Quick Actions 5: Third-party solution

Since I started researching my articles on Mojave’s new Quick Actions, I have been looking high and low for third-party examples. Although I have lot of apps installed here, the only Quick Actions which I have been able to add are my own Automator workflows. Then I found one App Store app which does offer an installable Quick Action: the superb Yoink, by Matthias Gansrigler of Eternal Storms Software.

Matthias is a very experienced Mac developer who knows his way around macOS much better than I do. So – if he’ll forgive me – in this article I’ll discover how he has managed to implement a Quick Action.

I was puzzled that, although I have the current version of Yoink installed, I had no Quick Action from it available, according to the Extensions pane. So I ran Yoink and looked in its Preferences, where I discovered that this is an optional installation.


So when I clicked the button to install its Quick Action, I was then prompted to approve that.


Maybe this is a limitation imposed by the app sandbox in which Yoink is running, I thought. I went ahead and installed it, and tried it out. Yes, it works, and works very well.


What’s more, Yoink’s Quick Action shows up in the Extensions pane now, and can be enabled or disabled there. It was time to take a look and see how this was implemented, so I looked in /Library/Services, only to find that (still) doesn’t exist. There is a Services folder in /System/Library, but that only contains some older workflows and other items which don’t appear in the list of Quick Actions anyway.

I found the Yoink Quick Action in the Services folder in my Home folder Library ~/Library/Services, where it turns out to be an Automator workflow.


Opening that in Automator reveals that it merely wraps a single-line shell command to open the Yoink app in the workflow. That is all.

So, if you want to build your own Quick Actions, my advice is to stick to Automator, even though that may mean you have to encapsulate your working code into a shell command and call that in your workflow. Trying to create a Quick Action using Objective-C or Swift looks for the moment to be a great deal of effort with little chance of success.

Maybe some third-party apps out there offer many more Quick Actions, and I just haven’t discovered them yet. For the moment, apart from three third-party Automator workflows, two of which I made myself, all I seem to have are the standard bundled Quick Actions which come with Mojave. Maybe others can’t make head nor tail of them, or just don’t see their value.

Either way, for Mojave, Quick Actions are the big new feature that hasn’t happened.