Menu bar icon badge showing number of links to the current item

If enabled to do so, Hook’s menu bar icon will change dynamically to reflect whether the currently open or selected item is hooked to anything. It will do this regardless of whether Hook’s contextual window is open. For instance, if you select a hooked file in Finder then Hook’s menu bar icon will have a green contour. If you then select a file that is not hooked to anything, the menu bar icon will revert to black & white. This color scheme matches the scheme you see when you drag and drop files onto Hook’s menu bar icon.

hooked, not hooked, unknown states

More generally, Hook’s menu bar icon now has three states as follows:

  1. when the current item is known to have 1 or more hooks, the number will be presented in a badge;
  2. when the current item is known to have no Hook, the menu bar icon will be black and white (the current color scheme); and
  3. when Hook cannot determine whether the current item has hooks, the badge will display a question mark. .

The third, indeterminate, state has two possible causes:

  1. the app is not URL-friendly, meaning it lacks adequate automation for linking. For such apps, Hook may rely on “UI scripting” when you invoke the Hook window. But Hook would not use UI scripting in other circumstances, because it would interfere with your use of the application. For example, unlike Nitro PDF, as of 2022-06-12 PDF Expert is still not URL friendly. URL unfriendly apps are marked with 🤔 on the Linkable Mac Apps webpage. We borrowed the expression “URL-friendly” from CogSci Apps Corp. advisor, David Sparks. See Manifesto for Ubiquitous Linking for more information about URL friendliness.
  2. The third state is also currently encountered with apps that are URL-friendly but that do not support AppleScript for linking. Those are mainly x-callback-url apps. We might be able to provide a hooked-status badge for them in the future.

Hook has a new General preference: Show current item's number of hooks in menu bar icon. This can also be configured via a Terminal command

defaults write com.cogsciapps.hook menubar.icon.status 1


defaults write com.cogsciapps.hook menubar.icon.status 0

If enabled, the “hooked” status indicator is updated asynchronously by Hook as it periodically polls the foreground app. You can change the polling interval using the Terminal app’s default command. For example, pasting the following in the Terminal would increase the interval to 3 seconds:

defaults write com.cogsciapps.hook menubar.icon.status.interval 3

Currently, only integer values are allowed.

If you use Bartender, you can easily reposition any menu bar icon, including Hook’s.

Please note: macOS will ask you to grant permission to Hook for several apps. If these apps are irrelevant to Hook, you need not give Hook permission.

Revision history and product road map

This feature was first introduced in Hook 3.6, where Hook merely showed whether an item had hooks or not. In Hook 3.6.1, it was enhanced. See Hook 3.6.1 Release Notes.

We plan to enhance “hooked” status indication, after receiving feedback about this feature. We might offer an “always on” mode of the current Hook window, or provide a separate floating badge that indicates how many hooks an item has. On Hook’s forum, please let us know what you’d like.

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