Fighting digital addiction with digital apps may appear paradoxical, but a great many people are now integrating tech and wellbeing as they look to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health.
And why not?
Smartphone addiction - or nomophobia, if you will - is on the rise, and people are more aware of the importance of digital wellbeing than ever before.
Our devices already come with digital wellbeing tools pre-installed by Apple or Google - but they’re far from the best on the market, and it can be hard to find alternatives - many of the lists available online are outdated or inaccurate.
As such, this blog runs through some of the best apps that we’ve found to help users improve their digital wellbeing:
What is Calm? | Calm is a meditation, sleep, and relaxation app
How much does Calm cost? | Calm is built around a “freemium” model, which enables users to permanently access most of the features.
Users can also upgrade to the premium version (which they can test out during a seven-day free trial). This offers a range of extra features and costs $14.99 per month - or $5.83 per month, if you pay for the whole year upfront - making it cheaper than most other meditation apps on the market.
Users can also buy a lifetime membership for $399.99, while there are family plans and student discounts available.
Why is Calm good for digital wellbeing? | Calm has been designed to tackle some of the biggest mental health challenges of today: stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. It’s one of the best meditation apps out there, but stands out from the rest because its wellbeing tools stretch far beyond its already impressive meditation catalog.
Website | https://www.calm.com
What is Cold Turkey? | Cold Turkey is a website blocker that enables you to study or focus on work, and is available only for computers - mobile devices are not supported because of OS limitations.
How much does Cold Turkey cost? | Free with basic features, or lifetime access to premium features after a one-off, $25, payment.
Why is Cold Turkey good for digital wellbeing? | Cold Turkey is a great website blocker for people with no willpower, since, once activated, it cannot be disabled without reinstalling your operating system. It’s also easy to set up, open source, highly reliable, and has great reviews across the board.
Website | https://getcoldturkey.com
What is Flipd? | Flipd is a time-tracking and social productivity app.
How much does Flipd cost? | Flipd is free to install, with basic features. A premium subscription costs $6 per month.
Why is Flipd good for digital wellbeing? | Flipd is a great tool to help you curb unhealthy smartphone habits, limit distractions, and become more productive. It takes an innovative approach to reducing screen time - though we’d recommend going for the paid plan, since the features available through the free option are a little limited.
Website | https://www.flipdapp.co
What is Forest? | Forest is a popular productivity app that helps people beat their phone addiction and manage their time in an interesting and pleasant way.
How much does Forest cost? | iOS users pay $1.99 to download the app. Android users pay nothing, but have the option to upgrade. In-app purchases mean you can receive more coins per virtual tree planted - $0.99 for a bottle of Sunshine Elixir, or $1.99 for a box of Sunshine Elixir.
Why is Forest good for digital wellbeing? | Forest takes an innovative approach to digital wellbeing. Users that are able to not pick up their phones for 25 minutes at a time get to see a virtual tree planted - with a real one planted if you have upgraded - and this brings a real sense of achievement and purpose.
Website | https://www.forestapp.cc
What is Freedom? | Freedom is a distraction blocking app that enables you to sync your blocks across all devices simultaneously.
How much does Freedom cost? | Three payment plans - monthly ($8.99/month), yearly ($3.33/month, and forever (for a single payment of $159.00, reduced with a discount code available from their website).
Why is Freedom good for digital wellbeing? | Freedom is one of the most popular blocking apps out there right now, with over two million users worldwide. If you’re looking to break bad digital habits, this is a very useful app.
Website | https://freedom.to
What is Headspace? | Headspace is a mindfulness and meditation app.
How much does Headspace cost? | Headspace is free to download, with free trials and limited free features. If you want full access to all the features, you can upgrade to Headspace Plus for $12.99 per month, with a free 7-day trial, or get 14 days free with a $69.99 annual subscription. There are also student and family plans available.
Why is Headspace good for digital wellbeing? | Thousands of studies attest to how mindfulness and meditation improve mental and physical health, through reducing stress, improving sleep, increasing focus, and making relationships better.
And, with its science-based approach and ease-of-use, Headspace has long been one of the top recommended meditation apps - particularly for people who are trying meditation for the first time.
Website | https://www.headspace.com
What is Serene? | Serene is a productivity tool that enables you to plan your day, and is designed to enable periods of deep focus by blocking apps or websites of your choice.
How much does Serene cost? | This is a premium app that costs $4 per month, billed annually, and users are offered a 14-day free trial before they pay.
Why is Serene good for digital wellbeing? | With its focus enhancers, timers, and blocking function, Serene is a great all-in-one toolkit for reducing distractions, increasing focus, and organizing your day around specific goals. It has a simple but beautiful interface, which helps.
Website | https://sereneapp.com
What is Social Fever? | Social Fever is a tool to help people overcome smartphone addiction, and reconnect with the real world.
How much does Social Fever cost? | Free
Why is Social Fever good for digital wellbeing? | Social Fever comes highly recommended, with a range of great features to help you battle smartphone addiction. It’s free, easy to use, and helps you reduce screen time, manage quality time, stay productive, and maintain your wider health.
Website | https://www.systweak.com/social-fever
What is Streaks? | Streaks is a task manager and habit-building app.
How much does Streaks cost? | Free
Why is Streaks good for digital wellbeing? | Streaks is one of the few apps on the market that focuses purely on (automatically) tracking your goals and motivating you to maintain healthier habits. It does this very effectively and, with a beautifully clean and intuitive app, it’s a real joy to use.
Website | https://streaksapp.com
What is Zario? | Zario is a digital wellbeing app that takes users through a range of challenges that help them to improve their relationship with their digital devices.
How much does Zario cost? | Free
Why is Zario good for digital wellbeing? | Zario is the first digital wellbeing app using artificial intelligence to power its insights and challenges, with the aim of helping people to reduce and replace unwanted screen-time. Part digital wellbeing app, part game, and with challenges backed by psychology, it’s a fun and novel approach to what is a serious issue.
Website | https://www.meetzario.com
Digital wellbeing apps are a great way to improve your relationship with your devices, as long as you choose the options that are right for you. However, replacing bad habits with good ones is hard and can take time to perfect. So, don’t be put off if you don’t achieve what you want at the first attempt.
But if you’re serious about breaking free from your phone, increasing your productivity, and finding more time for what’s really important in life, then it’s a worthy subject of attention.
As with everything, knowledge is power, and we’ve created an exhaustive Digital Wellbeing Resource Hub that you can use to guide your development - both at home and at work.
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