With the release of watchOS 8, Apple’s Breathe app became the Mindfulness app. The differences may be subtle, but you might want to give the feature another shot if you’ve dismissed it in the past.
Choose Breathe or Reflect
Apple no longer includes the Breathe app on the Apple Watch with the release of watchOS 8. Fortunately, the Breathe watch faces are still intact with their rhythmic animations that you can use to help focus your breathing.
Breathe is now Mindfulness, but it works in an almost identical manner. One big difference is that there are now two session types: Breathe (as per watchOS 7 and earlier) and Reflect.
Each of these options works in a similar way to the Workout app. You can tap on the ellipsis “…” icon next to each to adjust the session length, with one minute being the default and five minutes being the maximum. Tap on a session to start it, and follow the prompts.
The Breathe experience is largely unchanged. You’ll see an animation of what could be interpreted as a flower growing and shrinking, with haptic feedback on your wrist to match. Breathe in deeply when the flower grows, then breathe out when it shrinks. Repeat until the end of the session and you’ll hopefully lower your heart rate.
The Reflect option is a bit different. Each Reflect session prompts you with what Apple calls a “unique, thoughtful notion to consider that invites a positive frame of mind.” The goal here is to focus your mind on a single (ideally positive) train of thought for just a short period.
These prompts may relate to past experiences, people in your life, or physical sensations. While the session plays out, you’ll see an animation on your Apple Watch but no breath rate indicator.
There’s no real need to look at your watch at all though since you’ll get a haptic notification to let you know your session is over, alongside a summary with your heart rate.
Get Reminders (Or Don’t)
One of the most divisive aspects of the Breathe app was the frequent notifications to complete a session at seemingly random times. The good news is that if you previously turned these notifications off, they’ll be off for the Mindfulness app too.
If you head over to the Watch app on your iPhone and scroll down to Mindfulness, you’re able to toggle these notifications on or off. There are toggles for reminders at the start of your day and end of your day, which will differ depending on your daily habits as analyzed by Siri.
You can also use the “Add Reminder…” option to add your own reminders at a specific time. This is probably the most useful setting since you can schedule your sessions for a time when you’re likely free. There’s a “Weekly Summary” notification too, which lets you know how you’ve done over the week.
If you find the Breathe app to be a little fast or slow for your taste, you can adjust the Breath Rate in this menu too.
The Science of Mindfulness
It’s unlikely that Apple’s Mindfulness app is going to win you over if you don’t already practice mindfulness in some capacity. For those of you who already use “Breathe” or positive affirmation notifications, Mindfulness is a useful tool that may have a positive impact on your stress levels.
Don’t see the Mindfulness app on your Apple Watch? Make sure you update to the latest version of watchOS first. Want to take your mindfulness habit to the next level? Check out the best purpose-built apps for guided meditation.