5 Completely Free Meditation Apps to Help Center Your Mind

It costs precisely zero dollars to harness a sense of calm and focus from these free mediation apps.

Did you know that more than 2,500 meditation apps have been launched since 2015? There are meditation apps for pretty much anything you're interested in learning and doing. There are apps that offer simple, fuss-free meditation timers with a gentle bell sound; apps that offer guided meditation series based on your mood, health concerns, or other wellness goals; apps that offer walking meditations, acupressure lessons, and mindfulness education; and apps that offer all of the above. And a few of them are even free.

It can be a double-edged sword, though, since the sheer volume might seem like an overwhelming number of options to consider, especially if you're just getting into meditation at home. One easy way to help narrow your search is to consider your budget. Yes, you can absolutely pay a reasonable fee for an app that offers a few more bells and whistles. And there are some fantastic meditation apps that are free to download and offer a limited number of free basic meditations or a free trial before you're encouraged to upgrade to a premium membership. (Calm and Headspace are just a couple top-rated examples).

But what about starting your mental wellness journey with a totally and completely free meditation app? It's the best no-strings-attached way to dip your toe into everything from meditation basics to mindfulness-based breathing techniques, guided sessions to emotional check-ins. Because who needs to have another slow-building subscription fee hanging over their heads? A meditation app is supposed to help relieve stress, not add to it!

Here are five free meditation apps to check out before shelling out for something you might not stick with (although, we think you likely will).

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Insight Timer

Best Meditation Apps 2020: Insight Timer meditation app

With this meditation app, free really is free. Insight Timer offers a huge collection of more than 100,000 guided meditations with no required subscription or membership. Several sessions are even led by meditation-loving celebs like Gisele Bündchen and Russel Brand, as well as Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. (An optional premium membership starts at $5 per month and includes offline listening, meditation courses, and other features.)

This app also offers features like meditation music and a free meditation timer that allows you to practice unguided, complete with ambient noise and a soft ending bell.

For iOS and Android devices.

02 of 05

Mindfulness Coach

Best Meditation Apps 2020: Mindfulness Coach meditation and mindfulness app

This completely free mindfulness app was created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)'s National Center for PTSD, with the aim of teaching mindfulness to veterans, service members, and anyone who wants to give it a try. Mindfulness Coach is a great instructive resource for anyone looking to learn about and embrace mindfulness as a healthy coping strategy and lifelong skill. Follow guided audio meditations, set goals, track your progress, and learn more about the history and benefits of this mental practice.

For iOS and Android devices.

RELATED: How to Start Meditating at Home for a Quieter Mind

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Smiling Mind

Free Meditation Apps

Smiling Mind is an evidence-based, not-for-profit mindfulness app with over 300 totally free meditations and mindfulness programs for both adults and children. Its mission is simple: "To provide accessible, life-long tools to support healthy minds," in schools, at home, and in the workplace.

Inside the app, explore research-backed mindfulness programs by category (e.g., at work, for the whole family, for adults) or by themes (attention and concentration, sleep, stress, relationships). Smiling Mind is extremely beginner-friendly, and you can start from scratch, learning about what mindfulness means, how it works, the research behind it, and primer meditation sessions.

For iOS and Android devices.

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UCLA Mindful

Best Meditation Apps: UCLA mindful meditation mindfulness app

The UCLA Mindful app was born from UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, so you know you're getting the best in research-based mindfulness meditation with this app—for free. UCLA Mindful makes mindfulness easy to try, with basic meditations for first-timers, helpful videos on how to meditate (think: learning the right posture and understanding the science behind it), a simple timer so you can practice on your own, and guided wellness meditations to help you through personal struggles, from chronic pain to stress management.

For iOS and Android devices.

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Healthy Minds Program

Best free meditation apps: Healthy Minds Program mindffulness and meditation app

The Healthy Minds Program app is the brainchild of the science nonprofit Healthy Minds Innovations (HMI), (affiliated with the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) and became donations-based and freely available to all users in 2020. Through podcast-style lessons and guided meditations, this free app turns neuroscience into everyday tools that train your mind to unlock the four pillars of well-being, based on decades of research by HMI: awareness, insight, connection, and purpose.

For iOS and Android devices.

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  1. Appinventiv, Top Meditation App Statistics to Know in 2022. Accessed Jan, 18, 2023.

  2. Dahl CJ, Wilson-Mendenhall CD, Davidson RJ. The plasticity of well-being: A training-based framework for the cultivation of human flourishing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2020;117(51):32197-32206.

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