Journal App Security and other Features

Today is my wife’s and my 40th anniversary. We married young so we are actually not as old as that makes us sound! :rofl: She was 19 when we married. It has been a wonderful 40 years.

This seems like the right time to restart my journal (I fell off the wagon a few years ago). I had used Day One but don’t wish to do so again.

I reread the thread listed above but I don’t believe any of the apps mentioned meet all of my criteria. My criteria are as follows, in no particular order:

  • Ability to add pictures, perhaps an occasional video
  • Ability to export to markdown or plain text if desired
  • Syncs via iCloud
  • Ability to lock the journal
  • No subscription required

I’ve considered Craft, Obsidian, NotePlan, Agenda, DEVONthink and Apple Notes. Only the latter, as far as I can ascertain, has the ability to lock a note. Am I right about this?

Apple Notes seems to be the best contender but there are two downsides to Apple Notes:

  • One can’t lock a folder of journal entries which means I’d have to lock each note.
  • One can’t lock a note if it contains a PDF.

Any suggestions?

I didn’t read your other article, but IMO I think MacJournal ticks all your boxes. However, it’s only really a Mac app (despite mobile versions that occasionally come and go).

Try it – no subscription. Free.


DEVONthink can do all of the above using RTF files. As you already have it, why not?

I do and that would be perfect but is there a way to lock a note/group or database? I’ve looked but can’t see a way to do so. The lock that is available only locks editing so one doesn’t accidents delete or change text. And, when one activates the lock, there is no password option. The closest thing I’ve found is shown below but note the explanation, the database is only protected before importing from sync locations.

To lock an item, select it, then Menu: Data → Mark → As locked (or, do the keys that the menu shows, or right mouse click and pick same). See Menu: Help then type in “lock” to see this menu thing.

If you must lock the database–and why bother if the items are locked–change permissions on the database (a macOSX package, actually) in Finder “chmod” command in a terminal. Also then turn off sync for that database as no point to share with other devices. Are you over-thinking this?

And: if you have a specific database for this, say called “Journal”, you can put your photos and videos, if not in the RTF file, but as imported files. Makes the journal text a bit simpler and even maybe use Markdown with a CSS style sheet to make pretty. Relatively easy to automate making a daily Markdown File (discussed in past on DEVONthink forum). Link them to the journal entry, or other DEVONthink methods.

And … you already have it. Get on with it and see if it works for you.

I’m still a heavy DayOne user. I currently have a 557 day streak going of daily entries in my journal. I know you said you don’t want to use it, but it does satisfy all of your criteria and I still think it is the best journal app in the App Store.

1 Like

Forgot to add, congratulations on 40 years!

1 Like

I may consider it if there are not other good options. $35/year is not bad but inevitably that price will go up. :slight_smile:

Thanks, I’m blessed with a wonderful wife!

1 Like

Thanks. I really need it across devices, especially the iPad where I’ll do most of my journaling.

Hmm, I pay $25 a year. I must have gotten grandfathered into a plan that is no longer available. It is called “Premium Yearly for Plus Users”.

I understand the desire to keep subscriptions to a manageable level. I’m in the process of figuring out a way to drop the $20 Drafts subscription I no longer feel is valuable. But of all my subscriptions, I think DayOne is the most valuable. It would be the last subscription to go.

One more app you can consider is Pages. I think it can do everything on your list. I don’t think it can export Markdown, but definitely plain text.

@rms first, thanks for the kind help, much appreciated! I carefully read your reply and again searched the manual. I think I figured out why I could not lock the database or notes (locking a note only locks editing, it does not protect the note).

It appears to secure a database I need to created an encrypted database then I can set permissions. This will work perfectly! Thanks for the prompt leading me in the right direction–much appreciated!

Well, I’m learning a lot today. I’d forgotten that one can password protect a Pages document! I’m not sure I want 365/Pages docs/year as my journal nor one Pages doc for all 365 days but I’ll take another look. I may have found the solution in DEVONthink thanks to @rms.


protect from what risk or threat?

To keep someone reading my journal. The journal, and everything else on my computer, will only be available after my death. My master password is only available in my Trust account held in my attorney’s office. Thanks again for the help, your replies led me to the solution in DT, much appreciated!

1 Like

great. encryption is a new requirement but as you know you can encrypt a database. now get to your writing!

Here’s one I’ve read about but never used. Open source, files remain in your Dropbox account, and markdown can link to images you upload to Dropbox.

Already have; just made an entry for the 40th anniversary and added a lot of photos. :slight_smile: Thanks again!

1 Like

Depending what you want to do with Drafts, it don’t need the “Pro-Subscription”.

A little AppStore Hack:
If you have a subscription, and the AppStore shows in its list a “cheaper” one, you can change the plan by simply click on the desired subscription.
I even get money back on one subscription I changed on that way to only 50%.

1 Like