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8 mindfulness apps to help you cope in this time of uncertainty

Take some time for your mental health

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Caring for your health goes beyond eating more whole foods instead of processed foods. Getting good sleep, working out, and practicing mindfulness are just as important for your overall well-being.

Taking a brief moment for your mental health is necessary especially at a time like this when stress and anxiety levels are high for a lot of people. Here are some mindfulness apps that can help you cope during this time of uncertainty, whether it’s guided meditation, breathing exercises, or looking for help to relieve stress.

Breathe

The Breathe app on your Apple Watch encourages you to set aside a few minutes a day to relax and focus on your breathing. Taking moments throughout the day to stop, relax, and practice mindfulness can help reduce stress and improve overall health. It’s also available as a watch face, so you can bring focus to your day just by raising your wrist.

3 Minute Mindfulness

If meditating for 20 minutes feels like too much, 3 Minute Mindfulness is the perfect introduction. 3 Minute Mindfulness helps you stop, pause and reset in just 3 minutes so you can remain calm and relaxed throughout the day. You can choose from a 7 Days of Mindfulness course to a range of breathing exercise that each have different benefits. In addition, 3 Minute Mindfulness connects with the Health app to save all the time you spend being mindful.

Ten Percent Happier

Want to sleep better, be more mindful, improve your relationships, and become just about ten percent happier? This is the app for you. The guided meditations, videos, talks, and sleep content will help you build (or boost) your meditation practice, and stick with it. Ten Percent Happier also integrates with the Health app.

Simple Habit

Wellness & sleep therapy sessions offer guided mindfulness & meditation, daily motivation, guided sleep sessions and coaching by world-renowned experts, personalized for the way you live your life. Whether you have 5 minutes in the morning or need to fall asleep quickly, start your Simple Habit today and live better every day. Optionally integrate your meditations with Apple Health by connecting your meditations with Mindful Minutes.

Headspace

Get happy. Stress less. Sleep soundly. Headspace is your guide to everyday mindfulness in just a few minutes a day. Choose from hundreds of guided meditations on everything from managing stress and anxiety to sleep, productivity, exercise, and physical health — including short SOS meditations for when you’re on the go. And to help you find some space during tough times, Headspace is here for you with the new Weathering the storm pack. Track your progress and time spent meditating while adding Mindful Minutes to your Health app.

Timeless

Multi-day courses, guided meditations, and a beautiful personal practice timer. Timeless is made by meditators, for meditators. The app provides high-quality guided instruction with practicing meditators, multi-day immersions for learning new techniques, and a personal practice timer that is elegant, easy-to-use, and fully customizable. Timeless is fully integrated with the Health app, making it easy to track Mindful Minutes.The app is also beautifully designed for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, honoring each device and its unique features while Cloud Sync and handoff ensure seamless experiences across devices.

Zen

If you want to live a happier, healthier and more balanced emotional life, Zen is the perfect app for you. On Apple’s list of ‘Best apps of 2016’, Zen offers a diverse and ever-growing amount of content and features such as HealthKit compatibility to save all health data on your Health app.

Stop, Breathe & Think Kids

Stop, Breathe & Think Kids is a mindful games app designed specifically for kids ages 5 – 10. Kids can check into how they are feeling using fun emojis and try recommended mindful missions and meditations tuned to those emotions. Stickers reward their progress and keep the mindful activities engaging. The kids meditation and mindful missions in Stop, Breathe & Think Kids were developed in collaboration with activity-based mindfulness expert Susan Kaiser Greenland, creator of the Inner Kids program and author of Mindful Games and The Mindful Child.

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Instagram actively testing Reels to take on TikTok

Short 15-second videos

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Short videos under 15 seconds have gained massive popularity thanks to platforms like TikTok. Facebook-owned Instagram has been eyeing this space for a while and has reportedly expanded testing its Reels feature in India.

According to Business Insider, the Reels feature is being actively tested in India. This only after just a few days after TikTok was banned in the country.

The app will let the user record 15-second videos, add background soundtrack, as well as include a range of effects.

TikTok has come under immense pressure globally due to its poor data collection policies. The app was recently caught snooping around the user’s clipboard after Apple updated iOS’s privacy features. US lawmakers are worried about user data being collected.

However, Facebook itself is no saint when it comes to handling private user data. The company has a history of mishaps and the platform hasn’t learned anything from its mistakes.

The feature is currently active in Brazil and acts as an extension to Stories. You can find it in Instagram’s camera section, just beside the Boomerang and Super Zoom option.

The company had previously launched a separate app called Lasso. However, it was phased out and Reels was integrated into the Instagram app.

The sudden ban of TikTok has created a vacuum in India and it’s obvious Facebook wants to quickly bridge the gap by providing an alternate service.

Facebook and Instagram recently partnered with Saregama music label in India to provide access to a music library. The Indian government has also launched an app challenge that aims to encourage domestic developers and companies to take advantage of the recent ban.

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Facebook shared user data with at least 5000 developers

When will Facebook understand privacy?

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After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has become synonymous with privacy invasion. You’d ideally expect the social networking company to learn something and change how it operates to protect personal user data. However, the company is back to square one.

A blog post confirms that Facebook shared user data to thousands of developers and continued to receive updates to users’ non-public information.

According to internal policy, if you don’t use the service within a gap of 90 days, it’ll stop having access to your data and no updates will be sent forward. However, this wasn’t practically enforced and developers continued to have unprecedented access.

This is an extremely sensitive flaw since a similar modus operandi was leveraged to funnel data of 50 million users to Cambridge Analytica. Going by Facebook’s announcement, data here includes the user’s email addresses, birthdays, language, gender, and more.

VP of Platform Partnerships Konstantinos Papamiltiadis said that Facebook estimates 5,000 developers continued to receive user information after 90 days of inactivity.

The company hasn’t revealed the number of users affected. Facebook says the issue was fixed after it was discovered but did not state when it was found and how it went undetected for such a long time.

It’s common for people to use Facebook as a sign-in option on third-party apps or websites. These services fetch your details directly from Facebook after your consent. But, if you don’t use the third-party service actively, your data also shouldn’t be shared with it. However, the issue does not plague all Facebook Login apps.

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Spotify launches Premium Duo plan for couples

Premium Duo starts at US$ 12.99

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Spotify offers multiple plans for its premium music streaming service. For a long time, the company offers a premium plan designed for one person. In recent years, it also started offering a family plan for up to 4 family members. Now, the company is expanding its portfolio once again by offering a plan for couples.

The new Premium Duo plan is Spotify’s answer to couples who want a cheaper premium plan. As the name implies, the plan is targeted towards two people. All features of Spotify Premium is here too. Couples can enjoy ad-free listening, unlimited skips, and offline songs along with new features unique to this plan.

Spotify included a Duo Mix playlist, which is unique to this plan. It works just like the Family Mix playlist on the premium family plan. Through this playlist, couples can enjoy the best songs they listen to on repeat. The playlist updates once in a while too.

The plan starts at US$ 12.99 per month, which is US$ 6.99 less than two individual plans. Like all other premium plans, there’s a free trial so couples can try out the plan first before shelling out cash.

With the new Premium Duo, there’s no need to share a single account between two people. Couples can keep listening to their own music, and it won’t affect each other’s accounts.

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