dropbox sync not working (urgent)


There is a level of urgency in this request for help. On January 13 I’m scheduled to depart on a major trip. During this trip an iPad will be my only writing tool. I recently downloaded the scrivener app for iPad. I’ve used a Mac version of the program for years. I was given to understand that the process of using the iPad version of Scrivener was simple. It may well be, but what isn’t simple is this whole business of moving files from one version of Scrivener to another. At the moment I have dropbox on both my Mac and my iPad. The file I want to work on also exists in both dropboxes, but on the iPad the file isn’t visible. I have watched the Literature and a Latte video explaining how to do this. Here’s the link:


My system simply doesn’t behave in the manner shown in this video. I’m not sure if the problem is with Scrivener or with dropbox. I have synced the dropbox on the iPad with Scrivener but Scrivener on my iPad did not give me the option of choosing a folder. In fact when I hit the sync button, the dropbox flashes across the screen so quickly I have no opportunity to see what’s there or isn’t there. However when I go into the dropbox I can clearly see the Scribner file in there. It is, however, accompanied by a dual extension. It looks like this: alphatribe.scriv.zip. I’m not sure whether that’s a problem or not but I do know that drop box on the Mac adds the zip extension the minute I drag the project into it.

I have also tried emailing the Scrivener file to myself. And then trying to open that on the iPad. It’s there with the proper extension but I still can’t find a way to get Scrivener to open it on the iPad. So I’m stuck. The reason this is urgent is that I will be traveling to a part of the world where Wi-Fi connectivity is iffy at best. So I won’t have the option of troubleshooting anything once I leave. I also have a fairly serious deadline for the work I’m doing and I need a system that just works without me having to fight with it. What I need to happen is that I can work on the project while I’m using the iPad and have it sync with the Macintosh version whenever I am in an Wi-Fi enabled environment. I thought this would be straightforward but it’s not.

In the meantime because I can’t sync my file I’ve had to continue working on the Mac. This means I’m not learning how’to use the iPad version of Scrivener and I’m worried that if I don’t solve this problem quickly, I’ll wind up trying to troubleshoot problems without the benefit of Wi-Fi connectivity. I’m also 64 years of age which means it takes me a bit longer to learn anything new. So you see the problem.

Greg McKitrick

You need to tell iOS Scriv which dropbox folder you have your project in. Under settings… Edit, the gear icon at the bottom, Dropbox settings

OK. When I opening that up it gave me two options. “Apps/Scrivener” and “Other”. Under “other” there were a few file folders with no content. Curiously none of folders that scrivener sees are visible when I go into the dropbox app itself. When I open up dropbox the file is sitting right there, but it’s not within a folder. I tried moving to one of the folders but that was a no go. So now I’m wondering for this has to be in a folder at the Mac end. I’m baffled. I truly am. But then I’m fairly new to the whole iPad experience.

If you haven’t already, please install the Dropbox software on the Mac. This will create a Finder location, to which you can drag or save projects just like any other Finder location.

It sounds like you’re using the web interface to Dropbox instead. This will automatically ZIP folders – such as Scrivener projects – resulting in iOS Scrivener being unable to open them.

A troubleshooting guide to iOS syncing can be found here:
scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb/ … os-syncing

And a detailed setup guide can be found here:
scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb/ … g-with-ios

Toward the end of the second link, you’ll also find instructions for transferring projects to the iOS device using iTunes. This might be a good alternative in your case: it’s a little easier to configure, and you won’t have access to WiFi for much of your trip anyway.


I’ve tried to install the dropbox software on my mac but it won’t install. I did some looking and it seems that there are some compatibility issues with OS 10.12.2 Sierra. I’ve been using the web interface to share files with my writer’s group, and I didn’t know there was a desktop version. I thought they were one and the same. So I’ve email the dropbox support folks to see if there’s a solution but, of course, it the holidays and support folks are few and far between. In the mean time I’ll try the iTunes work around. Worst case scenario is I compile the project and then export it to “Pages”. Shoot me now.

Hi Katherine,

I couldn’t actually find the iTunes material in that second link and everywhere I looked online just turned up discussions on syncing with dropbox. Is there a direct link that talks about this?

Sorry, my mistake. I think that section may have changed since I last looked at the article.

In any case, transferring via iTunes is pretty straightforward:

  • On the Mac, open a Finder window and navigate to the folder with the project.

  • Connect the iOS device, open iTunes, and navigate to the device’s Apps Settings page (in iTunes).

  • Scroll down to the File Sharing section, and select Scrivener. Drag and drop the project from Finder to the Scrivener Documents area. Make sure the transfer finishes before disconnecting the device.


How did try to install the Dropbox app? You did get it through the Mac app store I hope…
Restart your Mac and try again.

There are no issues with Dropbox and Sierra. I have both Sierra and the latest iOS update and have the updated Dropbox apps on both iPad and Mac, and also the latest Scrivener version, which you must have for this to work. What version of Scrivener are you running?

iOS Scrivener can’t handle older versions of Scrivener projects…

Went to the app store and, while they appeared to have many apps for Dropbox, they didn’t appear to have dropbox itself.

All I know is that dropbox will not install on my machine. How did I attempt the install? When you install the dropbox app on your iPad, the set up procedure leads you through a series of steps including installing the Mac version. That where I first tried and it didn’t work. Then I tried going directly to the Dropbox site and installing it from there. That also didn’t work. It also doesn’t seem to be available at the App store, though lot’s of plugins for it are.

OK, I got it. Why it wouldn’t download over multiple attempts during the past few days but worked today, I have no idea. But I do have dropbox and I do have my project files in iPad Scrivener!

… then I can delete all I wrote. :slight_smile:

Good luck!
Make sure you have version 2.8.1 of Scrivener on your Mac, or there will be problems later.