iCloud desktop question

I will apologize upfront— I’m am not tech savvy and may ask what appear to be ‘dumb’ or ‘simple’ questions. I am using Mac desktop: “mac OS High Sierra” Scrivener 3.0.2. First question, When I create a new project, I have it on my “desktop” since I can just quickly click and open and don’t have to hunt thru document folder etc. The “desktop” automatically syncs with the “iCloud”. I do have Scrivener on my MacBook Air and I can get my new scrivener project by going to finder>iCloud Drive. Is this reasonable safe? My second/third questions are regarding backups. Under the preferences there is a check mark next to “Compress automatic backups as zip files (slower)” - - what does it mean “slower” and should I continue to have this box checked? Next - - do I have “backups” save in a safe/correct place- - Macintosh HD> Users> veronicalong> Library> Application support> Scrivener> Backups. ?? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I also have Scrivener on my iPad, but noticed only able to sync with dropbox, which I don’t have enough space for my dissertation (and i”m tech stupid so even if explained, if there are too many steps to remember to “copy” or whatever from Dropbox to whatever, I’ll screw it up… saving my limited brainpower to work on my dissertation, as I would like to complete my PhD in a timely fashion…). Thank you in advance for any brave soul who will try and explain it to me. :open_mouth:

iCloud is a known source of Scrivener project corruption. I suggest you either turn off having your Desktop and your Documents Folders in iCloud, turn OFF Optimize Mac Storage, or keep your working project somewhere else on your disk. If you want to get at it quickly, make an alias and put that on your desktop.

Thank you for your reply. How do I make an “alias” for the desktop. Also, this means I would not be able to access my project on my MacBook Air if I keep the project on my Mac desk top? See, I did say I was tech stupid… :slight_smile:

No, you’re not “tech stupid”, just a bit unknowledgeable and it sounds like you don’t want to put a lot of effort in into learning it — because right now it’s just not your priority. I can understand that. I’m going to have to ask you to bear with me, though, because, well, editors keep telling me to put more exposition in. I leave out steps. :open_mouth: I’ll try to answer one or two of your many excellent questions each post, and I’m sure other users will step in to fill in my gaps.

Let’s start with how to make an alias. You can do this with any file on your Mac. Crtl-click (or right click) on the icon of the file you want to make an alias for (for example, My project.scriv). In the menu that pops up, you should see an item called “Make Alias”. Choose that menu item. The Mac will make what looks like a copy of your file, named “MyProject.scriv Alias”. You take the alias file and drag it wherever you want (like on your desktop). Then when you double click the alias, the original file opens. The original file is still where you first found it.

Okay, another question. Yes, please leave the option to compress automatic backups on. That will keep from using as much space, and keep your backups safer.The default location for backups is fine. To make sure you have a solid backup I suggest closing your Scrivener project every time you finish work with it —at least once a day.

Syncing between your desktop Mac and your Macbook Air—I’m sorry, my friend, but the recommended way to do this is with Dropbox, NOT iCloud. May I ask how big your dissertation project is?

As someone who has completed a PhD and knows how much work it entails, I would suggest that you make copies of the work at regular intervals (perhaps weekly), probably zipped, though that is not critical, and save them somewhere that is not the hard disc of your computer. If you can leave a copy on a USB stick with a friend or a colleague, that would do. It is probably a good idea to have at least three copies of the material in different places. All hardware may fail at any time, no matter how good it is, and if it is your only copy you may be looking at having to reconstruct three years’ work from memory. Don’t risk it. I remember someone who had their PhD on a laptop that was stolen from a locker, and it was their only copy.

My advice is that now is the time to become sufficiently tech-savvy (not a geek, but enough for your purposes) to save you from possible tech problems. At the moment, you are almost totally dependent on your computer for the successful completion of your PhD. You need to dedicate enough mental effort to this component or you risk all the rest of your effort being negated by something being lost, corrupted, or something else.

Spending a bit of time and effort to get a solid tech base is not time wasted. It may save you.

And very best of luck with it – it’s a slog, but you eventually get to the end.


Thank you for your replies and info. I have another dumb question… Having the live project saved or housed in dropbox— does this mean I can only access my project if there is internet available? I frequently travel to visit family and they live “out in the sticks” and frequently lose internet services (sometimes I will take my desktop if I know that I am going to be gone for a while, so if the project is on my desktop or documents, I have access).
As far as having several backups, when i hit “save as” and put it on external drive (which I do have specifically because I don’t want to lose several years worth of dissertation work), when scrivener “saves” automatically on close, will it will save to where I have the live project open/housed without me having to do anything else? Basically- I just need confirmation that “save as” makes a duplicate copy to be saved somewhere other than where my project normally is stored. Thank you for all your help.

Regarding the size of my dissertation, Size with my research is about 3 GB and it is in the early stages, so I will have a lot more as I go through the next two years. I have 60 GB of 200 GB used on my iCloud. I only have 3 GB on my dropbox. Thank you again for all your help.

No. So long as you have the Dropbox app installed on your Mac, Dropbox maintains a copy on your Mac, and copies changes back to the cloud as soon as you have internet available.

mmhm… not sure exactly what you are saying, but say you are working on a project, mylife.scriv in whatever folder of your machine, and then you do ‘save as’ and save it as mylife.scriv in an external hard disk, the scrivener window open will contain the version of the project in the external disk, not the one in whatever folder in your machine. don’t get confused there. save mylife.proj on the external disk as mylifecopy.proj so that you don’t get confused with which copy of the project you are working on

Save As makes a duplicate copy AND continues to work in the COPY.

In fact, this is a very common cause of “missing” work. The person uses the Save As command not realizing that they’ve switched to a new copy, then discovers later on that the original version is “missing” whatever changes they made after the Save As command.

For this reason, I would recommend using the File -> Backup -> Backup To command instead. It makes a backup copy in the location you specify, then returns you to the original version.


Thank you very much, very helpful :smiley:

Ok, not to beat a dead horse… I have upgraded on the dropbox and have my “live” project saved there, with an alias on the desktop. I have it saved on drive>users>vlong>scrivener backups. Now, hopefully my last question to put this to rest… I would like to have an additional backup on an external drive (just in case something happens to my computer or my backup that uses time machine) Yes it may be overkill but I don’t want to lose years of work. So, I go into preference>backup then choose my external drive as backup. Hit the backup button so that it backs up on the external drive. Then I go back into preferences and set the backup back to my desktop. Does this sound right? I think I’ll only do the external drive redundant backup every couple weeks. Does this sound like I’m doing it right? I am trying… :wink:

This will accomplish your goal, but there’s an easier way. :slight_smile:

What you want to do is “Back Up To”. That will do a one-time backup to the location you specify, without having to change your preferences.

On Windows 1.9.7, you get there by going to File > Backup > Backup To.

Getting to it on the Mac version will be something similar.


Thank you!!