Using Apple Notes with Drafts


This is a short article, but we do get asked often how to integrate with the built-in Apple Notes app. Unfortunately, at this time, Apple does not provide ways to integrate with Notes that would allow more direct, interaction-free integration with third-party apps. You can, of course, always copy and paste from Drafts into a note in Notes, but we cover the other options below…

Using the “Share” Action

Content can be sent to Apple Notes via its Share extension on both iOS and Mac.

Use the Share action, which comes in the default “Basic” action group and select the “Notes” app. From this share extension, the draft text can be added to Notes as a new note, or appended to an existing note.

If you share often, it might also be useful to install the Share (selection) action, which sends only the current text selection, not the entire draft.

Using Shortcuts (iOS only)

On iOS, Apple’s Shortcuts app has additional abilities to integrate with Notes that are not available directly to third party apps…including creating notes in specific folders, appending to notes, and doing these things without any additional interaction.

Drafts can trigger Shortcuts using the Run Shortcut action step.

For a simple example:

  • Install the Create note in Notes example shortcut. It is configured to create a note with the content input to the shortcut.
  • Install edit Create note in Notes example Drafts action, which calls the above shortcut.
  • Create a draft, and run the action.
  • Go to Notes, and find your new note!

This same basic setup can be used with additional shortcuts configured to send to specific folders, etc. The details of configuring such shortcuts is a little beyond what I can cover in this article. If you plan to configure additional Shortcuts, this article on adding Shortcuts to Drafts is worth a read.

AppleScript (Mac Only)

On the Mac, Drafts ability to run AppleScripts can be used to integrate with Notes. We have provided a Markdown to Notes example action to get you started with the possibilities.


I don’t know how to find the “Share” action. I once found the Basic action group, but now I can’t find it again. I don’t see the normal “share” symbol anywhere. I’m very confused. All I know to do is select my draft and touch the “operations” that appears at the bottom of the screen. Then “run action” seems the only appropriate choice, and it doesn’t include anything about Notes.

Later: Okay, now it worked, but I’m not sure why. I’ll keep working with it and see if I can figure it out.

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I would suggest the getting started page and some of the intro screencasts to get oriented.

Thanks, that was helpful. I’ll refer back to getting started from time to time. I’ve been stumbling into things and not noticing or remembering where they are. I’ll try to do better. —Jim

It is not length of life, but depth of life. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Just pulled this action down - and i have changed security settings so that Notes allows for Drafts - BUT = when I run the action is get an error message :

Notes got an error: Can’t get account “iCloud”. (-1728)

any idea how i can fix this?

my thank in anticipation.

This doesn’t address your issue at all but it may be helpful for going from Notes to Drafts markdown:

I assume you are using the AppleScript example? This example is hard-coded in the AppleScript to use a Notes account named “iCloud”, which is the default most people have. If your notes account is named something different, you would need to edit that value in the script to match your account naming, look for the line:

tell account "iCloud"

thankyou - but not aware that I had changed it - not even sure where I would change it - but maybe I did - see screen shot … so i tried ‘JP @ iCloud’ - but that failed - if that isn’t it where do I find what it is set at?

[CleanShot 2020-09-15 at 10.32.04@2x|448x230]

The solution of using the “Create Note In Notes” example shortcut doesn’t currently work.

I’m new to Drafts, not sure how to debug where the problem is.

Delete and re-install the Create note in Notes action and it should start working, if you have followed the other steps.

It appears Shortcuts got stricter about how it finds shortcuts by name and there was a disagreement on case in the configuration of the action.

I got this:

Action Not Supported
This action has steps which are not supported on this platform

Are you on a Mac? Sorry, that example is for Shortcuts - which is iOS only. It’s clearly labelled that in the heading above.

Oh, god, duh. Sorry.

I deleted and reinstalled on iPad. Ran the action, but it’s still not working.

Edited: I deleted the shortcut (from “Shortcuts”) app and reinstalled, being careful to approve all permissions request. It’s now working fine.

This seems like it should be a no brainer: I want to append text from drafts into an existing Apple note. I can see above how to create a note, but not how to append to an existing note (to create a running informal to do list capturing stuff while I’m out and about). Am I missing something or is this not possible? Thanks in advance!

As mentioned above, integration with Notes is very limited. You can append to an existing note in Notes using the “Share” option above - just as you can from anywhere in the system when using the Share sheet with notes, but you cannot automate that - you would need to use “Share”, select the Notes app in the share sheet, and select the specific note to append to manually in the share sheet.

This is not for lack of interest in supporting such integrations from our end - Apple just has not implemented APIs to support that level of direct integration.

If that is a strong requirement, you might be better off with an option other than Apple Notes which has better integration points (like a file-based notes system).

Thanks for the quick reply. Glad I am not crazy imagining that I could do that. Any way to do it with Keyboard Maestro on the Mac?

You can get Keyboard Maestro to replicate the clicks and key presses you would use to do it manually. It just tends to be less reliable when you resort to options like that.

But, the general advice will always be the same, don’t try and force Apple Notes to do this sort of stuff. It’s like free climbing a building to get to your office rather than using the stairs, escalator, elevator,… There are better options out there if you want to have automations to populate running notes.

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LOL. That is true. Apple is known for making “entry level” products. And I am always guilty of trying to push them past their design limits.

What about Notes that are created in the Apple Notes app and I want to export them to the Drafts app? How can I achieve that?

Individual notes from Notes can be sent to Drafts using the Notes app “Share” functions, selecting Drafts in the share sheet on both iOS and Mac.

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