How to turn off Journal’s ‘Discoverable by Others’ feature


How to opt out of Journal’s ‘Discoverable by Others’ feature

Apple’s Journal app automatically opts you into sharing your location with people around you — kind of. The truth is complicated. Here’s what it specifically means, and how to opt out.

In December, Apple released the Journal app. It’s a simple way for users to get into the habit of digitally journaling. Its simple interface — and lack of iPad support — hasn’t made the app particularly popular.

Maybe that’s why it took so long for someone to notice that Apple has a setting called “Discoverable by Others” turned on by default. The setting doesn’t quite do what it implies that it does.

The setting, which was spotted by The Wall Street Journal, certainly sounds like it invades your privacy. But, it isn’t sharing your journal, or even your journal suggestions, with anyone around you.

Discoverable by Others is part of Journaling Suggestions, a feature that suggests topics to write about based on your phone, music you listen to, places you’ve been, people you’ve called, or photos you’ve taken. However, Discoverable by Others is enabled even if you haven’t enabled Journaling Suggestions.

An Apple spokesperson reached out to WSJ and said the option is designed to improve journaling suggestions. Their example was: “Say, you hosted a dinner party at your house, with friends in your contacts. The system might prioritize that in the suggestions, as it knows from the head count that there was something different about that event. It wasn’t just your average night at home with your family.”

So, the app doesn’t share what you’re journaling, but it does share your location — sort of. It at least uses your location data and cross-checks it to see if you’re hanging around other people in your contacts. And it’s doing the same for them.

Apple says that it doesn’t store which specific contacts were around — but instead, it uses the information to nudge you to journal about any noteworthy events. The company reiterates that it isn’t telling anyone around you anything personal.

Still, if the option makes you feel a little creeped out, here’s how you can turn it off.

How to turn off “Discoverable by Others” Journal setting

  1. On your iPhone, open Settings
  2. Scroll down and tap Privacy and Safety
  3. Tap Journaling Suggestions
  4. Scroll down and toggle off Discoverable by Others


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