What is Journal, the new Apple application?

News > Phones > iPhones

Modified Dec. 28, 2023, 1:41 p.m.

Apple's latest addition to its iOS ecosystem is the Journal app, introduced with the first beta of iOS 17.2, is now available for every user with the latest 17.2 update.

This app, announced at WWDC 2023, is a modern take on journaling, blending traditional text entries with multimedia elements to provide a richer, more immersive journaling experience.

To use this new application, all you have to do is to update your iPhone to the latest iOS 17.2 update. The Journal app is included within the update, and your iPhone will give you a few tips about it.

The new Journal app icon

What is the Journal App Useful For?

The Journal app is designed to assist users in documenting their daily lives through a combination of text, audio, photos, and video inputs. This media-rich approach allows users to create vivid recollections of their experiences, enriching their memories with a variety of sensory details.

Apple has developed the Journal app to address common challenges faced during journaling. For instance, it provides text prompts to inspire users and help overcome writer's block, and offers daily reminders for those who struggle to maintain a regular journaling habit.

Key features of the Journal app include:

  • Theme-Based Journal Entries: You can choose from a range of themes for their entries, which might be based on locations visited, music listened to, or photos taken during specific events or trips.
  • Personalized Suggestions: Utilizing on-device machine learning, the app offers personalized suggestions based on the user's photos, locations, music, podcasts, and workout activities. This feature aims to tailor the journaling experience to the individual's daily life and preferences.
  • Writing Prompts: To kickstart the writing process, the app provides prompts under categories like 'Recent' and 'Reflections', offering questions or topics to guide the user's thoughts.
  • Bookmarking Entries: Recognizing that some journal entries are more significant than others, the app allows users to bookmark entries for easy retrieval later.
  • Integration with Other Apps: You can add music and podcasts from the Apple Music app to their journal entries, and even save thoughts on books, websites, or news articles for future reference.
  • Notifications for Journal Suggestions: The app notifies users when new journaling suggestions are available, helping them stay consistent and capture important moments.

However, despite its innovative features, some critiques have been raised about the app's simplicity. While its clean interface and lack of complex options are intended to keep the focus on content, this simplicity also results in the absence of some basic features. For example, the app currently lacks a keyword search function, which could become problematic as the number of entries grows.

In summary, the Journal app represents Apple's foray into digital journaling, blending traditional journaling with modern technology to create a multimedia-rich, personalized journaling experience. Despite its innovative features, the app's simplicity and lack of certain functionalities have been noted as potential drawbacks. As for its cost, the app is completely free with iOS 17.2, following Apple's usual practice with native apps.


Maxime Levesque is a technical engineer with more than 5 years of professional experience. He is an expert in computer and phones, mostly on Apple products. Maxime is also the founder of TechBrowser.