Let’s look at the Mindfulness App on the Apple Watch

Apple watch on person's wrist displaying the Mindfulness app open

The Mindfulness app on the Apple Watch encourages you to set aside a few minutes each day to focus, centre, and connect as you breathe and reflect. David Redmond in the Labs team has been trying out the Mindfulness app on his Apple Watch and tells us whether it can really help to relax and unwind.

by David Redmond

Some people think mindfulness is amazing, others feel that it simply doesn’t work for them. Both of those views on mindfulness are fine, but there is one thing we can all agree on. Sometimes life can be stressful.

The mindfulness app on Apple Watch is a basic tool to help you relax. It’s not magic, but maybe if you just want to do a bit of deep breathing before heading to bed you might find it beneficial.

How does it work?

The app has two modes, breathing and reflections. The section labelled breathe uses the Taptic Engine on Apple Watch to guide you through a deep breathing exercise, and the reflection option gives you a prompt to think about and reflect on. By default, these sessions are 1 minute, but you can set it to go up to five if you’d like. Unfortunately, it’s not clear how to adjust the session duration with VoiceOver, so this is something that could really be improved.

When you open the app there are two buttons. The first button is to start a reflection session, and the second is for the breathing exercise. When you double tap the buttons the session starts automatically, and you’ll be given instructions on how to proceed.


When you double tap the reflect button a reflection session starts. You’ll be given something to think about, and when you’re ready to start you can double tap the begin button. The example I was given when testing the app was “think of a challenge your currently facing, and how it will help you grow”. That gives you some idea of the sort of things you’ll be reflecting on.

When your time is up, you’ll feel a light tap, and you can then see the results screen. This screen contains the duration of your session, your mindful minutes for that day, and your heart rate. All this data also syncs to the health and fitness apps on your iPhone.


If you double tap the breath button, you’ll be told to bring your attention to your breathing. You then find your watch alternating between vibrations and moments of being still. When you feel the vibrations, you breathe in, and you breathe out as the vibrations stop. This pattern continues for the duration of your session. It’s worth noting that you can adjust the number of breaths per minute in the Watch app on your phone, so you don’t need to worry about feeling left behind if you have a fast or slow breathing pattern.

The results screen after a breathing session is the exact same as for a reflection, so you won’t have any surprises at the end.


The app is relatively accessible for VoiceOver users, although the lack of a clear way to adjust session duration is a major downside. Everything else is nicely labelled and in general the app is really useable from a voiceover perspective. As for those trying to use the app with low vision, you might have some difficulty. The buttons are all the same with only small text to guide you. Really this is an app that you need VoiceOver for, as reflections in particular use small text a lot.


The mindfulness app won’t work miracles, but it can help you relax. Like all these things I’d encourage you to try it for yourself and see what you think, and if you have thoughts to share feel free to send them to us on social media.