iOS 17 might bring a new journaling app for iPhone

Developers of journaling apps like Day One should be worried that Apple with iOS 17 will be entering the market for digital diaries.

Silhouette of a detective standing on the street, set against a blurred focus background
Not a good day for Day One… | Image: Craig Whitehead/Unsplash
  • Apple’s iOS 17 update could add a new app for journaling to your Home Screen.
  • Keeping a digital diary could reduce anxiety and boost self-awareness.
  • The founder of Day One says this will “sherlock” his journaling app!

An Apple diary and journaling app coming with iOS 17

According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple is working on a new stock app for journaling. Code-named internally Jurassic, the app is reportedly coming with iOS 17. The report doesn’t mention it, but we’re betting Apple will also offer Jurassic on iPadOS 17 and macOS 14 to complete the experience.

“Apple is planning an iPhone app to let users compile their daily activities,” it reads.

The Apple journaling app is designed to help users keep track of their daily lives. The software is said to analyze the users’ behavior to determine what a typical day is like, including how much time is spent at home compared with elsewhere, and whether a certain day included something outside the norm.

The Cupertino technology giant allegedly decided to enter the digital diary market as part of its broader mental and physical health efforts. According to the medical site WebMD, studies have shown that journaling can improve one’s psychological and physical well-being by reducing anxiety and boosting self-awareness.

It’s unclear whether Apple plans to charge for the app.

The All Day People Discovery feature

One of the features in Jurassic is reportedly called All Day People Discovery. It will detect when you’re physically close to other people, allowing Apple’s algorithm to automatically distinguish between friends outside work and colleagues.

Another feature that sounds like being powered by machine learning will recommend potential topics for you to write about, such as a workout.

Apple’s app will perform all analysis on-device to protect people’s privacy, ensuring that no data is shared or uploaded to Apple’s servers.

Day One’s death knell

Male hand holding an iPhone running the Day One joiurnaling app
The Day One iPhone journaling app | Image: Day One

Unfortunately, this development could easily mark the end of the road for makers of journaling software. Day One by Bloom Built is arguably the best journaling app on Apple’s platforms, but it could get “sherlocked” if this news proves true.

“It’s always the worst thing to have to hear that you’re about to be sherlocked,” Day One founder Paul Mayne commented in the WSJ story. He sold his company to owner Automattic, which now manages its development.

Day One was recently featured by The Verge.

What does it mean to get “sherlocked”?

The verb “sherlocking” denotes Apple’s practice of building features into its operating systems that render third-party apps with the same functionality useless.

“When Apple takes an interest in a company, it’s the kiss of death,” Massimo Corp. founder Joe Kiani was quoted as saying in a separate Wall Street Journal article about sherlocking. “First, you get all excited,” he continued. “Then you realize that the long-term plan is to do it themselves and take it all.”

The term was coined in the 2000s when Apple introduced a new Mac search tool, dubbed Sherlock, that let users search files on their computers and the internet. As a result, Karelia Software’s Watson app—which provided much of the same features to Mac users—slowly but surely started waning in popularity.

Will this news make you stop using Day One?

Of course, no one is saying that Apple should stop developing first-party apps just because they might disadvantage some third-party developers.

But there’s also no denying that building a feature deep into the bowels of the operating system is an insurmountable advantage because there’s no friction for the user. There’s nothing to download or install, and it just works out of the box.

Besides, why would anyone pay for a journaling app like Day One if Apple offered the same functionality for free? If you’re a Day One user and Apple offered a migration tool, would you stop using the app and switch to Jurassic?