10 top-rated apps that will help you relax after a long day
Take a break with these highly-rated apps.
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
A good majority of us are guilty of spending too much time staring at screens. Ironically enough, there are apps that can help with that, so we rounded up 10 highly-rated apps to help you unplug.
Most of the apps we’ve included here are free to download; however, you may be prompted to purchase certain features or subscribe to classes after installing the app on your phone or tablet. These costs may vary between iOS and Android platforms and are something to keep in mind as you search for an app to help you unwind throughout your day.
1. Enjoy guided meditation sessions and sleep stories
Calm is an app dedicated to helping you learn the art of meditation and practice mindfulness. Choose from hundreds of guided meditation sessions, ranging in length from three to 25 minutes. The app also includes more than 100 sleep stories for adults and children to help you get some shut-eye each night. Calm, which Apple ranked as its App of the Year in 2017, has a 4.5-star rating in the Google Play store and a 4.8-star rating in the App Store out of hundreds of thousands of reviews.
2. A game that’s equal parts stunning and stress-busting
The Headspace app claims to be "your everyday guide to health and happiness" by offering guided sessions that may help manage stress and anxiety, sleep, productivity, exercise, and physical health. The app, which encourages users to track their progress and time spent meditating each day, has a near-perfect 4.9-star rating out of more than 615,600 App Store reviews.
Although the app is free to download, Headspace offers two paid subscription plans: $12.99 per month or $69.99 per year (which works out to less than $5.99 a month).
3. Remind yourself what you’re grateful for
When life is less than awesome, it can be beneficial to think about the things you’re thankful for—and write them down. Grateful is a sweet and simple digital gratitude journal that has daily prompts and shows you a timeline of past entries. Cue the warm fuzzies. While this app is only available for download on iOS devices, a similar app called “Gratitude: Personal Growth & Affirmations Journal” is available for Android users.
Works with: Android and iOS
Get Gratitude: Personal Growth & Affirmations Journal for Android
Get Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for iOS
4. Inspire a peaceful state of mind through coloring
There certainly is no shortage of coloring apps to choose from, and Colorfy is one of the most popular. While you won’t physically be unplugging from your phone or tablet, studies show that coloring can help reduce stress and increase creativity in some adults.
Colorfy has an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars from more than 237,300 App Store reviewers and a solid 4-star rating from 843,753 Android users. The app offers thousands of therapeutic “coloring book” pages with a variety of colors to choose from. You can even add filters or create your own mandalas.
5. Manage the amount of time you spend on your phone
The ZenSscreen app uses artificial intelligence to help you understand more about your screen time habits. When using the app, you can set daily limits for yourself, restrict social media apps before bed, turn on quiet time settings, and limit the amount of time you're spending on your device before breakfast.
The app also provides details about how much time you're spending on different apps to help you take a break from your phone. You can manage up to five devices at no cost when using the ZenScreen app, making it a viable option for parents to use with kids, too. ZenScreen has earned a 4-star in both the App Store and Google Play store.
6. Take charge of your mental health
Sometimes you just need a few minutes to clear your head. Sanvello, an app that shares cognitive behavioral techniques like mindfulness meditation, mood tracking, deep breathing exercises, and more, is a pocket-sized way to help yourself relax and disconnect when there’s a lot going on.
More than three million iOS users use the Sanvello app, which has a 4.8-star rating out of 5,200 App Store reviews. Sanvello was awarded the Editors' Choice badge in the Google Play store to go with its 4.5-star rating from 14,255 users. Although this app doesn’t replace a therapist, it can be a worthwhile self-care to try out on tough days.
7. Customize your meditation to your needs
If you’ve tried and failed to keep a mediation practice, you might need to tweak your approach until it fits your personality. Insight Timer is a way to do just that. With 25,000-plus guided meditations to pick from, discussion groups, and a self-directed timer set to the tune of bowls, chimes, or gongs, you’re sure to discover something that works for you.
8. Do yoga anytime, anywhere you need it
Studies show that yoga may help relieve stress in some people. However, you might not have the time (or budget) to attend a yoga class. The Yoga Studio app was designed to let you practice yoga when it best fits into your schedule. Class length ranges from five minutes to an hour and you can choose from over 180 HD video classes. The app includes over 280 poses with images and includes the option to create your own class so you can customize a workout just for you.
Yoga Studio was once featured as Apple's App of the Day and is designated with the App Store's Editors' Choice badge. In total, Yoga Studio has a 4.4-star rating out of 10,900 iOS users, and a 4-star rating from 6,416 Google Play store reviewers.
9. Raise your own koi fish into something magical
Sometimes all you need to unplug is getting lost in a relaxing game—and Zen Koi, available for download on iOS and Android devices, is a highly-rated app that can help you do just that. Set to tranquil music, the Zen Koi app lets you grow, breed, and feed your koi fish to level them up until they become dragons. It’s a hypnotic experience that can help you unplug.
The popular app has a 4.6-star rating from 878 App Store reviewers and a 4.5-star rating from 240,516 Android users.
10. Block distracting apps to help maintain your focus
Are you easily distracted by apps and websites? Try Freedom, an app that wants to help you manage your screen time so you can "be more focused, productive, and engaged with the world around you." The app claims that users gain an average of 2.5 hours of productivity time each day when using Freedom.
Within the Freedom app, you can set which websites and apps you want to add to your block list for a certain period of time. To help you fully unplug, Freedom syncs across all of your devices (including Mac and Windows operating systems) to help you out. The Freedom app has a 3.4-star rating in the App Store, while in the Google Play store, Freedom has a 4-star rating.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.