iOS 18 Journal: What’s new in the iPhone’s diary app?

iOS 17 Journal app start screen
(Image credit: Future)

The Journal app is getting several new features with iOS 18, including more insights and better search and sort functions. 

Apple’s Journal app was originally released in December 2023 — allowing users to record their thoughts and feelings in one easy-to-find space. It offers users the option to add photos, songs and prompts, to help them start writing. However, for all the good things about the app, it is a bit bare-bones.

However, during Apple's iOS 18 rundown at WWDC, several new additions were announced for Journal. Here's a full list of everything that's coming to your app when iOS 18 releases. 

Insights make it easier to see all your stats

The first change coming with iOS 18 is the new insights tool, which compiles all of your journaling activity into one easy-to-read page. This includes things like tracking writing streaks, displaying your entries in a calendar and providing your journaling statistics in a fun manner that aims to keep you writing. 

This is a big addition to the app, which makes it much easier to view how long you have been using it, and get a better idea of how often you use certain media and concepts as prompts. 

iOS 18 will make your Journal more organized

Journal isn't easy to navigate. Finding posts is a drawn out process of scrolling through entries. In fact, the only method currently available is to set the Journal app to show entries with Music & podcasts or photos. 

However, iOS 18 is looking to change that with the ability to better search and sort entries. While we don't know the full details, we imagine it will feed into using the calendar, as well as potentially searching for specific phrases.

iOS 18 will help to add some mindfulness to the Journal

iOS 17 Journal app suggested topics

(Image credit: Future)

It will not be possible to record time spent in your journal app as mindful minutes. While we don't know what these will mean, they could potentially be added to the iPhone's health app or help the app chart your usage. 

Users can also log their state of mind directly within the Journal app — adding additional mindful context to see any correlations between what you do and your emotional state.

The Journal app will be even easier to access in iOS 18

Currently, the Journal widget and popups will only take you directly to the main page, and there is no easy way to start a post. iOS 18 will cut this corner by introducing a host of new widgets that can be added to the home and lock screens.

These widgets will allow users to quickly add a new entry, view their current streaks from the insight view and receive writing prompts throughout the day. This will likely fit into the new customization options for the lock and home screen, meaning users can customize how these widgets look and their screen placement.

You can use transcription with the Journal app in iOS 18

iOS 17 Journal app

(Image credit: Future)

iOS 18 will finally add automatic transcription for voice recordings, meaning it will be easier than ever to get your thoughts onto the page. This feature will allow users to record their voices and add them to the Journal app, which will then automatically transcribe musings to the entry. 

This is a godsend for those who might have trouble typing, or prefer to journal in a stream of consciousness rather than in concise prose. However, there is no indication if this might be locked to Apple Intelligence, which would limit which phones have the feature.

You can even print off your Journal entries in iOS 18, if you want

Finally, the Journal app in iOS 18 will support exporting entries, which will allow users to save entries offline, or even print them out for easy reading. This is a feature that likely won’t see much use, but if you ever wanted a physical copy of your thoughts, the option is there.  

iOS 18 Journal outlook

iOS 18 is a major improvement for the iPhone, and the new features all bring something to the table. While it is unclear if all of these features will be available on every iOS 18 compatible phone, or if some will be locked to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, it will still be a major improvement. 

Unfortunately, it does not look like there will be Journal support for either the iPad or Mac yet. But hopefully that comes sooner rather than later, and the new iPadOS 18 and MacOS 15 have some great new features to be excited about. 

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.