It might often feel like many of your best life experiences are lost to the sands of time. Sure, you remember that you took an amazing vacation in Mexico, but how much of it do you really remember? Do you know what day you met your spouse, and how you were feeling that day? Unless you keep some kind of personal journal, all that personal history will vanish like tears in rain. But keeping a consistent journal is tedious work, requiring pens and paper. You can use a journaling app to make it easier. Many apps will reminding you to keep entries, and support photos and videos to make your memories all the richer. Just check out the best journaling apps for the Mac below.
1. Day One
Many long-time users of the Day One journaling app were surprised by the company’s move to subscription pricing. The app, which helps users keep a daily record of their lives, previously subsisted on one-time fees that thousands of users gladly paid. Many users felt slightly betrayed as well. Considering the entire purpose of the application is to maintain a long-term archive of your daily life, such a subscription fee could rack up major charges over a lifetime of use.
Despite this recent kerfuffle, Day One still remains one of the best daily journaling apps on the Mac. It’s feature-rich, with tracking and writing features that other apps simply don’t offer. Reading and searching through entries is easy and pleasant, so reliving your experiences is a little easier. You’ll also get a beautiful interface and exceptional companion iOS and watchOS apps. But if you’re put off by their $35 per-year pricing, you might find the apps below better suited to your needs.
While Evernote is far from a dedicated journaling application, it turns out the king of notetakers makes an excellent journaling application. You’ll find support for videos, photos, audio and rich text alongside the standard plaintext input. The excellent iOS app is a must-have, and you can easily create an unlimited number of journals to keep your thoughts organized. Plus, Evernote is hands-down the best note-taking application for the Mac.
Unfortunately, your notes aren’t stored as plain text. This means you can’t read or access the notes without using the Evernote application, making your records worthless to a third-party app. That’s a major strike against longevity, but if you can stomach that, you get a full suite of benefits.
You can expand Evernote’s functionality as well. Pair it with Alternote to get a more minimal UI or with digi.me to pull updates and images from your social media accounts. And IFTTT lets you make workflows that include the app, automatically importing blog posts or linking outside content. The free version should cover your journaling needs, or you can subscribe to the pro version for only a few bucks a month.
If Evernote isn’t really your cup of tea, you might Journey instead. It’s a dedicated journaling app that’s deeply inspired by Day One’s design, and users of that app will find its basic structure familiar. Like Day One, the stand-alone Mac application reminds you to make daily journal entries.
Importantly, the app has an open database structure that saves you from lock-in, syncing with Google Drive and allowing for .docx and .pdf entry export. Users on the go can use Journey.cloud for updating via browser. The location of each entry is tracked on a map, and you can upload images and videos to your journal entries If you’re coming to Journey from Day One, you can import from Day One and Day One Classic to keep continuity.
The only real downside is a lack of an iOS app. Journey costs $12.99 for the Mac application, or you can use the free Journey.cloud web application in any browser.
MacJournal is a slightly dated journaling application from long-time Mac developers Mariner Software. But even if the app is a little older, its no less powerful than many of its competitors. MacJournal offers many of the same features as other journaling applications on this list. It includes multimedia support for audio, video and images alongside a robust rich text editor, and users can create as many journals as they want to categorize their entries.
The app is built to be easy to use, so you can start journaling the second you open it, and it syncs with a MacJoural iOS app over Dropbox. The app is sold for a slightly-hefty $40.
Mémoires is billed as “the easiest way to keep a journal or diary on your Mac.” Its user interface is slightly more streamlined than some of our other options, but it still contains many of the same excellent features.
Entries can be saved in multiple journals and include photos, rich text and hand-drawn doodles. If privacy is a concern, entries can be encrypted with AES-256 encryption. Everything is saved in rich text files in a non-obfuscated SQLite database for longevity. Even if the app shuts down, you’ll still have your entries in a fully-usable format.
There’s a one-time fee of $30 for a single license or $50 for a “family pack” of five licenses. And if you want to add video to your entries, you can also pay a one-time $10 charge.
Day One still reigns supreme in the world of daily journal keeping, but many folks are turned off by their pricing structure. Evernote is a great alternative, if you’re willing to use a non-specialized application for something like journal keeping. If you’d prefer to use a dedicated app for tracking your life experiences, Journey is flexible and inexpensive. It supports a variety of media and reminds you daily to make entries, but it’s held back by the lack of an iPhone app. If you need iPhone support and have to have a dedicated application, check out MacJournal.