Dropbox free version limits device numbers

I have been using scrivener for iOS and Dropbox for some time now. Yesterday I got a notice from Dropbox that I could no longer sync more than 3 devices.
Unfortunately, I have 4: Desktop, laptop, iPad and iPhone, and I use all 3.
Outside of scrivener I don’t use Dropbox much, I already have the paid version of iCloud, google drive, adobe (whatever is called) and the terrible Microsoft OneDrive. I am already spending over $50 a month for these cloud services (granted, Adobe and OneDrive come with other services I need)
Nevertheless, I need another monthly cloud drive bill like I need a new hole in my forehead. Dropbox is nice, but redundant.

So far Dropbox has been working great, but given this new limitation, I think an alternate cloud sync would be appreciated. I know this has been discussed before, but with DB free and Scrivener working so well with it, I understand the reticence to code a new sync protocol.
Alas, things have changed.
I’d even be happy with some kind of browser sync, like other apps have. I rarely need to sync outside my WiFi network.
I’d also be ok with a more manual way to do things, such as saving my files in iCloud and opening them manually.

In any case, Dropbox has now limited their

The three device Dropbox limit has been discussed before, in this thread:
[url]https://forum.literatureandlatte.com/t/dropbox-introduces-three-device-limit-on-free-accounts/44803/1] Several alternative ways of transferring Scrivener projects among devices were either discussed or referenced in it. None of them is “syncing”—more like file copying back and forth.

Users have asked for alternative sync services since L&L released iOS Scrivener in 2016. L&L’s consistent response has been that due to the internal structure of Scrivener projects, Dropbox is the only widely used sync service that’s technically feasible.

At this point, I shrug. :confused: I can get by with 3 devices. If that changes, I’ll either switch to one of the file transfer alternatives or pay up to Dropbox. I’m sure that with all the the traffic this subject gets that L&L will make another cloud service available as soon as practical. In the meantime, I deal.

But wait, I don’t get the new Dropbox policy much. Initially when I read this, I was surprised, because I have six devices all happily syncing with Dropbox (which sucks, btw :smiley: ). So, I thought, what’s going on here? Then reading the other thread mentioned here I realized the policy applies only to ‘new devices’. Which I still don’t understand much. Does it mean that I can add three new devices? Fine. Then what? At some point any user needs to replace devices. Can you replace a device you used to sync with Dropbox with a ‘new one’? Is that what the policy means? I assume so, because the alternative is that at some point no one will be able to use the free Dropbox account.

The moment you change any device the three device limit is invoked. So if you were to upgrade your phone, say, all of a sudden you wouldn’t have service and would need to lower your number of devices to three. This happened to me when I upgraded my ipad a few months ago.

Got it, thanks. Did they provide a rationale for this policy? Is there any other cloud service doing something along these lines? I got to say, I only use Dropbox for Scrivener. For everything else I use Google Drive and Box (unlimited storage on both) and iCloud for Apple apps files like Keynote. As I said, I find Dropbox annoying. I forgot I had another Dropbox account that clearly I hadn’t used in ages, and got an email that since I hadn’t accessed my files in a while, they were going to remove the account, unless I accessed it. Which I did, just for fun. Account no longer removed. :smiley: Why do they even bother with this stuff?

Evernote has done something similar, but since it’s my external brain, I pay their annual fee. And I believe the idea is that either a) we’ll pay up, b) we won’t access as often as we’re restricted to n devices where n is a small number, or c) we’ll cancel the account and they can have their server space back. A, B, or C, they win. Or we keep the free account and they’re no worse off than they are now.

I don’t mind. Truly. I don’t expect to eat forever off free supermarket samples, and I don’t expect free services from software companies forever, either. The whole purpose of a business is to make money. If their free samples are costing them too much (it’s gotta be part of the marketing budget) they restrict their free samples. Simple. Frankly, I expect all free accounts to end, and plan accordingly.

There are indeed alternatives to using sync (I don’t use it at all, myself). They are documented in the user manual PDF, in §14.2.1, Basic Usage, under the heading Managing Projects Directly (iTunes). You don’t have to iTunes, there are other approaches and tools available, but iTunes is the one that everyone has installed from the start.

My personal preference is AirDrop. From the Mac it’s a simple matter of sending the .scriv project to the device and “opening” it in Scrivener when asked. In the other direction, you can use the same mechanism for backing up a project, which will offer to send the zipped project, where it can be AirDropped back to the Mac.

I’d say any of these methods should be appealing if you primarily “sync” around the local WiFi radius.

Let’s hope iOS 13 which Apple will announce at WWDC 2019 brings changes to both iOS, Apple’s built Files app, iCloud Drive, that makes iCloud Syncing possible for Scrivener.
I’m thinking of my next purchase to be an tricked out iPad Pro, but the whole Dropbox syncing together with the new 3 device limit is making this a difficult decision in which all components depend on each other. I’m not blaming Literature and Latte, they WANT to make iCloud Syncing work, and most responsibility is at Apple’s hands, but let’s hope WWDC brings some great changes.

I don’t know anything about how to use iCloud, never even made an account—but Scrivener already makes use of the “Files.app” thing in iOS 12. Doesn’t that imply a certain level of connectivity?

From what I remember, Keith said when betas of iOS 11 came out with the first Files App, it was possible to use the Files App as a local container to send to Scrivener iOS. But something between the early betas and the final release changed. I don’t remember exactly how he described it, it was here on the forum in a thread. I think it had to do with how the file was completely downloaded or only partly sent, I don’t know.

Anyhow, in the beginning of the beta cycle Keith was very positive of Scrivener iOS supporting the Files App, but by the official iOS 11 release, it apparently wasn’t an option anymore.

Here’s a thread discussing using iCloud and the Files app to transfer Scrivener projects in detail:
Here’s a broad overview (details in the thread):

  • Use the shortcuts app to make a share sheet that will accept an archive, unzip it, and open in the app of your choice.
  • Save a zipped Scrivener project to iCloud, from any device you like.
  • Open the zipped archive in the Files app, and use the share sheet you made above to unzip it and open it in Scrivener.
  • To reverse the process, export a zipped version of your iOS Scrivener project to iCloud for use on any other device.

Is it syncing? No. It’s up to you to keep versions straight. But I’ve tested it and it works.

I think so. Just for fun, I had been syncing for a while a .scriv file through iCloud with no visible issues (which is less than Dropbox, :smiley: ). However, it’s fair to say that was one .scriv I was using just for fun, to test iCloud syncing, not more heavy duty .scrivs. So, I think it’s still uncharted waters, for most users.

Thanks for the details. The problem is that my projects are often gigabytes big, even though I only work with kilobytes to megabytes of material (the rest is research and inspiration). I think the method would take far too long (in my case, of course). Getting the sync like on Dropbox where it only changes the small files within the package would be great, but yeah. I’m keeping my hopes up for iOS 13 bringing great changes to the iOS platform.

Dropbox cut me down to 3 devices when I upgraded an iPad. I moved everything I had on Dropbox to iCloud, except my Scrivener files, as I have 200GB on iCloud. I’d rather stick with the tried-and-true method right now. I do appreciate the information in this thread, though, in case I want to ditch Dropbox altogether.