The practice of meditation dates to antiquity, with some of the earliest written records of meditation coming from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism around 1500 BCE. Meditation has been spreading to Western cultures since the 19th century, and there’s now a growing body of scientific literature demonstrating its positive effects on human health and wellbeing. For example, meditation is a highly effective tool for chronic pain management, it can have positive effects on the immune system, and it is widely used to reduce symptoms of anxiety and panic.
If you would like to experience the numerous benefits that meditation has to offer, you can do so from the comfort of your home, with nothing but your iPhone or iPad. Just download any of the top 5 best meditation apps for iOS listed below, find a few minutes of spare time, and let your mind sink deep into the state of complete mindfulness.
Headspace is a subscription-based meditation app for iOS that can teach you how to meditate with its free Basic pack. If you enjoy the Basic pack and decide that meditation is something that you would like to do on a daily basis, you can purchase either the monthly ($12.99) or the annual subscription ($94.99). Both subscriptions give you access to the same content—the only difference between them is the price.
At the core of Headspace are daily meditation exercises intended to strengthen your meditation habit and provide you with a quick release from stress, anxiety, and even pain. If you would like to go beyond these daily meditations, you can choose from a large library of targeted meditation exercises that focus on everything from acceptance to change to sleep.
Insight Timer is the most popular meditation app in the App Store. Unlike many other similar apps, Insight Timer is completely free, yet it contains 7,000 guided meditations and 1,000 free music meditation tracks from 1,500 meditation teachers around the world. You can either create your own customized meditation sessions or let the app select the most optimal meditation path for you. Insight Timer integrates with the Apple Health app, providing you with in-depth insight into your meditation progress.
Perhaps the best thing about Insight Timer is the community around it. Insight Timer users have formed over 5,000 discussion groups, covering everything from meditation to health to topics that have nothing to do with meditation. If you would like to support Insight Timer developers, there are several in-app purchases that add additional meditation exercises.
This award-winning meditation app for iOS makes meditation easy by featuring over 55 tailored meditation courses that effectively teach mindfulness meditation and provide users with a large selection of daily meditation exercises to choose from. Once you advance beyond the beginner stage, you can experiment with some of the more advanced features of Stop, Breathe & Think, such as its customizable meditation time with choices of chimes and soundscapes, or its emotion tracker. As you progress, the app rewards you with fun stickers and badges to keep you motivated, although the benefits of daily meditation will likely be enough to keep you on track.
Stop, Breathe & Think offers two auto-renewing subscription options: $9.99 per month and $58.99 per year. If you would like to teach your child how to meditate, you should consider purchasing a bundled subscription for premium access to both Stop, Breathe & Think as well as Stop, Breathe & Think Kids for either $11.99 per month or $70.99 per year.
Calm is a great meditation app for beginners as it features guided meditation sessions in lengths of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 minutes, allowing anyone to always find the time to meditate no matter how hectic life gets. Calm covers a broad range of topics, including anxiety, stress, sleep, focus, relationships, habits, addictions, gratitude, self-esteem, body scan, forgiveness, or communication. Every day, the app features a new 10-minute program to ease you into the day or unwind with before bed.
Those of who are serious about daily meditation should consider either the monthly subscription plan for $12.99 or the annual subscription plan for $59.99. You can also make a single upfront payment of $299.99 to forever enjoy unlimited access to the entire library of Calm guided meditation sessions.
Smiling Mind is a modern meditation app with guided meditation sessions based on meditation programs developed by leading psychologists and educators. The goal of Smiling Mind’s developers is to see mindfulness meditation on the Australian National Curriculum by 2020. To make this goal happen, they have developed this easy-to-use meditation app intended for everyone from young children to adults. With the app and just a few minutes of spare time every day, you can learn how to better manage daily stress, deal with loss, and overcome various life challenges—all free of charge.