I use Scrivener 3 on my Macbook Pro latest OS. I am thinking of getting the iOS version for iPad and iPhone. However I do not wish to sync using Dropbox as due to a past experience, I hate it with a passion. Can I use Airdrop to sync files between the two systems or Synology DS Cloud which uses my local, private NAS server.

I think the simple answer is: No.
I think you can use iTunes, but it’s not as simple as using Dropbox.

If it can be done with iTunes then I will give it a go. Alternatively is there a way to use Dropbox and have the files stored encrypted as there will be sensitive information stored.

You can use Airdrop. Just be aware that it’s more sending a copy rather than a true sync. So you need to stay on top of which copy is which when using Airdrop.

When sending from Mac to iOS, you can just send the .scriv project file and it opens right in scriv on your device.
When sending back to the Mac, iOS scriv zips up the project first and you have to then retrieve it from your Downloads folder.

Ahh thats great, just what I needed to k now. I don’t need to have them kept in sync, although that would be nice. But knowing that the iOS version handles files ok and I can Airdrop from one to the other. I didn’t want to go and buy the iOS version just to find I couldn’t use it.

AirDrop normally works fine, and that is the only way I transfer stuff between devices when it does work. Unfortunately at the moment you might find that on some versions of iOS, the system does not recognise that Scrivener can open .scriv, so you can’t send a project easily straight to the device. It is possible to send .zip and open it in a third-party tool that manages zip compression and has the ability to send folders to other apps (I use the free FileApp). Having a tool like that is good for managing backups anyway—but for me that’s a bit too much messing around just to copy a file over. So I use the “iTunes” approach for now—via a tool called iMazing. To copy a project to the device I just open that and can over WiFi drop the project straight into Scrivener’s storage area, updating anything that was there for that project previously.

The AirDrop problem will be fixed in the next maintenance update for iOS. Once it is fixed I’ll be going back to that method, as it really is super convenient and easy!

On the encryption with Dropbox question: I think the answer is yes, but not for free. You would need to get a $ Dropbox account for that.


P.S. For the record, I have been using Scriv with Dropbox since Scriv for iOS came out with no problems. Even if you had some Dropbox incident in the past, it might be worth considering. (You know Dropbox is not suffering from you grudge, right?) The way Scriv works with dbx is very set-it-and-forget it convenient. Scriv for Mac’s backup protocol should spare you any real headache even if something does go sideways. Keith has made the app on both sides very cautious for good measure – extra steps it goes through when first opening on Mac a project that has been changed via the iOS app.

Perhaps that is something new, but historically speaking Dropbox does not encrypt your data on their server. There aren’t many sync-type services that offer zero-knowledge encrypted data storage. The only way to get that with Dropbox is to use secondary vaults, like Apple’s encrypted DMG technology—but of course if you do that then Scrivener cannot do anything with it on the iOS side.

Yes they do:

They hold the keys, so someone with legal or illegal access to the key store can access your files. But simply gaining access to the server isn’t enough.


1 of the trickiest aspects of this copy-instead-of-sync method (via iTunes, iMazing, etc) is keeping track of the last location one edited the project in. If you can think of a system for tracking this before you start, you may save yourself some headaches later on. (I haven’t come up with a failsafe method yet. :frowning: This is one reason I would prefer to work on a removable drive, as I did happily with two Macs before when my main Mac was on the fritz, but iOS security hinders this—and Scrivener doesn’t recommend it on Macs, either. )

The 2nd difficulty for WiFi transfer is project size. In my experience, large projects (1.3+ GB) transferred via WiFi can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the WiFi signal strength & speed, maybe depending on app used. The same file via cable will transfer in a few minutes.

3rdly, if you forget to transfer the file from your Mac before you leave the room or floor where your Mac is, but you’re still in WiFi range, keeping the Scrivener project in a Mac shared folder, allows an app like File Browser Biz to be used to copy the file to your device, then use the Files app to move project to the Scrivener folder. However, you may have trouble waking your Mac if it’s gone to sleep. (Maybe AirDisplay would be a better solution for this, but I think there’s a problem there with the last MacOS update.) Also, if it’s a large file, it may be well worth it to head back to your Mac and USB-C to lightning cable.
If you left WiFi range and forgot to transfer the latest copy from your Mac…

Frequently switching Mac and iOS devices, for those of us who prefer not to use 3rd party servers (including Dropbox), is less than straightforward, but at least we can now.