iOS 17: What to Know About Apple’s Journal App Before Its Release


When Apple unveiled iOS 17 at its WWDC event in June, the Journal app drew a lot of attention. Apple didn’t release the app with iOS 17 on Sept. 18 or with the iPhone 15 series. However, the app was included in beta versions of iOS 17.2, and Apple will likely release the update to the general public in the coming weeks. If you’re a beta tester or developer, you can get a first glimpse of the app now, in beta versions of iOS 17.2

Journaling has been linked with many mental health benefits, including help managing anxiety, reducing stress and coping with depression. However, some people might have a difficult time remembering to journal or figuring out what to write. Apple’s Journal app makes it easy to jot down a few thoughts when you’re on your phone, and it provides you with writing prompts and other reminders about what you’ve done in a day.

Here’s what you should know about Journal and how it works. Note that I tested the app on beta versions of iOS 17.2, so some features could change in the final version of the app.

What is Journal?

Journal is an app developed by Apple to help users write journal entries and easily insert pictures, videos and other content. Your entries are stored locally on your iPhone, and you can have backups on iCloud.

Journal app Reflection that reads Think about something you love to do and why it brings you joy, and a few photos of a man and woman

Journal can suggest Reflections or other moments to write about.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

Journal provides prompts, called Reflections, that you can write about. Some Reflections the app gave me included, “Think about something you love to do and why it brings you joy,” and “Describe someone in your life who you really appreciate but forget to thank.”

The app can also access certain data and give you suggestions about what to write based on that data. For example, on my first weekend with Journal, it suggested I write about a coffee shop and park that I visited. You can control what types of data and other apps Journal can access to create these suggestions. 

How secure is Journal?

According to Apple, the app has end-to-end encryption between your device and iCloud, and it uses on-device processes to create journaling suggestions including Reflections. That means the data it uses stays on your iPhone.

“No one but you can access your journal — not even Apple,” the company wrote online.

Beyond that, you can require the app to ask for your FaceID or passcode after it’s been inactive for one, five or 15 minutes. If you don’t want to take any chances, you can set it to immediately lock when you switch apps or your iPhone goes to sleep — you know, in case of snooping siblings or roommates.

How do you write an entry in Journal?

On the Journal homepage, you’ll see your recent journal entries and a plus (+) sign across the bottom of your screen. Tap the plus sign and you’ll be taken to a new menu.

The date Tuesday, Oct 31 is at the top of the screen above the title card for the podcast You're Wrong About below it. Beneath the podcast is text that reads Listened to Podcasts and a blank space to type in

You can write about Podcasts you listened to earlier in the day. 

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

In this new menu, you’ll see suggested Reflections as well as moments from your day that you can write about, like a picture you took or a Podcast you listened to. Tap any of these for a short overview of the suggestion, and then tap Start Writing. You’ll be taken to a new page that looks similar to a new note in the Notes app, but the suggestion will show across the top of the screen. You can write your entry on this page, and you can add other content like photos, videos or voice notes.

You can also just write an entry without a suggestion. After tapping the plus sign on the Journal homepage, there is an option across the top of the new menu that reads New Entry. Tap this, and you can jot down any thoughts or feelings you’re having at the moment, or you can add your own content here.

Once you’re finished, tap Done in the top-right corner and the entry will be saved to the Journal homepage. You can also edit or update entries once they’ve been saved to the homepage. Tap the three dots () in the bottom-right corner of the entry you want to edit, then tap Edit

What if I need help keeping a journaling schedule?

Have no fear: You can set the app to remind you to journal. On iOS 17.2 beta 3, a splash screen in Journal asks you to set a schedule the first time you open the app. It’s unclear whether that screen will stay in the final version when it’s made available to the public.

If you don’t see this splash screen, go to Settings > Journal > Journaling Schedule and tap the switch next to Schedule. A menu will appear below Schedule that will allow you to set a reminder for every day — or certain days — at a certain time. 

The Journaling Schedule menu in the Journal app which lets you schedule what days and times to journal

You can schedule reminders to journal every day or select days. 

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

When will Journal be available?

Apple’s website still says the app will launch later this year. And since Journal was included in the software for the first beta of iOS 17.2, I expect it to be available when Apple releases iOS 17.2. Apple hasn’t announced a release date for iOS 17.2, though.

The good news is that Journal was included in the download for iOS 17.2 beta 1. That means that when you download iOS 17.2 after its release, Journal should automatically download with the update, so you won’t have to find it in the App Store.

Apple already launched its Journals Suggestion API. That means third-party journaling apps, like Reflectly and Day One, can also use the journaling suggestions, but those third-party app developers must adopt the API first.

For more Apple news, check out what other features could be included in iOS 17.2, why you should download iOS 17.1.2, and our iOS 17 cheat sheet.


Watch this: What I Learned Using Apple’s Journal App