A faster iOS-to-macOS-and-back-again “solution”

A faster way to copy (not sync) from iOS to macOS and back again without using Dropbox.

  1. On iOS, quit Scrivener

  2. On iOS > Files app > On my iPhone > Scrivener > long press on the relevant project > Copy

  3. On iOS > Files app > iCloud Drive > create or select a suitable folder > long press when inside the right folder > Paste

  4. On macOS > navigate to relevant iCloud folder > Open the downloaded project and work as necessary > Quit Scrivener

  5. On iOS > navigate to the relevant folder > Tap on the now-updated project and it will load in Scrivener, with a “1” added to the project name > Optionally, delete the original version of the project when you’re happy that all is well

For me, this is faster than sharing a zipped up version of the project from iOS to macOS, and faster than using Dropbox.

Worked in the tests I have done so far, but I imagine this solution will not be endorsed by everyone.

This is more or less the solution we recommend for people who are unable to use Dropbox for whatever reason.

The only thing to be aware of is that it is a copy, not a “sync.” As such, you will end up with multiple copies of your project, and it’s up to you to keep track of which is which.


Hello Katherine,

I have been a Scrivener user for many years now, even a beta tester. I have also, for even more years (16) lived in China, formerly of LA. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked for an alternative to dropbox, any alternative, and have been told it’s just too difficult or you’re just not interested.

So given this copy/paste technique, for example, what would be so hard about automating it as an alternative instead of all the hunting, copy pasting, renaming, tracking. It is such a pain.

Yes I use VPN, it’s absolutely required here for ones sanity if nothing else. However the govt is constantly updating their anti-vpn methods, a cat and mouse for the vpn devs (I use expressvpn). So very often I just can’t connect, for one reason or another, which means I also cannot simply run off to a coffeeshop with my iPad unless I go through the aforementioned copy steps as I wait for a vpn update, swearing under my breath all the while.

All I’m looking for is a bit of hope for the future. It’s now the only app I own where I need to get around dropbox. For everything else I can either use iCloud (which given the current climate could be blocked any day now, who knows), or I use my best friend NutStore (it is so solid, fast useful it even shows up as an alternative sync for my favorite mind mapping app SimpleMind). It’s also cheap. I can’t recommend enough that you look into this app. I also use it to sync all my Devonthink databases, and Notability using their WEBDAV access, smooth as silk. Did I mention it’s fast and cheap…

I can understand why you don’t want multiple sync options since it adds more complexity, but you really must do something, I keep reading about growing problems with dropbox from elsewhere, not just scrivener, and it just doesn’t work for everyone. In my case it’s special for China dwellers, but another option would be well received by everyone.

thanks, Evan

While there was a big problem with Dropbox sync on iOS 13 for a couple of months, I used a version of this method. It worked fine and reliable and I was quite happy with it. When Dropbox started working again, I thought about just keeping my ‘iCloud’ method, which had some big advantages. But I did went back to Dropbox, because I have a lot of big projects (2-10GB each) and if you switch often between Phone, iPad and Mac, it’s a bit easier to keep track of it.
With the ‘iCloud method’ you have to keep track indeed of what is the newest.

Hey Evan,

As you might have guessed, we’ve had numerous requests for support of additional cloud-sync services. As a smaller company, we often just don’t have the manpower to handle the complexity of adding additional cloud-sync options. That’s not to say that we’re not looking considering adding future support for different services in the future, just that it’s going to take more time to determine when or if a move to a new service or adding an additional service is feasible. All we can really say now is thanks for the feedback. We’re aware that there is a growing interest. Should it line up with the developer’s vision of the Scrivener’s development we’ll pursue that course.

I store most of my data on a Synology NAS at home. With my iPad I can access my server through an iOS app called DS Cloud. This will sync selected folders on my NAS between my iPad and other devices, so that I can access the same material on my desktop Mac. Question: can I save Scrivener projects to my iPad, instead of Dropbox, placing them in the DS Cloud folder of my iPad, and then rely on DS Cloud to sync the files across my other devices? Or will this not work? Thanks in advance for your feedback.