Top 5 Smart Journal Apps

Smart Journal Apps

[UPDATE 9/14/18]

I’ve discovered a new journal app called Daylio that is unique and while missing many of the features listed in this roundup is worth consideration. You can read my review here.

[UPDATE 12/30/17]

I did a little research to see what has changed in the journal landscape to update this article. I did not find any new apps to add to the list and currently feel that the two top apps to consider should be Journey and Day One.

Journey has continued to get great updates and has expanded their offering to Windows, Mac, and iOS along with their support for Android and Chrome via an extension. Day One has expanded adding support for Android and has begun to add some limited cloud functionality which allows you to sync data and view it, albeit read only for now. I’ve made a few updates to the listings below as well.

In 2012 I wrote this post for The Next Web when I began looking for “smart journal” apps. I considered a smart journal app to be one that provided the following features:

  • Offers posting from both mobile and desktop
  • Syncing to cloud services
  • Exporting to various file formats
  • Calendar views
  • Search
  • Categories and/or tagging
  • Reminder notifications to create entries
  • Private with passcode by default

I reviewed my original post and took a look to see if I could find any new apps and services out there. Below is a list that contains new apps along with some from my original post that contain all of the above features and more.

If you need a reason or inspiration as to why you should keep a journal, look no further than this great post on “Why Keeping a Daily Journal Could Change Your Life“.


(Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Web and Chrome extension)

This is a very elegant app with a nice UI and design that reminds me of Day One which is an IOS only app (see below). It’s chock full of many of the same features as well. The Chrome extension is used to write entries from your desktop and it syncs to Google Drive. You can also selectively publish posts to your social sites if you want.

As 2017 ends you can see that they continue to make improvements to the user interface and design and they are still adding many new features. You can login through the website and read your posts as well as add new ones. The web interface doesn’t offer all the features of the dedicated desktop or mobile apps but it’s nice to have that as an option and it’s included for free. The pricing model for the software is a little confusing with several different pricing options for the mobile app ($4.49), desktop software ($14.99) and cloud annual subscriptions ($29). However the free offering is very generous and you can test out quite a bit of the features before deciding to upgrade.

You can read a full review of this app here.

Day One

(iOS, Mac, Android, Web)

This app has been praised as the premiere journal app for IOS. It stands out with its beautiful design and strong feature set. To create entries on the desktop requires purchasing the companion Mac app. If you’re an IOS / Mac user you should seriously consider Day One.

2017 has finally brought Android support and while the initial release isn’t as beautiful as the iOS version it’s great to see the support expanding. The new cloud support is a pretty basic and currently only offers the ability to read data that is synced. Also the cloud support requires the $25 annual subscription to access. Still this is definitely one of the top apps worth testing out to see if it meets your needs.

Here’s a good full review of the app.



( Android, iOS, Web)

I like Penzu because it has a strong emphasis on gaining insight from your previous journal entries. This is done by using an algorithm that provides snippets of previous entries as reminders from old entries to help identify themes and give you inspiration for new entries. It’s also got a very robust web app. Here’s a detailed review.



(Android, iOS, Web)

I really liked the features and flexibility of this app when I wrote my first review. It continues to be improved and has added support for iOS in 2017. You can read another review of it I found here.



(iOS only)

I’ve added Momento as an honorable mention because it doesn’t offer a cloud or desktop software access but is still a great stand-alone app with lots of great features. If you’re ok just having your mobile device as the only method to store and retrieve your journal then this app is worth your consideration.

This may be one the oldest app on this list which I used when it initially was released. It as continued to be updated with features and the design is gorgeous. This app has integration with many third party apps and services and will automatically import their activity allowing you to automate some of your journal entries. This could be pretty convenient when you don’t find time or want to duplicate the content you’re already sharing publicly. It will also allow you to create private journal entries only available from the app as well.

You can start by downloading the free app and then through in-app purchases add additional features.

Originally posted on 1/19/2015

65 thoughts on “Top 5 Smart Journal Apps”

  1. Tac, several of them use cloud drives for syncing the data. Diaro and DayOne use Dropbox and Journey uses Google Drive. I’m pretty sure all of these can export your data to PDF files.

  2. Thank you for the list. Is there an app that imports your facebook status history? Not as a feed, but the actual statuses to reside locally or on the cloud for the app?

  3. Eve, I’m not aware of a journal app that can import Facebook status history but I do use an app called that I use to import all my Facebook (and other services) data which it then lets me store on my computer.

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  6. i used flava few years back. And recently i relogin and realized some of the memorable pics are gone….
    i even contacted flava team and no respond from them.

  7. I’m really looking for a journal that will allow me to actually WRITE, like with the stylus, when I want to – any suggestions for that? So far, I’m only able to use note-taking apps, like NotesPlus, NoteShelf, and MetaMoji…which all have very nice ink engines.

  8. as a blogger I was happy to read this post since it teach me on how to get mobile application in which currently relevant to.i have a blog and i m also a android mobile.

  9. I’ve been using One Day for a week. I thought I was happy until I realized that there is no way to include multiple pictures in the same entry. This is a deal breaker for me. They are adding this feature but only for another fee. Now that I know I have to pay a fee for something so basic I’m considering using the money to buy a different app. The 3 most important things to me after ease of use are being able to upload photos from my phone, upload multiple photos per entry, and easily back up my entire journal using an export to PDF. Can you suggest the best app with these features?

  10. Version 2 of Day One was just released today and it supports up to 10 photos per entry. Thought I would share. My only problem with the new version it will now only sync with their service. No more iCloud/Dropbox support. I felt better when I was able to store my data with iCloud. No video support though.

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  12. on my iPhone i was using an app MOMENTO CLASSIC. that was an amazing app. but problem is that it is not compatible with android phone. now i am planning to shift to android, so is there any app from which i can recover or transfer my data from MOMENTO CLASSIC

  13. I recently purchased and downloaded ‘Capture 365’ and ‘Day One 2’ for my MacAir and the Iphone. After using both the apps for a few days I decided I liked Capture 365 better than Day One 2. At the present time it’s missing a few features that Day One has such as multiple journals but I think it’s a slicker journaling app. The support for Capture 365 is very good and I’m told by the developers that multiple journal support along with other features will be included in future releases.

    If Day One is rumored to be the best journaling application, Capture 365 is something to consider instead.

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  15. Thanks for the great list! I tried all of these manual apps and I always forget to use them after awhile. I’m sold on a new free app called Stiya. Its private automatic journaling that does all the work for you. Adds location, photos, map, generic photos of places and more into a really beautiful private journal. All I need to do is add notes and if I post it – I look like a champ because its much better than things I usually post 🙂
    Anyway not affiliated but worth a look. I love them!

  16. Try Stiya. Its free and will add photos automatically for you. You can always edit manually, change and delete photos. I’m a fan.

  17. I’m looking to keep a photo journal with the end goal of printing a book each year. Do you know if any of these apps have an automatic book feature, where you simply make your daily entries and then they organized it into a sleek looking final product?

  18. Christina Wanjiru

    I use Journey and it is the best honestly……I use it on my laptop and my android phone

  19. Rebecca Wright Pritchett

    Evernote and the IF app can be combined to create an IF recipe that copies all Facebook posts (or Tweets) to a single note in Evernote. You can also set them up to download a copy of all pictures in which you are tagged on Facebook to Evernote. I don’t believe they will download past status updates, but do a good job of recording them going forward.

  20. Rebecca Wright Pritchett

    It looks like Flava isn’t available anymore, and from posts I’ve seen, they didn’t give users notice that they were shutting the site down. Several commented that they consequently lost all of the journal entries they had entered into Flava. Any other suggestions that work with IOS and Web?

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  27. I’m ‘write’ there with you Mishell; would love to have a way to scribble notes with my Apple pencil on my iPad Pro. Notability is my go-to note writing app and that could work, but all of my journaling is in Day One (I’ve been using D1 for a few years now).

    I have messed around with shipping out notes as pdf or jpeg files, then inserting them into D1 – very doable, but cumbersome and not something I’ve figured out how to script a solution for yet… I’ll bet that somebody is developing something that supports inking; we’ll probably see it soon…

  28. I’ve used Notability for all my notes, until recently – I started using Notebooks for its diverse features (it allows for drawings, but not really writing…but the rest of it is really feature rich). Notability started hogging a bit to much space on my iPad 😉
    I do see many things that could be used as journal, but I’m keeping a lookout for someone to provide an app that’s laid out like a digital journal app, allowing you to write your entries. Like you said, I’m sure someone will, eventually!

  29. Actually I received the shutting down notice for only once one month ago before the app gone, but it didn’t give any clear instructions about how to back up, so I just left it at that moment and did not take it very seriously..but its still shocking that everything has gone at the end. I am looking for some app just exactly like Flava that automatically log you out when you close the app and needs passcode every single time you try to open it.

  30. KarenManahan-Singson

    Yes, I miss Flava! I loved how it was so easy to document movies, books, songs, links, etc that I liked, as well as my mood and the weather! The app was terminated so abruptly, and now clicking on/searching for Flava leads you to a so-so journal app called me.time.

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  32. Is there anything out there that is compatible to Memento CLASSIC?? I’m so disappointed with this awesome app’s discontinued status! The developers decided to “fix what wasn’t broken,” and completely start over with a “new” Momento 2/3 app. Considering the time and everything else I invested in the original ( I was even one of their volunteer beta testers), I was disappointed to say the least. Although the new app I’m sure is wonderful in its own way, many of the features and the simplicity of the original are what I am looking for. Furthermore, I’m really not fond of continuing to support this particular developer due to my personal feelings about the way they handled their “upgrade.”

    Any suggestions??
    Thank you!

  33. I don’t recall all the functionality offered by Momento but I would say that you should take a look at the Day One app. That is probably the premier journal app now on iOS and OS X.

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  35. I love journey on my Android phone. But Now I am using IPhone and the sad thing is Journey isn’t available for iOS. And I have to pay about $5 to enable export feature

  36. I looked through all the apps mentioned above as well as those recommended by the comments below but what I’m really looking for is an app that consolidates all these other apps, e.g. I want to be able to view my data from Moves, Foursquare/Swarm, MyFitnessPal, Glow, Runkeeper, etc etc on a day to day basis on 1 app. It will be so useful to see by date how many steps I’ve walked, how many calories I’ve burned, how many calories I’ve taken in, where I’ve checked in and sort all these information by date. Is there such an app available out there, I wonder?

  37. Like Jenn, above, I’m looking for something I can print out to keep as a hard copy at the end of the year.

  38. do not use Penzu…they over charged me by $30 and after writing multiple times finally over a week later they tell me it will be several business days before the refund can be processedl. They have NO customer service and you have to write multiple time to get a response.

  39. Do any of these options allow you to make your entries into a hard copy book? I would love to turn my journaling into a keepsake later on and am trying to find an app that has this capability

  40. Mark – Im looking for a recommendation for a journal for my young daughter – so I can write to her everyday and put pictures she 1 year old and I would have liked to fo this long ago – I tried Evernote but it’s not idealand no pictures really. Suggestion?

  41. Lezlie Hollowell

    Is there a free journal app that allows for speech to text or just audio enteries? I would be overjoyed if it also allowed for seamless blog posting as well….any of you brilliant young people have suggestions or guidance?

  42. Hi! I see this is an old post but I hope you guys still can reply and help me!
    I used Flava constantly in 2014-15. Then I stopped until now. I opened the app on my iPhone and all of my entries and pictures are there but not able to sync because the company no longer exists.
    I’d like to find a journal app that allows me to import all these entries from Flava since I don’t trust they will stay there forever. I really don’t want to lose them as it was a rather important phase in my life.
    Does anybody know what app can do this??

  43. Hi Elsie,

    I did a little research and found that Diaro (listed in my post) has the ability to import from Flava. I verified this by logging into the web app going to import and an option is there for a Flava zip file. I did not see if this option is available in their iOS app as I’m on Android. So basically if you have the ability to export your Flava entries from the app to a zip file you can then import them into Diaro.

  44. Omg! Thanks so much!
    I am going to try and will let you know if it works for iOS too!

  45. Hi Krynsky!
    You were right about Diaro being very versatile in trying to make imports/exports easy for users.
    Just had to open Flava- Settings- Account- Retrieve Data.
    There it says “You can request a file containing your whole Flava data to be emailed to you”
    But when you click there a sign appears saying “Warning: No access to the server”
    I tried several times but seems like Flava is really dead and everyone’s gone!

    I’m going to have to take screenshots of my Flava entries and store them now on Diaro, there you can keep syncing with Dropbox and even if the app dies you don’t lose your data.

    So thanks again for your suggestion!

  46. Dear author, Is there any journal app that plays throwback from the journals like what we have done last week same day, last month same date, last year and years before etc.. This will be the only feature that will standout from rest of the apps. One of the main objective of these journals should be giving us a quick nostalgic feeling in addition to the detail journals for which we will have not have to go through everyday unless we really need to search for any activity or key event. I now use daylio; it doesn’t have this functionality. I also have reached them to introduce this but no luck. I have hired some freelance app developers to develop this functionality for my own use. No luck as none of them delivered that yet :(.

  47. Over the years, journaling has been a cathartic outlet for me to express both mind worries and emotions, in a safe sanctuary without having to worry about intrusion from the world. I’ve read that journaling (writing out your thoughts and feelings) is as good as traditional therapy. Not sure if true, though it’s always helped me. I have been a traditional pen and paper journalist (journaling) for at least 20 years. I guess it’s time to move to the modern method of journaling. I will check these out.

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