Apple is working on a journaling app to help iPhone users monitor their mental health
Apple is planning to release a journaling app for iPhones. The Wall Street Journal accessed some documents related to it, and reports that the app could help users monitor their health.
The electronics giant already has a few apps dedicated to track the health of users, which can be helpful even without an Apple Watch. The wearable itself has been received well among users and the healthcare community, for saving the lives of many. But it's focused more on the physical well-being of a user.
Apple's journaling app could help improve the daily lives of iPhone users
One of the documents that WSJ examined highlights how Apple is focused on the importance of journaling. Jotting down your thoughts in your diary could help your mental health and physical well-being. Apple has code-named the journaling app for iOS as Jurassic. It will have access to user data such as text messages, phone calls, etc. It will also have the ability to check how much time a user spends at home, compare it with time spent outside, and even determine if a certain day had some unusual events.
The app will use the data that a user writes in the journal, and those that it gets from other apps, to analyze the behavior of the user. The data that the app gathers will be stored on the device, and its analysis will also be processed locally on the iPhone. Apple will not store or transmit the health data to the cloud, in order to protect the privacy and security of users.
The journaling app will offer suggestions to the user, to improve their daily life. This will include some personalized suggestions, such as what topics the user should write about. It could even detect a user’s physical proximity to other, to distinguish between colleagues and other friends. This feature is reportedly called "All Day People Discovery”. The suggestions will be removed from the app's after 4 weeks.
The app is expected to be preinstalled on all future iPhones in the future, which isn't really an issue, since stock iOS apps can be uninstalled quite easily.
Could this spell the end of paid journaling apps on iOS?
The report also mentions that Apple's Journaling app could prove to be detrimental for third-party developers who offer similar apps for iPhones. This is not the first time the Cupertino company has "Sherlocked" an app. For context, Apple had an app named after the fictional detective, Sherlock, in Mac OS 8, 9 and X. It was used to find files on the computer and from the web. However, it wasn't really good initially, and a third-party developer released a better version of it called Watson, named after the detective's friend. Apple incorporated several features from the tool into its own app, effectively killing the latter, hence the name "Sherlocked".
So it's not surprising that some developers are already worried about the upcoming app. Paul Mayne, the head of Day One at Automattic, says that this is not good news for the app (and others of its kind), and that they would need to differentiate themselves from Apple's app to attract users. He also said that he had suspected the company was working on its own app, after Apple stopped featuring Day One prominently on its App Stores about three years ago.
Apple releasing a Journal app will have its positive sides too. Many apps on the iOS App Store are riddled with ads, and subscriptions. Apple's stock apps such as the iWork suite on the other hand, i.e. Keynote, Pages, Numbers are quite good, and are completely free to use, without ads or in-app purchases. A free journaling app from Apple could be a much better, and safer alternative for users. It would be interesting to see whether the app would be available on macOS and iPadOS, but given that all of its iWork apps are available across its devices, I don't see a reason why the Journaling app should be restricted to iPhones.
WSJ reports that the Silicon Valley mogul could announce the journaling app at WWDC 2023 in June. The app is said to run on all devices that support iOS 17.
Mental well-being is very important, it is good to see that such initiatives are being promoted by Apple.
I think that this is a good initiative to help people. Thanks @Ashwin for this interesting article. :]
What could possibly go wrong jotting down your most private and sensitive information into an Apple device?
Maybe 3 whole new exploits without the need of the user to interact in any way to be hacked…
This example reminds us that privacy is not only about transmitting data online, but also about sensitive private data not being misused locally.
Trusting Apple to analyze intimate written thoughts in addition to all the data the device can access about the users like all communications and who they’re meeting at what time and location at all time, to give them Apple’s idea of what life advices should be, wouldn’t already smell good normally, but in case the target is supposed to be someone mentally fragile, gosh !