iCloud Backup vs. iCloud Sync

So… I understand that Scrivener does not support iCloud Sync. However, my question is whether or not Scrivener supports iCloud Backup?

The reason I ask is because another of my favorite apps, Procreate, also does not support iCloud Sync. However, it does support iCloud Backup. For anyone unfamiliar with the two… iCloud Sync basically “automatically saves your work on demand for whichever app you are currently using”… iCloud Backup basically “manually saves a copy of EVERYTHING on your device in case you damage or misplace said device.” Would my locally saved Scrivener projects be safe then? Performing a full iCloud Backup of my iPad Pro usually takes me only about 1-2 minutes over Wi-Fi, so I don’t mind having to manually backup my entire device whenever I’m done working on a Scrivener project.

As I currently understand… Scrivener supports Dropbox, which I can’t afford per month, and “iTunes Sync,” which I can’t “comfortably” access on a Windows PC. And I would hate to awkwardly download the iTunes app on my PC for the sole purpose of syncing my iPad Pro… which I can already do over Wi-Fi.

I already bought the iOS version of Scrivener, so I’m sure I’ll stumble upon a solution to this eventually. However, it would be nice to prepare for it in advance, so any advice is greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

Dropbox has a free alternative.

Dropbox has a free tier. You are limited to three devices on which to install the sync client at this tier, but luckily the way Scrivener for iOS is written, it does not count against this limit.

Is this offering not suitable for you?

Are you guys talking about the free 2GB monthly plan? If so, then there’s no way that will work since I plan on writing “a lot.”

If you’re just writing, you can write a lo-o-o-ot in 2GB. If you’re planning to fill your projects with hundreds of large images, that might be a problem. For instance, I have a project that contains a full length novel in English plus its translation into Chinese, together with sundry comments, a dozen (small) images, etc. The project weighs in at 2.7MB … so you can store about 750 such novel projects in 2 GB of Dropbox.



Thank you, that’s good to know :slight_smile:

However, I still rather just keep everything on my iPad. So what I’m really looking for is an answer to my original question.

Speaking strictly about backups (not syncing)—

I’m not sure in what shape Scrivener projects would be after a device was restored using an iCloud backup. They might be fine, I’ve not tried it. Regardless, restoring the whole device using iCloud backup to recover Scrivener projects is inefficient.

iOS Scrivener provides a feature that produces timestamped ZIP file backups. They can be stored in iCloud Drive and/or other cloud service (and/or emailed). Store as many as needed and as space allows, rename one(s), delete them when sensible…etc,

Forum member @Silverdragon has recently written a post which step-by-step explains the process. She used iCloud Drive in her example. I use a different cloud service which is directly available in the share sheet, but otherwise the process is the same. When it makes sense to, I backup multiple times a day.

Silverdragon’s post: https://forum.literatureandlatte.com/t/no-desktop-no-laptop/93137/21

Faster than creating an archive / zip, this works best for me…


This looks very helpful, thank you! However, I only use Scrivener on my iPad so I don’t need a way to access it elsewhere. My problem is that I want to make sure that if I ever lose my iPad, I can just buy a new iPad and redownload all my data with Apple’s iCloud Backup feature. This actually happened to me once with Procreate… I thought I lost all my illustrations since it doesn’t support iCloud Sync, however, I was happily surprised when I setup my new iPad and found that all my illustrations were still there. So I’m hoping that Scrivener works the same way. As long as the files are saved on my iPad, and as long as I make regular iCloud Backups, then my files will be safe if I ever lose my iPad again. Maybe in the future when I buy a Macbook, then I will think about joining the “dropbox religion” lol

Anything that backs up the entire iPad will backup Scrivener’s data. iCloud Backup is a system-level operation, so it’s not constrained by which application “owns” a particular chunk of space.


Edit to add: As the iPad Pro becomes more and more of a laptop replacement, I would expect Apple’s Backup/Restore features to become more and more capable. OTOH, that also means the profit opportunity tied to iCloud storage will become larger.

This makes perfect sense to me. It would explain why my data was saved even though I bought a new iPad.

p.s. Thank you for actually answering my original question! 8)

I would still recommend doing Scrivener-specific backups as explained upthread. The iCloud Backup will protect you if you lose the device, but it’s something of an all-or-nothing operation. Having to restore your entire iPad because you deleted a chapter by mistake would be annoying.


Nothing says that you have to have every Scrivener project put into your Dropbox folder at the same time.

I have a system where I have only my active projects under my Dropbox\Apps\Scrivener folder, I also have a OneDrive folder setup for my project archive, and another one for my automatic Scrivener backups made on my PC and Mac systems. When I’m actively working on a project I copy it from the OneDrive\Writing_Archive folder to the Dropbox\Apps\Scrivener folder and automatically then will become visible to my iPhone the next time I sync it. When I’ve mothballed it, it goes back to OneDrive\Writing_Archive and disappears from the active Dropbox storage (and quote) but is still accessible from the iPhone via the OneDrive client if, for some reason, I need to get to it. (I’d have to do some fiddling around with the Files app to get it transferred from OneDrive to Scrivener, but that’s a tiny bit of overhead compared to how often I do it and the flexibility it gives me in return.

(Why OneDrive? Family Office subscription gives me 1TB of storage there per user.)

Katherine’s point about not putting all your eggs in one basket is a very good thing. There’s a lot of creative ways to solve these problems – what works for me may not work for you, but I hope it gives you some alternative ideas.

In your first post, you mentioned syncing your iPad Pro with a Windows PC.

I can’t speak for other people, but from the tenor of the replies in this thread, I think your post was read as asking if iCloud Backup can be used as a syncing method for active projects, not as a question of whether iCloud Backup copies Scrivener’s data should a restore (or a new iOS device) be used at a future date.

As a backup-to-restore facility, it works. It doesn’t work for active-project syncing.

That said, I recently wiped and restored my iPhone using iCloud Backup (I don’t use Dropbox). I had three Scrivener projects on my phone. Two restored cleanly from iCloud Backup. One was corrupt, but as I had already manually saved all three projects before wiping the phone, it wasn’t really an issue.

So, iCloud Backup does backup Scrivener data, but a secondary (particularly incremental) method of backup or syncing is probably worth considering.

This article might help:

scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb … ce-backups

Festive wishes