It is no secret that I have been waiting for the Journal app since it was first talked about in the Apple event. I expected it to launched with iOS 17 which didn’t happen.
With the iOS 17.2 update that was released earlier today, I now am back to Journalling. This time hoping longer than I did with Dayone. Sadly, actually I stopped journalling in anticipation of continuing with the Journal app.
Since it is the first iteration my expectation was pretty minimal. And the app lives up to that.
Basic Notes app
In its current form, Journal is nothing but a basic notes app labelled as Journal.
The UI is pretty minimal(no surprises), you have a + button at the bottom which brings up a context menu with a new entry button and some personalized suggestions for journal entry(more on that later).
Once you click the new entry, it brings up journal entry text box where you can enter your journal text. You can add text, voice memos, location, images.
Sadly the editor lacks any of the formatting options that are available in notes app. So bullet points, task list,etc.
By default the journal entries are date managed, without a time stamp option. This is kind of odd why didn’t have timestamp. Since part of journalling is to reflect on my thoughts and timestamp is kind of important to track that. A few days later if I wanted to know when I recorded a certain thought of mine there is no way to know other than to rely on my memory.
And probably the most oddest thing about the journal app is there is just no way search. Yep, if you have accumulated a lot of journal entries and want to go revisit a journal entry just keep scrolling. Treat yourself to your journal entries a la instagram/tik tok style.
I find it odd that Apple released suggestions when there are many of basic journalling functionalities that aren’t there in app. Nonetheless its there.
Suggestions shows highlights from the apps you have used/interacted with. You will be shown tiles to record your thought on a recent fitnes app activity, photo memory, music or podcast you listened to …etc. And I am not a 100% certain yet but the suggestions are based of the Apple apps, not sure if these suggestions get pulled from 3rd party apps. So if you want suggestion to show a tile about recent music you listened to I am guessing you should have listened to it in Apple music. Maybe they would open up the API for other apps can leverage so that you get recommendations from them too. From my limited interaction, it does seem like it displays suggestions from the Apple apps.
I wonder if Apple weren’t fully convinced about releasing a Journal app given DayOne’s dominance in the journalling space, since it seems to lack some of the fundamental features for a journalling app.
Until iOS 18 we have to live and do with the basic set of features that is currently available to us. And I hope the journalling enthusiasts adopt the Journal app because a wider adoption would ensure that the app continually gets updated with new features with the iOS updates.
Here is the list of features that I wish to see in Journal app.
- Ability to search journal entries.
- Timestamp to journal entries (I can’t believe this needs pointing out)
- Ability to have Journal notebooks but can live without it. I used to have 2 different notebooks in DayOne a health and a daily journal.
- Add entry from activity manually instead of relying on suggestions.
- Ability to have templates for journal entries.
The wish list will grow as I spend more time journalling with the app.