The iPhone Journal app is good, but Vision Pro could make it great

Apple Vision Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s Journal app is here as of the tail-end of 2023, and it’s a decent start. While the way it leverages the new Suggestions API is likely to improve all apps, including third-party options like Day One, it’s a really handy way of jotting down thoughts to return to at a later date.

So far I’ve used it to log my mental health on any given day, save some memories of a concert, and simply scribble down some things I want to one day try, like going on a cruise or a new workout. The magic is that, as with any journaling tool, it can be whatever you need it to be.

My biggest gripe, however, is that it’s only on my iPhone, and while I’d love to jot down some notes with the Apple Pencil on my iPad or type some entries with my MacBook, what I’d really love to use it on is the Vision Pro.

Journal app for iPhone and IPad

(Image credit: Apple)

A vision of the past

One of Apple Vision Pro’s most impressive (and possibly unsettling) features is its spatial video recording and playback. Being able to sort of peer into a moment in time is the kind of technological advancement I can show my technophobe parents and hear them let out an audible gasp.

Is it a little creepy? Maybe, but as soon as I explained the process to them, all they wanted to know was whether they’d be able to look into videos of dearly departed family members again.

That’s something only you can decide if you want to do, but the Journal app on Vision Pro could be a big first step in facilitating that. At present, the Journal app for iPhone just scrolls vertically, but imagine putting on your headset and seeing a reminder, Facebook Memories style, of a moment with a loved one.

Naturally, you’d probably be able to disable the feature, too, for more emotional days, but the Journal app could surface old concerts you’ve attended, iCloud Share Photo Library pictures from occasions, and much more.

You’ll need to have recorded Spatial Video with recent iPhones or your headset itself (watch the headbanging), but being able to dip back into a memory of a gig or sports event would be huge, and it’s a big part of Meta’s initial VR promise.

Game Room on Apple Vision Pro

(Image credit: Future / Apple)

Let’s have some fun

Aside from emotional and nostalgic reasons, the Vision Pro could certainly make things a little more fun in the Journal app, if you want it to.

At present, the Journal app layout is very clean, and very Apple. That’s nice, but (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) I’d love to see a little hint of skeuomorphism after all these years. Give me the option to log my posts in a digital leather binder, or cut out some photos to slap in a tacky comic-strip collage like it’s 2010 all over again.

You could even apply that to the display-filling Environments, adding a new Journal option that puts you in a nice, warm office with a roaring fire to get your creativity flowing.

I’m likely getting ahead of myself, of course - the Journal app is only a few months old on one platform and is likely to come to more by WWDC. Still, the Journal has the potential to be the Vision Pro’s ‘killer app’ if it’s given the chance to blossom. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an entry to write.

Lloyd Coombes

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom.

Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more.

He’s also the Editor in Chief at, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.