One of the big missing parts when iOS 17 launched, at least for me, was Apple’s new journalling app. It’s something that I have been doing for the past few months, and it has proved a real benefit in numerous areas. Although I’m a happy Day One subscriber, having a free stock option is an excellent edition.
It was conspicuous by its absence, and although Apple eventually announced it was coming “later this year” that didn’t really help. The app did not appear in any of the beta cycles nor the public iOS 17.1 release this week, but it is finally available for beta testers on 17.2. You can view the app on the App Store, but not download it without the needed software.
If you’re expecting a fully featured Day One rival, you will be disappointed at the moment. The app is very bare bones with a minimalistic interface. Which does make it straightforward to add an entry and scroll through the entries you have made, which is the whole point of a journal. Remember this is beta software after all.
When tapping the plus action button, you can choose between using AI-generated prompts to fuel your entry or to be greeted with a blank entry waiting for your thoughts. You can add in pictures, locations, and even voice notes, but there is a distinct lack of styling options. There is no way to add in subheadings, quotes, or anything other than basic text.
If you were expecting to be able to treat the Journal app as you would a regular journal and place in all manner of things, currently you will be disappointed. Wherever you decide to add in an image doesn’t matter because they automatically jump to the top of the page and display in a square grid. This simple oversight, which I must stress could be improved as the beta cycle goes on, will put many journal users off. A Reddit thread linking to the app shares similar feeling towards the basic styling, lack of tagging or ability to have multiple journals.
With that said, I think this is a great addition to iOS. Most users stick to using stock apps and if by launching this app Apple can get more people journalling it is worth it. If and when users want more features they can go looking for ‘better’ apps, but the simple titled Journal app is a great, if restrictive, starting point.