How Apple’s 2017 App of the Year Transformed in 2018

As we enter 2019, I’m grateful to reflect on an incredibly rewarding and productive year at Calm. Join me in exploring our iOS app’s evolution since our v3.12 release on January 2nd, 2018. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine Calm existing any differently than it does today, but know that we are always growing, always changing, and always testing new ideas. Our roadmap is infinite and our dreams flow with the breeze. Awesome ideas come from everywhere and everyone, and our goal is to streamline these inspirations into a beautiful experience that is continuously improving. Let’s get into it:

v3.12 on left, v4.4.3 on right


Our homepage is the warm hello of Calm that greets every user when they arrive. We moved to a tab bar experience to make room for the two new content types we launched in 2018: Calm Masterclass and Calm Body. Within the tabs, we updated the architecture to allow the natural back-swipe gesture when dragging from the left edge of the phone to the right. We also updated the row design to improve legibility and visual pop. The Daily Calm is our flagship meditation feature, so we ensured to give it a stronger visual weight and sense of importance. The icon’s gradient color even cycles throughout the week!

v3.12 on left, v4.4.3 on right

Sequential Programs

This update moved our “7 Days” programs to display similarly to our Meditation Series programs. Now that users can read the upcoming lesson titles, it’s much easier to understand the full trajectory of each course. Plus, we removed a couple taps between the user and their mindfulness experience.

v3.12 on left, v4.4.3 on right

Session Player

The session player is truly the heart of our app. Whether you’re listening to a guided meditation, an ocean Soundscape, or a Calm Masterclass, all of our content is played and controlled here. I can’t believe last year we didn’t have a slider for changing the current time of a track! We only had a “Rewind 15 Seconds” button! Now, Music has auto play and a sleep timer, and several meditation series can change narrators!

v3.12 on left, v4.4.3 on right

Login / Signup

I assume most people don’t give a second thought to login screens since they should only see them once. However, as an engineer who tests login practically daily, this is one of my favorite user interface refreshes in 2018. The best part is when all the elements on the screen animate harmoniously with the keyboard as it appears and disappears.

v3.12 on left, v4.4.3 on right

Session Player Bar

My favorite new feature is the session player bar. Before it, there was no way to browse other content while in an active session. You actually had to stop your session first in order to explore other areas of the app. Engineering and architecting this player bar was definitely my top contribution last year. Check out those smooth fade transitions as the player bar morphs into the session player.


Calm Masterclass

There’s no comparison here, because Calm Masterclass did not exist in 2017! From Tamara Levitt’s class on Gratitude to Elizabeth Gilbert’s class on Creative Living Beyond Fear, there’s a treasure trove of content here. Personally, Adam Alter’s class on Social Media & Screen Addiction hit way too close to home.


Calm Body

It started as Christi-an’s and Katie’s winning project submission for our internal Calm Hackathon. Soon after, we built out this user interface, recorded the content and it became a fully fledged Calm offering. From a dreamed up idea straight into the Calm app in your hands, this one felt magical to work on.


Supporting German

In 2018, we laid the foundations of internationalization, starting with German. It was a monumental effort across the entire company and we pulled it off in record time!

Looking back, it’s astounding what this small team achieved in 2018. My New Year’s Resolution for our app in 2019 is for the experience to feel as gentle as Rain on Leaves and as calm as Jasper Lake. To do so along with everything else on our roadmap will be no simple mountain to climb. That said, I’m confident our team is up to the task. I hope you’re looking forward to another year of change, growth, and transformation. Close your eyes and take a deep breath, because we’ve only just begun.

(P.S: want to play a powerful role in 2019’s changes? Come join us)