Apple's iOS 17 Journal app is finally available in beta, but is it any good?

Apple announced the Journal app in June and it's finally here in the first iOS 17.2 beta, but it has some way to go if it's to live up to Apple's promises.

1 minute & 11 seconds read time

Apple first announced the Journal app as part of the iOS 17 unveiling back in June of 2023. We knew that it wouldn't be ready for iOS 17's release when that happened in September, but Apple did say that the Journal app would launch before the end of the year. Now, with the release of the first iOS 17.2 beta, it looks like it's coming good on that promise.

The first iOS 17.2 beta is now available for testing and while it doesn't have as many big new features as the iOS 17 update did, it does have some notable additions. The Journal app is one of the biggest because Apple promised that it would make it easier for people to reflect on and relive special moments. But is it going to live up to the hype?

Our initial testing suggests that might not be the case. Right now all you seem to be able to do is create a new entry and then add media if you wish. You can also share information into the app via the Share Sheet, with the journal entry showing a card a bit like the Notes app does. But so far, none of the recommendation aspects of the Journal app appear to be working.

Apple says that the Journal app will suggest places you've been, photos you've taken, and more as potential sources for new journal entries. In a couple of days of testing, it's yet to do that once, although it's important to remember that this is beta software and Apple may well improve matters soon. We'll have to hope so because, right now, the Journal app isn't making good on Apple's promises and it's simply a new-look note-taking app as things stand.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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