Documentation

Your guide to everything Workflow.

Understanding Action Extension input types

Workflows with the “Action Extension” type can be run from within other apps using the iOS share sheet. When running a workflow from the share sheet, your workflow will receive some input from the app it’s running inside of, which you can take advantage of however you wish. For example, the input could be a URL or an image. The input will be passed into the first action of your workflow.

When a workflow is set as an Action Extension, you can choose which input types that workflow is able to accept. The default choice for input types is “Anything”, meaning the workflow will appear when the Action Extension is run from any app.

If you change the input types of a workflow, that workflow will then only appear in apps that share that type of content. For example, a workflow that only accepts URLs will show up when you run a workflow from Safari, but not from Photos; workflows that don’t work with the current app will be hidden.

By specifying an input type for each of your Action Extension workflows, your share sheet will be much more organized each time you launch it, and you'll more easily find workflows you need in context.

Note

Workflows may sometimes show up in unexpected places; for example, a workflow that accepts images will appear when sharing a web page in Safari, because web pages can contain images.

Below is a table of the supported input types and an explanation of each. Use this to reference the variety of input types, as well as to troubleshoot what a specific app can share to Workflow.

Types Definition
Phone numbers Telephone numbers (which are automatically identified in text by Workflow).
Contacts Contact cards shared from the Contacts app, or vCard files.
Email addresses Email addresses (which are automatically identified in text by Workflow).
iTunes products Items shared from the iTunes Store app, including music, movies, TV shows, music videos, ringtones, alert tones. Also includes iBooks content shared from the iBooks Store.
App Store apps Apps shared from the App Store.
Locations Street addresses (which are automatically identified in text by Workflow) or locations shared from the Maps app.
Maps links Links to locations or directions from Maps or Google Maps.
URLs Any URL, whether a web link (like http://) or another scheme (like twitter://).
Safari web pages Pages shared from the Safari app or the Safari View Controller in third party apps.
Articles Articles identified when a web URL is passed as input, including details like Title, Author, Published Date, Body, Excerpt, Number of Words, and Main Image URL.
Rich text Text with formatting applied, including HTML from web pages and writing in text editors like Microsoft Word.
Text Plain text, with no formatting applied.
Files Any file, including documents, images, PDFs, zips, and more.
PDFs PDF files.
Images Image files. Includes images from apps and on the web, as well as photos shared from the Photos app.
Media Video and audio files.
Dates Dates and times automatically identified by iOS. To run a workflow with a date as input, in any app, press and hold on a an underlined date like "tomorrow at 4 PM", choose Share..., and tap Run Workflow.

Pro Tip

If you want to explore the share sheet of an app and what it passes for an input into Workflow, set up a workflow that accepts “Anything” and then only includes the View Content Graph action. When run as an Action Extension in an app, you’ll see all the apps’ content items the Content Graph can identify.


You’ve reached the end of Advanced Workflows. Continue to the next section for some bonus ways to run workflows, beginning with Running workflows from Spotlight.