A photo of a woman's hand together, opened palms up, with a flower between their hands, to represent the topic of the article - Tomo, A Wellbeing App Worth Trying Out Or Not?

Tomo, A Wellbeing App Worth Trying Out Or Not?

I stumbled across this app as it appeared on my Facebook newsfeed, so I thought I’d check it out. Upon trying out this wellness app, I decided it could be beneficial to my readers to review it. Thus, this is my review of the wellbeing app Tomo. Heads up, Tomo is a subscription app, but they offer free trails, which was what I was using.

 

Before we start, let me just say that this article hasn’t been paid for or endorsed/sponsored by anyone. However, if you’d like your product, app, or service reviewed, then visit my contact page, where you can download my media pack, and then contact me about how we could make that happen.

 

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Getting Started With Tomo

 

The first thing I had to do was sign up using an email address so they could send me a code to use their app. Once in, I was greeted by a bot. Then after a few messages from the bot, it asked me to read their privacy policy, which I had to agree to. Pretty standard stuff.

 

Once I’d completed the basic sign-up stuff, Tomo asked me to complete a health questionnaire, the PHQ-8 to be precise. I scored an 18/24. The PHQ-8 is a questionnaire used to gauge your level of depression (Kroenke, Strine, Spitzer, Williams, Berry, and Mokdad, 2009).

 

After the PHQ-8, came a second questionnaire. However, the second questionnaire made little sense as it was asking me about how my experience with Tomo had affected my ability to understand my issues, help myself, etc. so far. Which is ludicrous at this point. I’ve been using the app for 10 minutes.

 

Once the questionnaires were out of the way, I was asked to fill out some basic information to anonymously take part in their partner organisations research projects. This probably should have been the first thing Tomo asked you, as this might put some people off. However, you can opt out and it only asked about gender identity and age.

 

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Getting To Grips With Tomo

 

With all sign-up stuff out if the way, Tomo gave me the options to explore the app to find a goal to work on or to find a goal with the help of their bot. I opted for the latter. I eventually ended up selecting the health life skill task. However, as much as I neglect my health, the options it was suggesting I do were extremely basic and things I already do, which was a shame. I reported a similar issue with Woebot when I reviewed their wellbeing app.

 

It was constantly showing options like ‘prepare your medication’ and ‘take your medication’. Tomo would also show other options like ‘attend a medical appointment online or in person’ or ‘book a medical appointment online or in person’. They also included two options related to covid-19 about hand washing and mask washing. All really basic stuff.

 

A screenshot of the Tomo app that showed the options I could pick

 

Because the options were limited, basic, and nothing useful, I opted to change my life skill, but weirdly, it suggested the one I was trying to change from. So I had to pick again to change my life skill. In doing so, I was offered ‘motivation’.

 

The options the motivation skill suggested didn’t seem to have anything to do with motivation. Again, it was just basic stuff like go outside, sit in your garden, make a meal, and work at home. What does any of that have to do with motivation? That’s just doing things because I’ve been told to by the app. Granted, the hardest part of having a lack of motivation is to start doing a task, and once the task is started, your motivation to continue the task should take over. However, once you’ve sat in your garden (if you have one), the task is done.

 

I would have preferred being taught how to overcome a lack of motivation, the importance of discipline in motivation, and picking my own tasks, because I don’t have a garden.

 

I ended up just picking work at home as it was 00.40 and we’re all pretty much working at home now, so it should be an effortless task. When I did that, I got a pop up asking for permission to take a photo/video and then to access storage. I clicked deny for both, which stopped the bot dead in its track.

 

It turns out the app wanted to take a video/photo for the task. At first I thought it was to create some sort of image based journal of what I’m doing, but I hate having my photo taken or being in a video. Plus, I’m not exactly sure what it’s wanting to capture after I’ve just selected a task option.

 

The picture is split in two with the top image being of a photo of a young white woman looking at her phone in a depressed state. The bottom image being of a photo of someone taking a photo of a meal with their phone. The two images are separated by the article title - Tomo, A Wellbeing App Worth Trying Out Or Not?

 

Because the bot stopped working due to me denying the Tomo app video/photo permission. I couldn’t do anything else, so I had a look around the app and this is how I found I was on a free trail as it gave me the end date for it. You can also see what paid packages Tomo offer.

 

While exploring the app after I messed up my task by denying the permissions it asked for, I came across their major feature. It turns out that the photo/video permission request wasn’t to do with an image based journal. No, it was actually for their peer accountability feature. By clicking the little lifebuoy icon in the bottom right corner of the app, you’ll be taken to a screen where you’ll be shown a photo and asked if the picture showed if a particular task had been completed.

 

Other Tomo users are asked to decide if their fellow Tomo users are doing the basic task they’re being given by the bot by passing judgment on a photo they’ve uploaded. Because I had denied giving the app permission to take photos, I wasn’t able to show I’d done my task and thus take part in this feature. The problem is, the photos prove nothing, at least not in the ones I saw. 

 

For example, one photo asks if it looks like they washed their hands. It doesn’t, I can’t see soapy hands, it’s just a photo of a bathroom sink. That’s not evidence that they’ve washed their hands, but that they took a picture of some taps.

 

A screenshot taken from Tomo showing a photo of a bathroom sink to be judged on if it proves the Tomo user washed their hands

 

The bot restarted back to the beginning, which could be due to it not functioning because I denied it permission to take pictures/videos. So my advice would be to give it the permissions it needs right away, to avoid the issue I encountered.

 

After a couple of days, I returned to using the app, and it didn’t appear to have restarted again. I worked through the interaction with the bot, giving some suggestions about what looking after myself would be (exercising and eating less junk food). We then got back to the motivational life skills part again. 

 

Unfortunately, I got the same suggestions as last time, which don’t feel like creating motivation for me. They’re just basic tasks. They’d be better off telling me to put my favourite energetic music on. I mean, how is making my bed going to motivate me to exercise or eat less junk food? If they came with an explanation, that would help at least. I’m guessing they’re hoping that completing a simple task will spur us on to do more.

 

I was also in bed using the app at the time, so making my bed and taking a photo isn’t practical. Because I hadn’t used the app since the first day, I still hadn’t changed the settings that allowed Tomo to use my phone’s camera. Thus, I couldn’t take a photo for the other Tomo users to decide if I completed the task or not. As a result, the bot just stopped again.

 

Again, I explored more of the app because of this issue with their bot. Clicking explore, it took me to the life skills menu where you can see the activity ideas. And, for some reason, playing a playlist is in the confidence life skill rather than motivation. To me, this would be better in the motivation section. I use music all the time to get myself motivated to work on my blog.

 

All the activity suggestions for each of the life skills seem to be there, and some are really basic, while others are a little more useful. However, I’m not sure why you’d pay a subscription for the app to tell you to do these when you select the right life skill when talking to the Tomo’s bot. They’re all self-care suggestions 101 which everyone and every organisation recommends.

 

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Review

 

My first impressions of Tomo was that I wasn’t particularly impressed by the app, and I’m not sure why anyone would pay a subscription for such a basic app. My first impression was also my last impression.

 

Compared to the Woebot app I reviewed, this one is pretty uninspiring. If you’re looking for a basic app to help get you to create some basic new habits, then this app could work for you, if it was a free app. Not sure it’s worth paying for. I know I wouldn’t pay for it.

 

One of the other downsides I’m finding with the Tomo is just the amount of emails they send me. I get they want me to use the app and join a paid plan, but I don’t need to get a new email like every day about the app. Why not just send an app notification instead of all the emails?

 

I really wasn’t drawn back to this app, I wasn’t very impressed with it, and the constant emails I got from Tomo just made me less keen to reopen the app. I get what they were trying to do with uploading photos of your completed tasks, but most of the photos proved nothing. But I didn’t want to punish someone because of that when reviewing their pictures for their task. So I’d just skip answering yes or no if it didn’t show something that would be proper proof.

 

Although I wasn’t keen on the peer task photo review, I did like the idea of using peers, just not in its current form. Movements like AA use sponsors to help people give up drinking, so applying that approach to Tomo could make the app useful. Having a peer to talk to could help you stay on track, provide motivation, and add accountability. Implementing that could make this app great.

 

Once the free trial was over, the only options to keep using the app were paid options, but to be honest, this wasn’t a very good app, so I don’t know why anyone would pay for it. There are a lot better apps out there, Woebot being one of them.

 

I give Tomo 2/5 stars because of its use of peers that could add a lot more usability if done right to any wellbeing app. If Tomo takes my suggestion to change their peer feature to be more like that of AA‘s sponsors, I’d rank this app higher. Without the peer aspect of the app, I’d of given this 1/5.

 

A image of two suns and three black holes to indicate a two out of five review mark

 

Where You Can Find Tomo

 

You can find the Tomo website by clicking here. You can also find their app in both the Google Play store and Apple App Store.

 

Apple Store button to take you to the App page
Google Play store button to take you to the App page

As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with Tomo and other wellness apps in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.

 

Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, then you can make a donation of any size below as well. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.

 

 

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References

 

Kroenke, K., Strine, T. W., Spitzer, R. L., Williams, J. B., Berry, J. T., & Mokdad, A. H. (2009). The PHQ-8 as a measure of current depression in the general population. Journal of affective disorders114(1-3), 163–173. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2008.06.026 and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18752852.

63 thoughts on “Tomo, A Wellbeing App Worth Trying Out Or Not?

  1. This sounds like a confusing app for someone like me. I use self-help apps a lot and I think your review has highlighted they need to do some work on this one. I may download in a few months once any glitches have been ironed out, thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for writing an honest review. I don’t feel like this would be an app I would personally try due to lack of education and limited tasks in trying to better your life. It also seems like there are some glitches that still needs to be worked out. Do you know if this app is new?

  3. I like the honesty of your review. It doesn’t seem like an app worthy to pay for. Personally, I just use the Garmin app of my fitness tracker which I am really pleased using it. I have tried a meditation app but don’t remember the name. It was quite nice.

  4. I was interested in the subject of the blog as a possible app to recommend to my family in the UK. Everyone is struggling with the impact of COVID and any app that helps with wellness and mental health is welcome. But clearly this is not one to recommend. Thanks for the doing the review, very informative.

    • It does look like the UK is about to get hit hard with the new round of covid19. Although Tomo wasn’t very good, Woebot is a pretty good wellbeing app, which I also reviewed

  5. I like ‘waking up’ with Sam Harris. There is nothing to do except sign up. I’m going to pass on this app. I appreciate your review; you saved me a lot of time! Thanks.

  6. This isn’t the first time I read about your reviews of apps and I must say, I love them. You are so honest and you make me discover new apps and help me realize if they are worth it or not. I had never heard of this app prior to this post. But based on your review, I don’t want to hear more of it either, does not seem worth it at all. These type of apps just make you feel worst. But thank you so much for sharing!

  7. Thank you for sharing. I got excited at the beginning because I am aware of women who would benefit from the app. The cons (too many emails) seem to be counterproductive to mental health.

  8. I agree – I don’t tend to find apps like that very helpful. It seems like the type of suggestions you could use with any sort of well-being checklist without having to use an actual app.

  9. I have never heard of Tomo but then I am also one of those people who is leery about Facebook ads. I love your in-depth review; I wish so many apps did not have bots or depend heavily on my being willing to watch a million ads for perks and other bonuses. The peer accountability feature sounds interesting, but it also does not sound like the app is easy to adjust or reset in the event of an accidental mistake.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  10. Man, I was getting frustrated just reading your review! I totally agree with you. Who would honestly pay for an app to motivate them to complete basic tasks like make a bed, or wash their hands? I have to admit though, I do agree though with making your bed everyday, as I do feel as though it’s a good start to the day when I have done that 🙂

  11. I really appreciate your honesty in reviewing this app. It does not sound like a good app. Thankfully it was through a free trial. 😊Thank you for sharing this post.

    Pastor Natalie
    Letstakeamoment.com

  12. I have so many wellness app on my phone, i cant keep up. Will look into TOMO. Share this post on my Mental Health FB group Beer Ur Mental. I am sure someone in the group will benefit from the app.

  13. I’ve heard a few people talk about this app and have very similar thoughts and feelings to yourself. There’s nothing worse than an app who constantly send emails, it winds me up tbh. I totally agree, one email is more than enough. It’s a shame it wasn’t great, but thank you so much for sharing Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  14. Call me old-fashioned but I actually don’t like apps and use only the ones that are absolutely necessary for my work (such as Instagram and Facebook) and even then I do most of the work on my laptop, if possible. That app sounds like a very confusing one and perhaps needs to be advertised differently. I personally don’t see the advantage. I like my basic step-counter more!

  15. I never heard of Tomo, but don’t think it would be something I would try out after reading this! I really despise apps taht send you plenty of emails when it could be something dione on the same platform and also it sounds like a basic list of things instead of helping you with motivation. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Thanks for the honest review. I feel like a lot of mental health apps have the same problem. Personally, I enjoy the Calm app the most because it doesn’t provide vague directions but rather content that I can use to support my mental health directly.

  17. i tend to find apps like these to be counterproductive and actually not be as helpful as we’d like them to be. quite frankly, i try not to be on my phone too often and would rather not have an app to focus on.

  18. From reading your review, it sounds like a glorified to-do list. Not sure if glorified is the right word, but like tomo is essentially classing very basic tasks as skills. Think I’ll give it a miss!

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