Considering iOS for Scriv. How do YOU use it?

I’m considering switching from my Android table to an iPad (partly because Scrivener supports it).

I doubt I’d do serious writing with an iPad (I have a Macbook for that), but I might want to use it to do some plotting, scene creation, note taking etc.

Do you use your iPad for things like that?

Can you use the corkboard on the iOS version?


I primarily use iOS Scrivener for notetaking, and absolutely love it for that purpose.

There is a corkboard on the iPad. How useful it is probably depends on the size of your device. I have an iPad Mini and find it functional but limited; on an iPad Pro I’m sure it would be comparable to the laptop version.


I use my 12.9" iPad Pro on the go. It’s more portable than my laptop and I can read and edit anytime I have a few minutes free.
Bit I use the iPad for all sorts of things. Having Scrivener and my active projects with me is just a bonus.

I have a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iPad Pro 12.9 with an attached keyboard. The iPad Pro is my preferred writing environment. I don’t really notice that Scrivener on iOS is more of a companion app.

What I will say, though, is the modal sync via Dropbox took a little bit of getting used to. I also use Ulysses and got used to the sync just happening in the background. It took getting burned on a sync issue to make sure I went back to Scrivener’s iOS list of my projects to ensure the sync happened again. It is now muscle memory for me.

As I mentioned in another thread, I use iOS Scrivener primarily for actually putting words into a draft (via handwriting keyboard.) For other tasks, such as compilation, I use Scrivener Mac.

Not that I don’t use my iPad for other things! I put my research, for example, into Evernote and that is more easily done on the iPad. As I’m drafting on the iPad, I’ll keep Evernote, Safari, or iThoughts open in a screen split. I keep my handwritten journal on my iPad in Noteshelf 2. Things like maps or building plans for fictional places I draw in Noteshelf, whence they are automatically published to Evernote. My story structure is created in iThoughts (via handwriting) and I’ll keep to-do lists for my projects in there, too.

Finally, if I’m working on my Mac, I can use my iPad as a second monitor via an app called Duet Display. This comes in handy in coffee shops. :smiley:

Personally, I find the iOS version of Scrivener nicer to use than the desktop version.

It’s more streamlined, less complicated, but keeps the main elements that make the app great. I use the iPad Pro for all my writing – it’s a fantastic tool.

I use Dropbox to sync my projects between my iMac and Macbook, and I never have to give it any thought (just remember to close the project on a device). Does syncing with the iOS app work differently?

There is no background syncing. You have to tell iOS Scrivener to sync when you open the app and before you close it.

I have Scrivener on my iPad Air 2 and Windows 10 (beta 3). I use it in more or less the same way as @Silverdragon appears to.

I use it Scrivener to keep two websites going, and on one of them I post daily. I write much of this into my iPad. I also write academic papers and stories. These get´mainly written on my iPad and then edited later on the iPad or - if the editing is likely to be complex - on Windows with two big screens.

I have never even attempted to compile on my iPad: not because I suspect that it won’t work but because my workflow means that I am almost always at my computer when I need to compile.

I certainly use my iPad as a workhorse. I do lots of “real work” there. Like Silverdragon I use Evernote on the go, and it is where I organise myself (with Todoist usually floating over Busycal).


And… the iPad is usually perfect for browsing the web and handling email on the go.

Regarding syncing: it’s true that iOS Scrivener has no background sync, but I’ve set mine up to automatically start the process. There’s three settings: Auto-detect changes, Sync projects on close or rename, and Check Dropbox on project open. Turn all three on and you’ll only have to remember to go back to the Projects screen after editing—iOS Scrivener will handle checking for changes and asking to start sync. The only time I turn these off is when I know I’ve got lousy connectivity and want to wait for sync until I’ve got decent wifi.

Two apps you might want to explore are LiquidText and CardFlow, alongside Scrivener IOS…

LiquidText allows you to scan in notes etc that you have (or the text of the novel if you like), and then write notes next to them. Quite good for an edit. (expensive though! £28.99 for the pro version)

Cardflow is useful for the Outlining stage. It works like the corkboard, only with more functionality and flexibility.

Hi Al,

I bought iOS Scriv thinking I’d use it to get in some occasional writing during lunch breaks at work on my iPhone or iPad. That original modest goal has morphed into my currently using it for perhaps 80-90% of my writing. I’ve written over 100k words on it in the past 12 months.

This is partly based on ergonomics. I greatly prefer working with my bluetooth mechanical keyboard + iPad Air 2 over my aging Dell laptop (whose keyboard I believe I’ve worn out :smiley: ).

It is also based on the current phase of my novel in progress. I am writing the first draft, and I find the stripped down feature set of iOS Scriv to be perfect for heads down writing. Compared to Desktop Scriv, there is very little possible in the way of customizations and configurations, so the environmental tweaking that I catch myself being tempted by here and there in Desktop Scriv just doesn’t happen in iOS.

Once I have a completed the first draft and have entered the revision phase, I imagine that my usage will likely gravitate over to Desktop Scriv, as I start to more heavily utilize features like compile or Keywords or Collections or Snapshots or Project Search or the Outliner, which do not exist or are nearly non-existent in iOS Scriv.

What Desktop features are most important to you now? That will likely dictate how useful you find iOS Scriv.


I have the original 9.7 inch iPad Pro and recently found out just how useful it can be on a bigger iPad. I’m one of those who has to try the beta on the first day it comes out (I know, asking for trouble). Anywho, when the beta broke my beloved Scrivener I spent the last couple days working mostly on the iPad. It is perfect for trips out where I know I might want to write but don’t want to haul my backpack and laptop with me. Highly suggest one of the iPad Pros if you are buying specifically for Scrivener. iOS 13 isn’t too shabby either and I can confirm that if you are a risk taker like I am, Scrivener does work on the beta for that.

Thanks, all.

I’ll probably get the new iPad Air as soon as I finish July Camp Nano.

Because they are faster?

… and have the new pencil

I didn’t say that, and don’t in fact agree. – Katherine

I bought the iPad 6th gen and like it fine, but then I’m a notorious small-screen aficionado (Macbook Air 11 :smiley: ). The only reason I got an iPhone 8 plus as opposed to an 8 was so as to have Scrivener’s binder available in landscape mode while editing. OTOH, higher cost and ageing eyes turned me against the iPad Mini 5.

Cost is a factor for me, as well as disliking being an early hardware adopter. As far as speed is concerned, RAM and network speed are more important than processor speed. You’ll need to look outside the Apple website to research RAM. OTOH, if you want the new Pencil, the new iPad Pros are your only choices.

It sounds like you have a similar reasoning to how I intended to use the iOS version.

I did try to use iOS on my iPhone, for occasional reading, editing and note-taking. I use Scrivener 3 on my Macbook Air.

Today I have just decided to remove my projects from the Dropbox sync folder and not continue with iOS as it just doesn’t suit my way of working I’m afraid.

Firstly, I keep a strict folder system for different projects, so having to drop all my projects into a single Dropbox folder, went against the way I like to work.

Secondly, I keep all my projects open fullscreen on my Macbook Air, and love being able to see them instantly - having to close a project on my Macbook each time I wanted to view it on my iPhone was a real frustration, especially if I’d just got into bed and my Macbook was in the other room! :laughing:

I’m not sure if this applies only to me, but if I didn’t close the project, when I went back to my Macbook after syncing in iOS, Scrivener 3 would crash every single time. Upon re-opening I would often have conflicting files to go through and try and work out which were the latest ones. When you get a message with a list of pages of conflicted files for your precious manuscript, it’s not a nice feeling! :frowning:

That said, many people seem to have no problems with Dropbox sync, so it’s definitely something you should try for yourself.

I don’t in any way resent buying the iOS app and deciding it’s not for me. It just doesn’t suit my way of working and I found that I could quickly get my files tangled up if I didn’t exactly follow the prescribed working methods.

In the end I decided that for the (very) occasional usage, the iOS presented too many problems and restrictions for me.

I might look into transferring projects via Airdrop so that I can view them in iOS, but I guess that’s a whole other issue… :wink:

All the best,

To add some possible noise to this point, my iPhone 7 syncs Scriv with DropBox approximately 3x faster than my iPad Air 2. No idea why.