Diary Apps

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For some time now I have been keeping a personal diary for which I have been using a Moleskine page a day diary. This has worked well and I like the process of actually writing into the book but I am also trying to go paperless.

There are a few reasons for moving from paper to an electronic diary. The first and most important reason for me is to be able to backup my entries and out of choice I would want the entries to go to Evernote. Secondly, it is easier to be able to type a quick entry on the go on something that I have with me rather than having to wait until I get home and can access my paper diary. Finally, I would like to be able to supplement my entries with pictures that I have taken to get a visual record.

With that in mind I thought that I would take a look at a few iOS diary apps. There are plenty of options but I am taking a look at Day One, Momento and Journalized.

Day One

This is probably the best known of the Apple based diary apps and has the greatest coverage with apps for iPhone, iPad and the Mac. It is incredibly easy to use and is particularly good if you are adding pictures. When adding from the camera roll the app asks you if you want to create an entry for the date and time that the picture was taken, rather than now, which is great. Another nice touch is the apps ability to go off and find out the weather for the time and location of an entry/picture.

Day One synchronises between the three apps using iCloud meaning that within seconds entries entered on one magically appear on the others.

However, it seems that it is difficult to get the information out of Day One and in a format that would work well with Evernote. Also while backup to iCloud is automatic (and works well) there seems to be no automatic way of getting the posts on to Evernote, which is a shame.

Pros: iPad and Mac apps, changes date on selection of photo, weather and location support

Cons: no Evernote support

Momento

Memento seems to have been around for ages and was initially an app for capturing your social interactions, from Twitter to Facebook to Last.fm. Connect up your social feeds and when you open the app it is automatically updated with all your musings. However, the app also allows you to create your own, what it calls, moments – a diary entry to you and me. This works similarly to Day One and adding a photo also allows you to set the date to the photo.

Like Day One that is no Evernote integration but it is relatively straightforward to backup your entries, however, this comes out in a proprietary format and you would need to write something to parse the output. Also this is all a manual rather than an set and forget automatic process.

The final killer for me is the lack of an iPad application. If I am creating a short post then pecking that out on the iPhone is fine but for anything longer then I need a bigger screen and keyboard.

Pros: great social integration

Cons: no iPad app or Evernote integration

Journalized

The final app is one that I came across quite by accident when trying to find a way to export Day One to Evernote and came across Journalized. This app is more simplistic than the other two but it does have the option of being connected to Evernote and allowing the entries to be synchronised there. This also has the added bonus of being two way – so not only can you create entries in app but you can also create them in Evernote and have them synced to Journalized. This means that I can use Journalized with any Evernote app and that is just about any platform.

Journalized offers very little in the way of options – you can add a picture (either from the camera roll or the camera itself) and you can add text and that is about it. Also it now looks dated as it has an iOS6 look and feel but that doesn’t affect its usability in any way.

Pros: Evernote integration, Free

Cons: no iPad app, no changing of date to photo

Conclusion

All three apps have much to offer and, of course, there are bits that I would take from all three to create the ideal app. Usability from Day One, social integration from Momento and Evernote integration from Journalized.

What’s important to me is to be able to get my journal entries into Evernote and to be able to create my entries on a range of devices but particularly one with a keyboard. From this perspective Journalized is ideal as it allows me to quickly dash off an entry and if I want to write more I can do so in the Evernote app itself. Also using ifttt I already backup my social interactions to Evernote, making Momento redundant.

So one obvious question is why don’t I just use the native Evernote apps. Well the simple reason is that on iOS they are just too slow by the time the app has started and is ready to accept input I have lost interest!

Note: the image at the top shows: Day One, Momento, Journalized (left to right)

  • John Gooch

    Momento is a universal app now, I’m not sure if it was when you wrote the article. Still, I’m going to try journalling in Evernote itself since it’s the only journaling solution that is truly cross-platform.

  • Hi John. I’ve just checked and Momento is still showing as iPhone only for me – where are you seeing an native iPad version. As for Evernote while I love it I would miss the features offered by other apps such as easily adding pictures and capturing the weather etc. Maybe I need to write my own app!

    • John Gooch

      Weird. In the iTunes App Store, I searched for Momento and then read the compatibility list which includes the iPhone, itouch, and iPad .

      I’m getting a new IPad mini later, and I’ll test out Momento to see if it works. That doesn’r mean I’ll stick with it. I imported my Momento journal into Evernote yesterday to that a try as a replacement for moment.

      My main grief with Momento was that it did not have a web or desktop interface I could use on my MacBook . It’s also not accessible from my work laptop which runs Windows.

      Having it in the iPad might solve my accessibility problem.

      • John Gooch

        It’s working on my ad mini running iOS 7.1. To install it, I went to the App Store app on my iPad and searched for Momento with the surprising filter of ‘iPhone only’ . That doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s been the case for several apps so it apparently is pretty normal.

        I exported my moment diary and imported it into Day One, which I like a lot more because it syncs on all of my Mac and iOS devices. Being able to journal on whatever devices is convenient was a huge plus. It also has a full blown Desktop app for the Mac, which is another thing Momento lacks.

        • I think that what it means is that you can install it on an iPad but it isn’t adapted for for the iPad screen. However, as I said in my post I like Day One but I just wish that I could do more with the output and get it into Evernote.