Apple has announced Journal, a new journaling app for iOS that allows iPhone users to regularly log their daily activities. Announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Journal is the company’s latest step into the health and wellness segment, joining other iOS apps like Fitness, Sleep, and Breathe that help users track and manage aspects of their everyday lives.
Journal will be released on iOS 17, which is expected to roll out in September later this year. Apple says that the new iPhone app will use on-device machine learning to curate personalized suggestions for users to commemorate within their digital journal, pulling information from contacts, pictures, music, workouts, location data, and more.
For example, Journal may prompt users to write about their latest trip to the coast by flagging a recent photo album containing pictures that were snapped at the beach, detailing the location and what users were listening to at that time. Tapping this suggestion will automatically add this information to a draft post in the user’s Journal, and when published, important Journal entries can be marked so they’re easier to locate and view later.
For privacy, Journal is end-to-end encrypted and can be locked to conceal it from prying eyes, only storing information locally on the phone where even Apple claims it can’t view it. iPhone users can control what device data is used to generate Journal’s suggestions and when to schedule notifications for journal writing prompts. Apple is also planning to offer an API for developers that will allow them to tap into these personalized writing suggestions in their own apps.
Journal is set to compete against third-party journaling apps like Day One, which initially launched for Mac and iOS in 2012 before expanding to include Android in 2018. The Wall Street Journal reported back in April that it had viewed documents detailing Apple’s plans for Journal — at that time codenamed “Jurassic” — noting similarities with existing journaling apps. “It’s always the worst thing to have to hear that you’re about to be Sherlocked,” said Day One founder Paul Mayne upon being notified about Jurassic by The Wall Street Journal.
“Sherlocking” is a two-decade-old reference to when Apple was accused of copying features from Watson, a third-party macOS search tool. The term has since become a nod toward Apple’s habit of releasing native services that appear to be closely inspired by products from third-party developers.