Apple’s app of the year battles the anxiety that smartphones give us

Put it down.
Put it down.
Image: Reuters/Adnan Abidi
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Apple announced its apps of the year Dec. 7. They were were generally pretty similar to the sorts of apps Apple has gravitated to in years past—a few games, and a photo app—but one stuck out this year. Apple’s iPhone app of the year is Calm, a free app with subscription options that uses mindfulness training and meditation to lower stress and anxiety.

The smartphone era was essentially ushered in by Apple a decade ago when it unveiled the first iPhone, and many psychologists contend that they have led to a spike in people suffering from mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Which isn’t that surprising, given that we’re now always connected to everyone and everything on the planet at any moment of the day. Even one of Facebook’s earliest investors admits that one of the most popular apps in the world exploits human psychology and “literally changes your relationship with society.”

“If you tend to have a hard time falling asleep, or a habit of crawling into bed and firing off angry tweets at people who are wrong on the internet, you might consider adding the app’s whimsical Sleep Stories to your nightly routine,” Apple’s post in the App Store on Calm states. Calm has been in the top 10 health apps all year, according to App Annie.

Perhaps on some level, Apple is aware of the affect that its most successful product ever has had on our sleep, our mental health, and society at large. Or perhaps it’s just looking for a cut of the subscription sales Calm offers in its popular app.