Can you backup Scrivener on icloud?

Is there a way to backup my scrivener files on an iCloud instead of the place it wants to save the backup - the documents drive in my computer?

Reason: If there is an issue with my computer and i lose what’s saved on the hard drive it means I will lose my writing which feels very risky and makes me worry. I used to use google docs, which, though it isn’t as intuitive for writing, it at least gave me peace of mind that my work was always safe regardless of what happened to my computer. It also meant I could access my work on different computers/ my phone which was handy.

Issue: When I tried to change the location to the icloud drive for backups, it gave me this message and I’m not very clear on what the problem is;

Project not in a recommended save location. The project “NOVEL.scriv” is stored inside its own automatic backups folder. This could potentially result in data loss in the event of an automatic backup trying to overwrite the current project file. It is therefore strongly recommended that you close the project and move it to a different location.

Thanks for any advice!

Basically, don’t save them in the same root folder. e.g. iCloud Drive/Documents/Scrivener. :x:

What you could do instead are two folders iCloud Drive/Documents/Scrivener/Projects and iCloud Drive/Documents/Scrivener/Backups. :white_check_mark:

And please disable “Optimize Mac Storage” in (System) iCloud Settings.

And don’t forget to set up proper backups (e.g. with Time Machine). In general, that’s not specific to Scrivener.

Further reading: Using Scrivener with Cloud-Sync Services / Cloud Syncing / Knowledge Base - Literature and Latte Support

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thank you so much for your help! It looks like the second option you suggested is just creating an extra folder called Projects or Backup, unless I’m not understanding this properly? I’m not the most tech savvy person so apologies if I’m being stupid. And can you help me understand why the first ‘root folder’ option is not good?

Here’s where it’s saved right now on my mac; iCloud Drive/ Documents/Scrivener

Thanks for the note re Time Machine!

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Yes, don’t store the backups and the projects in the same folder. That’s the gist of it.

Because then they are stored in the same folder (I called it “root” here as in: the base of your Scrivener files, e.g. /iCloud Drive/Documents/Scrivener). If you dump everything into this without subfolders (e.g. Backups and Projects or whatever you want to call them), this is asking for trouble. And error messages.

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OK, thank you so much for your help!!

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I would go further and (if I understand where you are saving correctly) and say do not have your projects and backups on the same cloud service.

If you are saving your projects to an iCloud folder on your Mac, then save your backups somewhere else.

Dropbox, box, OneDrive, Google Drive all offer free tiers and are suitable for saving .zip format backups.


How do you save the project and backup differently? I only see where I can adjust the backup location in – scrivener settings/ backup/ backup location. Where do I adjust where the projects are saved?

From the File > Save menu. Change the directory to the other cloud storage.

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Thank you so much! I created a Scrivener Projects folder in my Mac documents, so if I understand this correctly, I now have documents being saved on my iCloud and my Mac, which makes me feel extra safe! And to clarify - now, I’ve done that, does that mean every time i work on a project it’s being automatically saved in TWO places? the backup folder and projects folder?

Don’t forget that your most important backup regime should include regular full system backups.

Risk of mac failing, theft, fire, lost, spilled coffee–whatever–is not zero. On Mac, I recommend AppleTime Machine which is part of your macOS on your computer.

FYI, my structure for Scrivener

: all projects go to ~/Dropbox/Scrivener folder (to enable sharing on my two mac’s and two iOS devices). Scrivener iOS only syncs with Dropbox.
: Scrivener automatic backups are specified as ZIP files, and are automatically created on open and close of each project. Directed to the ~/Backups/Scrivener folder.

I don’t backup to cloud services that sync as a flaw on either local mac or on the sync service replicates automatically and quickly, and “poof”, backup gone.

: I use TimeMachine to backup entire machine (including Scrivener projects and backups). I take a belt-and-braces approach and direct the TimeMachine backup to both a USB drive and to a network server. I also use Backblaze to get backups “offsite”. Other similiar commercial services exist.