Journey is a cross-platform journaling app that is available on macOS, iPadOS, iOS, Android, Windows, Linux and has a web version. You can also record entries via email. The app has a monthly and annual subscription, as well as a one-time lifetime purchase. It has many pricing options, so there’s something for everyone. This review will focus on the lifetime premium for the iPad.
Getting Started & Orientation
You can lock your app to open it with Face/TouchID or 4-digit passcode. Safeguard your secrets! On the top left corner of the top toolbar, you can choose to sync your entries via Google Drive to see them across multiple devices. If you’re like me and prefer keeping your personal life offline, you can keep your entries offline by not syncing (which keeps your entries locally on one device). That is one of the main reasons we love Journey. It gives you enough options to make sure you’re comfortable with how you choose to store your information. That is crucial with journaling.
Creating New Journal Entry
To create a new diary entry, tap on the plus icon that is next to the settings icon on the top toolbar. This opens up a new window for your new entry. Journey has a clean and minimalist user interface, with your text editing tools at the bottom of the screen. You only get one font for text and this is becoming a trend with apps in 2021. As long as the font looks good, we don’t seem to mind having few to no other font options.
You can make your text bold, italic, strikeout or underlined in Journey. You can also choose the colour for your text from the nineteen available options. The colour options are somewhat not dark enough for my liking. It would be great if we could either customise them or add our own. They could also just add basic colours like red, blue, green (the normal reds and blues). You can highlight your text. The clear formatting icon next to your highlighter tool is handy when you want to remove all the formatting on your text.
You can add headings to your entries, H1-H3. Your headings have slightly different font sizes but they look similar to your body text. They are not distinct, which doesn’t make up for great headings. I suppose different colours would work if you wanted the headings to stand out. You can also add:
- Unnumbered lists have three bullet types, which is decent considering how minimalist the app is. The indentation tools will help you create the hierarchies for your lists
- Numbered lists only have one numbering type, which is a shame. Different numbering types help with creating comprehensive hierarchies for our lists.
- Interactive lists are useful when mixing your journaling with planning. The app doesn’t strikeout your completed tasks though, but it has the strikeout, which you can use instead. It might be an extra step but it will help you easily differentiate your completed tasks from incomplete ones.
- Links: You can add web links to your entries in case you want to bookmark something for memories – a YouTube video, an article. This can be useful.
Besides typing, you can Attach Media to your entries: Photos, Videos, Drawings and Audio recordings.
You can add photos from the Photos library. Let’s hope in the future we’ll be able to access them from Files too. You can add up to 10 photos to your diary entry. The biggest drawback for Journey is that your images go to the bottom of your entry. This limits what you can do with images in the app. Ideally, it would be better if we could mix our images with our stories. That’s one of the beauties of recording your life events, isn’t it? Having your images and videos next to the relevant text.
You also can’t add multiple media types to one entry, which is a shame. You can add up to 10 images, one video or one audio per entry. You can add a video that is less than 100 MB. When you add a bigger file, Journey displays an Error! message after you’ve waited for hours compressing a video that won’t add. How about telling me that before I waste decades of my life?
When recording a video, it stops recording when you reach the maximum length allowed (10 minutes). That is quite useful, at least you don’t waste your time recording something you can’t add to your entry. You can download the video from your Photos library and you can also add already recorded videos from there too.
You can add Drawing to your entries using the Apple PencilKit. The drawing tools are amazing. This integration would be awesome if we could mix our media with text content. Let’s hope our developers can fix this for us in the future because it is very important.
You can add audio files from the Files app; it supports .mp3 files that are less than 100 MB. You can also record audio, but you can’t type simultaneously. Journey limits each recording to 10 minutes per entry. Why are we only limited to 10 minutes of recording per session? Is it to save the storage space on our iPads? Or is that the maximum the app can handle without lagging or crashing? Whatever the case, this is still an impressive deal compared to what paper journals offers you. Let’s hope in the future we’ll be able to transcribe our audio.
You can tag your location when writing a journal entry. You can set the app to automatically add your location when you create a new entry. Journey is very accurate, it will pick you up in coffee shops and malls as though someone is watching you. This level of accuracy is great if you love knowing where you were when you recorded your thoughts. You can also record the weather, which is connected to your location settings.
Journey can also pick up what you’re doing using your device’s motion sensor. It can be fun testing the app to see how accurate it can detect what you’re doing:
You can record your mood if you want to see your Mood Chart over a period of time. Lastly, you can add tags to your entries for organising and browsing through them later.
Journey has excellent iPadOS 14. It supports dark mode, which switches all your colours automatically. You can also open the app in multiple instances if you want to multitask. Scribble support allows you to handwrite your entries and get them converted to text in real-time. If you prefer handwriting your journals but want them in text, you will love this!
The homepage in Journey has two columns. On the left, you have a catalogue of your diary entries and on the right, a reading space. Starting from the right column, at the bottom you have some options on how the app displays your entries.
The first one is the Journey view, which displaces your entries as lists with thumbnails showing any media you have added. Each entry has a date, time of creation and the first few sentences from that entry. Your latest entries are at the top and your oldest at the bottom.
The Calendar view adds a calendar to the top of your entry lists. This view highlights all the dates with entries (depending on the colour of your user interface). Today’s date is the circled one. You can easily navigate to see the entries you made for the dates on the calendar.
Media & Atlas View
The Media view displays the media in your entries, so journal entries without media will not appear here. The Atlas view shows your geo-tagged entries in Maps; see where you’ve been and what you did there. How fantastic is that?
The Today view shows stats for today.
- Number of Entries and days journaled
- Mood Chart for the last 30 days or 12 months.
- What Makes Me Feel… gives predictions on different things that make you feel different things.
- Coach can help you get started when you don’t know how to. Some coaches are free, like the Daily Mindfulness 1 coach. Others are only available through the subscription package that costs $3.99/month or $29.99/year on the iPad.
- Throwback shows past entries for today’s date. Personally, I write to forget. Most of my entries are embarrassing, so I don’t tend to like reliving them, which is why I always turn this option off.
Your Timeline column on the right is where you can read your entries and star them as favourites if you like them. You can navigate between entries at the bottom. You can also export your entry as:
- Copy Text
- Publish to WordPress or Tumblr
You can customise how your app looks to give your journal a personal touch. You can choose the following:
- Font Family: Journey has quite a number of fonts you can choose from. The only problem is that you are limited to using only one for your entries.
- Font size: Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, Gigantic
- Line spacing: x1, x1.15, x1.5 or x2
- Theme colour from fourteen possible options.
- Wallpaper has six options for you and you can add a photo from your library. This is the image you see on your locked screen when you just open your app.
- Units: oC, Km or oF, Mile
- First Day of Week: Default, Monday or Sunday
- Time format: Default, 12-hour or 24-hour
- Locale: you have about 11 languages to choose from.
- Turn on Auto Add Location
- Turn on Sound Effects
- Add Siri Shortcuts for Open Editor, Show Throwbacks and Create Reminder
Add-ons come at a subscription, which you can pay monthly, yearly or pay a Lifetime membership feature. The lifetime membership is certainly worth considering because it’s cheaper in the long run. With Journey Membership you get the following benefits, in addition to what the lifetime premium (the one we are reviewing) already has:
- Exclusive access to all apps & web
- Customise your journaling experience
- An original inspirational prompt everyday
- Connect to social media via Zapier
- Create Journal entry from e-mail
Cards turns on Throwback Notification and Reminder. Security lets you change your passcode or active Face/Touch ID. Sync keeps a track of your Last Sync Status and has the option to allow Sync over Wifi only. Under Data, you can Print entries on specific date ranges. You can pick a date range for all the sharing options in the app. You can also:
- Export to PDF
- Export/Backup: If you want to keep your entries off the cloud, manually backing them up to your device might be helpful. This backs them in the Journey format that only opens in the app. You can choose to Download High-Quality Photos and what tags you backup.
- Import a backup
- Remove Account From Device
Journey is a great journaling app that gives you the best value for money. If you don’t like subscriptions but want a journaling app to start your digital journaling journey, this is the first app you should try out first. If it grows on you, you’ll have saved a lot of money.