Conflicting issues and lost text

I just bought ios version of Scrivener. So far I’ve been so impressed with it.

Recently, I was creating a text project in the ios version. I later sync it to my windows 7 laptop, and sure enough everything was running smooth on both sides. I just got a conflicting message when I tired to sync back to ios. My options in this message was either “cancel” or “ok”. I hit ok and when I opened both versions all my text was gone!

Note this was just a text doc, but I kept thinking if this was a real project and all my text had disappeared like that I would have had a panic attack. At this point I wouldn’t even know how to retrieve it. The backups are clean from the text as well.

I’m not understanding what happened or what I did wrong. Please help. :frowning:


Hi Vicky002,

Here is the process that you should follow for syncing your Windows & iOS devices with Scrivener:

Device A

  1. When you are done working in Scrivener on this device, Close your Scrivener project
  2. Wait until the cloud service sync is complete on this device

Device B
3) Wait until the cloud service sync is complete on this device
4) Open your Scrivener project on this device and start working

I can’t say for sure what went wrong in your case, but people only get into sync trouble if they don’t follow this process.

You may also want to read the Knowledge Base articles under Cloud Syncing.

Hope that helps,

Hello JimRac, thank you for your quick response.

I think the problem happened when I was working on both devices and forgot to sync. However, I was reading here, how if there is a conflicting issue I would be given any option and a conflicting folder would appear. I did not receive a conflicting folder, in fact everything had been deleted. I’m still not sure what went wrong and am determined to solve this before I start using it for my real projects. I’m going to try to duplicate the conflicting problem and see if I get the same result.


Ok. So I managed to duplicate the problem. I first created the problem from my ipad and I got the sync conflict detected message. I then got a similar message on my desktop as well. A conflict folder was even created on my ipad. So everything seems to be working on Scrivener’s side.

I purposely created the conflicting issue again, this time on desktop. I got the sync conflict message again, only this time it said that it had resolved itself so I did not get a conflict folder on my ipad.

So it all seems to work like it says it would. I don’t know what happened the first time I ran into issue. Maybe I missed something the first time because I was too busy panicking?

After this incident happened I changed my backup settings. So now every scrivener backup gets uploaded to dropbox in a separate folder. I’m uncertain about one other thing though, how do I get scrivener to backup every five minutes, or at least where there is a five or ten minute gap between each backup?? Currently my backup settings are all checked for:

Turn on automatic backups
Back up on project close
Back up on with each manual save
Back up before updating from mobile devices

Retain backup files: Only keep 10 most recent backup files
Backup location: Dropbox/Scrivener Backups

Hi Vicky,

Sounds like you’ve been doing your homework to understand Scrivener sync & backup processes. :slight_smile:

You cannot set Scrivener to backup every x minutes the way you’d like. For more frequent backups, you’ll have to do initiate them manually.

I do have a suggestion.

You may want to increase your retained backup files to 25. I can’t see a downside to that, unless your projects are huge. Particularly if you are backing up as frequently as every 5 minutes, you will use up your 10 backups in under an hour.

I have mine set to retain all backups, as I want complete control over when backups are deleted. Like you, I backup frequently. At the end of the day I archive the final backup of the day to a separate archive folder and then delete the other backups from that day. I am anal and keep the archived backups forever. If necessary, I can go back weeks or months to retrieve work.

Do you periodically backup your PC to an External hard drive or something?


Creating a full backup every five or ten minutes could potentially lead to performance issues. A backup is a copy of the entire project, so it will grow (and take longer to save) as the project does. You’re also going to be using a tremendous amount of disk space for multiple copies that are nearly identical to each other.

For this kind of requirement, I would recommend looking at CrashPlan or a similar offsite backup service. Runs automatically in the background, manages incremental changes intelligently, and allows you to specify the backup interval and retention time.

Regarding your original problem, I did help one user who encountered a sync conflict that wiped out data in this manner. We were never quite sure what caused it, but it seemed to involve a file being deleted on System A while there were still unsynchronized changes on System B. By the time System B synchronized, the System A version – in which the file didn’t exist at all – was newer, and therefore treated as canonical by Dropbox.

JimRac’s advice upthread is good, and should help you avoid any further difficulties. To that, I would add a suggestion that you be very very cautious if you have reason to suspect that synchronization might have failed for any reason. For example, you can temporarily disable synchronization while you create a copy of the local version, thereby protecting it from any Dropbox-induced mayhem that might ensue.


Scrivener has an automatic Save feature, saving any changes made every time you take a few seconds break in typing, making sure that what you just typed is saved to disk. If there was an automatic backup feature as well, you would always only have a large number of almost identical copies of your project.

My way of ensuring that I save older versions of a project is to occasionally rename it, the way you have to do if you use e.g. Word. As a result I have a Project1 with a number of backups, Project2, Project3, etc, each with backups, so even if a project is completely screwed up I have alternatives. BUT, I do NOT keep the backups on Dropbox, in case something happens with the Dropbox server causing my files in the Dropbox folder to be corrupted. Instead I rely on my internal backup software to make sure everything is frequently backed up to my external backup drive.

And to avoid syncing problems with my iPad, my Scrivener project folder in my Dropbox folder has a sub -folder for active projects, and the iPad is set up to sync only with this sub-folder, which usually only contain one or two active projects.

Thanks everyone for your help and tips!

Jim, I do have an external hard drive but don’t backup to it as much as I should. I probably need to start doing that, especially after this incident.

Katherine, thank you for your input. Those are good points. I will try that! And about the lost data during syncing, I’m still not sure what the heck happened. It had to have been something I did, and just can’t remember, least I’m hoping that’s what it was.

Lunk, I’ve never really considered dropbox servers failing. I was uploading my backups to dropbox way before using the ios version, one of the reasons being because my laptop had been acting really finicky and I didn’t trust it and feared of a hard drive failure or something. But now I probably need to backup to an external drive as well.

Sigh…how does one manage all these backups!!! I’m swimming in backups! :open_mouth:

All that is needed is that something happens with your files on the Dropbox server, corrupting them (hacker attack?), and when your PC notices that they have changed on the server, it will upload and sync and thus corrupt the files on your PC. I know that Dropbox of course has backups and they can probably fix it after a while, but I just don’t like the thought of having everything I have in one place. So my Scriv backups are not in the Dropbox folder. Fortunately, Mac’s have an in-built backup system – Time Machine – and I have one external drive at home and one at work, so my Mac backs up itself both at work and at home and thus have backups of the backups in case I need them.

(… and Time Machine of course take a copy of my Dropbox folder as well :slight_smile: )

Frankly, I was going to make the same point as Lunk about keeping both active projects and backups on DropBox - avoid keeping all your eggs in one basket - but didn’t want to hit you with too many things at once! :slight_smile:

That’s why I asked about backup to external - if you are doing that on a very regular basis, then that decreases the risk, cause you’re keeping copies of your eggs somewhere else.

For what it’s worth, my active Scrivener projects are synced to DropBox, my Scrivener backups are synced to OneDrive, and everything on the PC gets backed up every 2-3 days to external hard drive, which then gets stored off-site on a monthly basis (rotating hard drives).


Jim, not to alarm you, but I don’t think Scrivener files work with OneDrive. I once tried to make a copy of my Scrivener projects to OneDrive and when I went to open them all the text was deleted. Thankfully I had other copies on my hard drive so not all was lost. I had contacted Scrivener about it and apparently there are issues using Scrivener with OneDrive. Supposedly, it only affects Windows 8, but I have Windows 7 and it affected me so…

Maybe this does not happen with Mac users? … e-advisory

It does, but not if you have the backups as zip-files. :wink:

Yes, as Lunk says, zipped backup files are fine with any cloud service. Only one file, so the sync process can easily handle.

For scrivener project files, DropBox is the only service “officially” endorsed as reliable with Scrivener’s multi-file design.

Oooh, so that’s what I did wrong! Good to know! :wink:

One more question from the newbie ios user. If no wifi is available for a while is it better to move the scriv projects to ipad in the meantime, and then drag them back to dropbox for syncing?? Are these files on ipad getting saved to Apple’s cloud as well?


Huh? :open_mouth:

What do you mean? You can’t drag anything to the iPad. Or are you talking about the two different parts within iOS Scrivener? Both exist in the iPad. The only difference between the two is that the upper part is copied to the Dropbox server when you tap sync. Both are saved to iCloud if you have chosen Backup to iCloud, but that usually requires WiFi.
So your question is a bit weird…

With no wifi at all, it doesn’t really matter since Scrivener will just fail if it tries to sync. With unreliable wifi, you might be better off disabling it or moving the project because of the risk that a partial sync will damage the project.

If there’s no wifi, then there’s no wifi. That is, if you can’t get to Dropbox then you probably can’t get to iCloud either.


In projects, if you hit edit you can either drag the file to “Dropbox” or to “on my ipad”.

What I’m trying to understand is if it’s best to move all my projects to my ipad in the meantime if wifi is down? Internet here can be terrible sometimes.


As Katherine suggested, when WiFi is unreliable or intermittent, then turn off syncing or drag to “my ipad”, so you don’t have a partial sync.

Why move the projects? Make sure you haven’t activated ‘Sync on close’ and the simply don’t tap sync. That’s all that is required to avoid syncing when WiFi is unreliable. iPad Scriv doesn’t suddenly start syncing on its own.