Day One Brings New Journaling Features to Its Mac App

I bought Day One as a gift to myself on all of my devices last January. I’ve always wanted to keep a diary and have been consistently impressed with the diligence of those who return to a journal day after day. I just never seem to keep up with daily personal writing, and I inevitably misplace my journal, eventually forgetting about it entirely for months at a time. Day One’s omnipresence on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad seemed like it would fix all of that for me.

And it did! Now Day One has updated with some great new features on the Mac app, and I wanted to take a closer look at all the improvements.

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What Made Day One Great

For those new to Day One, I’ll lay out the basics before jumping to all of the new stuff. There’s a super menu bar icon that allows quick access to my journal without actually opening the whole Day One application, allowing me to jot down a few thoughts quickly right as they occur to me. If I elect to set a reminder in Day One, it’s the menu bar app that let’s me know it’s time to get writing.

Day One always let me know when it was time to write.

Day One always let me know when it was time to write.

I’ve got Day One on my iPhone and iPad, too, and it’s a whiz at syncing among all of my devices. It supports iCloud and Dropbox sync, and it backs up to a local folder, too. Like those little locks on my childhood Lisa Frank diaries, Day One works to keep all of your most private thoughts just that, private. The password protection on Day One works significantly better than those cheesy heart-shaped locks, though.

What Makes Day One Better

One of the hardest parts of keeping a daily journal is just getting started each day. What is there to write about? Day One knows it can be a real problem for some users to find interesting fodder for their journals each day, and have added tons of prompts in the form of inspirational messages and questions. When my daily reminder popped up each day, it was accompanied by just such a prompt. I could choose to include the Day One journaling prompt, or I could ignore it entirely and write from a blank entry.

Day One always let me know when it was time to write.

Include a prompt to get going if you’re having trouble.

The iOS apps already had some great weather info included, but this was missing from the Mac app. I loved this in the iOS version and as a result almost never turned to Day One on my Mac. Knowing that it snowed on Christmas or was 80 degrees in November are great details to include about my day, and while I can certainly add that stuff myself, it’s nice that Day One does it automatically across all of its apps now. It’s worth noting that when I was writing at 8 PM about an event that happened at noon, Day One allowed me to edit the time and changed the weather to match.

There are some great ways to filter the Day One timeline now, including starred status, by year, and entry tags. The tagging menu has been improved, too, and just works a lot better. Look for timeline headers, as well, including the month and year.

The improved tags and menus make Day One easier to navigate.

The improved tags and menus make Day One easier to navigate.

One of the best new features is the ability to take pictures right in Day One. When I wanted to take a quick pic of myself and friends, a stash of cookies I’d just baked, or even the cat sacked out in my lap, I’d always have to switch over to the iPhone app. Now I can use my Mac’s built-in camera to get the job done right there.

Great for OS X 10.9

There’s a lot of new stuff in Day One, and some of it is just for Mavericks. Not too much, though, so users on older versions of OS X shouldn’t feel left out. Reserved for Mavericks are some pretty neat location features. There’s a new map view that allowed me to browse older entries by location; if I created a picture post about a music festival with my iPhone while I was there, the entry would be plotted on a map to the festival’s venue in the OS X app.

I loved the maps in iOS, and now I have them in the Mac app on Mavericks, too.

I loved the maps in iOS, and now I have them in the Mac app on Mavericks, too.

If I’m using my computer at home to write about the day’s events, I can just as easily use Apple Maps to tag an entry with a location. Day One also integrates with Foursquare Places to get even better location data for my diary entries.

Final Thoughts

Day One has long been my favorite app for daily journaling, but it’s no secret that I preferred the iOS apps to their Mac offering. It’s clear they’ve stepped up their desktop game with this update, though. The OS X app now has all of the features I’ve wanted and then some. The syncing works without a hitch, and there’s a great password function for those who want to keep their journal private. With an improved timeline, better tagging, weather and mapping support, and even the ability to take pictures right in the app, Day One really has set the bar for journal apps.


Summary

Day One is updated with lots of great features, making the journaling app even better.

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