I have been using the Insight Timer App on my smartphone successfully since late 2016.
Having already used the App for this long means that my Insight Timer App Review is based on real actual experience of using the App for over 1050 consecutive days (almost 3 years).
This App is rated as the top free meditation app on both the Android and IOS stores. Once you install it on your smartphone and use it for a while, you will understand why. If you have not, I recommend that you do. Your future self may well thank you for doing so.
Meditation has a lot of potential benefits. If you do not yet know how to meditate, you can learn how to meditate using the App. I discuss this later in this article.
Using this App as a tool to help you meditate is a great practical idea. Here are some of the ways that I use this App as a tool to help me meditate. For instance:
- I personally enjoy the timer aspect of the App. Different timers can be customised with different options. For example, how long in minutes, any background noises, any interval bells, the sound of the starting bell and the sound of the ending bell are some of the attributes that can be customised.
- I personally enjoy different guided meditation sessions that are available. There are over 25,000 guided meditations developed by over 4,630 different people.
- I personally note any meditation sessions that I done outside of using this App, so that all of my meditation times are noted in this App. I find this useful and helps motivate me to do meditation every day. This is good. I have done meditation for over 1050 consecutive days now, so I am unlikely to miss a day now.
- I personally listen to different talks by different people about different meditation subjects.
So you can see now that there is no way that a short review of this App would do it the justice that it deserves. Here is what you will learn in my detailed Insight Timer App Review:
My User Experience in Using The Insight Timer App
My name is David. For me since I started using this App in late 2016, I have been using this App every day now for over 1050 consecutive days in a row (almost 3 years) to help me with my meditation habit.
I use it to record my meditation sessions, using both the timer countdown function inside of the App. I also do some of the over 25,000 guided meditations available online on the App on a regular basis.
I also do some of the Insight Timer 10 Session Courses (This is included in the premium version, not the free version). One session is supposed to be done daily, however you can do as many sessions in a day that you like. And you can actually do multiple Insight Timer 10 Session Courses at the same time. More about this later.
I have a number of preset timer profiles setup and use the one that I want to do now. The nearby screen capture shows a 3 minute countdown, that sounds a bell every minute. I have configured this countdown to have no ambient sound and to use the Kangse ending bell when the 3 minutes is up.
I configured this particular pre-set for my personal use within the Insight Timer App to do a meditation technique called The Three Minute Breathing Space that involves three separate one minute mini meditations in the one session with my eyes closed. I need to know when to switch from one mini meditation to the next, so that is why I have the bell going off every minute in that meditation session. This is just one of the many ways I use this App.
A Personal Success Story
Like a lot of people, I experience stress and anxiety. I also have experienced panic attacks, migraine headaches and have a heart condition. One of my brothers suggested back in late 2016 that I should look at doing meditation. At that stage, he had been doing meditation himself for about 4 months.
He pointed me to Headspace which I have also used on and off over the past while since then. I no longer use Headspace as I feel that the Insight Timer App is way better for a number of reasons.
In my opinion, Headspace is good however the Insight Timer App is way better. I explain why I am of this opinion later on in this article.
I decided to give meditation a go as I felt that it could help me on the health front and I also felt that it would be useful and beneficial. Beside which, I discovered that meditation has a lot of potential benefits which I did not want to miss out on.
I took advantage of the offer by Headspace to learn and do my meditation sessions on their platform. I did this because one of my brothers suggested it as he uses them and finds them helpful and because they had a free trial period.
I had heard that there are quite a few different meditation techniques, so I wanted to learn a few of them quickly so that I could continue with the techniques that I like best and discard any I do not like.
The Insight Timer App has a number of different functions, one of them is a countdown function which you can configure yourself. I have setup a number of different countdown options based on the length of the countdown, sound options, how often to make noices, and so on and so forth.
Some of the meditation techniques involve doing tasks on a timed basis with your eyes closed. For example for one minute do this, for the next minute do that and for the third minute do something else. Well, to do this, you need some sort of timer.
This is the sort of thing where you can use the Insight Timer App countdown function. When you do meditation counting down from say 3 minutes, you need an alarm to go off when that time is up, otherwise you never end! The Insight Timer App countdown function does this brilliantly.
Of course, I used the countdown timer function on my mobile phone initially. It made me jump at the end of the meditation session when its alarm goes off, not exactly what I was aiming for!
The countdown timer function on my mobile phone only has a “total” countdown function. It is not able to countdown for one minute, then another minute then another minute.
If my mobile phone or cell phone or smartphone is in silent mode, it flashes when the countdown is complete, but with my eyes closed during meditation, I would not see that!
Again, not exactly what I was aiming for!
So I had a bit of a problem. I needed a solution that was simple, workable and practical.
The countdown function within the Insight Timer looked like such a solution. It turned out that the Insight Timer countdown function works in a way I like and so I have been using it since late 2016.
As well as that, each time you record meditation sessions using that App or do meditation sessions using that App, it records that information. Those statistics can be retrieved and you can view that information.
That is how I know that I have now at the time of writing this, that I have done meditation every single day for 650 consecutive days in a row, with an average time of meditation of 27 minutes each day. Not bad, eh!
(Update: In September 2019, I have done meditation every single day for over 1050 consecutive days in a row, with an average time of meditation of 40 minutes each day.)
The Insight Timer App is an application that runs on compatible smartphones on Android and on iOS that empower people to learn about meditation, do meditation, document their meditation progress, perform various countdown functions, do guided meditation sessions online and do unguided meditation sessions along with other functionally within the App itself.
My Personal Review
I have been using the Insight Timer App on my smartphone since late 2016 and this is my take on this. These are my own personal insights on the Insight Timer App, pun not intended!
What Is This?
Insight Timer is a top rated free meditation app on both the Android and iOS stores.
This is a great handy app for empowering you to do meditation related tasks at anytime. The app can operate in offline mode for some of its functions.
I connect my smartphone using WiFi connected to a router which in turn is connected to the internet. I then use the Insight Timer App on my smartphone to select and listen to their guided meditation session online and this works very well for me.
The App itself has a number of features which I find great.
Here’s a brilliant short video outlining what this is all about, which was developed by someone else. This video shows the Insight Timer App in action going through using the App at that point in time. The format and layout of the screens in the current most up to date version of the app will be different as the App is updated on a regular basis by the developers behind the scenes.
Who Is This For?
This is for anyone interested in learning more about meditation or interested in recording their meditation sessions or interested in listening to guided meditation sessions.
How Is This Helping Me?
This helps me in a number of ways. I can do guided meditation sessions using the App. I can do unguided meditation sessions using the Timer countdown function inside of the App. The number of guided meditations available is quite large and covers a large range of topics relating to meditation.
It helps me to keep my current meditation streak active. In meditation “speak”, the meditation streak refers to the number of consecutive days that a person has done meditation in a row.
What Do I Like?
- Simple to use.
- Timer Countdown function is great.
- It is free. Note that chargeable things are being added.
- The “My progress” section within the App shows some interesting statistical information showing your progress over time.
- There are always more meditations to listen to.
- Bookmark favourites.
- There are over 25,000 guided meditations available.
- There are over 4,630 meditation teachers and musicians adding applicable guided meditations and other great content.
What Do I Not Like?
- Updating the App takes some time every time that an update is available.
- When doing online guided meditations, on occasion the sound has to be turned up or down. There does not seem to be a standard sound level that is the same level across all online guided meditations. This is more a minor inconvenience rather than anything else.
I can not think of anything else that I do not like with this. The Insight Timer App is free. I have used it regularly since late 2016. I am not limited to listening to guided meditations from one person like Headspace, but over 4,630 different people. The range of guided meditations covers a large range of different topics in the meditation space.
How Can I Use This?
Here’s a brilliant short video outlining how to use this.
This video was developed by someone else, and he talks about using the Headspace App briefly in the video. My take with Headspace is that it is also good. However the Insight Timer App is way better. I explain why elsewhere within this article.
You can use the Insight Timer App for free. The Insight Timer App does have a few optional paid features which are completely optional.
I have been using the Insight Timer App for free since late 2016 until August 2018. Since August 2018, I have started to rent and enjoy the short 10-15 minute 10 session courses (discussed elsewhere within this article). I continued to enjoy the other Insight Timer App functions for free. The pricing model for the short 10-15 minute 10 session courses changed in late 2018 to be included in the premium version. This was far more cost effective for me, so I grabbed it.
Learn Meditation Using This
There are a number of different ways to learn how to meditate using the Insight Timer App.
A recent offering within the App is a new seven day course. The course is called Learn How To Meditate In Seven Days and it is currently free within this App. Each of these lessons with a guided meditation session lasts about 10 to 12 minutes per day for each of the seven days.
Although I do not consider myself as a meditation beginner or as a meditation guru I actually started this course recently. I learned something new as the approach adapted by the meditation teacher was different to what others say. I think that it is important to expose yourself to different meditation approaches, so that you are better able to determine which approaches work best for you.
If you are a meditation beginner or not yet a meditation guru, I suggest that you download the Insight Timer App and start this course. After all, you have nothing to lose (the 7 day course to learn meditation within the App is free), except maybe some time and potentially, you have a lot to gain.
This option within the Insight Timer App was not there when I started learning meditation back in late 2016 as this is new. I suggest the following approach:
Get the Insight Timer App. Begin the free seven day course within the App to learn about meditation. This is about 10 to 12 minutes per day. You know pretty quick if you like it or not.
You can always do any number of the guided meditations online within the Insight Timer App. There are over 25,000 of them to select from, so you should find some that you like.
Why Is It Free?
“At Insight Timer we believe everyone deserves access to a free meditation practice. That’s why we offer the largest library of guided meditations on earth for free, and the world’s most loved meditation Timer, for free. You can meditate for as long as you want on Insight Timer without ever paying a cent.”
Source: Insight Timer App within the “Learn why we’re free” section in late July 2018.
They have a few optional paid features which are completely optional:
1. Insight Premium which covers offline mode, high quality audio and their advanced audio player.
2. Insight Courses which are in-depth 10 session courses.
This is discussed further on in more depth later on in this article.
In my opinion, the premium version is well worth it. However I recommend that you use the free version until you are ready to use the premium version. You can remain on the free version for ever.
Insight Timer have make the following commitment:
“If you’re someone who isn’t interested in our paid features, you remain a loved member of community with free lifetime access to 10,000 guided meditations, 2,000 teachers and our Timer. That’s been our commitment from Day 1, and will remain so forever.”
Source: Insight Timer App within the “Learn why we’re free” section in late July 2018.
I expect that over time that some of the information may change however I expect never to have to pay for the lifetime access to 10,000 guided meditations, 2,000 teachers and their Timer.
(Update in September 2019, there are now over 25,000 guided meditations and over 4,630 teachers.)
In-Depth 10 Session Insight Timer Courses
A recent development has been the creation of In-Depth 10 Session Insight Timer Courses. I have done a few of them, so I can comment on how I found those courses. These courses are designed and provided by different teachers within the Insight Timer platform.
These courses are divided up into 10 to 15 minute sessions that people are supposed to do over 10 days. Doing it quicker or slower is totally up to you. The information is provided as an on-line audio lecture/discussion where the teacher provides more information about the subject matter.
The subject matter could include more introductory detail about some life improvement topic. When using the App itself to search for guided meditation sessions, if the teacher of that guided meditation session has developed one of these In-depth 10 session Insight Timer course, the course image and title are displayed as a link. Clicking on that link provides more detail about that course.
The new seven day Learn How To Meditate In Seven Days Insight Timer course is an example of one of these courses. Note that at the time of writing this, this was free within the App. This is discussed elsewhere within this article.
The paid for In-depth Insight Timer courses that I am aware of within the App consist of 10 sessions. Each session usually lasts 10 to 15 minutes for the audio component which is an on-line audio lecture/discussion where the teacher provides more information about the subject matter. One great advantage is that you can rewind or forward this audio component. I find this very useful and would be lost without it!
Some of the sessions involve doing ‘homework’ which are designed to help you understand the subject matter better and get additional benefit from doing the course. Rather you do the ‘homework’ or not is totally up to you.
In September 2018, Insight Timer have two options for payment here – you can either rent the course for a one time use. This is pretty generous as the rental period expires 48 hours after you start session 10 for the first time. I found that I could play the other sessions (sessions 1 to 9) numerous times under the rent the course for a one time use option. Or you can buy for course for multi time use.
Within the ‘rent the course for a one time use’ option, you can upgrade to buy the course for ‘multi time use’. You only pay the difference between them to upgrade. Note that this is only available when the rental is still active and the rental period has not expired. If you let the rental period expire, you have to pay the full rental charge for another rental period or you have to pay the full price for multi time use if you want to do the course again. No big deal, just something to know in advance.
My suggestion here is simple. Rent the course for a ‘one time use’. And if you want to use the course for ‘multi time use’, upgrade just before doing session 10 for the first time. Technically, you will have almost another 48 hours to do this, however if you know you are going to upgrade, you may as well do it before you start session 10 for the first time.
I listened to a number of guided meditation sessions by Kenneth Soares and found that I like them and resonate with his approach. I discovered that he created the Manifest Your Ultimate Goals & Dreams Insight Timer 10 session course. I decided to give the course a go.
I rented this course for a one time use, found that I liked it and brought the course for ‘multi time use’.
When researching the Insight Timer 10 session courses, I came across the Unwind Your Anxious Mind Insight Timer 10 session course. The author of that course has a few guided meditation sessions and a few talks within the App, so I listened to some of that content. I discovered that I liked and resonated with this content, so I decided to give the course a go.
I rented this course for a one time use, found that I liked it and upgraded the course for ‘multi time use’. I found that my anxiety increased when doing this course as part of the course content has the listener focusing on anxiety and doing anxiety related ‘homework’. If I focus on things that make me anxious, I get more anxious. This is a common thread with people who suffer from anxiety.
The author of the course knows that his audience would get more anxious in doing this course and should in my opinion devise his course content in such a way that they do not get more anxious. He talks quite a bit about this in session 5. I just think that the course content should be presented in such a way that people who feel anxious do not feel more anxious. This may be a tall order.
Some people would say that you cannot have an omelette without breaking eggs.
However if someone suffers from anxiety, they want ways to reduce anxiety, not ways to increase anxiety. If you do not suffer from anxiety, you may think I am making a fuss. However if you do suffer from anxiety, you know exactly what I mean.
This course is good, however if you suffer from anxiety, you may find that your anxiety levels go up when doing this course. If you do the suggested ‘homework’ and practice his solutions, and keep doing them, I would be hopeful that it would help your anxiety although of course I can not guarantee that it would help your anxiety. Again, some people would say that you cannot have an omelette without breaking eggs.
Insight Timer and Headspace
I hinted at the start of this article, that in my opinion, Headspace is good however the Insight Timer App is way better. There I also hinted I explain why:
Since late 2016, I have used Headspace on and off. I no longer use it as I feel that they limit you in what you can do with your meditation practice. Headspace use the same meditator all of the time in all of their meditation sessions for all of their meditation packs.
This guy does a good job and has a good calm strong voice. Headspace use the concept of packs, which are split up into single packs or 10 day packs or 30 day packs. These packs cover different topics, for example, stress is one, and anxiety is another. They have many other packs and are always adding additional recordings.
Each meditation session recording is different for each of those days within a pack, sometimes the differences are very minor, sometimes minor and sometimes not so minor. I feel that when the differences are very minor per day that the instruction should be to repeat a certain recording for a few days in a row, rather than having a larger number of recordings with very minor differences between them.
If you miss doing at least one daily meditation session in Headspace, your meditation streak (in meditation “speak”, a meditation streak is the number of consecutive days in a row that you have done meditation) goes back to one when you complete another Headspace meditation session. However you lose the number of days that you have done meditation up to this point information. This may or may not be important to you.
Technically you could have done a meditation session that day, just not using Headspace. Your meditation streak is the number of consecutive days in a row you have done meditation, not the number of number of days that you have used Headspace to do your meditation.
With the Insight Timer App, you can see the current consecutive days and your best consecutive days as noted in the nearby screen shot, that I captured earlier when I was using the Insight Timer App.
It is important to me to know these statistics. I use these statistics to empower me to do meditation every day. I find them helpful.
I no longer use Headspace as I feel that the Insight Timer App is way better for a number of reasons:
1. It is possible to use the Insight Timer App for nothing. With Headspace, after the initial trial period is up, you have to subscribe to continue.
2. With Headspace, all of your meditation sessions are effectively guided. You do not have the option using Headspace to follow an unguided meditation session. With the Insight Timer App, you can do both guided meditation sessions and unguided meditation sessions. Also with the Insight Timer App, you can add additional information about other times you have done meditation not using the App (this is explored further in a following point).
3. When I was using Headspace, I was using my laptop. In order to do a meditation session I had to be online as all of their meditation sessions are guided meditation sessions. With the Insight Timer App, I can do meditation sessions offline. I use the Countdown Timer function within the Insight Timer App to do this. These are noted when I am offline, then when I am online, I can synch this data so that my meditation history is updated.
4. With the Insight Timer App, there is a function that allows you to add any meditation sessions manually. You might have listened to a meditation session on your laptop and need to add this information to your meditation history to add to your meditation streak. Headspace does not recognise non Headspace meditations as adding to your meditation streak within Headspace.
You might do meditation sessions from other sources and need to note your meditation sessions in one place. I really like this idea of being able to add this information manually: Date, time and length of these meditation sessions that were done outside of the App.
5. With the Insight Timer App, you have access to over 25,000 free guided meditations, music tracks, talks and courses that are provided by other 4,630 different meditation teachers and musicians. So you have variety between different people and a wide range of topics. With Headspace, all of their guided meditation sessions are done by one man.
In conclusion, my comparison between Headspace and the Insight Timer App shows a number of differences. I think that it is possible if someone uses Headspace first, subscribes, starts paying the regular recurring fee and only uses Headspace as their source for meditation that that would work for them.
If you are using Headspace and not yet using the Insight Timer App, I would suggest that you give the Insight Timer App a go and see if you can include it in your meditation practice.
The Headspace solution is good in my opinion. However once you become aware of the Insight Timer App and the functionally within that, that is in my opinion, a much better solution. The more time I spend using the Insight Timer App the more grateful I am.
Why Do I Recommend This?
For me and my experience so far with the Insight Timer App, I personally find that this is a brilliant tool that helps me to maintain my meditation daily habit. It also helps me to expand my meditation practice in different ways.
There are a number of different ways to use this App. I found that for the first 18 months that I had this App, that I was mainly using the Timer function inside of the App to record my sessions and how long that they last. I learned when starting meditation that it is a great idea to try to do meditation every day, and this App helped me to do that so far.
After about month 18 I started to also listen a lot more to the guided meditation sessions that the App gives me access to. I am enjoying looking up, selecting and doing those guided meditation sessions. I am enjoying these. I am starting to build up my list of favourite guided meditations along with a list of favourite teachers.
For instance, some of the guided meditation sessions I done recently inside of the Insight Timer App include:
– Anxiety and Stress reduction binaural beats meditation
– Relax and Recharge in 6 Minutes
– Self Confidence 1: Re-Awaken the Confident You – Night Program
– Deeply Letting Go
– It’s Not Me It’s You Meditation
– “Theta Dimensions 20” – Binaural Music
– Affirmations: “I Am So Blessed”
– Manifesting Abundance & Success on Your Terms
As far as I recall, none of these were provided by the same meditator teacher. Each of them I found useful and helpful.
Here are some more guided meditation sessions that I like, you may like them too:
– Deep Relaxation and Anchoring Confidence: There is nice relaxing background music and the meditation teacher guides you through a process to relax you. This includes a number of positive affirmations and other guided mental activities which are mainly designed to build your confidence.
– Morning Meditation with Music: There is nice relaxing background music and the meditation teacher guides you through a process to relax you and get you ready mentally for the coming day. This includes a number of positive affirmations which are mainly designed to get you ready for the coming day.
There are over 25,000 more guided meditation sessions available from within the Insight Timer App!
I find with some of the guided meditation sessions that I listen to using the Insight Timer App that I gain additional insights. Pun not intended. 🙂
You might start using the Insight Timer App yourself one way and find that over time that you actually use it in different ways, like I am. The thing to bear in mind is to use it in the way that helps you and that you enjoy the experiences and find them of benefit. Otherwise, why bother?
I recommend it because for me I am finding it of value and of use.
My Personal Rating
I rate the Insight Timer App as 5.0 stars out of 5.0 stars.
My Product Overview
My Closing Conclusions
I hope that you enjoyed my take of the Insight Timer App, which I wrote and updated in 2018. I also updated this in 2019. As I said at the beginning of this review I have been using this on a daily basis since late 2016, so I waited about 20 months before writing this review so that you could appreciate it from the point of view of someone who actually uses this App on a daily basis.
For the first 18 to 19 months, I hardly listened to the guided meditation sessions that the App gives me access to, as I was mainly using the timer function built in the App.
Since about month 18 or month 19, I have started to listen a lot more to the guided meditation sessions that the App gives me access to, and I am finding that I love these too. I am starting to build up my list of favourite guided meditation sessions along with a list of favourite teachers.
Since about month 22, I have started to do some of the short 10-15 minute 10 session courses (This is a premium offering). You are supposed to do these sessions daily, actual pace is up to you of course.
In 2018, these short 10-15 minute 10 session courses were available on a rental basis either for ‘one time use’ or ‘multi time use’. Pity book sellers don’t adapt this pricing model!
Since late 2018, access to these courses are now available if you opt for the premium version of Insight Timer. For me, this is way more cost effective than the previous pricing model so I grabbed it.
There are also short 10-15 minute 30 session courses and at least one short 10-15 minute 11 session course. Each session is supposed to be done daily however the actual rate is up to you.
Did I Miss Anything?
Now I would like to hear from you:
Are you going to use the Insight Timer App on your smartphone?
Which meditation teachers are you going to listen to?
Which guided meditation sessions are you going to listen to?
Which 10 session Insight Timer Courses are you going to listen to?
Or maybe you are already using this App and I did not mention one of your own favourite meditation teachers or one of your own favourite guided meditation sessions or one of your own favourite 10 session Insight Timer Courses.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.