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Apple’s new journaling app is here, and it’s great, but we have one major problem with it

Apple's new journaling app finally arrives

apple journal app against blue background

Apple’s new journaling app, Journal, promises Apple users an easier way to record and organize their thoughts, experiences, and memories. There’s just one thing we can’t wrap our head around — it’s only available for iPhone users, meaning you can’t get it on a Mac.

While being able to jot down your thoughts on the go is convenient, limiting Journal to iPhones isn’t merely an accessibility issue. For many, journaling is a way to escape the distractions of their devices and engage in reflective, mindful writing. With a phone in hand, notifications are hard to ignore, and tapping out entries on a tiny screen feels like a chore compared to the flow of pen on paper or the rhythm of keys.

Despite this limitation, Journal does offer some cool features. Keep reading to see how this new app stacks up against other popular journaling apps.

Journal app by Apple

What features set Journal apart from the competition?

Journal makes logging everyday activities and thoughts simple, with the option to add little details like photos, videos, locations, and audio recordings. You also have the option to add time-relevant content like news articles, podcast episodes, or music tracks to make for more interactive and multimedia-rich (this gives it a cool, time capsule-like vibe) journal entries. And if you need a reminder to journal, you can schedule notifications to pop up regularly.

Personalized suggestions and writing prompts

Another innovative (intrusive?) feature is its personalized suggestions for writing prompts. It’ll ping new places you’ve visited, photos you’ve taken, or songs you’ve played and ask if you’d like to write about that experience. This can help you get those creative juices flowing and prompt you to reflect on moments you might have otherwise overlooked.

It could also stab you in the foot if you have emotionally charged photos or content on your phone that you’d rather not revisit. However, according to the press release, users can control what appears in the suggestions or opt out of the feature altogether.

“We have integrated the Journaling Suggestions API into the Day One app to give our users an even richer experience that puts privacy at the forefront, and we can’t wait for them to try it,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

Private entries and end-to-end encryption

The coolest feature of Journal might be its privacy settings. When your phone is locked with a passcode, your entries are encrypted. You can also set a second authentication factor to access your journal.

Journal app entry

Our verdict?

Give Journal a shot, especially if you’re looking for a free way to manage stress and embrace mindfulness through journaling.

Even though we’re not entirely stoked about the idea of journaling on a phone, there’s no denying Journal has some pretty cool features. It’s also free to download and use, which is always a win in our book (and a good alternative to expensive subscription apps like Day One or Journey).

To add the Journal app to your phone, you’ll need to update your device to iOS 17.2 (it can’t be installed on Apple devices running on older operating systems). You can check your iOS version by going to settings > general > software update.

The Journal app should appear on your home screen after updating. If you don’t see it, search for it in your phone’s library. Once you’ve found it, set up your permissions and let the journaling begin.

Tabitha Britt
Tabitha Britt is a freelance writer, editor, SEO & content strategist.
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