Apple to Launch Journaling App for Mental, Physical Health

Apple is prompting users to open up.

What’s happening: A leaked memo obtained by WSJ suggests Apple will pre-install a self-journaling app with the forthcoming iOS 17 update.

Codenamed “Jurassic,” the project aims to improve mental and physical health of its users by encouraging them to write down daily thoughts and feelings.

Tracking location, Apple Health data, and more, Apple’s AI will suggest prompts, as well as make connections to subjects or people that users regularly jot down.

Write This Way

An established mindfulness practice and common complement to meditation or breathwork, journaling is an emotion-focused self-regulation intervention — one with proven mental and physical benefits.

  • 15-minute daily sessions are linked to decreased mental distress, depression, and anxiety while increasing feelings of well-being and resilience.
  • A 2018 study found expressive writing led to increased optimism, sense of purpose, and physical health.

Mental content. Despite wavering usage of mental health apps, digital behavioral therapy platforms are still a major outlet for those suffering from burnout, general anxiety, and nonclinical depression.

With a national therapist shortage, effective self-help interventions like breathwork, and now journaling, have been a must-add feature.

  • Headspace and Calm apps create meditative soundtracks for creative and gratitude-based journaling.
  • Happy Ring’s stress-detecting sensors prescribe CBT-based therapeutic writing.
  • Real’s app programs Moments, five-minute exercises like journaling and self-talk therapy, to address anxiety, sleeplessness, and more.

Elsewhere, established apps are scaling the practice as a spoke of integrated care — French B2B health platform Alan acquired journaling app Jour for $20M, while WordPress parent company Automattic scooped up Day One, Apple’s App of the Year in 2012 with 15M+ downloads to date.

Sherlocking. But others are accusing Apple of reading their diaries. In particular, users of Day One believe the tech giant is borrowing inspiration from the third-party developer only to take its function in-house — an all-too-familiar story.

Accused for the past decade, Apple’s unflattering behavior has its own name in the tech community—“sherlocking”—with the US DoJ contacting Apple’s alleged past victims, like Tile and Basecamp, to bolster an antitrust case.

Meanwhile, Apple is currently fighting an import ban from a patent suit with former partner AliveCor, who claims Apple lifted their ECG sensor technology.

Looking ahead: With sadness, burnout, and depression spinning out of control, chances are, most people welcome the sudden appearance of the app. For Apple, with intentions to become the “center of health” and insurance provider, it’s yet another prescribable tool to integrate with HealthKit.

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