Journaling has been an old practice for people that enjoy keeping track of their thoughts or jotting things down to avoid forgetting.

Some believe that writing things down can help manage stress, enhance creativity, increase happiness, improve health, and increase work performance.

As someone that has been using a journal for over a decade, writing has always been the outlet I used to express myself without any kind of judgement or censorship. My go-to method used to be a diary that had a lock on it (cringe), but nowadays I hate writing on paper because my handwriting has really changed for the worst.

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This is why when I discovered journal apps, I knew I would never look back.

Digital journals grew in popularity during the lockdowns put in place to combat the Covid-19 pandemic as people needed outlets because it felt like the world was coming to an end.

Using an app as your journal is different from writing in a tangible one because all you need is the one device you always have in your hands anyway, your phone.

Some of the apps available will also give you writing prompts and you can set up reminders so that you always have time to write.

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Here are some journal apps to try if you want to start writing more:


This digital journal might have a minimal look but don’t be fooled, it comes with a lot of features. syncs across mobile and desktop, making it easy to organise and search your entries and has a few helpful frameworks to guide your journaling practice. The main focus of this app is to guide your personal growth.

The basic version is free, the premium is $3 (R44) per month. The app is available on both iOS and Google Play.


2. Prompted Journal

If you’re specifically looking for a diary app with plenty of prompts, Prompted Journal is full of gentle and thought-provoking “conversation starters” for “chats between you and you.”

I have been using this app for a few weeks and it really feels like I am having daily conversations with myself. It will also be nice to reflect on these conversations in the future.

This app costs $1 (R15) per month and is also available for iOS and Google Play but not on Macs or PCs.

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3. Five Minute Journal

This app is based on the best-selling Five Minute Journal notebook, it aims to make journaling for mental health as simple and as easy to maintain as possible. Each entry is designed to be completed every morning which ensures you start your day the right way.

This app costs $5 (R74) and is available for both iOS and Google Play users.

4. Reflectly

This popular app encourages regular journaling practices by prompting daily reflection, it also uses positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), in an effort to teach you how to reduce stress, develop gratitude, and gain perspective in life.

It also tracks your mood, thanks to the A.I.-generated journaling prompts that collect info on how you’re doing.

This app costs $10 (R148) monthly or $48 (R708) yearly. It is available on iOS and Google Play.

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5. Diaro

This is another app you can use across your devices, whether you want to tap out entries on your phone, tablet, or computer. Its interface is simple but has a lot of helpful features, like the ability to attach photos to your entries, customize the look of your journal, and organize your entries by folder, tag, or location.

Its a favourite among Android users with a 4.6-average rating across over 95,000 reviews.

This app is free or $6 (R89) per year for premium. It is available for both iOS and Google Play.


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