Use case for Drafts for Mac (until we get actions)?

I’m a little puzzled about what Drafts is supposed to be for on the Mac. Drafts is still billed as “Where Text Starts” on the website, but I’ve always understood that as meaning that once the text is there I can send it wherever I need it, as I can via actions on iOS. In the Mac version, until we get actions (when?) it seems to be more-or-less “where text stays”. At least it has a share button, but then so does every other modern app. For now, on the Mac Drafts just looks to me like an underpowered alternative to the native Notes, Bear, Evernote, and a jillion other note-taking apps. And individual notes aren’t even text files that I could potentially do something with outside the app. I realize Drafts/Mac is still in beta, but the info page for the beta seems to indicate that adding actions is not a high priority. What am I missing?


What can Drafts for Mac NOT do?
The initial release of Drafts for Mac is focused on capture, editing and sync. It will not support actions initially. We do plan full action support for the app in the future – but many can benefit from the ability to create, edit and access all their drafts on both platforms in the meantime while we work to complete the somewhat more complex implementation of cross-platform action support.

From Drafts for Mac Status Update. I think the statement from the “but many can benefit from” is the key thinking behind this.

I use Drafts as “where text starts” and increasingly where my notes are stored. Having it on a Mac (where I am 90% of the time), enables me to actually use Drafts as my main notes app. I can’t be the only one who feels that way.

While actions are the killer feature (and I’d love them everywhere), just getting an app out for the Mac will get more adoption than you think.

OK, but in 2019 every decent notes app out there has Mac <–> iOS sync. I subscribed to Drafts Pro mainly because I was excited about the Mac version, but so far I’m pretty disappointed. It sounds like you’re saying for the time being the value proposition of Drafts for Mac is just as a convenient portal to the notes repository for the iOS app?

Actually, I’m not saying that. Greg said that based on the feedback he had. I’m just citing it as a reference to something you were looking for.

I’m a paid subscriber, but I actually don’t use the Mac beta. I subscribed based on the existing value proposition of what the iOS version offered me at launch.

It is fine to subscribe to something on the basis that you hope something will be delivered. That’s a choice you made and all of us make choices like that from time to time. You are obviously also entitled to your position of disappointment in the speed of development. Everyone makes assumptions. I think comparing something that is in beta and has not had specified deadlines for delivering parity of functionality to the iOS platform to other apps that have been developed to do such things over a longer period is where your expectations are taking over vs. what was in that post above and I think is pretty consistent with the message that has appeared in other places.

I could be wrong. Maybe I’ve missed something to the contrary?

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Sure. I don’t mean to just be a whiny-butt here, I’m honestly asking if there’s something I’m missing about Drafts for Mac. A universal quick-entry box for text on the Mac is something I’d really like to have. Drafts plays that role pretty well on iOS; on the Mac it decidedly doesn’t. As a general-purpose note repository, on the other hand, I’m not seeing it as a particularly strong contender on either platform. I do understand that it’s still in beta on the Mac, but without actions I can’t even see what it’s trying to be.

One use case that does come to mind: quickest way to send text from Mac to iPhone.

Faster than universal clipboard?

To echo @sotojuan: I have access to both DEVONThink and Evernote (not to mention Editorial, which is still a great option for managing text files synced via Dropbox despite the lack of recent updates) but Drafts is increasingly becoming the place where my text starts AND stays.

I work primarily on iOS though, so I have no issue with being patient about the development of the macOS version of Drafts… :wink:

Obviously it will be a more compelling offering on Mac when actions are ready…but I can say that for several years a Mac version of Drafts has been the #1 feature request and the vast majority of those requests can be paraphrased as follows: “Please bring Drafts to the Mac! Even if it is just to sync drafts I’ll be happy!”


I think so, actually, since I am trying to use Drafts as “where text starts” on iOS. Otherwise I’d still have to copy the text from somewhere on the Mac and to somewhere on the phone.

I’m a subscriber and not for the Mac version. I am beta’ing and enjoying the Mac version, though.

A difficult habit to get into is to create drafts on the Mac - despite its superior keyboard. In my case this is about habits and not function. I started on iOS and still seem to create most of my drafts on my iPad Pro.

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personally I love that the Mac (beta) app is out. I can sync all my drafts between my iPhone and Mac (+ iPad) and thats great. I dont have my iPad that long so it was awesome to be able to create a Draft on my mac because I’m much faster in typing there.
I also love to use it just to quickly store things I want to check out on the mac (links from web pages / Apps and so on) In addition its much better to script actions on the mac when you need to create new actions (yes I know that you cant test it on the mac but thats ok for me!).

I subscribed to Pro before the beta was out and never regret it the features you get with creating awesome actions or just use some from the directory are insane!
I think its much more complicated to support actions on the mac - just think about callback urls and so on - if you dont have the apps on the mac or they dont support the same urls on the mac this could be very confusing - actions will work on the iPhone but not on a Mac and so on… I think its better to dont support actions at all than just support them and many will fail when you use them on the mac with no great solution for the end user :slight_smile:

Some of us with older Macs don’t have the option of universal clipboard, which requires Continuity.

I’d fall into that category too as my MBP is 10 this year. But my gentle assertion was that Drafts would not in fact be the “quickest way to send text”. Drafts may be a way to persistently share, and universal clipboard may not be available on older Macs (which the Mac Drafts app may also not run on) or iOS devices … but I think the fundamental essence of the speed at which data may be ‘sent’ cross-platform for Apple between two devices still stands and supports the assertion that Universal Clipboard is an available technology and is more likely to be a faster transfer as it is baked into the OS and the sync doesn’t need to take any sort of differential other than change, does not need to trigger versioning, etc.

Now it may be that a direct USB connection and iTunes may be even faster, but then you get into data volumes and network speeds and it’s more academic testing than day to day, real world practical.


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As I think I posted in an older thread, for me Drafts has been a way to automate a lot of tasks I had already automated on the Mac, mostly custom searches and the like in Alfred and system Services. Cross-platform sync is already handled well for me by Ulysses, Apple Notes and Copied. So I haven’t found a compelling use to date.

I meant quickest in terms of workflow convenience, not actual data transmission per se.

Why do you want to create drafts on your Mac? (Not a rhetorical question; actually trying to identify use cases.)

I don’t understand what you mean here. How do you script actions on the Mac?

Presumably @FlohGro is referring to writing JavaScript on the Mac and using it in, the for now iOS only, Drafts actions. See documentation for require() for details.

The reasons I’d create drafts on my Mac are twofold:

  1. The keyboard is much better even than this (original) 12.9” iPad Pro.
  2. When we get automation I’ll be able to integrate with other tools and workflows on my Mac. (Already I have a Keyboard Maestro macro to pop up the workspace switcher.)

But nothing dogmatic about it. It doesn’t really matter whether I create or edit drafts on my Mac.