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Transform Your iOS Mobile Device into a Secure Digital Diary

Jason R. Rich takes a closer look at a handful of third-party Apple iPhone and iPad apps that can be used to transform your mobile device into a secure digital diary, into which you can write and store your inner-most thoughts, dreams, ideas, and secrets.
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Dear Diary,

Today I discovered awesome new apps that allow me to create, view, and achieve my ideas, thoughts, dreams, and secrets in a personal diary format that’s very secure from prying eyes. Even though I don’t typically have time in my busy day to sit down and write diary entries, because my new digital diary gets created and managed from either my iPhone or iPad, I can create entries anytime and virtually anywhere, when it’s convenient, or whenever inspiration strikes.

What I like most about creating a digital diary using my iPhone and/or iPad is that in addition to using words, it’s easy to attach photos, video clips, audio recording, and other content into each entry, which then automatically get associated with the time and date the entry was created. It’s also possible to easily customize the look of my digital diary, because I can select the background color, font, and other on-screen design and formatting elements.

Plus, thanks to the password-protection feature within these apps, I know that whatever I write will remain secure, even if I don’t use the Passcode feature that’s built into iOS 6 to protect all of the data on my mobile device. In fact, someone else can freely use my iPhone or iPad, but won’t be able to access my digital diary.

I have been wanting to start writing a diary for a while now, but the idea of carrying around a traditional, paper-based book to write in, and the fear that the book could get lost, stolen or viewed by others, has prevented me from starting a diary, until now. When I accessed the App Store from my iOS mobile device and entered the keyword “diary” into the Search field, I was pleasantly surprised by how many different third-party apps are available specifically for this purpose.

Most of the diary apps allow me to use the iPhone or iPad’s virtual keyword to create each entry, but all also work with an optional external keyword and/or iOS 6’s Dictation feature. I can speak what I want to write, and then have the phone or tablet translate my words into text that is inserted directly into the diary entry I’m working on.

While some of the apps for creating a diary provide what equates to blank pages in which I can share my thoughts, some are designed to help me record very specific types of information. This data might include as my food intake for dietary reasons, my workout regime to track my fitness progress, or important milestones that happened during a major life event, like a pregnancy.

I even discovered a digital diary app specifically for musicians to help them manage their practice schedule, a gratitude journal, a diary app that generates and asks open-ended questions to help me find inspiration about what to write about within my diary entries, and an app that helps me track and write about my daily mood and emotions. For people who travel often, there are several travel diary apps that make it easy to document vacation memories.

So, once you figure out what type of digital diary you want to create and maintain on your iPhone or iPad, all you need to do is purchase and download the right app, and then start writing. When you begin using a diary app to create and maintain a diary, you’ll be pleased by how easy the process is, and how rewarding it can be to be able to look back at your life and reflect on your activities, thoughts, photos, and memories that are now conveniently saved on your mobile device.

Some diary apps also allow you to sync your diary content with your other mobile devices, an online file-sharing service (such as iCloud or Dropbox), and/or a primary computer.

So Diary, the advice I can offer to anyone interested in starting their own digital diary using their iPhone or iPad is to visit the App Store and take a look at the different apps available. They’re inexpensive, versatile, easy to use, secure, and allow you to combine text with photos and other multimedia content with ease. And, if you’re interested in blogging about your life and sharing your inner-most thoughts with the world, some of the diary apps have a Share feature that works seamlessly with popular (and free) blogging services.

Out of the hundreds of diary-related apps available from the App Store, here’s a brief overview of five of my favorites.

My Secret Diary

This general-purpose diary app makes it fun to combine text, emoticons, “digital stickers,” and even music, with photos and video clips on each virtual page of the diary. In addition to storing entries by date and time, it’s possible to create separate, custom-labeled folders, so you can write and group together multiple entries related to trips or other special events, for example.

This diary app allows you to choose your font, font color, and typestyle, and mix and match text-related options with background color choices. When inspiration strikes, you can snap a photo using the camera that’s built into your iPhone or iPad, and add images, along with captions, directly onto a virtual page of your diary. It’s also possible to add colored sticky notes to virtual pages in order to highlight important tidbits of information.

Once you begin using this app, you’re instructed to create a three-digit passcode, which you’ll be prompted to enter each time the app is opened. When you exit out of the app, it automatically locks to maintain your privacy.

The basic My Secret Diary app is free from the App Store. However, a variety of in-app add-ons, which cost 99 cents each, is available. For example, there’s an add-on to remove the ads that appear within the app, as well as special theme and virtual sticker packs that can be purchased separately to help you decorate your virtual diary.

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