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Lungy – a deeply beautiful breathing app

Developer: Pi-A Creative Systems Ltd.
Price: $3.99/£3.99 per month [Free 7 day trial]
Size: 74 MB
Version: 1.1.1
Platform: iPhone & iPad


Lungy is a breathing app designed by doctor and multi-disciplinary designer, Luke Hale. It takes the principle of guided breathing exercises, applies a little medical rigor, and coats its medicine in the sweetest of external shells.

The app offers a series of breathing exercises across four largely self-explanatory categories: Recharge, Relaxation, Sports, and Sleep. By default, each exercise lasts a minute, which divides into five breaths, but you can increase or decrease these to suit.

The visualizations react to your breathing out

Each breathing exercise offers varying patterns of breathing in, holding, and exhaling. The former two are represented by a timed progress bar, but it’s the breathing out phase that’s actually recorded. Your iPhone’s mic will pick up on the sound of your exhalation, and each exercise offers a Face ID setup-like process to bring your face into the optimal position.

Even so, we found that Lungy’s prescribed breathing technique took some time to attune to. At first, the app didn’t seem to be registering our exhalations very well, which has a knock-on effect for the data metrics that accrue over time. This prompted us to play with the sensitivity settings.

The set-up process positions your head appropriately

We soon realized that we weren’t quite following the correct breathing technique as set out in the tutorial, which advised us to breathe out like we were blowing a candle. You don’t breathe naturally here, but rather have to exaggerate the process, like you’re preparing to dive or trying to fend off a panic attack. You could say that Lungy is a blowing meter.

Once you get this blowing technique down, the app’s magic really makes itself evident. Each exhalation is reflected by one of 20 freely selectable, minimalistically beautiful animated visualizations, each with a blissful and thematically linked soundscape. This could be the fluffy bits from a dandelion, rain falling from the top of the screen, or abstract stress balls slithering around.

The visualizations are always easy on the eye

It’s the way in which these visuals animate in response to your breaths that really sells Lungy’s breathing exercises. Simply seeing the effect of your breathing depicted in real-time on screen is a strangely powerful thing. It lends a dose of tactility to the whole process, as well as a little light gamification.

The breathing exercises themselves work as intended, working to focus and relax as needed. You can set the app to provide a daily breathing exercise reminder, and it’s relatively easy to fit one or more in at various points throughout the day – though you’ll need to find a quiet place for them.

Your breathing performance is rated

Lungy is the kind of app that we love, focused on doing a single thing well and with considerable style. We can well see it becoming one of those precious apps that stays on your iPhone for the long haul.