Big Sur Surf Crash!!

I have belonged to the Apple beta test group for a long time now. Last month, I got a MacBook Pro 2020. I downloaded a few apps from an external HD where I’d moved them. Great.

I used my new computer without issue. Everything was working great, including Scrivener. Then I downloaded Big Sur. Everything I tried worked well, although every time I quit something, it thinks it crashed, and I get the crash report. So then I started Scrivener, the way you do, and it instantly crashed. It wouldn’t even start. So I thought, maybe I damaged it when I moved it. So I threw it in the trash, and went back to the App Store and re-downloaded it. It still crashed.

Help me, Obiwan Kenobi!



Big Sur is Beta and not yet official supported by Scrivener so you may be on your own in terms of support, both from L&L and Apple. Have you submitted a report on the BS beta site yet? When we run beta’s of an OS and an App there is a certain risk we sign on for.

I’m guessing L&L have systems running Scrivener on BS, however who knows if there are compatibility issues with current publicly available full or beta versions of Scrivener.

AStaff is correct. We expect to have a Big Sur compatibility update in time for the official release. In the meantime, though, while we welcome reports like this, using Scrivener with Big Sur (or any beta operating system) is unsupported and entirely at your own risk.

For any crash, the first things to try are resetting the project’s display settings, resetting Scrivener’s Preferences, and checking for compatibility issues with other programs. See these articles for more information: … y-settings … references


Oh, I’m quite used to not being able to use certain apps until they are updated. I understand, and am only searching for a super secret solution because Scrivener won’t even open. I can’t get to any settings or preferences, it quits before it opens. I love your app, and it will hurt, but I guess I’ll have to write scenes and chapters in Pages, and then copy and paste to Scrivener when it becomes available. I will be a loyal client forever. You have developed a wonderful writing tool. I think of Scrivener as my writing desk, and the binder as the box where I keep my project. One of my writing teachers in college had a great antique typewriter and several paper boxes that he used for writing and grading papers. I think he would have appreciated your software. Thank you.

Could you please post the crash log? Scrivener runs fine for me on Big Sur (on the latest developer beta), aside from obvious visual inconsistencies.

All the best,

I already have. I’m thinking some deep dark library plugin has been stuck in the wrong or right folder to make the app unavailable. It’s acting weird like that.

Just one additional point.

You want some secret advice (actually not so secret) - Use a VM. Having been heavily involved in early non-public betas of operating systems from the early Win (even GEM) days I’ve found over more recent years, the best way to maintain stability and security of data, yet get out on the bleeding edge is to pack the beta into a VM.

There can be hiccups initially (but then you’ve already experienced them). BS is running fine on Parallels so you get the stability of the current OS and get to explore the beta.

VM’s have plenty of benefits. On my MBP, I run Catalina as primary OS, Mojave for one app that will never move to 64bit (actively looking for a replacement), Win 10, and BS. Good thing is data can be freely shared between all the VMs.

I looked up the crash log you sent and the crash you are seeing is exactly the same crash I see when I enter full screen mode in Scrivener on Big Sur. I’m not sure why you’re seeing it on app start up, but as it’s the same backtrace, the underlying cause is almost certainly the same. There’s a thread in the Apple developer beta forums in which a number of developers have reported the same crash with their apps. I’ve reported it to Apple too, so I’m hopeful that this is something Apple will fix in a future beta. I’ve discovered that the view involved in the crash is Scrivener’s editor view, but I’ve checked the code and there is nothing in there that should remotely be causing anything like this, so I’m fairly sure it’s a beta issue. Obviously if Apple haven’t fixed this closer to release then I’m going to have to take a deeper dive and try to find a workaround, but as the crash is coming deep from within Apple’s frameworks, that won’t be pretty.

All the best,

this same startup crash is happening to me. It seems to only happen with the app is attempting to load the largest of the four Scriv files I usually keep open (over 1GB in this case).

the app launch option to NOT reload previous projects does not seem to work, as the problematic files are loaded anyway.

Any plausible workaround?

I’m running BS Dev Beta 5 and this morning installed it on VM Fusion 12 preview.

Scrivener is running solid though the whole experience is a little slow as both Fusion and Parallels have graphics performance issues on a BS client when running on Catalina as the host.

Parallels doesn’t seem to be capable of running BS at better than 1024 res at present which is why I had a play with Fusion. I’m managing 3251x1612 on Fusion with VMWare tools.

I’ll explore with different sized projects over the next few days, see if I get any of the failures.

Apple seems to have fixed this crash in the latest beta (developer beta 5).