Best Apps For Transcendental Meditation

The best apps for transcendental meditation are both free and easy to use. They allow you to access your meditation practice anywhere and at any time, making it easier than ever before to meditate every day.

Transcendental Meditation is a simple form of meditation that anyone can learn. It is practiced by millions of people around the world, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Roger Federer, and Bill Gates!

The best apps for Transcendental Meditation are those that provide a guided program for beginners as well as advanced users. The most popular app for Transcendental Meditation is called Stop Breathe & Think. This app provides daily reminders to help keep you on track with your meditation practice.

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The Beginner's Guide to Meditation | Shape

Best Apps For Transcendental Meditation

Best guided meditation apps:Breethe, Headspace
Best meditation apps for sleep: Calm, buddhify
Best meditation apps for breathing: iBreathe, Breathe+
Best app for quick meditation: Simple Habit
Best meditation apps for spirituality: Mindfulness with Petit BamBou, Waking Up
Best meditation apps for a budget: Oak, Meditation Studio
Best meditation app for beginners: The Mindfulness App
Meditation is a simple way to reap big benefits. But where do you begin? And how do you know exactly what to do?

Good news — there’s an app for that!

What is meditation?
A meditation practice uses techniques to focus your attention and awareness on yourself, a thought, an object, or an activity. Meditation has been practiced by many different cultures for thousands of years to increase spiritual awareness.

Over the years, some people have shifted to focus more on meditation’s physical and mental health benefits rather than the spiritual benefits. The techniques may provide both short- and long-term health benefits when you practice regularly. Still, it can be tricky to learn any new skill and overwhelming to get started.

Although there is no wrong way to practice meditation, having an online guide or app can take some of the stress out of learning how to meditate.

Benefits of meditation
Practicing meditation has a number of benefits. These can include:

Reducing stress. One of the most popular reasons that people meditate is to lower stress levels, and according to science, meditation does just that. According to a 2014 studyTrusted Source, practicing meditation can lower levels of psychological stress and is helpful for overall well-being.
Improving sleep. If you have insomnia, a small 2014 study shows that people who meditate are able to improve their sleep schedules.
Helping with addictions. Since meditation typically requires a fair amount of self-awareness and discipline, a 2018 research reviewTrusted Source shows that the practice can help acknowledge and avoid triggers.
Decreasing blood pressure. Meditation is very relaxing, and that relaxation may help to lower blood pressure, as seen in a 2015 studyTrusted Source. This is because your body is not responding to stress during meditation as often as it usually would.

How we chose the best meditation apps
We chose these meditation apps as the year’s best because of their quality, reliability, and great reviews. Download one to start learning deep breathing techniques, following guided meditations, and enjoying the many benefits of mindfulness.

Pricing guide
$ = under $9 per month
$$ = $9–$13 per month
$$$ = over $13 per month
A note on price
The apps mentioned in this article are free to download, but most require a subscription to use some or all of the in-app features.

How to choose the best meditation app for you
Many quality meditation apps are available. Taking into consideration factors like your budget and experience level will help you find the meditation app that suits your needs. You may also want to choose an app based on the meditation styles they offer or special features, like the ability to connect to an Apple Watch.

A comparison of the best meditation apps
Price Requires subscription iPhone rating Android rating Considerations
Breethe $$ X 4.7 stars 4.5 stars can have technical issues
Headspace $$ X 4.9 stars 4.4 stars limited free content
Calm $$$ X 4.8 stars 4.4 stars less structure can be overwhelming
buddhify $ X 4.8 stars 4.1 stars no free content or trial
iBreathe $ 4.9 stars N/A limited options; unavailable for Android users
Breathe+ $ 4.7 stars N/A limited meditations; unavailable for Android users
Simple Habit $$ 4.8 stars 4.7 stars fee for full access/downloads
Mindfulness with Petit BamBou $ 4.9 stars 4.6 stars many options may be overwhelming
Waking Up $$$ X 4.9 stars 4.8 stars can have technical issues
Oak free 4.8 stars N/A limited meditation types; unavailable for Android users
Meditation Studio $ X 4.8 stars 4.9 stars subscription cost
The Mindfulness App $$ 4.8 stars 4.6 stars subscription cost
Healthline’s picks for the 12 best meditation apps of 2022
Best guided meditation apps
Best for: goal tracking
iPhone rating: 4.7 stars
Android rating: 4.5 stars
Price: $$
Learn how to de-stress and sleep better in just 5 minutes each day with a personal mindfulness coach. Breethe’s guided meditation series, inspirational talks, and master classes from mindfulness coach Lynne Goldberg can help you better navigate life’s challenges and enjoy improved peace of mind. The app’s sleep music playlists, nature sounds, and bedtime readings can teach you how to enjoy more restful sleep.

After a 14-day free trial, the Breethe app costs $12.99 per month. This app is best for people looking for support to sleep better and reduce stress, restlessness, and anxiety.

meditations only take 5 minutes each day
variety of meditation types available
free trial available
requires monthly payment after first 14 days
some reviewers report technical issues
Best for: a variety of meditation types
iPhone rating: 4.9 stars
Android rating: 4.4 stars
Price: $$
The guided meditation and mindfulness techniques for daytime use from Headspace can help you find calmness, wellness, and balance. Before bed, try any of their new meditations for sleep, including music, nature soundscapes, or storytelling sleepcasts. The app builds personalized plans based on a little input from you, so you can learn the essentials of meditation and build from there.

A 14-day free trial is available. After, it costs about $70 annually or $13 per month.

Read our review of Headspace.

easy to use
beginner courses
large library of single meditations and courses
limited free content
subscription cost
some reviewers report technical issues
Best meditation apps for sleep
Best for: calming stories you know & love
iPhone rating: 4.8 stars
Android rating: 4.4 stars
Price: $$$
Calm is an award-winning app that has calming exercises and breathing techniques to help you relax. It even includes a Calm Kids section with meditations for kids ages 3 to 17. The Sleep Stories section features a mix of voice talents — you may recognize actors Matthew McConaughey or Jerome Flynn — to help you sleep. For a mindful experience you can access right from your Apple Watch, there are new breathing exercises, a mindful walking meditation, and calming exercises.

They offer a free 7-day trial. After, it costs about $15 per month or $70 per year.

connects with Apple Watches
calming music available
easy to use
less structure could overwhelm some people
subscription cost
some reviewers report technical issues
Best for: value for money
iPhone rating: 4.8 stars
Android rating: 4.1 stars
Price: $
With more than 200 meditations, the buddhify app teaches you how to lower anxiety and stress, promote sleep, and manage difficult emotions. Practice mindfulness exercises with categories suitable for whatever you’re doing — traveling, working, waking up, eating, or even scrolling online. Sessions range from 3 to 40 minutes, making this an option for beginners or experienced practitioners.

Buddhify costs about $5 with other in-app purchases available.

meditations target specific problems and conditions
easy to use
timer available for non-guided meditations
no free content or free trial
some reviewers report technical issues
Best meditation apps for breathing
Best for: breathing exercises
iPhone rating: 4.9 stars
Price: $
If you’re an experimenter, you probably want to take the same approach with your meditation practice by trying different breathing intervals, session lengths, cycles of breathing, and so on. This app lets you take control of all aspects of a single meditation, so you can adjust the session length and how much of each breathing technique you want in your session.

The breathing exercises have presets as well, so it’s perfect for anyone looking for simple deep breathing exercises. Simply breathe as cued. It’s easy training for beginners or anyone who needs a short break.

The best part? It’s completely free to use all of the features. If you’d like to remove ads, there is the option of a one-time payment of $1.99.

free to use
simple to set up and use
focusing on just one technique avoids overwhelming users
lack of options
not available for Android users
ads for the free version
Best for: simple, easy breathing techniques
iPhone rating: 4.7 stars
Price: $
Meditative breathing isn’t the same as regular breathing. It can take some practice before you feel in control of your breaths during meditation and see results. This app is designed to help you learn how to breathe “properly” for full benefits from meditative breathing, including being able to hold your breath for up to 30 seconds and inhaling or exhaling for even short periods of time.

The app offers some free features. To remove ads and unlock all features costs about $1 per month, $5 per year, or $9 for lifetime access.

easy to use
simple techniques
free content available
ads with free version
not available for Android users
limited options for types of meditation
Best app for quick meditation
Simple Habit
Best for: mindfulness on the go
iPhone rating: 4.8 stars
Android rating: 4.7 stars
Price: $$
Getting into the habit of daily meditation doesn’t have to feel like a big ask. This app offers a range of 5-minute exercises to help you get into consistent meditation. Featured on Shark Tank in 2017, this app has a growing database of meditations for any time of day, any personal situation, and any goal.

It’s free to access most sessions on Simple Habit. But if you want to download meditations and access all of the content, it costs about $12 per month, $90 per year, or $300 for lifetime access.

meditations only take 5 minutes
free sessions available
cost for full access and downloads
some reviewers report technical issues
Best meditation apps for spirituality
Mindfulness with Petit BamBou
Best for: a variety of mindfulness programs
iPhone rating: 4.9 stars
Android rating: 4.6 stars
Price: $
This app is for children as young as 5 or those well into their golden years. It features many guided meditation courses from 3 to 50 minutes long in multiple languages, such as English, Spanish, and German. The app has courses based on the science of positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness.

It offers both free and paid subscription options.

mindfulness for all ages, including courses for children
multiple languages
a variety of courses and session lengths
options could be overwhelming
some reviewers report technical issues
Waking Up
Best for: a range of philosophies
iPhone rating: 4.9 stars
Android rating: 4.8 stars
Price: $$$
Sam Harris is a New York Times bestselling author and public intellectual who’s written about many topics related to the mind, body, and spirituality. Now, he’s taking on meditation with a huge collection of science-backed meditation courses and other resources that can help you with mindfulness. Waking Up can integrate into your other health apps and includes additional educational tools about philosophy, selfhood, and free will.

No free content is available, and it costs about $100 per year to join — or you can pay a one-time cost of $799.99 for lifetime access. They do offer a refund if you don’t find the app valuable.

full refund available
variety of courses and resources
subscription price
some reviewers report technical issues
Best meditation apps for a budget
Best for: easy instruction
iPhone rating: 4.8 stars
Price: free
Just need a quick meditation fix? This app has several short exercises to help you calm down, get to sleep, or feel at peace. The app also tracks how long each session lasts, how many breaths you’ve taken, how many sessions you’ve done, and much more. Unfortunately for Android users, this app is only available for iPhone and iOS.

simple to use
quick relief from stress
most content is free
not available for Android users
limited options for types of meditation
Meditation Studio
Best for: themed courses
iPhone rating: 4.8 stars
Android rating: 4.9 stars
Price: $
We all have different needs when it comes to meditation. Meditation Studio has a wide selection of meditation practices for different goals: health, kindness, happiness, curiosity, or just generally feeling calmer. You can also create your own meditation plan if you want a little bit of everything.

The app costs about $8 per month or $50 per year.

variety of meditation types
customization options
subscription cost
reviewers report technical issues and crashes
Best meditation app for beginners
The Mindfulness App
Best for: personalized reminders, stats & tracking
iPhone rating: 4.8 stars
Android rating: 4.6 stars
Price: $$
Meditation beginners and experts alike will find lots of options with The Mindfulness App. A 5-day guided practice and introduction to mindfulness can help you get started, and timed guided or silent meditations from 3 to 30 minutes can suit a busy lifestyle. The app also offers personalized meditation options, reminders to keep you mindful throughout the day, and statistics to track in your meditation journal.

This app offers free content. Premium access costs about $10 per month or $60 per year.

introduction course for beginners
mindfulness reminders
personalization options
premium subscription cost
some reviewers report technical issues
Interested in other resources for mental health?
We’re here to help. Explore our evidence-driven reviews of top providers, products, and more to support your physical and emotional well-being.

Frequently asked questions about meditation apps
How do meditation apps work?
Most mediation apps will ask you to create a profile, so you can track your progress through the meditations. Some apps allow you to continue without registering. Most apps offer guided meditations, which provide cues for when to breathe and where to focus your attention.

Are meditation apps worth it?
Whether you’re new to meditation or have tried it before, meditation apps can make it easier to stick to the habit. It’s challenging to build a new habit, so having one place to go to and track progress makes it easier. Guided meditations can help reduce distraction and make it easier to learn meditation techniques.

What should I look for in a meditation app?
What to look for in a meditation app depends on your needs. If you want something simple, look for an app with just one meditation style, like deep breathing, to start. To get more options, look for apps with multiple focuses for meditation and lengths that vary from 3- to 20-minute sessions.

Which app is better — Headspace or Calm?
Headspace and Calm are two popular meditation apps that offer similar benefits. Both apps will help you learn about meditation through guided practices. Choosing the right one for you will depend on your meditation preferences, lifestyle, and mental health needs.

You may want to choose Headspace if you:

are new to meditation
want a more structured meditation practice
want access to shorter, quick meditations
You may want to choose Calm if you:

have some meditation experience
want access to lengthier stories and music
enjoy calming nature sounds
want a less structured meditation practice
Meditation apps are a great way to learn meditation habits. They can help keep you on track and send you reminders to practice your meditation habits daily.

There are a number of meditation apps to choose from, so make sure you choose the one that best fits your lifestyle and goals. Don’t be afraid to try different apps until you find one that works for you.

Also, keep in mind that meditation apps are not meant to replace other practices such as therapy. If you notice negative changes in your mental health while using these apps, make sure to schedule an appointment with a licensed mental health professional.

best app for meditation free

There’s no shortage of mindfulness and meditation apps these days, promising to help you combat anxiety, sleep better, hone your focus, and more. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that more than 2,000 new meditation apps launched between 2015 and 2018, and offerings have only increased as a result of higher demand during the pandemic—according to the New York Times, mindfulness apps surged in 2020. We took the overwhelm out of finding the most valuable and easy-to-use mindfulness apps that are available free and narrowed it down to these five apps.

1) Insight Timer

Available for iOS, Android, and web

Entry price: Free

Insight Timer has a huge library of content: over 80,000 free guided meditations from over 10,000 teachers on topics like stress, relationships, healing, sleep, creativity, and more.

Right from the beginning, the app feels like a global community—the world map on the home screen shows a collective of 18 million meditators, and announces, “741k today, 7k now.” After you finish a meditation, you’ll learn exactly how many people were meditating “with you” during that time—and by setting your location, you can even see meditators nearby and what tracks they’re listening to.

Once you find a teacher you enjoy—like Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg, or Rhonda Magee—you can follow them to make sure you don’t miss any new content. You can also tune in to free talks for life advice and inspiration. For those craving real-time interactions, Insight Timer offers live events every hour of the day to join on a whim or plan into your schedule.

You can even sign up to Circle for Teams, one of their newer offerings, which allows you to create circles (read: groups) to meditate in real-time with friends or colleagues.

If you prefer a quieter meditation, however, you can simply set a timer and meditate to intermittent bells, calming ambient noise, or soothing music.

Depending on your preferences, Insight Timer’s extensive collection can be either a blessing or a curse—an endless list of choices that leave you overwhelmed or a buffet of tempting options to sink your teeth into.

Paid option: For $60 per year (with a 30-day free trial), you get access to courses with well-known teachers, the ability to download meditations and listen offline, and advanced player functions like repeat mode and fast forward and rewind.

2) Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind app screenshot
Available for iOS, Android, and web

Entry price: Free

Smiling Mind hits the sweet spot for a free mindfulness app in so many ways.

The not-for-profit app features hundreds of meditations, enough to keep you engaged without overwhelming you with choice. They are organized into structured programs like Mindful Foundations (35 sessions), Sleep (6 sessions), Digital Detox (8 sessions), and Stress Management (10 sessions), but you have the flexibility to choose where to start and to easily jump between programs. Most meditations are in the five- to fifteen-minute range, with a few practices up to 45 minutes for advanced meditators. Smiling Mind also offers bite-sized meditations between 2 to 5 minutes for moments when you’re in need of a quick, mindful pause in the day.

Downloaded by over 5.5 million people, the app also has a variety of specialized programs for families, children and teens of various ages, healthcare workers, and educators (including curricula they can use in the classroom); all developed with the help of psychologists and health professionals.

While you could use a meditation app as a temporary break from your hectic life, Smiling Mind wants you to take your mindfulness practice off the cushion and into the rest of your day. Interspersed with some of the meditation programs are instructions for “activities” like Journaling Exercise, Go Offline, Where Did My Food Come From, and Count Your Senses. In the Count Your Senses activity, for example, the audio prompts you to bring your attention to your senses by counting things that can be seen, felt, heard, smelled and tasted.

Smiling Mind was originally created for kids, so they offer a robust selection of kid- and youth-appropriate mindfulness sessions.

Created by a nonprofit by the same name, Smiling Mind is entirely free—so you don’t have the distraction of paid content that’s inaccessible to you as a free user. The app wants to put a “smile on your mind”—and it might just succeed.

Paid option: None

3) MyLife Meditation
MyLife Meditation app screenshot
Available for iOS and Android

Entry price: Free. If you explore “All Activities” you can access the free meditations all in one place and also take a peek at what the premium plan offers.

If other apps expect you to dive right in, MyLife (formerly titled Stop, Think, & Breathe) wants to create a more deliberate, intentional experience. A section called Learn to Meditate explains what mindfulness is and why it’s beneficial, including some of the neuroscience and physiology behind it. Each day when you open the app, you’re asked to “Take a Breath” and invited to check in with yourself—to rate your mind and body on a scale of “rough” to “great,” and note up to five emotions you’re feeling from their lists of words. Then, MyLife recommends guided sessions like Basic Breath, Mindful Walk, and Love Your Body tailored to how you feel.

Meditations based on your mood
The app features around 45 free sessions. For many of them, you can choose between different lengths and either a friendly male voice (Grecco) or a calming female voice (Jamie) as your meditation guide. Most of the meditations are short, up to 11 minutes, and feature simple introductory practices like Great Compassion, Mindful Walk, Cause and Effect, and I Belong. You can also simply set a timer and sit in silence, or learn different breathing techniques.

A progress page keeps track of how your mind and body have been feeling over time, and your most common emotions (before and after meditating, when the app invites you to check in again). MyLife is helpful if you want to be more aware of your day-to-day well-being and see how meditation is benefitting you.

Paid option: For $74.99 per year (other options include $12.99 per month, or $334.99 for lifetime access), you get longer versions of the existing meditations (up to 32 minutes), over 100 premium meditations, new voices, video sessions like yoga and acupressure, and customizable meditation and breathing timers. Upgrades to the premium subscription include a 7-day free trial.

4) UCLA Mindful
UCLA Mindful app screenshot
Available for iOS and Android

Entry price: Free

If all the research on mindfulness has persuaded you that you need to meditate, the UCLA Mindful app could be a good place to start.

Developed by the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the app features about a dozen meditations of different types in English and Spanish. You can learn to focus on your breath, your body, or sounds; work with difficult emotions; and cultivate loving-kindness in sessions ranging from 3 to 19 minutes long.

If you’re new to mindfulness, you might choose to take advantage of their Getting Started section, which offers information on what mindfulness is, how to choose a meditation, which posture is best for your practice, and what research-backed benefits you might expect from it.

As a bonus, the app also offers longer meditations that it calls “podcasts.” These are half-hour audio recordings of meditations that include talks, typically by UCLA Director of Mindfulness Education Diana Winston, before and after the meditation, as well as plenty of silent practice time.

If you’re looking for an app that is heavily grounded in the science of mindfulness, you can put your trust in UCLA Mindful.

Paid option: None

5) Healthy Minds Program
Available for iOS and Android

Entry price: Free

The Healthy Minds Program app wants to help you develop the skills for a healthy mind—by strengthening mental focus, decreasing stress, and growing resilience, compassion, and better immune health.

Founded by neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson (who also founded the research institute Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison), the app integrates neuroscience and research-based techniques with meditation training to increase overall well-being.

The framework of the app’s mindfulness and well-being training is organized into four pillars: Awareness, Connection, Insight, and Purpose. Each pillar consists of three to five parts, and each part contains three series and multiple sessions within. For the Connection pillar, for example, the Innate Self-Worth series includes five sessions packaged to foster self-worth (think sessions like Practice Seeing the Good In Ourselves, and Learn Negativity Bias). You have a choice of either a Sitting or Active type of practice—“active” practices include guidance for being mindful while you exercise, or during your commute—and you can customize the length of time (five minutes to 30 minutes).

The app offers a collection of 27 meditations outside their four-pillar wellness framework, including one-minute Micro Practices for when you’re in need of a brief respite.

At times the podcast-style app may encourage more thinking compared to typical guided meditations, but for the listener who is seeking guided meditations with the greater goal to increase awareness, cognition, and well-being, Healthy Minds Program app may be just the ticket.


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