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The simplicity of Apple’s Journal app may ultimately be ruined

The first beta of iOS 17.2, released two weeks ago, introduced Apple’s new Journal app. The idea is to provide users with some basic journaling features so that they can write about their day based on intelligent suggestions. But Apple’s Journal app is so simple that it can end up killing you.

I’ve tried journaling several times using third-party apps, including the popular Day One. But I always lose interest at some point and forget to write about my days. Since you’re running the iOS 17.2 beta on your iPhone, why not give Apple’s Journal app a try? And that’s exactly what I’ve been working on since the beta launched.

First, I need to state this disclaimer. I am aware that I am writing about a beta app, the first beta version to be exact. Things may change between now and the final release later this year. Of course, we’ll be careful not to mention bugs or confirmed features that aren’t working properly yet in this beta version.

How Apple’s Journal app works

When Apple announced the Journal app at WWDC 2023, the company said it would give users a simple and easy way to keep a journal. The app provides suggestions based on your photos, music you listen to, places you visit, people you text, and generates memory suggestions.

You can create a new blank entry or use suggestions to add text, photos, specific locations, or even voice notes. For some reason the suggestions (other than the photos) aren’t showing up here, but I think that’s just because the beta is a beta. New entries can be created for the current day or any other date of your choice.

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The app is very clean in terms of interface and doesn’t have many complicated options to make you think about how to use it. This is great because the focus is on content. The app’s main screen works in reverse chronological order, like a social network feed, so you can see all your memories.

Apple Journal app

I like that the Journal app gives you a preview of what you’ve written, along with thumbnails of photos, videos, and other content you’ve added. When you tap on an image or video, the app expands it to full screen and shows details at the time it was taken. As for locations, you can also explore the map.

Apple’s Journal app is missing some basic features

As I added more entries to the journal app, I realized it was missing some important basic features.

I immediately missed the keyword search. The app has some basic filters, but you can only filter entries by photos, videos, or other media. This seems fine now, but the problem arises when you add more entries because there is no way to search for a specific entry. What happens if I have more than 60 or 100 entries?

I also want to be able to select a date in a calendar-based search and see what happened on that day. Another great feature is the map to explore entries based on location (filter only lists all entries with location).

But what frustrates me the most is that Apple’s Journal is an iPhone-only app. There’s no iPad or Mac version yet, but the company is focused on improving its iPhone app first, so there’s no evidence it’ll be released anytime soon. If I could use an iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard instead of my iPhone, I would write more about my day.

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Overall, Apple’s Journal app works well for people who just want to record their day. However, this extreme simplicity may be a problem in the future, and certainly makes us think there’s still plenty of room for third-party journaling apps. I hope the Journal app improves over time, but for now I might switch to another app.

Have you used Apple’s new Journal app? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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