Day One - Journaling on an iPad

Published February 11, 2021

I knew the transition from Windows to iPad was going to be tough, but I powered through. The biggest concern I had, however, was what was I going to do with my 2,500-page journal? I used Framemaker for my journal and Framemaker is not compatible with iOS (Bummer).


After much searching and experimentation, I found the perfect solution. The solution’s name is Day One. I actually prefer Day One to Framemaker. I’m not throwing shade at Framemaker as it has served me faithfully for nearly 20 years. However, Framemaker is a tech writing software, not a journaling app.

Day One Journaling

Day  One has a free and subscription version. After trying the free version for a few days, I decided to purchase the annual subscription for $34.99. I think it’s a small price to pay for the feature-rich app. It’s much cheaper than paying the $29.99 per month subscription orDay One $359.88 annually to use FrameMaker.

How Day One Works

Day One journals are hosted on a secure server. At first, that idea didn’t sit well with me because I’ve had my information compromised before. That’s not fun. I couldn’t bear the thought of having something so personal accessed by nefarious ne'er do wells. However, with the combination of password protecting the document along with iOS’ fingerprint recognition, I felt more comfortable.

Day One Password

Because it’s stored on their secure server, I’m able to synchronize the journal between the iPad and iPhone. Therefore, if I’m out and about and feel the need to jot or dictate an entry on the go, I can.

Yes, I did say dictate. With Day One you can dictate entries and the app saves it as an audio file for later listening. The beauty of that is it’s saved on an outside server, so you don’t take up precious hard drive space on your device.

Dictate Journal

Day One also transcribes dictation to text. However, with that feature enabled, you’re limited to the iOS default of 5 minutes of audio recording. Disabling transcription allows you to record up to 3 hours of dication.

Transcribe Settings

More Ways to Journal

As if transcription/audio isn’t enough, each journal has its own private email address. Sending an email to the private address adds the contents of the email into the journal as if you were typing it in there directly. That’s another cool feature.

Journaling: Tracking Location and Media

If enabled, you can record your location. I have not enabled that feature, but will once I start to travel more (thank you COVID).

Inserting media is simple. Just tap the paperclip icon, choose your media source, select the media to add, and it’s done.

Insert Media

I’ve also copied and pasted images from other sources. However, since I’m still learning how to navigate around on an iPad, I’m sure my method of copying and pasting is inefficient and convoluted. Give me time, I’ll get this down pat soon.

Import/Export and Transference

As I said earlier, I needed a program for my 2,500-page journal so I decided to put Day One to the test. Although there is a feature to import and export entries into Day One, I couldn’t figure out how to format my existing journal for a successful import, so I ended up copying and pasting each entry.

Considering I have 20 years and over 3,000 entries, it really didn’t take too long. I converted the Framemaker document into a .pdf, and copied and pasted each entry into Day One. The whole process took about 3 weeks. It was something to do during my downtime when I watched Star Trek’s Deep Space 9.

Searching Journals and Journaling Streaks with Day One

One of the features I like in Day One is the ability to search. Yes, I was able to search entries using FrameMaker, but with Day One, it's even easier with more options. I can search for photos, use tags, and more. The more I use the journal, the more I’ll explore its many features. Since I’ve completed the huge task of transferring my old entries, I can get into my new journaling groove and put Day One through the paces.


This app makes it so easy to journal daily. That’s pretty interesting because the title of my old journal was “The Not So Daily Writing Journal.” I’ve got to change that title because I’ve journaled 67days straight using the new app.

Multiple Journals

Day One allows for creating more than one journal. It also offers things like journaling prompts (which I do not need/use), reminders, and templates.

Many years ago I toyed with categorizing my journals. I had my Not so Daily Writing Journal and then a Spiritual Journal and another for Health and Fitness. They all began to blur into one, so I combined them and that was that. It’s much easier for me to place everything in one journal and use the “Search” function if I wish to read about any particular topic.

Writing/Printing a Book

Day One also has a book printing feature. You can take one of your “journals” and turn it into a hard-cover book. Imagine that!

Day One Book

That feature brings to mind a conversation I had with a friend. He asked whether or not I had plans to pass my journal down to my descendants upon my death. My first reaction was a resounding “NO!” My innermost thoughts might offend/hurt my surviving friends and relatives.

He then said that he wasn’t talking about my immediate descendants. He asked me to imagine for a minute how much insight my journal would provide to descendants five or six generations down the line. Hmmm. That was definitely food for thought. I’d have to draw up legal documents preventing the release of my journal until everyone I know or have written about has passed on.

two thumbs up

Anyway, if I do decide to publish my journal, Day One would make it easy. So far I give this app several thumbs up.

Note: As you can see from my screenshots that I prefer dark mode. However, Day One offers both light and dark mode.

Felicia (aka Low Tech Grandma) is a wife, mother, grandmother, freelance writer and low-tech blogger.

Last Modified: 27 August 2023

Home | Privacy Policy | Site Map | RSS
© Low-Tech Grandma 2024