Whether you’re looking to reduce some stress or fix your morning routine, meditation can be a helpful tool to chisel out the pathway. Even though there are exceptional meditation apps for smartphones, I find the smartphone distracting during the sessions. Luckily, I have an Apple Watch that I can use to efficiently meditate and not get distracted by the technology. If you’re in the same boat as me, you would like these meditation and breathing apps for Apple Watch.
Meditation and Breathing Apps for Apple Watch
I would focus on the experience of the apps based solely on the Apple Watch. As the iPhone counterparts of these apps offer way more features than the Apple Watch, it is beyond the scope of this article. Plus, it would make more sense to compare the features offered in just the Apple Watch app. If you would like to use the meditation apps on both the iPhone and the Apple Watch, you can check out this article on the best meditation apps for iPhone.
Best Breathing Apps for Apple Watch
Right off the bat, Unwind is the simplest breathing app you can get for the Apple Watch. However, simple does not mean bad, and unwind proves that. It has three modes; morning, day, and night that offer different breathing exercises. For example, the morning routine follows breathing in and out, the night routine adds a hold section in between, and the daily routine is a box breathing exercise. All of the exercises have haptic feedback and you can adjust the exercise time for every exercise.
Unwind is a free app and there are no features in the Apple Watch app that you need to pay for. However, there’s a pro version that unlocks more features on the iPhone app.
- Three exercise modes
- Adjustable duration
- No way to add other exercise options on the app
Get Unwind (free, in-app purchases)
2. 3 Minute Mindfulness
3 Minute Mindfulness offers popular breathing exercises that you can control right from the watch. There are a total of 6 different exercises that include box breathing, pranayama, vital breathing, mother’s breathing, 4-7-8, and equal breathing. The app doesn’t need to be connected to the iPhone as it can work independently. It also allows you to customize each exercise to your preference.
For example, you can change the duration of the exercise and control how long or short each repetition should be. On top of that, haptic feedback in the app creates distinct feedback for every cycle to enable you to focus on your breathing without even looking at the watch.
3 Minute Mindfulness is a freemium app that costs a monthly subscription of $6.99/month on the iPhone to unlock all 6 exercise modes on the Apple Watch. You can start with a 7-day free trial to test the app fit.
- Haptic feedback
- Customize exercises on Watch itself
- 6 exercise modes
- No audio feedback
- Can not download more exercises to the app
Get 3 Minute Mindfulness (free, in-app purchases)
3. Box Breathe
Box Breathe is another breathing app for Apple Watch that lets you do breathing exercises effectively. Even though the name implies one exercise, you can customize each section in the app itself. The box breathing technique is basically dividing one full breath cycle into four parts namely — breathe in, hold, breathe out, and hold. You can either keep all four parts the same length or change it according to your preference. Once created, the preset is saved on the Watch app and you can access it with a tap.
The haptics notifies you of every cycle and you can enable the seconds haptic which would make the app tick every second like a metronome. This would help you count your session without looking at the watch. Box Breathe is a paid app that costs $1.99.
- Customize every part of the breathing cycle
- Different haptics for breathe in and out
- metronome to count seconds
- Essentially only one breathing exercise that can be customized into different ones manually
Get Box Breathe ($1.99, in-app purchases)
4. Wim Hof Method
Wim Hof, also known as the Iceman, has a super popular breathing technique that is known as the Wim Hof Method. The Apple Watch app lets you practice that breathing exercise where you can monitor the heartbeat and add the results to your Health data. The app is really simple and only has one button to begin and end the round. The app interface also shows the current heart rate during the exercise which is a good thing.
Wim Hof Method app is free on the App Store.
- Shows and Sync Heart rate to the Health app
- Easy to follow audio instruction
- No Haptic feedback during the retention cycle.
Get Wim Hof Method (free, in-app purchases)
Best Meditation Apps for Apple Watch
Moving on to meditation apps, Breethe is a meditation app that gives you a meditation audio track for every scenario. The Apple Watch app has six meditation modes — start your day, enrich your ride, focus at work, take a break, and go to sleep. Each meditation mode has several audio lessons and it gives you one new meditation guide daily. Not only audio lessons, but the modes also have special music to help you focus or relax without any voiceover.
The guided meditation lessons work alright on the watch but you will need to connect AirPods or any Bluetooth headphones to begin a session. You can adjust the volume, pause, seek forward, and go back fifteen seconds with the on-screen controls. The audio lessons are high-quality and professionally recorded with ominous music in the background.
While the audio lessons don’t change, you do get a new lesson daily. The app has more than 1500 such lessons which you can get by subscribing for $12.99/month.
- 6 meditation modes
- On-watch controls
- No need for iPhone app to function
- Requires an audio heaphone connected to Apple Watch in order to function
Get Breethe (free, in-app purchases)
6. Ten Percent Happier
Ten Percent Happier, as the name implies, is a meditation and mindfulness app that has the goal of elevating your mood. The Apple Watch app has three meditation categories — Quick hits, Talks, and Daily dose. While Quick hits and Talks have a number of small audio lessons that you can listen to when you have a little time during the day and the Daily Dose is a ten-minute long audio clip.
All of the audio lessons are high-quality and have a more grounded voiceover that feels like a normal conversation instead of some divine lesson. If you’re not in the mood for audio, you can just start a timer from within the app and fly solo in complete silence. Ten Percent Happier is free on the App Store and costs $9.99 to unlock the entire library that has over 500 topics that cover anxiety, stress, focus, parenting, etc.
- Inbuilt timer for silent meditation
- Daily audio lesson suggestion
- Audio headphones required to listen
- No option to add new audio lessons or clips to the watch
Get Ten Percent Happier (free, in-app purchases)
Sattva takes you back to the ancient roots of meditation and offers curated meditation sessions. The app on Apple Watch works in tandem with the iPhone app which means you can favorite a lesson in the iPhone app and it would show up in the watch app. You can then listen to the lessons on your watch by pairing AirPods or any other Bluetooth headphones. This is so much better than the other apps because you get complete control of the content that you can put on the Watch. Not only that, any content playing on the iPhone itself can be controlled with the watch.
Apart from that, the watch app also has a timer for silent meditation sessions and you can add those minutes to the existing data. Sattva has a huge catalog of Vedic mantras and chants that can help you meditate. The app is free to use but some content is locked behind a paywall that can be removed with the subscription of $12.99/month.
- Set timer for silent meditation
- Add any lesson to your watch from the iPhone app
- Control meditation lesson on iPhone with watch
- The app isn’t optimized for watch and gets unresponsive at times
Get Sattva (free, in-app purchases)
Meditopia is a sophisticated meditation app because of its content and implementation. The watch app shows a curated list of meditation clips tailored to your needs. When you register and create an account using the iPhone, the watch app syncs and fetches relevant content. You can listen to relaxing music, meditation lessons, or mindfulness stories that show up on the watch.
It is the only app with a profile page that collects stats and displays information such as mindful minutes, weekly usage, total sessions, and current streak. Also, you can browse the app and watch without stopping your current session. Meditopia gives you access to 1000s of meditations in 9 languages with a subscription of $9.99/month.
- Watch app calculates stats and shows it within the app
- Music can be played in the background
- Option to favorite meditations on watch
- No option to control iPhone’s meditation session
Get Meditopia (free, in-app purchases)
Which Is the Best Meditation App for Apple Watch
These were some of the best meditation and breathing apps for the Apple Watch. I divided the list into two parts because breathing apps do a fantastic job of helping you be mindful and relaxed.
On the other hand, 3 Minute Mindfulness does a good job of helping you exercise breathing. Meditopia is my choice as a meditation app because it has a great interface and features that make it a pleasant experience.
I didn’t mention Calm, Insight Timer, and Headspace because they don’t offer much value on the Apple Watch apps. Those are good meditation apps for the iPhone and are recommended but I don’t recommend these three specifically for Apple Watch. If you are already subscribed to any of these then use the Apple Watch app as well. What do you think? Let me know on Twitter.
Also Read: 8 Best Apple Watch Timer Apps (2021)