Auto-save did not work for me

That’s exactly what it does (and what it says it does, right next to the setting), as @Vincent_Vincent wrote in the first reply.

Set it back to the 2 seconds default and this mysterious problem will disappear.

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I do strongly second the advice to go back to the 2 seconds setting. And just in case you’re wondering I’d like to add that with this setting Scrivener does not save the whole, maybe huge, project every two seconds but just the changed files, i. e. the document you are working on and some small internal files.

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Looks like we’re all agreed. I screwed up by not understanding the auto save option and saw it as a full save and increased the timeout thinking it will interrupt my work flow. I’m now aware that it’s an incremental save, as you say, only changed files, sort of like a sync which takes seconds.

I appreciate all this help. Sometimes it takes an episode like this to learn.

2 seconds being changed right now.

Thanks everyone.


As a Mac user, I agree. Scrivener would have to wake up the hard disk in order to save, and if it’s otherwise inactive, Mac OS might not let it.

Personally, I usually recommend a 10 second (not 10 minute!) interval. Two seconds is short enough that it might happen when you haven’t really paused, which can cause a brief (but distracting) keyboard freeze.

I turned that off, I agree.

The keyboard can lock up after 10 seconds as well. If these are incremental, a 2 second gap can allow for a shorter save, whereas 10 seconds would allow more time to pass making it a longer save. This is nitpicking, but, the keyboard freeze can be annoying. Still, the 2 seconds would make the behavior somewhat similar to the Microsoft word that gives you a “recovery” option in a crash. If the computer crashes during a save, Scrivener project can corrupt. It’s important to have versions, such as in the Time Machine in Mac. I think Dropbox used to have this feature though it may be a paid option now.

I am at 5 seconds and happy with it.
No issue whatsoever to report.

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In the 2-15 second range, I would say to experiment and see what gives you the best results. Over 30 seconds or so, you might have troubling amounts of material at risk depending on your work habits.

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I just discovered the hard way that it Scrivener was not auto-saving for me either. I worked for 5 hrs straight on a document, went away for a few hours, came back and worked on it again for another hour. Then the program crashed (which, to be fair, almost never happens to me).

The last saved was about an hour into my work so I lost most of the day’s work. I checked my autosave setting and it was at 60 seconds, so it should’ve saved at the very least when I stopped working mid-day. Not on battery and the computer never went to sleep (processing other things). I was counting on my hourly Time Machine back-ups to save my bacon but they only backup what’s been saved… and if Autosave isn’t working, then no dice.

Latest Mac OS Sonoma and latest Scrivener 3.3.6. MacBook Pro 16" 2022.

BTW, I’m changing the autosave to 5 seconds hoping that toggling the setting will at least get it working again. But 60 seconds should’ve been sufficient.

Interesting … the “autosave” you are referring to is not the interval between saves, e.g. “every 60 seconds”. It is the period of “inactivity”. I’m guessing that something—hard to know what—stopped the computer thinking it was active and hence never saved.

I leave my “inactive save” setting at the default 2 seconds and it’s worked well for years.

Thanks for the reply! Yes, I understand it’s intervals, not saving. I mis-worded that.

I think it’s a mistake to assume the computer has a glitch when the problem is in this file in this program – not in other programs that have an Autosave feature. I’m glad it works for you but there does seem to be some kind of bug where it just doesn’t work in some instances. I will test it today where I intentionally make a change, don’t save… walk away for 5 minutes and see if it saved it. The file itself should show an updated modified date if it saved. Otherwise it’s not working…

Look for the asterisk after the title of your project (at the top).
If it is gone but the project didn’t save, that could mean something (antivirus?) is denying Scrivener access to the file for an overwrite.

Else, an advice :
Do a backup using Backup Now whenever you get up and walk away. (Backups are free.)
It has a button you may add to the toolbar for convenience.

That one works a bit different in macOS, there’s an “unsaved dot” in the red traffic light:



Thanks for the tip, November_Sierra! I didn’t notice that little dot before. Very handy for monitoring this situation, if nothing else. I used that to monitor my test just now and it seems to be working again. (I double-checked to look at the file modify date and it’s up-to-date there too.)

Thanks, Vincent, I know how to force a back-up (I just do a save, which is set to backup too) – which I do when I think to after a very productive streak of new material. That said, that’s a workaround you have to be thinking o to do it when the whole point of autosave is you don’t have to worry about it – hence Auto. :slight_smile: No anti-virus crap going on here.

In any case, it’s working again. Just toggling the amount of interval time seems to have kicked it back on. Grateful as the program is otherwise very stable.

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It became so much of an habit for me that it doesn’t involve any thinking anymore. (Just saying. It offers extra protection.)

I appreciate that but ultimately you’re saying, “Don’t rely on a feature that’s put there to give you peace of mind.”

I’m pretty big on backing up, cloning and otherwise duplicating my work so that no disaster – natural, digital or, most often, human error, can kill more than a bit of work. This glitch went beyond, unfortunately. But problem solved… at least for now.

Don’t trust your computer. It has nothing to do with whether the apps work or not.

As a matter of fact, to put in a bit more time, I wouldn’t be surprised that your issue be computer related.
The likes of : Your disk went to sleep.

(Could also explain the crash)

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Is this still a thing with (internal) SSDs? :thinking:

I don’t know.
But I remember a user about a year ago, and that was his/her problem in the end. IIRC

Same thing : no save, then a crash.