Keeping Track of Your Life With Day One for Mac

We all remember journals as a childhood thing. They are usually identified with learning to write and it’s something that most adults aren’t used to doing. Journaling, however, is a great way to keep track of the stages of your life and the important events you go through.

It is always nice to go back in your journal and recall feelings, people and events from the past. It’s something that you can use to show your children your travels and adventures. But keeping a physical paper diary has become fairly inadequate, now that we have pretty much everything in digital form.

The app that we are reviewing today is called Day One and it does a great job at helping you keep a journal in the most simplistic manner in your Mac. Read on to find more about it!

We’ve also posted a review of the iPhone version of Day One in conjunction with this article. If you use an iPhone or iPod touch, it’s definitely worth reading what we have to say about the mobile version!

Getting Started

Day One launched recently, and it is only sold in the Mac App Store for $9.99. When you first open it, you’ll have the option to store its main folder in your Dropbox folder for syncing purposes.

This is to make sure that you can use the app on both your Mac and your iPhone, and keep both of them synced up. This is becoming something of a trend in app syncing, and it seems to work well!

The Interface



The interface of the app is very simple and pretty, with a very “mobile” feeling to it. This might as well be an app that you could find on your iPad, since most of its interface is graphical and all the buttons used are big and easy to interact with.

Towards the left, you have the menu buttons that allow you to see your history, starred notes, add new journals and modify your reminders (more on them later). The main area of the app is pretty big and this is where you’ll write and classify your entries, as well as read your past ones.

Adding New Entries

New Entry

New Entry

On the bar on the left there is an option called “New”, where you are able to add new entries to your journal. In this menu there will be a big text box where you can fill in whatever you’d like to write about.

Right on top of this text box there is a bar showing the info that this entry will be stored with. Here you can change the date of the entry, trash it, save it, and star it.

When using this part of the app, you’ll see an area of “quotes” near the top. Most of these are inspirational, and do a good job at getting you to write something. They also give you tips on writing, along with random ideas such as weight-loss tips, as well as questions that are supposed to help you fill out your diary.

Exploring Old Entries



A diary is nothing if you can’t go back and read it, right? That’s why two of the menus of the app are called “Days” and “Starred”. Under the “Days” menu, all of your entries will be sorted by date. Here you can check which year you’d like to see entries from, and browse a timeline of all your old entries. You can also go into any entry and star it or edit it.

On the “Starred” menu, you can check the entries that you have marked as important. I don’t see much use for them in a diary app, but I’m sure some people could take advantage of this feature.

Reminders and the Menu Bar



Day One supports a pretty cool feature called “Reminders” that has the potential to maximize the frequency of your writing. These reminders give the app sort of a Twitter-esque thing where it will remind you at different times during the day to write down your thoughts quickly through short messages.

This is all done through the menu bar, where a little icon of a bookmark is always shown to give you quick access to the app.

You can set the reminders to go off at any given frequency – from every 15 minutes to just once per week. When a reminder goes off, the menu bar icon will automatically open, exposing a few buttons and a text box where you can write what you are thinking.

If you are busy when the reminder goes off, you can always “snooze” it through the 10 minute snooze button on top of the text bar, or simply skip the reminder. The menu bar icon can also be used without the reminders, just click it and type away.

So, What’s the Point?

I guess it’s kind of hard describing the functionality of this app as it sort of fits the space between note taking apps like Evernote, and journal apps –which are still a pretty new and unexploited category– that can take in all of your activity during the day and file it under its file system so that you can have a log of your activities and thoughts.

These apps also bring up a lot of comparisons to personal blogs, as much like them, they give you the ability to write whatever you feel at any given time, except privately.

Sometimes there are things that we’d rather keep to ourselves instead of posting them all over social networks, and this is why I think these kind of apps are useful. They give you an outlet to keep a log of your thoughts without having to worry about other people hearing about them, so that you don’t have to wonder whether a tweet or post is appropriate for your family to see.


I personally would love to keep using this app on a daily basis. I might not use the reminders, as I consider them to be a bit intrusive and distracting, but I’ll definitely keep using this for at least a couple weeks to see how much use I can give to it.

I suggest you do the same. Journals are popular for being a great way to purge yourself from bad emotions, and also to record your adventures and thoughts for posteriority. I think the price is easily justified if you can also find the time to use it.

We’ve also posted a review of the iPhone version of Day One in conjunction with this article. If you use an iPhone or iPod touch, it’s definitely worth reading what we have to say about the mobile version!


Day One is a very simple app that can help you keep a private diary, and do it in a very neat and organized manner. It's simple syncing ability with the iPhone app only makes it better.