Apple introduced its long-awaited Journal app for iPhone in iOS 17.2. Here is everything you need to know about using Journal.

Journal App iOS 17 Feature Green
Apple in June 2023 announced it was bringing its own journaling app to iOS 17, and it is finally here as part of Apple's December software update, iOS 17.2.

Apple's Journal app lets you record your daily thoughts and activities, incorporating data like photos, music listened to, workouts, and more, plus it suggests topics to write about.

Creating Your First Journal Entry

The Journal app has a simple, straightforward interface. When you open it up, you're presented with a "+" button, and tapping on it lets you start a new entry. When you have added a few entries, the button at the top-right lets you filter them based on photos and activities.

create first journal entry
The writing interface includes several buttons along the top of the keyboard that you can use to access the aforementioned "moments," as well as add photos, take pictures, add voice recordings, and add location tags, respectively. Before you can use them, you will be prompted to allow the app to access your pictures, camera, microphone, and location. Journal entries are automatically dated, and you can bookmark your favorite ones.

journal suggestions
By default, the Journal app will suggest recent and recommended "moments" from your week that include photos, workouts, or places you visited, and you can use these as writing prompts or you can tap New Entry and start writing. (To write new entries without viewing suggestions first toggle on the switch in Settings ➝ Journal ➝ Skip Journaling Suggestions.)

Using Journaling Reflections

If you have a serious case of writer's block, the Journal app can offer you entry prompts in the form of "reflections." When starting a new entry, these reflections appear in between your recommended and recent "moments," are designed to inspire and guide you, providing ideas and topics to explore in each entry.

The reflections can vary from thought-provoking questions to creative writing cues, and if the one you're offered doesn't get your gears turning, you can generate a new one by tapping the two arrows that form a circle.

Setting a Journaling Schedule

Staying consistent with journaling can be difficult, but your iPhone can make it a lot easier with the new Journal app's scheduling feature. Here's how to set it up.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and tap Journal.
  3. Tap Journaling Schedule, then toggle on the switch next to Schedule.
  4. Choose the days of the week that you want to be reminded to write, and select a time of day to receive the prompt.


The scheduling option isn't just a reminder – it's about building a habit. So whether it's a gentle reminder notification that you need in the morning or a prompt before bed, you can adapt the feature to your personal routine.

Lock Your Journal

Privacy and security are paramount when it comes to personal journaling. That's why Apple's Journal app introduces enhanced security features, including encryption and password protection, to safeguard your journal from unauthorized access.

To lock your journal using your device's passcode, Face ID, or Touch ID, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and tap Journal.
  3. Tap Lock Journal and enter your passcode when prompted.
  4. Toggle on the switch next to Lock.
  5. Tap Require Passcode, then select from the options: Immediately, After 1 minute, After 5 minutes, After 15 minutes.

lock journal

That's all there is to it. Your journal is now inaccessible without entering your device passcode, or using Face ID or Touch ID, providing you with peace of mind every time you record sensitive or personal information.

Top Rated Comments

tonyob Avatar
23 weeks ago
If it is not also on macOS, then I wouldn't bother with it at all.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kylo83 Avatar
23 weeks ago
its just notes, deleted as soon as I installed 17.2 dont need more clutter apps
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pangalactic Avatar
23 weeks ago
So it's essentially Apple Notes with a slightly different UI
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
azentropy Avatar
23 weeks ago
Super disappointing that it is iOS only. I missed that until it started to be included in the iOS betas and not the Mac or iPad betas.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kissmo1980 Avatar
23 weeks ago
I understand journal apps.
I use Day One.

What I don’t understand is who uses a journal app only on the phone?
I would use Apple Journal App only when I am sitting on the toilet. :rolleyes:

I am not saying there shouldn’t be, but primary on actual keyboards…at least iPad…

Meh….. anyway….
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bag99001 Avatar
23 weeks ago
It's a decent start. I would like to be able to separate out categories/#tags or multiple journals for work versus personal thoughts, as I'd like to journal professional growth and ideas separately from personal journaling.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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