Meditation is on the rise, and new meditation books and apps are popping up every day. It’s difficult to navigate through these resources and choose the ones you really need. This article will attempt to help you in choosing a meditation app for yourself. We’ll discuss 12 best free meditation apps that can accompany you on your self-development/self-purification journey.
Before starting with the list, you must be clear about your goal with meditation. You should know what you want from a meditation app and whether you need one at all. Let’s consider a few things to help you set clear intentions.
Why do you need a meditation app?
The market is full of meditation and mindfulness apps, but do you really require a meditation app? Why should you use one?
If you’re a beginner, meditation apps can serve as an excellent introduction to meditation and other mindfulness practices. The guided sessions in these apps are designed by experts, and they’ll help you get a taste of what meditative practices offer. From there, you can move on to choose a single meditation practice and stick to it.
Meditation apps are also beneficial if you have a busy schedule and can’t make time for it (though I would argue that it’s a lie you’re telling yourself). Some of the apps listed here are tailored for busy people to provide them short stress busters and breathing exercises. They’ll allow you to stay in touch with yourself throughout the day by spending a few minutes meditating here and there.
If you’re a regular meditator or you’re meditating with a spiritual goal in mind, you may not be interested in guided sessions covering issues like stress or anxiety. But meditation apps can still be useful to you. You can track your progress, maintain a meditation journal, see how much time you’ve practiced, and use them to stick to your daily schedule–It’s what I do.
So, the type of meditation app you need will differ depending on your experience and requirements. Let’s talk about 12 free meditation apps you can choose from.
1. Insight Timer
If you’re looking for an app to provide you free guided meditations, Insight Timer is your best option. It has the largest library of 45,000 free guided meditations. You can select meditations related to topics like anxiety, stress, work, etc. Or you can select specific practices such as concentration, visualization, or repetition.
It has a section for kids that includes sleep tracks, stories, and meditation courses designed to teach kids how to make friends with the monkey mind. There’s also a sleep section with many music tracks and stories to lull you to sleep quickly and easily. The music section has thousands of serene music tracks that you can use to disconnect and drift away from the world.
Apart from meditations, Insight Timer also offers over 2000 talks covering a wide range of topics and concepts. You can also set a timer if you want to meditate by yourself.
Price: Free | $10 monthly or $60 annually with a 30-day trial
2. Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind is a free app with lots of meditations to help you get in touch with yourself. If you want to familiarize yourself with meditation but don’t want to spend money on meditation apps, Smiling Mind is for you.
When you first open the app, it asks you a series of questions to find the most suitable meditations for you. It also enquires about your level of self-awareness and keeps track of your progress.
There’s a section for adults which includes various courses on mindfulness, sleep, relationships, sports, stress, study, and whatnot. It also has a section for kids and youth that offers guided meditation programs for 3 to 18-year-olds. This app has so much content that I highly recommend exploring it for yourself.
You may have already heard about this app. It has over 50 million downloads and is popular. Calm is an excellent meditation app for beginners, but it has useful content for advanced users as well.
It has several guided meditation sessions that will teach you the basics of mindfulness. There’s also a kids’ section with simple meditations for kids from 3 to 17. You can choose from a library of soothing natural scenes and sounds to relax. Rain falling on leaves, the wind blowing in the pines, or birds chirping—all are very relaxing and available at a finger’s tap.
You can also set reminders to have the app notify you during the day so that you can take a mini-break now and then. If you want to improve your sleeping patterns, you’ll find the Sleep Stories section useful. It features bedtime stories for adults, narrated by a mix of voice talent such as Matthew McConaughey.
Price: Free | $13/month or $70/year with a 7-day free trial
Related article: Loving-Kindness Meditation: What It Is and How to Practice
Headspace is another popular meditation app that offers cute animations to help you understand meditation. It has a free course that teaches you the basics of mindfulness and meditation in 10 sessions. You can listen to the sessions in a male or female voice.
You also get three sessions per day in Today’s Meditation section for free. There are a few SOS meditations for when you’re overwhelmed, panicking, or angry. I also found the tips section to be quite beneficial. It details the various obstacles we come across during meditation and teaches us how to overcome them.
The Sleep section has various audios and nature soundscape to guide you to sleep. Lastly, the Move section has workout and cardio sessions to care for the body.
Price: Free | $13 monthly or $70 annually with a 14-day free trial
5. MyLife Meditation by Stop. Breathe. Think.
This app was previously known as Stop, Breathe, & Think, but it has recently been renamed to MyLife meditation. Everything else about it remains the same though.
I liked the Check-In section that starts by dimming the screen for 10 seconds so that you can close your eyes and see how your body feels. Then, it inquires about your physical, mental, and emotional moods. Using that information, it suggests you guided meditations based on your state of mind.
The Explore tab has several free guided meditations for sleep, kids, stress, and anxiety. It keeps track of our progress and shows interesting stats, such as total time spent meditating, top emotions, and meditation streak—all of which motivates us to continue our journey.
Price: Free | $10/month or $59/year
Much like MyLife Meditation, you can share how you’re feeling and Aura will recommend guided meditations based on your mood. I like the sound effects feature. You can customize nature sounds and music and add binaural beats or white noise during guided meditation.
If you want to calm down quickly before a meeting or de-stress at work, Aura can be an excellent choice. It has quick 3-minutes guided meditations that’ll save your mind from worries. The app also sends you a reminder every day so you don’t forget your daily dose of calmness.
The free version offers one pre-sleep meditation and several soundscapes to help you fall asleep. Its paid version has several categories that offer weekly personalized content on topics like relationships, relaxation, parenting, kids, and stress.
Price: Free | $50 per year with a 7-day trial.
7. Simple Habit
Simple Habit aims to offer stress relief and breathing exercises for busy people. It has a section where you can select guided meditations based on the activity you’re doing, such as eating, taking a bath, walking, or commuting. This is an amazing feature to help you stay calm and composed throughout the day by checking in with yourself.
While the On-the-Go feature calms your nerves, the guided meditations equip you against tough situations and symptoms. Usually, the first few sessions of several courses are free to use. To access the full version with over 2000 meditations, you’ll have to buy a premium subscription. You can get two weeks of premium membership every time you refer a friend to Simple Habit.
Price: Free | $12 monthly or $90 yearly
Inscape is a meditation studio in New York City, and the Inscape app tries to bring the teachings of those meditation teachers to your phone.
It has two playlists titled 21 Day Challenge which urge you to meditate daily for three weeks using different guided meditations in the app. The free version offers several guided meditations related to stress, sleep, relationships, and visualization. The meditations are slightly longer than what you’ll find on other apps, but this only helps to go deeper into meditation and experience inner peace.
If you purchase a subscription, you’ll get access to hundreds of guided visualizations and meditations addressing different topics. The soundscape category offers beautiful nature sounds and music tracks that allow the mind to relax.
Price: Free | $10 monthly or $59 yearly with a free 7-day trial
Sattva is a meditation app that has roots in ancient Vedic scriptures of Hinduism. It teaches you Mudras (hand positions) that affect the mind in certain ways. The app also features sacred sounds, mantras, and chants by Sanskrit scholars. The statistics tab tracks your progress and state of mind during the sessions to keep you motivated.
When you first open the app, it asks you if you’ve ever meditated before and what your goal with meditation is. After that, it finds the best guided meditations, mantras, and soundtracks tailored toward your goal.
The premium version offers many more guided meditations, Yoga sessions, and meditative mantras. You’ll also gain access to the Meditative Wisdom section that features short yet insightful talks dealing with meditation and spirituality.
Price: Free | $13/month or $50/year or $108 for lifetime subscription
10. Let’s Meditate
This is a simple, free meditation app that offers over 30 guided meditations. You have to download the meditations before you use them, which means you can use this app offline as well. The sessions cover a variety of topics, and their length ranges from 5 to over 40 minutes.
I like that there are no ads, sign-ups, or in-app purchases. You get what you see on the home screen, and the clean interface gives it a Zen feeling. Apart from the main screen, you have the option to set reminders so that the app will notify you to meditate daily.
If you’ve been meditating for some time already, you may not find it very useful. But if you’re new to meditation and just want some guided sessions that can be saved offline, you can rely on this app.
11. The Mindfulness App
This app has a lot to offer for beginners and experienced meditators alike. You can practice 3 to 30 minutes of guided or unguided meditation with optional nature sounds in the Timed Sessions. It also features personalized meditation options and daily notifications to remind you to check-in with yourself throughout the day.
The free version offers a 7-day mindfulness course that teaches you the basics of mindfulness and meditation. The new Corona Resilience section has eight free guided meditations to help you relax and find calm during uncertain times.
In the paid version, you get several meditation courses related to stress relief, sleep, emotions, focus, relationships, and mindfulness. There’s a section for children and teens, and there’s also a Fundamentals category that introduces beginners to different aspects and techniques of meditation.
Price: Free | $49.99 per year with a 7-day trial.
12. 10% Happier
Dan Harris is a news anchor who famously suffered a panic attack on live TV. This experience eventually led him to pursue meditation as a way to cope with stress and become happier.
The tagline of this app states that it offers “meditation for fidgety skeptics”–a straightforward way to learn meditation for people who want to sharpen their minds to live the life they want.
The basic version of the app doesn’t have much content. There’s a 7-day course to introduce you to mindfulness and meditation. To access all the features, including over 500 guided meditations, you’ll have to buy an annual subscription. As a premium user, you’ll also be able to get in touch with experts who will answer your questions.
Price: Free | $99.99 per year with a 7-day trial.
Meditation apps are useful for beginners as well as regular meditators. They can serve as an excellent introduction to meditation if you’ve never meditated before, and they can also help you track your progress and stick to your practice if you’re more serious about meditation.
Here, we’ve talked about 12 best free meditation apps. Of these 12, I recommend Insight Timer and Smiling Mind for a vast library of free guided meditations covering a wide range of topics. For serious practitioners, I recommend Sattva for mantras, mudras (hand positions), short wisdom bites, and keeping a track of your progress.
I hope you learned about some useful meditation apps in this article. Good luck and happy meditating! 😊