Posted on Jan 6, 2012 | 0 comments

The longer I have been running Easy Journaling, the more people come to me with questions referring to journaling on their devices. These questions come from readers like you and also the friends and family in my life. The questions vary, but one pops up much more frequently than the others: What can I use that will allow me to journal from my iPhone, but that I can also write entries with on my PC or Mac?

This should be an easy answer. If I were a developer, the first thing I would do (Hint, hint) would be to make a service that works flawlessly from smartphones, tablets and computers. I understand that this is easier said than done, but in the world we live in, consumers expect to use services that sync between devices with the data stored in the cloud. This is the way our email, ebooks, shopping and many other services work.

Why not journals?

If you have this same question, you have some options.  I will be honest that there isn’t yet a perfect solution, but a few are getting closer with each update. All of these options can basically be divided into two categories: iPhone apps that work with computers or online services that work with iPhones.

Photo Credit - TeksOnDemand

Photo Credit – TeksOnDemand

iPhone Apps That Work With Computers

Perhaps the best solution is something called MomoNote . This unique service not only has a dedicated app that works for the iPhone AND iPad, but it also has an online entry method as well! The app will set you back $5 USD, but this will be worth it for many. Because this app is relatively new, I haven’t yet featured it on Easy Journaling, but look for a more full review soon.

There are a few setbacks, however. The picture insert only allows one at a time and the online interface isn’t as nice as devoted online journals such as LDS Journal or Penzu. MomoNote is also advertised as more of a multi-faceted app that allows you to keep memos and to do lists which isn’t inherently bad, but I prefer journal and diary apps to be dedicated to journaling. It makes for a nicer experience.

Day One was one of the first iPhone apps featured on EJ because of its simplicity and popularity. As I say in Modern Journaling, if Apple were to be in the journal app development business, the app they develop would probably look like Day One. Not only does it work wonderfully for the iPhone and iPad ($2 USD), but for another $10 you can get the dedicated Mac version as well. These versions sync with each other.

Even though almost everyone that uses Day One loves it, there are some major omissions from the feature set. The developers keep promising some key capabilities, but they still aren’t available. These include inserting pictures, journal search and export. You can sync with Dropbox, but there is no online entry method. This means that you can only write entries from the Mac that has the software installed, not any computer with a web browser like MomoNote.

Honorable mention in this category is MacJournal which is set up like Day One. However, many users have had bad experiences with it including difficulty syncing between smartphone and computer applications.

Online Services that work with iPhones

If you have been around this site for a while, you have probably noticed that I promote Penzu and LDS Journal a lot. It isn’t because I work for them, these are just two top-notch services that set the standard for online journaling.

Penzu has a deep and feature-filled online journal service as well as dedicated smartphone apps for iPhone and Android. The problem is, if you want to sync the apps with the service, you will need to pay the $19 a year to do so (still a great value but a deal breaker for some). You can write entries from your smartphone or tablet with the free service, but the mobile version is rudimentary at this point. See my review of the iPhone app for more info.

LDS Journal also has an amazing online service with the ability to make entries from mobile devices. The problem is, the mobile device method (which consists of a browser based entry system) is very clunky. You have to log in every time, can only make entries 500 words long and there isn’t a way to insert pictures. An alliterative version (and I believe this is possible with Penzu as well) is to use the email entry feature. This allows you to send emails to a special address and it automatically includes them as entries.

One More Trick

If none of these methods look like they will work for you, there is one more thing you can try. This tip was actually pointed out to me here in the comments section (thanks Anna!). Some amazing iPhone apps have the ability to ‘cloud’ sync with popular services such as Evernote and Dropbox. If you happen to use this, you can go to the Evernote or Dropbox websites and write an entry with any computer that will sync back with the app! I haven’t tried this yet and I’m sure the experience will vary by app and service, but it is worth a try. Wonderful Days and My Daily Journal sync with Evernote and Dropbox, respectively, so you can try it out with one of them.

Did I miss any? It seems like this discussion is an important one and will only become more so as devices get more connected. I will try and update this post as new options become available or developers update their software to make these services more connected.