Day One is a Beautiful Journal App for Your Mac, iPad, and iPhone [Review]


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Sometimes you just want to write something down. Some people would call this process “journaling,” or even “keeping a diary.” In reality, the whole concept of keeping a journal or diary is about recording memories and thoughts. It’s therapeutic. It’s comforting.

Day One by Bloom Built is a beautiful and simple app for journaling on the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. The app balances features with simplicity to bring you an excellent environment for writing on a daily basis.

The best part of Day One is that it doesn’t restrict you to a certain way of writing. If you want to use Day One as a daily journal, then by all means do so. If you want to use it as a place to write down certain memories and events as they happen, then that works, too.

On the Mac

Day One on the Mac is a writer’s dream. The app is minimal and full-featured at the same time. You have five windows: New, Days, Calendar, Starred, and Reminders.

You’re supposed to write in Day One, so the New window is displayed front and center when you open the app. Little prompts and thought-provoking sentiments are displayed above where you write that say things like, “Write the way you think,” and “Your journal is a vital record.” You’ll occasionally get a prompt to write in a certain way or about a certain emotion, and you can choose to use that prompt as your guide if you so desire. A little thought to spark inspiration is always helpful.

The Days window gives you a glimpse at what you’ve written in the past. You can scroll through your entries and reminisce. The Calendar window gives you more of a general overview of your activity in Day One. Hover your mouse over a certain day to see a quick summary of your entry. Starring an entry will place it in the Starred window for quick reference.

The Reminders window introduces another cool thing about Day One: the menu bar app. Day One can also run in your Mac’s menu bar to let you quickly add an entry. Setting a reminder will make the menu bar window automatically open at the top of your screen at a defined time during the day. That way you never forget to write. You can customize the frequency of Day One’s reminders to your liking, or just turn the feature off altogether.

A keyboard shortcut can be set in the app’s preferences to access the menu bar’s quick entry field. You can also enable password protection to ensure that prying eyes don’t get a peek at your secret thoughts. Entries can be exported as text files, and you can even write in Markdown. Search and tagging make finding old entires a breeze. The app takes advantage of Lion’s full-screen mode to let your write without distractions.

Day One works with Dropbox to seamlessly sync your data between devices. That brings us to Day One’s iPad app.

On the iPad

Day One on the iPad is a wonderful way to journal. The app takes many cues from its Mac counterpart, but the overall experience is simplified for iOS.

Typists that favor the iOS virtual keyboard may take to Day One on the iPad faster than the Mac version. The app is lightweight, but it still offers all of the features that you expect on the desktop.

Entries are indexed properly and you can quickly view starred posts. You can also email entires from within the app, which is a nice touch.

The app’s preferences mainly include syncing with Dropbox, passcode lock enable/disable, and reminders. Day One will remind you on your iOS device about when you need to write, just like the Mac version.

Your font size can be customized and Markdown support can be toggled in the app’s preferences. It’s all really slick.

On the iPhone

Quick entires on Day One for iPhone are the name of the game, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t read the longer stuff that you already have saved. The iPhone app has a really cool feature that gives you daily usage reports on your Day One activity.

Creating new entries is a snappy experience — the app couldn’t really be designed any better. I was continuously impressed with how well everything worked as I explored different parts of the app.

The app’s preferences on the iPhone are exactly the same as the iPad version, passcode lock and all. There’s even support for TextExpander snippets (another one of my favorite apps). When you combine Markdown with TextExpander support, you’ve got one powerful writing app.


Perhaps the best part about Day One is that your journal is constantly synced and updated as you write on your different devices. The developers are working on iCloud support at the moment, so expect that feature to go live soon. More features that are currently being worked on for iOS include: search, photo support, tags, and an export option.

Day One is a simple, powerful writing tool for your Apple devices. You can download Day One in the Mac App Store for $10. The app is available as a universal app for the iPhone and iPad for  $2.

Archiving your thoughts and memories can be quite an enriching experience. Start writing with Day One and see for yourself.

[xrr rating=80%]

  • dagamer34

    Apps like this one make me glad I own a Mac, iPhone and iPad.

  • think_hard

    It was great news when Day One did what Momento have failed to do after so long. Momento really was the best and most polished journalling app on the iPhone. But their crazily slow development meant so many of us have ditched it for Day One. Momento promised an iPad version 2 YEARS AGO, and in that time, Day One came and produced an iPhone, iPad and Mac version. And in real slick form too. 

    I’d hate to assume it was complacency that caught the Momento developers (they are still highly rated on the App Store), but if it was, then they deserve to lose users like myself.

  • prof_peabody

    Looks beautiful, but a bit ‘out there.’   

    A more practical inclusion would be stats on words typed. It would also be more encouraging for me personally to see graphs of my writing output instead of “encouraging” hover text or suggestions for better writing.  Is this a kid’s product or a writing tool?  I think the authors need to make up their mind who the audience is.    

    If this will work with iCloud (and not just DropBox), it might be useful.  If it had a free trial I might download it, but please spare me the new age “encouragements.”

  • twitter-15177931

    Looks good however I thought OZ pricing was now inline with the US app store but it’s $10.49 here?

  • Robert Pruitt

    My issue with this is that 100 years from now no traces of this app, or data typed into it, will exist.  If the contents could be exported out into books similar to the photo books tied to iPhoto I would find more value with this app suite.

  • Andrew Fitzgerald

    I’ll just post a journal entry in my LiveJournal.  It’s free.

  • shorterchip

    True! Is there a way to import Momento back-ups to Day One?

  • AriRomano

    I’ll still stick with momento because it imports feeds and social updates. Hope, they’ll release a ac version of momento…

  • penguinstorm

    Or….you could use a pen.

  • penguinstorm

    Stats? Because you’re a competitive journal writer?

  • norsez

    Boy, this one looks really similar to Momonote which I am using on my iPhone. It syncs to its web version free of charge, which is nice. Momonote’s development is super slow though. One often wonders when they are going to shut down their web backup service. So Day One’s ability to backup on Dropbox looks like a good alternative to me.

  • Sean Murphy

    not doing anything or buying anything til the 5th

  • think_hard

    Not that I know of. To be honest, if Momento came out with an iPad and Mac version by the end of the year and those versions were on par with the quality of the iPhone version, I may actually consider manually copying and pasting all my moments into Momento…

    But 2 years and running and still no sign. Their blog just says they iPad version is in the works. I heard that on their forums 2 years ago though…

    Kind of reminds me of Cultured Code and Things’ Cloud Sync Solution; another great piece of software crippled by slow and/or poor development.

  • GingerNinja

    The journal file it creates is just a container.  The journal entries themselves are plain text files with any formatting done via Markdown and are easily retrieved via right-click and show contents.

  • GingerNinja

    I now own all the versions of this and have done for about a month.  I’m merging in private journal entries from 3 other systems that I have dabbled with that simply haven’t worked for me (MacJournal, Chronaries and a private hidden WordPress install).  The nagging options prompts me to actually write at least a sentence a day.  The Dropbox syncing allows me to start writing my journal entry on one device and complete it on another.  Any entries that I want to send to my public blog, I can simply email from within Day One and the WordPress “post via email” does the rest automagically.  Finally, if I do decide that I have had enough and want to go elsewhere, I can do a “show contents” on the journal file to reveal the plain text files stored within it – one per entry.

  • Stephen Kirby

    I’ve used this every day, and really like it, I even appreciate the pop up reminding me to enter something. I think its price must have gone up, because I don’t remember paying that much.

  • Robert Pruitt

    I am happy to stand corrected.  With that in mind I may buy this.  Ty for the info.

  • GingerNinja

    Just for you, I’ve just expanded and need to correct my earlier comment. They are XML files so some additional date code is there but they open up in Smultron and I can see exactly what I need to extract from each one.  HTH.

  • Katherine DeLorenzo

    This looks like an elegant app. I did some checking and there are a few needed bug fixes (autosave) supposedly in the works, along with a planned pdf export feature. A batch export would be essential for me, since I’d want to have entries collected in print form after a period of time. 

  • Bitter Witch

    Why does the app icon look exactly like Momento’s app icon?

  • Bitter Witch

    Just blue instead.

  • DayOneUser

    Note that as of the current version 1.7 even with the password protection – the entires are saved in plain text and can be viewed or even edited by anone which makes the “security” password feature useless.