Gain impressive insights into the quality of your sleep with this free app – use an Apple Watch for even better results
Size: 161.1 MB
Developer: Neybox Digital Ltd
Update! Pillow had us impressed when we reviewed it a few years ago, but how does it look now? Is it still a sweet dream, or has Pillow turned into something of an App Store nightmare?
So what’s new? One of the biggest changes to Pillow is a smart move which new users will definitely appreciate. Now, it’s possible to try the app’s premium features before you pay for them. Pillow Premium automatically records periods of “activity” in the night, and also serves up a dedicated Snooze Lab which provides an analysis of your sleep. Besides that, there’s new support for Siri Shortcuts and a selection of more subtle fixes and improvements. Regular updates mean Pillow is still one of the very best sleep trackers for iOS – and like before, it’s made even better if users have an Apple Watch.
Revised rating: Pillow remains a fine sleep tracker thanks to regular updates, new features, and more general improvements and fixes. It holds on to its five-star rating. ★★★★★
Our original review, written in April 2018, is presented in its entirety below.
There are a number of popular sleep tracking apps on the App Store, but Pillow is, without doubt, one of the best. The free app tracks sleep quality in great detail, and can even record audio and heart rate data.
When activated, Pillow will monitor your sleep overnight and provide a breakdown of sleep quality the next morning. The app offers information on periods of waking, REM, light sleep, and deep sleep using a color graphic which is easy to read and interpret.
As you might have guessed, Pillow is best used with an Apple Watch (though owning one isn’t a requirement to use the app). This not only lets users launch Pillow from their wrist, but it also uses the smartwatch’s gyroscope to track movement throughout the night and gain more accurate measurements.
When you wake, Pillow also asks for a mood rating. This feedback helps the app understand what kind of sleeper you are, and your optimum conditions for a good night’s rest. Its aim is to help you develop habits and patterns that will leave you feeling good in the morning.
Another bonus to using the Apple Watch is its built-in heart rate monitor: Pillow also tracks users’ heart rate in the app, providing a graph showing the peaks and troughs. It’s possible to view your sleep statistics in the Pillow watchOS app, too.
Using the Apple Watch to track sleep with Pillow does mean you miss out on crucial charge time (as you probably guessed, you’ll need to wear the smartwatch overnight). But with the newer Watch models, battery life is less of a problem: with an Apple Watch Series 3, we found that quick charges before bed and over breakfast were more than enough to fill up the battery.
Pillow on the iPhone is more or less as accurate as the Apple Watch, but it’s definitely less convenient: you’ll need to rest the handset on your mattress and sleep alongside it. For some, this will be fine, but there’s always the danger of knocking your iPhone out of bed.
Of course, on top of all this, there’s also our favorite feature: audio recording.
Pillow can cleverly pick up on any spikes in noise once activated and when detected, it will record these bursts of audio. If you talk in your sleep, this can make for some insightful (and hilarious) listening! In our testing, this feature worked well.
This does come at a cost, however: a $5/£5 IAP, which also unlocks user-specific “snooze lab” recommendations, detailed sleep history, and powernap modes which guide users through one of three short naps.
But whether you pay for the premium version or not, there’s a lot to like when it comes to Pillow. The app shares sleep data automatically with the Health app, you can set a wake-up alarm, and it’s also possible to send your sleep analysis to a friend from the iOS sharing menu. More generally, the app is well-designed and boasts a responsive user interface.
If you’ve been searching for a sleep tracker, look no further. Pillow is hands-down one of the best out there.