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iPhone experts issue warning over Apple's new app that's automatically downloaded to your device

iPhone experts issue warning over Apple's new app that's automatically downloaded to your device

The new Journal app has been causing a stir.

Apple has rolled out a new feature in its iOS 17.2 mobile software update that’s causing quite a stir among iPhone users.

And it’s not just another app update or a quirky new feature - it’s something that could potentially delve deep into your personal information.

Enter Apple’s very own AI-powered Journal app, a tool that's turning heads.

Apple's Journal app is essentially digital diary. Designed to prompt users to write about their lives, it’s designed as a platform to help you achieve all the positive things diary writing does, from improving mental health to encouraging self-confidence and emotional intelligence through reflection and gratitude.

The Journal app is in the new update.

But some tech experts and privacy advocates have been raising concerns over certain elements of the app.

The app's default settings makes your iPhone discoverable by nearby devices. The Journal app also takes full advantage of machine learning, tapping into your photos, workout data, music history, and even location data to craft pre-made journal entries. Before you even type a word, the app has already sketched a narrative of your day. Helpful if you need a bit of a prompt, but some are finding it a little unnerving.

Critics are drawing parallels between Apple's Journal and Google's Project Ellmann, which uses similar technology to weave a detailed story of your life. It's the kind of new tech that makes you wonder – where do we draw the line between convenience and privacy?

Self-proclaimed social media expert Kristen Ruby took to X (formally known as Twitter) to express her concerns bluntly, stating: "I can’t believe no one thinks this Apple Journal is a big deal. Forget ChatGPT. This is on-device machine learning. From your LIFE. Hello wake up."

Her post highlights the unease that some feel about this relatively fresh level of deep AI integration into our daily routines.

The new update also features lots of new personalization options.
Alexander Spatari / Gety

In a document about Journaling Suggestions, Apple addresses the privacy features and explains how the Journal app handles the data, how it makes smart suggestions, and how it protects your privacy.

“Journaling Suggestions uses Bluetooth to detect the number of devices and contacts around you without storing which of these specific contacts were around. This information is used to improve and prioritize your suggestions. It is stored on device, and is not shared with Apple,” it reads.

You can also control whether your contacts include you in their number of nearby contacts by going to Journaling Suggestions, then turning off Discoverable by Others. This will also disable Prefer Suggestions, meaning Journaling Suggestions will not detect how many devices or contacts are around you.

Apple has emphasized that the app puts privacy at the forefront, with Bob Borchers, the company's vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, saying: “Journal makes it easy to preserve rich and powerful memories, and practice gratitude by intelligently curating information that is personal to the user, right from their iPhone. And we’re making it possible for other journaling apps to offer the same personalised suggestions while maintaining the highest level of privacy.”

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Dacharlie / NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty