Why an iOS 17 Journaling App Is the Only Digital Journal I Would Use

It's all about privacy

  • Apple may include a brand-new journaling app in iOS 17, according to rumors. 
  • Apple's focus on privacy will help us trust the app with our deepest secrets. 
  • Deep integration with photos, contacts, Siri, and your health data could make a rich journal.
A person writing in a journal at a coffee shop.

Carolin Voelker / EyeEm / Getty Images

Your iPhone may soon keep a journal for you. 

Journaling is a beautiful practice. A journal can help you consider your day when you make it, and it's a gift for your future self. A digital journal is even easier, often gathering your day's activities automatically, and it can include photos, maps, people you've met, and more. The catch is, journal data can, by its nature, be very private, so you really have to trust the provider. Apple's rumored new journaling app—coming with iOS 17—can offer both convenience and privacy. 

"Apple has a long-standing reputation for prioritizing user privacy and security. They implement strict policies and practices to protect user data, often positioning themselves as a privacy-conscious alternative to other tech giants," data scientist Nina Wess told Lifewire via email. 

Privacy From Day One

The go-to journaling app for Apple users has long been Day One. Over the years, it has evolved from a simple way to gather photos and thoughts into a feature-stuffed journaling app while still remaining simple and—importantly—great to look at. And Day One has, from the beginning, been a great example of an app that does privacy right. Here's its privacy pledge, but the best way to judge it is to look at its history. I have written about Day One on and off over the years since its 2011 launch; it has always seemed to take privacy very seriously. 

The Day One journaling app show on an Apple Watch, iPhone, MacBook, and iPad.

Day One

This is all to say that you have to trust an app maker to give them so much personal data. A journal app may be able to track your location, access all your photos, read your calendar schedule, and of course, read the journal entries you write.

And it doesn't really matter if you distrust Apple because it's another big-tech company. It already has access to all that data and more because it makes the phone and controls the OS and all the apps. 

"Currently, I trust Apple with my bank information, my location, and even right down to my ovulation," digital and lifestyle consultant and Day One user Natalie Boese told Lifewire via email. "There are no other companies that put privacy and security higher on their priority list than Apple does."

But Apple doesn't just bring an assurance that your deepest thoughts and secrets won't end up sold on the dark web. A home-grown journaling app could offer way more seamless integration with the data sources on your phone. 

Making Journaling Easier

Maybe the best aspect of a journaling app is that it can do so much of the work for you. As mentioned above, it can pull in photos and videos and put them on a map. It could pull information from your calendar and so on. But thanks to the deep-level access Apple has to all your other data, a built-in journal could go even crazier. 

Handwritten journal pages sitting on a pillow on a window sill.

Viktorya Shuvalava / EyeEm / Getty Images

For example, the Photos app already recognizes the faces of your friends and family, and thanks to the contacts app, where you can enter your relationships with people on their address-book entries, it also knows who they are. 

This makes it possible to see that it's your significant other's birthday today and to prioritize photos of them in the journal. The Photos app already creates memories based on similar criteria, so this would be like that, only in journal form. 

Apple could also add data from the Health app to make a daily log of, say, how far you walked or—if you wear an Apple Watch—your average heart rate for the day.

A built-in app could also get more people to start journaling, which can be a relaxing and healthy pastime. In addition to the future value of a journal to hold memories, it's good for your mental health. 

"[Journals] contain affirmations, quotes, and guided prompts to help the person dig deep and tackle questions they may have never considered," Dr. Lea McMahon LCP, EdD, the chief clinical officer at Symetria Recovery, told Lifewire via email. 

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