Compiling and Publishing/MacBook vs. iPad Pro question

Hi friends,
My old MacBook Pro is on it’s last leg and I’m looking at either dropping $1300 on a new one (or close to that on a used or refurbished one) or $650 on an iPad Pro. I use Scrivener 3 for macOS when I’m at home and I love to use the iOS version on my iPad or phone when I’m traveling or on the go.

With the glowing reviews I’m reading of the iPad Pro, I’m tempted to just buy one and go all in on the tablet, but I’m having a hard time finding an online example of an author who has composed, compiled, and published their work entirely on the iOS version of Scrivener. I self-publish through Amazon’s KDP program and am wondering if anyone here in the community has had success using the iOS app to publish on that platform.

Any feedback would be incredibly helpful. I’m not opposed to investing in a new computer, but when I think about it, writing on Scrivener is about 99% of what I use it for so I’m not sure if it’s worth the money, especially if I can get similar functionality on the iPad Pro.

Thank you!

I can’t help you with the iPad Pro question, as I don’t own one, but it seems to me the main challenge with moving to that platform is whether iOS Scrivener’s relatively minimal compile capabilities will support your production needs.

Have you tried compilng a few of your books on the iPad as a trial run?

I agree with this. I can’t speak for Keith’s design intent, but my impression as a user is that the iOS Compile is best suited to production of draft copies for your own use or to share with colleagues and other beta readers.

Much depends on your specific needs, of course. At one end, iOS Scrivener can handle simple compile tasks quite competently. At the other end, it doesn’t matter because Mac Scrivener can’t do some things either. But you’re definitely less likely to be stymied by the limits of the compiler on the Mac.


I agree that iOS compile would be the chief limitation. iOS Scrivener on an iPad Pro does not have any capability that it doesn’t have on other iPads. The advantages of the Pro are its speed, larger screen area, and greater storage capacity.

While I can compile for distribution to beta readers and to editors on the iPad, I couldn’t compile for fiction self-publication on the iPad without revising how my work-in-progress is structured, and without some means of producing ePubs and Kindle ebooks.

I own a MacBook Air 11, an iPad Air 2, and an iPhone 6s Plus. Honestly, if someone were to come up to me and say that I could only keep two, I’d pick the MacBook Air and the iPhone, and give up the iPad Air 2 (All I’d be giving up would be iOS Corkboard; a plus-size iPhone can use all other iOS Scriv features). If someone offered to swap me an iPad Pro 12.9 for both the iPad Air and the MacBook, I’d turn them down.

But that’s me. I do echo the suggestion that you try compilation with your iPad alone; perhaps there’s a workaround for the ePub and Kindle problem (maybe using Pages.) Good luck on your hardware quest.

Thank you for the responses! Much appreciated!

After some thought, I realize that my biggest limitation is composition. My MacBook Pro (2010 era) is often plagued with the dreaded keyboard delay. Type a sentence, wait 30 seconds for the words to appear. As a fiction writer, it’s the kiss of death for creativity and flow. My old iPad runs iOS Scrivener fine, but the battery is fried.

I think where I will end up going is purchasing a new iPad for composition, as I already have a great keyboard. My MacBook Pro actually still works great for compiling and doing other functions of Scrivener 3, so I will most likely relegate it to that role in the process. There’s a couple Apple Store’s here in Portland so I’m going to make my purchase tomorrow, have an iOS writing marathon over the weekend, and then see how I feel on Monday. I’m close to finishing a project, so I’m going to try and compile and upload to Amazon for a test run.

Thank you all again for your great responses!