Over the last few years, the idea that building good habits—or breaking bad habits—is one of the keys to a happier, healthier, longer life has gone mainstream. Books like Atomic Habits by James Clear and Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg argue that the sum of many small daily behaviors is far more important than the occasional dramatic gesture.
But building new habits isn't always easy. If it was, everyone would brush their teeth twice a day, get their minimum recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio and two strength training sessions in each week, and never miss a work deadline.
One of the most powerful ways to build new habits is to track when you do them. While you can use a wall calendar or a journal to record your habits, an app can be a more convenient solution. You always have your smartphone with you, it can remind you when you haven't done something yet that day, and there's more room for nuance in how often you have to perform a particular habit.
There are lots of different apps that offer some kind of habit testing. Most are based around building a daily streak or not breaking a chain of X's on a calendar, although most also allow you to set a target number of days per week or per month rather than just forcing you to do every habit every day. I considered, researched, and tested almost 40 apps for this article—and here are the six best habit trackers.
The best habit tracker apps
Streaks for iPhone users
HabitNow for Android users
Way of Life for gathering lots of data about your habits
Habitify for planning your day around your habits
Productive for people who want guidance on building habits
Habitica for people who want to turn building habits into a game
What makes a great habit tracking app?
How we evaluate and test apps
All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.
Habit tracking is an inherently simple idea. Did you do the habit you were trying to build today? If yes, check a box. If no, don't check a box. It's easy to see why a wall calendar or a little notebook and a red pen were the default options for so long.
This simplicity, though, means there are a massive number of apps that claim to be capable of tracking habits while being really awful to use. For this list, I set the bar really high. For a habit app to be great (and to beat out a wall calendar), it has to:
Have a mobile app at a minimum. A desktop app or a website that syncs is a bonus, but a smartphone app is a must. It's the only device you can always rely on having on hand, which means you can mark off habits as soon as you do them. Brush your teeth in the morning? Let's be honest—your phone is already with you in the bathroom, so you can check it off right there and then.
Allow for flexible habit tracking. The big advantage of using a mobile app is that you can track things in more nuanced ways than with a calendar. The best apps should let you set a target number of times per week or per month, track habits you are trying to break, and otherwise offer a lot more control over how you track what you want to do and when.
Be under active development. Since habit tracking apps are so simple, there are a lot of unmaintained apps out there that seem to have been built by developers as a side project or just for fun. Habit tracking is a long-term plan, so we only included apps that were still actively supported and had been updated in roughly the last year—that way, you can be sure they'll work for the next few years, at least. There's nothing worse than getting stuck with an outdated app you love.
Be quick, intuitive, and easy to use. Tracking your habits should be simple and take no more than a few seconds. If it's awkward, it won't fit into the good routines you're trying to build. Any app that adds friction to the process didn't make this list.
Offer stats, streaks, and data. If you're going to use a smartphone app, you might as well get the benefit of instant data analysis. All the best habit apps offer statistics that break down things like how often you do each habit, how long your current streak is, and more.
I've been writing about self-improvement, building habits, and apps for almost a decade. If there's an approach to tracking habits out there, I've probably tried it—and I genuinely think that a well-designed app offers the best balance between simplicity and effectiveness. I use one of the apps on this list myself, though I would happily use the other five if I needed to (or changed smartphone platform).
To test the apps on this list—and a bunch of the ones that aren't—I signed up for whatever free account or trial was available. Then, I added a few habits and used them over a few days to see how nice they were to use, explore any quirks, and look at their claimed features. After all, the habit tracking mechanics side of things is simple—it's building a nice app that's the real challenge. (I've been updating this list for two years and covered habit tracking for other publications in the past, so I've tried most of these apps at least a couple of times.) From that and relying on my experience with similar apps, I was able to cut the list down to just six great habit tracking apps.
Best habit tracker app for iPhone
Streaks (iOS, Apple Watch, macOS)
Streaks is the standout habit tracking app for iPhone users (and the one I use daily). It's super simple and quick to use, while offering enough options for tracking any kind of habit. Given the name, it's somewhat obviously based around the idea of building and maintaining a habit streak.
Streaks enables you to track daily, weekly, and monthly habits. When you tap the big Add Task button, you can choose from a preset option like "walk the dog" or "eat a healthy meal" or create your own custom habit. Whichever way you go, you'll be able to set the habit as due on a certain number of days per week or per month, on specific days of the week, or recurring every few days. You can also set it so you have to mark the habit off multiple times per day, like, say, brushing your teeth twice.
Streaks also integrates with Apple's Health Kit. This means you can set habits that are automatically marked off by the data collected by your iPhone or Apple Watch, like walking a certain number of steps, sleeping a set number of hours, or working out for at least an hour each day.
Once you're set up, checking off a habit takes two taps: one to open the app, and another long tap on a habit to mark it as done. That is, of course, if your iPhone hasn't already checked it off for you.
For such a simple habit app, Streaks also offers surprisingly good statistics about your habit streaks. Tap the star icon in the bottom right corner, and you'll see an overview of all your streaks, how often you've completed them, on what days, and at what time. You can then tap on any of the task icons to see an individual breakdown of the same data.
Streaks price: $4.99 for the universal app.
The best habit tracker app for Android
HabitNow is a great, good-looking habit tracker for Android users. The free plan allows you to track up to seven habits, which is more than enough for most people. If you want to track more, Premium requires a one-off payment of $9.99.
With HabitNow, you can track daily, weekly, and monthly habits, as well as add recurring tasks (which aren't tracked) and single tasks (one-off to-dos). To create a new habit or task, you tap the + icon. Once you pick a name and category, you can set what days you want it to repeat on, if you want to be reminded to do it, and whether you want to mark it off by ticking yes or no, or by recording a numeric value. (If you have the Premium plan, you can also set a checklist of sub-tasks that have to be done.)
While HabitNow's to-do list functions are basic, its habit tracking is as good as anything available on iOS. If you want to add a reminder to buy a new book or do something else related to your greater habit-building goals, it can be useful to have everything all in one app. Otherwise, I'd suggest focusing mostly on the habit tracking side of things.
HabitNow offers all the stats you could want. In the Habits tab, you can see your current streak, completion rate, and your completions over the last week. Tap either the Calendar or the Statistics icon for a more detailed rundown of how you've done over a longer time frame.
HabitNow price: Free habit tracker app for up to 7 habits; $9.99 for Premium with unlimited habit tracking and more features.
Loop is another great habit tracking app for Android; it's free and open-source, but a bit less polished than HabitNow. Avocation ($9.99) is also worth a look if you want something different.
Best habit tracker app for gathering lots of data
Way of Life (iOS, Android)
Most habit tracking apps are pretty binary: either you do the habit and keep your streak going, or you don't do the habit and break your streak. While this can be great for forming new habits, it can be a little too strict for some things. This is where Way of Life comes in.
In Way of Life, each habit gets its own journal. On any day, a habit can be marked as done, not done, or skipped (which doesn't break any streak). You can also swipe to the right and add a note explaining, say, why you broke a habit or what workout you did. This way, you can build up a much better picture of what habits you're sticking to, and when and why you're not doing them—all of which can be explored in the Trends tab.
Way of Life also has an interesting approach to streaks (it calls them "chains"). You can try to build the longest streak possible, but you can also set custom target streak lengths by tapping on Chains when setting up a journal. This means you can try to not drink soda for five days straight or meditate for three days in a row, and then take an allowed break. It's a much more realistic approach for many people, and is less likely to crush your motivation if you miss a day or two.
There are also "red chains," which record bad runs of days where you keep failing to do your new habit. I'm not sure how motivating this particular framing of things is, but some people may like the reminder—and be prompted to break the red chain with a green day.
Way of Life price: Free habit tracker for three habits; $6 for Premium with unlimited habit tracking and cloud backup.
For iOS users, Strides offers a similar data-driven approach to habit building. However, its $4.99/month subscription kept it from topping the list. It's definitely still worth checking out.
Best habit tracker app for organizing your life
Habitify (iOS, Android, macOS, Web)
Habitify is one of the slickest habit tracking apps out there, and it's great that it's available on iOS, macOS, Android, and the web—but it is one of the few apps on this list that requires an ongoing subscription to get the most from it. If $5.99/month, $24.99/year, or $39.99 for lifetime access is going to be a dealbreaker, you're better off with one of the other apps.
If an ongoing subscription isn't an issue for you, Habitify has a lot to offer. One of its best features is the ability to sort your habits into habit areas. The defaults are Morning, Afternoon, and Evening, but you can also create your own. Tap the New Area button, and create something like "Mindfulness" or "In the Gym"; then you can assign new habits to them. This way, you can easily group related habits, so your screen isn't cluttered with all the things you're trying to keep on top of.
Habitify also enables you to attach to-do items to an "Action List" for each habit. If you need a reminder to grab your gym gear, for example, it's a handy feature. It can also track your mood (via emoji) and details about how your habits are going (via notes).
If you can convince your friends to use it (or are prepared to compete against strangers), Habitify also offers social Challenges. You can join an existing one—like hold a plank for 2 minutes or drink 1.5 liters of water every day—or host your own. It's an interesting way of motivating yourself to stick with a new habit.
And, of course, Habitify has the usual streak tracking and data viewing features you'd expect from any good habit tracking app. You can see how you're doing in general, or drill into any specific habit, in the Progress tab.
Habitify price: Free for 15 check-ins per week; from $5.99/month for Premium with unlimited habit check-ins, unlimited skips, data export, and other major features.
Best habit tracker app for people who want guidance on building habits
Productive (iOS, Android)
Productive is more than just a habit tracking app—it's also designed to give you the tools you need to build healthy habits in the first place.
When you sign up, you're asked if you often procrastinate, if you're easily distractible, and what you want to achieve with Productive. Depending on your answers, you'll receive different guidance. There's also the Explore tab filled with content about productivity and sticking to healthy habits, as well as a handful of 15-day programs on things like How to Learn a New Skill or How to Be Healthy. If you're ever struggling with a habit, you'll find help there.
Productive does a lot of the hard work in setting up habits to track. When you tap the + icon to create a new one, you're assisted with a huge list of habit categories, with themes like Staying at Home, Preventative Care, and Morning Routine—there's even a Trending Habits section. You can of course create your own, setting how often you want it to repeat and when during the day you want to do it, but there's a good chance whatever habit you want to add is already there. It also has a pretty functional built-in timer, so if you want to record how long you stretch for or even use the Pomodoro technique to get work done, it can guide you through that too.
Productive also has built-in challenges with pre-determined activities. A fitness challenge might have you running in place on Tuesday, stretching on Wednesday, and doing some crunches on Thursday. When you sign up, you're forced to sign your name and promise to complete the challenge.
Like Habitify, Productive charges a subscription if you want to make the most of things—in this case, $6.99/month or $29.99/year after a 7-day free trial. It's pretty pricey for the included habit tracking and statistics, especially when compared to the likes of Streaks. But if you want the guidance and motivation of challenges, it's a great option.
Productive price: Free plan with up to 4 habits and frequent ads. From $6.99/month for unlimited habits.
Best habit tracker app for people who want to turn building habits into a game
Habitica (iOS, Android, Web)
Habitica (formerly HabitRPG) is a totally different take on habit building. Instead of trying to build a streak or carefully record how your life goes, it turns the whole process into an RPG. You can add tasks, daily activities, and habits to a list—but you can also battle monsters with your friends.
When you sign up for Habitica, you create a character. As you complete your tasks and habits, you gain experience points and gold, so you can level up or buy cool gear. Once you reach level 10, you can choose whether you want to be a Warrior, Rogue, Healer, or Mage. So far, so Dungeons and Dragons.
While Habitica is far and away the hardest habit tracker on this list to use, it's also kind of fun—at least if a pseudo-retro gamified experience appeals to you. It's especially motivating if you get your friends to use it too. You can all form a party, go on quests, and fight bosses. If one of you fails to complete your daily tasks, all the rest of the party can take damage. If your friends shouting at you for letting them down doesn't prompt you to read a book (or at least pretend you did), nothing will.
Of course, this gamification comes with its downsides. If you're a data nerd, you'll be disappointed that stats in Habitica have more to do with health and mana than they do with your task completion rate. And there are, of course, two in-game currencies: gold, which you get for completing quests and doing tasks, and gems, which you have to buy with actual money. Still, neither really takes away from using Habitica to build habits; both problems are just normal parts of the RPG-style package.
Habitica price: Free plan with most features; from $4.99/month for bonus items, the ability to buy gems with gold, and more.