App iOS & Mac

iOS 17’s Journal app: An early look at Apple’s new Writing Companion

When Apple unveiled iOS 17 in his WWDC event in Junethe Magazine app attracted a lot of attention. However, the tech giant did not release the app on September 18 with iOS 17 or with the iPhone 15 series. But Apple gave beta testers and developers a first glimpse of the app iOS 17.2 beta 1.

Journaling has been linked to many mental health benefits, including managing tension, reducing stress And help deal with depression. But some people may have trouble remembering whether to journal or not know what to write. Apple’s Journal app makes it easy to jot down a few thoughts while on your phone, plus you’ll get writing prompts and other reminders about what you did that day.

Here’s what you need to know about Journal and how it works. Note I tested the app on iOS 17.2 beta 1, so some features may change in the final version of the app.

What is Journal?

Journal is an app developed by Apple that allows you to write diary entries and add images, videos and other content to your notes. Your data is stored locally on your iPhone, and you can back up your data to iCloud.

Diary app Reflection that reads Think about something you like to do and why it brings you joy, and some pictures of a man and a woman

Journal can suggest reflections or other moments to write about.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

Journal can provide you with prompts called Reflections to write about. Some reflections the app gave me included: “Think about something you love to do and why it brings you joy” and “Describe someone in your life who you really appreciate but forget to thank.”

The app also accesses certain data and gives you suggestions on what to write based on that data. For example, during my first weekend with the Journal, it suggested that I write about a coffee shop my wife and I went to and a local park we visited. You can control what types of data and other apps Journal can access to make these suggestions.

How safe is Journaal?

According to Apple, the app features end-to-end encryption between your device and iCloud, and uses on-device processes to create journal suggestions, such as Reflections. That means the data your app uses remains on your iPhone.

“No one but you has access to your diary, not even Apple,” the company wrote online.

Additionally, you can require the app to ask for your FaceID or passcode after it has been inactive for a certain amount of time. You can set the app to require your FaceID or passcode after one, five, or 15 minutes of inactivity. And if you don’t want to take any chances, you can set the app to lock immediately when you switch apps or your iPhone goes to sleep; you know, in the case of snooping siblings or roommates.

How to write a message in Journal?

On the Journal home page, you will see your recent journal entries and a plus sign (+) at the bottom of your screen. Tap the plus sign and you will be taken to a new menu.

The date Tuesday, October 31 is at the top of the screen, above the title card of the podcast you're wrong about below.  Below the podcast there will be text that says Listened to Podcasts and a blank space for you to type

You can write about podcasts you listened to earlier in the day.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

This new menu shows you your app’s suggested reflections and moments of the day that you can write about, like a photo you took or a podcast you listened to. Tap any of these for a quick overview of the suggestion, such as when a photo was taken, then tap Start writing. You’ll be taken to a new page that looks like a new note in the Notes app, but the suggestion appears at the top of the screen. You can write your message on this page and you can also add other content such as photos, videos or voice notes to the message from this page.

You can also just write a message without a suggestion. After tapping the plus sign on the Journal home page, you’ll see an option at the top of the new menu that says New entry. Tap this and you can write down any thoughts or feelings you have at the moment, or you can also add your own content here.

When you have finished your input, tap Finished in the top right corner and the item will be saved to the magazine home page. You can also edit or update entries once they are saved to the homepage. Tap the three dots () in the bottom right corner of the item you want to edit, then tap Editing and you can change your input.

What if I need help keeping a journal schedule?

Don’t worry, you can set the app to remind you to keep a diary. You have to go Settings > Journal > Journal schedule and tap the switch next to it Scheme. A menu will appear below Scheme which allows you to set a reminder at a specific time for each day (or specific days) of the week.

The Journaling Schedule menu in the Journal app that allows you to schedule the days and times you want to journal

You can schedule reminders for every day or for specific days.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

When is the Magazine available?

Apple’s website still states that the app will be released later this year. And since Journal was included in the software for the first beta of iOS 17.2, I expect the app to be available when Apple releases iOS 17.2 to the public. However, Apple has not yet announced a release date for iOS 17.2.

The good news is that Journal was included in the download for iOS 17.2 beta 1. That means that when you download iOS 17.2 after release, Journal should automatically download with the update, so you don’t have to find the app in the App Store .

Apple has already launched its Journals Suggestion API. That means third-party diary apps, such as To reflect And Day onecan also use the journal suggestions, but those third-party app developers must first adopt the API.

For more Apple news, check out my review of iOS 17what other features can be included iOS 17.2 and our iOS 17 cheat sheet.

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