. And if anyone in your life is making fun of you, you are better off cutting those people from your life. You should talk, and seek out professional help as early as possible.
That said, I understand that talking and asking for help is not as easy as it sounds. And I am no medical professional that can advise you on the subject. But I do know that meditation can help you with your thoughts, at least until you are ready to seek professional help. In an article published in Psychology Today, they write that mindful meditation can help you with mental problems like anxiety and depression. I urge you to read that article. As for my part, in this article, I have listed the best mediation apps that you can use on your Android and iOS device.
Best Meditation Apps for Android and iPhone in 2020
I have dabbled with meditation on and off for years. And although it has helped me, I know first hand that forming a habit is not easy. I have fallen off the wagon many times. I only started it again after the pandemic hit, and I have been closed inside my house. So the most I can ask you is to give these apps a try, and see if they can help you out.
Meditation is for everyone. Whether you are a student, a productivity genius, a professional, or anyone else, it will be beneficial for you. Meditation can help you sleep better, focus, clear your mind, and live in the present moment. So, whoever is reading this article, whether you use these apps or not, I urge you to give meditation a try. With that said, let’s get to the apps themselves.
I have tried many meditation apps and techniques, and I feel that guided meditation is the best one for me. In a guided meditation, instead of listening to soothing music, you are guided through the steps by a voice. Headspace is one such app that provides guided meditation. I love how the app started me with just a few minutes a day and then moved me onto longer mediation sessions.
Headspace is co-founded by Andy Puddicombe, who spent years in monasteries in Himalaya, learning meditation. You can hear his Talk on YouTube. It’s will give you a better sense of his story and teaching philosophies. His voice is soothing and helps you meditate.
Meditation on the surface sounds a heavy subject and Headspace’s simple explanation takes that expectation off you:
“Meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment.”
You get the first two weeks for free and then there’s a subscription. They are also offering a 1-year free plan for anyone who has lost their job in the current pandemic. I found this app to be really helpful. This is one of the best meditation apps and a good place to start your journey.
Price: Free trial, $12.99/month, $69.99/year
Calm is a popular meditation app for people who want to reduce stress and anxiety, sleep better, and increase their overall inner happiness. The app comes with calming exercises and breathing techniques that can help you relax. When you start the app, first you get a simple explanation of meditation that explains the basics. I found this very helpful for beginners.
I like that Calm has different mediation courses for different goals. It will suggest different lessons depending on what you want to achieve. You can choose between guided meditation and meditation based on calming music. The app also features guided meditation from popular celebrities like Matthew McConaughey, LeBron James, and more.
I don’t care for the celebrity voices, but if it’s an incentive that can keep someone meditating, I am all for it. Calm is popular and thousands of users have reported getting good results. It has a very high rating on both Play Store and App Store, and remember those ratings are from paid users as it only offers a free trial. If Headspace doesn’t make sense to you, you should try it.
Price: 7-day free trial, $12.99/month, $69.99/year
3. Insight Timer
Meditation doesn’t have to be only for people who can afford it. It should be for everyone. And if you cannot afford to use Headspace or Calm, you should try Insight Timer. The app gives you a free library of more than 45,000 free guided meditation.
Like Calm and Headspace, it starts with a 7-day course that will help you understand the concept of meditation. After you are done with the course, you can create your own modules for meditation. You can select how long you want to meditate every day. The free library consists of guided meditation from meditation experts to monks to sadhus to popular actors and actresses.
Insight Timer also offers a paid plan to support its free-tier users. If you can afford it, you can pay $60/year to get premium meditation classes. The money is split between the app and the course creators so you are also supporting your teachers. There’s also a generous 30-day trial you can use it check it out.
The only thing that I don’t like about the app is the constant presence of upgrade your plan reminder. It’s present on every homepage as shown above. It’s counter-intuitive to the ethos of making you stress-free. If you can ignore this, you should try it out.
Price: Free, $60/year
Serenity is a meditation app that uses a minimalist design language and I love its approach. Even the app’s UI feels calming. Like other apps, it offers guided meditation lessons. You get to learn a variety of meditation and mindfulness techniques that aim to bring a sense of peace, calm, and happiness to your life.
The basics are taught in a free 7-day course. You don’t need to subscribe to a free trial to access it. You can download the app and use the free material without creating an account. There are guided meditation lessons for sleep, stress relief, mindfulness, daily meditations, self-awareness, and more.
I also like that it offers several pricing plans. You can get a monthly subscription for $6.99 or unlock courses-based on levels by purchasing this. My favorite plan is the one-time purchase of $74.99 that unlocks everything and every future update. While it’s cheaper, do note that the content quantity is lower than what you can find on the likes of Headspace and Calm.
If you want celebrity guided meditation or thousands of hours of meditation content, this is not for you. On the other hand, this is great for people who feel overwhelmed by the amount of content on other apps and want something streamlined and effective for a one-time payment.
Price: Free, $6.99/month, $19.99/6 month, $74.99/forever
Aura is mindful meditation apps for people who are in a hurry. You can start meditation sessions with tracks as small as 3 minutes. A good feature of Aura is that you can select meditation based on your current feelings. It suggests different meditation routines depending on your current mental state.
Select whether you are sad, stressed, okay, or feeling great, and it will suggest the meditation routine. You can get guided meditations, listen to stories, and even just relax listening to ambient and natural sounds. There’s also a catalog for relaxing music, life coaching advice, and more.
The app helps you reduce stress & anxiety, improve focus, and sleep better using daily mindfulness meditations. It also sends you personalized recommendations at a set time every day so you don’t forget to meditate. I also like that you can use the free version without creating an account.
The meditation lessons on this app are produced by top life coaches and therapists. The free version offers a generous selection of content. If you want more you can get the paid version for $4.99.month.
Price: Free, $4.99/month, $59.99/year
6. Meditation Studio
Meditation Studio is another good guided mindful meditation apps for iOS and Android devices. With this app, you get over 500 guided meditations featuring different teachers and styles. There are also different collections targeting different improvements in life.
Whether you want a healthy attitude, become more grateful and generous, sleep better, reduce anxiety & stress, or be kind and curious, you can find mediation lessons for the same here. I enjoyed taking the basic courses. They do a great job of getting you started on the path of meditation. One thing I love about this app is that it lets me subscribe to teachers.
You can follow those teachers who have the best effect on your mediation habits. You can also sort courses by teachers, duration, type, collection, and more. Other features include the ability to create playlists, take unguided meditations, and more. The app offers a great UI, and I love its minimalist approach. There’s an ample selection of content for the free version.
Note that the Android version of the app is still on the legacy addition. That means you need to pay $3.99 to buy the app. The drawback is that you don’t get new content and new features (such as playlist). You get everything that’s on Android and more for free on iOS. You will need to pay a subscription if you want new monthly content and pro features.
Price: $3.99 on Android – Free, $7.99/month, $49.99/year on iOS
Inscape is an actual mediation studio in NYC. According to their website, “the studio blend ancient techniques across time and cultures into meditations that are accessible and relevant for everyone”. Well, the studio realized that not everyone can afford to physically visit a studio, so they created a mediation app.
The app features techniques form old-school meditation and combines them with modern findings and research to give you the best mediation experience. There are guided meditations that can help you reduce stress, anxiety, depression, aggression, and more. Like other apps, it also focuses on improving your sleep quality.
The guided meditations are for everyone including beginners, intermediates, and advanced meditators. You can start with 5-minute meditations, and as you improve, aim for a longer duration (up to 85 minutes). There are also habit-building exercises that can help you keep your mediation life alive.
I love that it automatically shows different meditation lessons depending on the time of the day. For example, if you open it at night, it will show you meditation lessons for better sleep. When it comes to pricing, the monthly subscription price is a bit high, but the yearly plan falls in line with other apps.
Price: Free, $9.99/month, $58.99/year on iOS
If you can’t find even five minutes of quiet time to practice meditation, then you should try using Buddhify. Buddhify is an app that lets you meditate anywhere, anytime. Whether you are traveling, waiting in line at Starbucks, or waiting for your food in a restaurant.
Buddhify focusses on mobile or on-the-go meditation, which you can do no matter where you are and what you’re doing. The good thing about Buddhify is that it’s a family run business. So you are not being upsold all the time. There’s up-front pricing, and you unlock all the mediation classes. There is a yearly membership if you want to achieve more and need more fun features, but it’s entirely optional.
And the yearly membership is half the cost of other apps. So, yeah, the app is affordable and has good lessons. It has raving reviews on both the App Store and Play Store, and many users recommend it. If you don’t want to pay a subscription and love the concept of on-the-go meditation, you should try it.
Price: $2.99 on Android, $4.99 on iOS, $30/year for membership
Sattva is another great meditation app. It brings features like guided meditations, ancient chants, Vedic mantras, meditation timer, time tracker, and more. If you want a traditional mediation experience, this is the app for you. You even get to learn mediation Mudras (hand positions or gestures that facilitate the flow of energy).
I love the time tracking feature in this app. It displays your mediation journey in a rich calendar view. Seeing your progress is a good way to keep the streak going. There’s also a community of meditators. You can join groups, follow their playlists, and even invite your friends and take them with you on this journey.
You can find lessons to reduce stress, increase focus, energy, and clarity, manage emotions, and even tackle higher-level questions such as the purpose of your life. I don’t know how helpful this will be with the last one as that’s an esoteric subject, but I can tell you that the mediation sessions are good.
Pricing is where this app falters a bit. There is no free version and the subscription is quite costly if paid monthly. You can buy a lifetime pass for $399 but I don’t think many can afford it. Thankfully, from time to time they offer heavy discounts on their website and you can get it for as low as $108. If you want to go back to the ancient roots of meditation, you should try it.
Price: 3-day free trial, $12.99/month, $49.99/year, $399.99/lifetime
10. The Mindfulness App
Our final selection of apps for this list is The Mindfulness App. It brings professional guided meditations, with a variety of lessons that suits all kinds of meditators – from beginners to pros.
You will enjoy the 5-day guided meditation lessons that will introduce you to mediation. The lessons can be as small as 3 minutes so anyone can start with it. If you don’t like guided meditations, you can opt for silent meditations. The library is full of premium meditation classes taught by professionals.
Whether you want to relax, calm your mind, improve focus, or sleep better, this app can help you achieve those aims. One feature of this app that I love is the ability to add background ambient sounds to guided meditations. You can add sounds from forests, rivers, beaches, and more.
The app is built well and offers a good user interface. You can connect it to Google fit to aggregate your health data and set friendly reminders that will remind you to meditate. There’s ample content offering in the free tier. If you want more, you can buy the subscription which has a generous 31-day free trial.
Price: Free, $9.99/month, $54.99/year
Use These Mindfulness Meditation Apps for a Better Life
That ends our article on the best meditation apps for Android and iPhone. I use Headspace and recommend it to everyone. That said, all the apps on this list offer a good selection of mediation lessons. They are all good at getting you started on your mediation journey and keeping you on track.
If you feel that life is stressful, and you don’t have enough focus or energy to complete the things that need to be done, you should try meditation. No matter which app you use, this simple practice can help you a lot. I know it has helped me, even when I do it intermittently. So, give this a try.