Forest App is Good, But is it Good Enough for You? 3 Alternative Focus Apps (2024)

Forest App is Good, But is it Good Enough for You? 3 Alternative Focus Apps (2)

Have you ever wondered what makes some people more productive and focused than others? Would you rate yourself as highly efficient? By studying multiple apps that are centered around helping users increase concentration and work performance, we’ve learned a lot about apps that are the most effective in helping you accomplish more each day and to build positive habits. To help make it easy for you to get started on your focus journey, we’ve highlighted some curated apps we believe can help.

One of the most popular and classic apps is the Forest app. If you’re not familiar with the Forest app, it is the top productivity and focus app in 136 countries with more than 4 million paying users, with a tagline “Stay Focused, Be Present.” It’s the world-famous focus-timer for those yearning for a more focused and productive workspace. Business Insider raved, “In order to establish new, better habits, it’s helpful to engage with tools that make it easier to reinforce them. For anyone looking to curtail their phone usage, the Forest app might be for you.”

Additionally, researcher Matt Killingsworth found that distractions are destructive, and in fact, that “distractions make us less happy.” As such, according to Zapler, people who are able to focus on one thing at a time are much more satisfied with life than those who can’t. If you can’t wait to unplug from technology while you try to focus and want to be happier and healthier, read this article until the end to find out the perfect apps you can use to help.

But what if you don’t want to pay for Forest or if it’s simply not helpful for you and you want an alternative app? That’s why we are presenting our top 3 Forest alternative apps that will help. And take note that AppGrooves at this time of writing is NOT affiliated with any apps mentioned. So, read until the end to find out everything you need to know about the best Forest alternative apps! The three comparison factors are:

  1. Features
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Price

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Let’s get started with an overview of the Forest app itself. The app has one key charismatic feature which is its simple timer that is the easiest to use, and has helped millions stay focused and be present.


With the deep focus mode, your plant withers if you leave the app. However, if you want to stay on the app, you can switch that off. Every time you focus, you choose the type of tree to plant, and your tree grows when the time is up. Easy! Other features include tracking your focus durations, Forest timeline which allows you to track every moment of your planting journey, plant together where if anyone in a group touches their phones everyone’s plants wither, and their ability to plant real trees even with virtual coins. Today, more than 800,000 real trees were planted on Earth by Forest app users. These features allow you to keep track of the time you spend on your phone each day.


Given the design of the interface and intuitiveness, the app is very easy to use, and this appeals to many people who want a simple app to start their journey into being more focused. The aesthetic appeal of the app encourages you to take your work more seriously, and it has been effective for sure in encouraging its users to produce higher quality work. It’s also effective in providing a fun means of tracking daily phone usage. What draws users back is their ability to learn and get educated about various intriguing tree species and ambient sounds. One of the very strong pulls about this app is that it incentivizes users to re-engage and be loyal to the app, and that users get to contribute to their sustainable and meaningful mission to plant more real trees. This initiative is in partnership with Trees for the Future, — a Maryland-based nonprofit that works with farming families in Sub-Saharan Africa — where you’ll have the option to plant one tree for every 2,500 coins you earn. Overall, there are multiple features that make it a workable focus app.


However, there is corroboration that Forest is pretty simplistic and not as detailed nor robust as an app with some users who are more serious about work were looking for. As a №1 productivity app, the Forest app does not have a way to export data and it lacks data visualization functions to track my patterns in detail and gather actionable insights. It is also mainly used for its simple timer which does help with focus but lacks an incentive for users to learn how to procrastinate less and do more. Given the overly simplified tagging labels and space to add details, the app could be overly simplistic for someone who wants to dive deep into improving their work habits, and not just track them.


Costs $1.99 with other in-app purchases.

What is so special about this time tracking app? In a nutshell, Donut Dog is heavily gamified, motivating, and competitive. Welcome to Donut Dog and feed your focus! Literally, their pet dog is called “Focus” and you’re feeding him donuts which you can earn only after you finish focusing. Donut Dog is a great tool to gamify your concentration, fight your phone addiction, and to improve your attention span so you can become more productive. You could even call it a life hack because it helps you develop healthy habits. Ironically, the app itself uses the kind of addictive mobile gaming techniques that it’s presumably trying to break you from.


Also, just like the Forest app, Donut Dog has a super cute gamified timer. When you need to get a task done, open the Donut Dog app, select how long you want to focus, and start being productive. The donut machine generates donuts as long as you keep on focusing. If you change or close the app, the machine will stop and the session will end.

The app also drives that deleting social networking, news, or chat apps does not have to be the solution for you to keep you focused on your work, and similar to the Forest app Deep Focus feature, it has its own version of it as well. There are tons of features and challenges to unlock. To encourage you to get work started, the app dangles various donut rewards too! In general, the longer you wait, the more donuts you earn. And trust me, they’re all SO tempting, you’re actually WANT to focus more!


First, the app is so fun and silly to use. Upon downloading, you will immediately be able to sense Donut Dog’s creators’ fun, playful take on focus. Already at first glance, Donut Dog looks like any other arcade game with challenges, and targets the inner kid instantly, making work feel fun and giving a sense of satisfaction. Unlike the Forest app whose UI/UX is definitely much more serious and about taking work seriously, Donut Dog stands out to me so much because it is very refreshing.

Secondly, it feeds into human psychology with its rewards and positive words inside you that literally craves this virtual donut, and this I believe would work very well for a younger audience, or if you have kids you want to encourage to do their homework.


Free and Donut Dog Pro for $5.98 one-time payment.
And another Donut Dog Pro bundled with 20 Gems, and Indie Developer Gift for $10.98. One-time payment or $3.98 per month subscription if you only want to try it out for a month or two to make it worth your while!

For our second app, start your focus session and save the barren landscape by turning your focus time into raindrops and growing adorable plants.


The interface definitely looks like a cute game where you have to work hard to collect raindrops when you put down the phone and focus. The app is heavy on keeping a cute and playful design with an interface that is gamified. In terms of features, it is similar in terms of it being a study timer, and also focusing on gamification using plants.

Records allow you to stay on track of the time you focused so that you can better plan your tasks. Rewards give gamified tasks, and rewards help you stay on track of your focus goals.

You can also sync health information and time spent on wellness like meditations from Google Fit, and enjoy the game along with existing focus apps such as Forest, Plantie, Flora, Calm, Headspace, Habitica, Study Blue, Eggzy, Flipd, Planty, Study Bunny, Be Focused, Focus Keeper, Pomodoro timer, Zoom, Study Island, Saplingy, BFT Bear Focus Timer, Planty, and tomato timer.


Ultimately, I’d say it is a simple timer and does help block notifications. However, the app may be hard to grasp, and complicated in a sense. You have to sort of think about many things like water points, getting sunlight to grow the plant, and it ended up being much more of a time sucker than a time clearer for me just to get the focus part started. It could take time to get the hang of it and may end up being viewed more like a game than a productivity app itself.

There are also quite a number of instances where an action is blocked because not enough plants have been planted, which is a fallback but may be worth it for budget-focused individuals since the app is free with the same Forest app features.



At a glance, the Focus Plant app icon looks similar to Forest’s, except that it is FREE. Intuitively, we can view the app as a good alternative that is free compared to the Forest app.

For the last app to compare against the Forest app, Flipd lets you hide certain apps, allot time off your phone based on your schedule, and track your progress over time. Did you know that out of 2,000 users surveyed, 85% of Flipd users feel more productive after just 10 days? Meanwhile 2 out of 3 users say their well-being improved since they began using Flipd, the №1 app for distraction-free focus on the App Store with more than 1 million worldwide installs.


The Flipd app has a professional feel to it and looks like a planner, scheduling, and productivity tool rather than a simple timer. It is centered around productivity, community, and valuable information rather than gamification. This is coupled with robust features such as the Lofi radio live stream, the first Live Study timer, and an essential work-from-home time tracker.

Flipd integrates with the Apple Health App and you can challenge yourself to be more mindful and keep track of your time with Flipd through Mindful Minutes in the Apple Health App.

Tagging system for Mindful Moments that Flipd tracks include: Studying, Sleeping, Working from home, Writing, Meditating, Napping, Cleaning, Reading, Exercising, and Relaxing.

If you GO PREMIUM, with these features, this is how your investment in your time is well spent:

  • Flip Off for more than 30 minutes at a time
  • Track statistics across a beautiful 30-day histogram
  • Create unlimited schedules that suit your lifestyle
  • Join Flipd groups and communities
  • Free upgrade available for trial (just ask!)


The incredible thing is that there is an option to click on “break” where the app then tracks, allowing you to later analyze your time spent taking breaks, procrastinating, or delaying work tasks. This also encourages you to take healthy breaks since the break button is built-in.

The app also has a more robust documentation and data feature that will allow you to motivate yourself by tracking the time you’ve saved. For example, it shows you the days of study streak accomplished, the maximum amount of time spent focusing in a day, and shows histograms on your data that provide insights on how to procrastinate less.

Flipd is also very suitable for teachers, club leaders or managers as there is Flipd for Class, which allows you as a leader to boost your focus and engagement during class, receive automatic notifications to Flip Off for the lesson, measure and keep track of your team’s progress over time, and maximize your team’s activity by encouraging them through healthy competition together.


  • Subscription: $34.99 per year
  • Other in-app purchases available:
  • Class Access 4 months: $7.99 USD
  • Class Access 1 year: $12.99 USD

Whether you are a student that is constantly battling the Internet’s distractions, like social media notifications or text messages, or you’re a content creator who needs a new level of concentration, these apps can help you not only stay mindful and present but also help you build healthier habits, reinforce positive psychology, and motivate people to keep track of their progress. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic season, more individuals have started engaging productivity apps in hopes that these apps help boost productivity, focus, and attention spans while they study or work from home.

However, I personally like the Flipd app the most to take focus and productivity to a whole new level but it is expensive! Otherwise, Focus Plant is a great free version of Forest. And Donut Dog is a perfect free Forest alternative for younger kids.

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Forest App is Good, But is it Good Enough for You? 3 Alternative Focus Apps (2024)
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