Invalid project troubleshooting

has anyone developed a good invalid project troubleshooting guide? The one on L&L’s support site is not helping.
i have tried

  • resyncing
  • checking on dropbox itself to make sure the project is current
  • unlinking on ipad
  • waiting and trying again

I’m using:
3.2.2 (14632) (latest, it seems) on macOS
1.2.1 (latest, it seems) on ios

Invalid in what way?

  • Confirm that the project works correctly on the origin system, either Mac OS or iOS.

  • Transfer it between systems by some other method, such as Apple File Sharing.

  • Create a test project and see if it has the same issue.


  • The only project that ios does not flag as invalid is one that was started on ios. All desktop-started projects flag as invalid on ios.
  • All projects open fine on the mac
  • Airdropping the project from mac to ios seems to get it there intact.

So it would seem that there is a dropbox error, but the question would be how to resolve it.

Time to try a restore from backup? If it were me I’d restore on desktop from a recent TimeMachine version into a a newly-named folder inside of the Dropbox folder holding the Scrivener projects, e.g. [PROJECT Name]-[Backup Date Stamp]. Then let Dropbox sync up, then let it sync down to the IOS device, then attempt to open in Scrivener. Monitor sync progress with the Dropbox app. If no good, repeat with an older version from TimeMachine.

Is the Dropbox app running as it should on your Mac? Is ”smart syncing” turned on or off?
If your Mac isn’t communicating with the Dropbox server correctly, it is a Dropbox error, not at all related to Scrivener.

1 Like

From the Mac side, move all projects out of the Dropbox folder, and allow Dropbox to synchronize. Use a web browser to check your account at to make sure they’re really gone.

Synchronize the iOS device and make sure the projects disappear. If they don’t, delete them. (Make a backup first if you like.)

From the Mac side, move one project back to the Dropbox folder. Synchronize to the Dropbox server and make sure it’s really there. Then synchronize the iOS device and see if it comes across intact.

If it does, repeat the process with your other projects, one at a time, If it doesn’t, the issue is probably between the iOS device and the server. Use the Dropbox application to confirm that the iOS device can connect to the server successfully.

Thanks to everyone who has chimed in with suggestions. I’m working through them.

The report, below, is from some things I was trying before I read the latest suggestions.

  • I have another ipad (the new one was provisioned from that one). On the other ipad, everything works as expected, including syncing new versions of the documents and opening them afterwards.
  • Removing Scriv from the new device and reinstalling does not fix the issue (but did not require me to reenter credentials to dropbox, even though the dropbox app is not installed on the new ipad, so perhaps Scriv is using a token that Safari is storing?)

Stay tuned while I mess with it some more.

You’ll need Dropbox credentials to communicate with their server, whether the Dropbox application is installed or not.

Correct. See original error.

Thanks @kewms, that gave me an idea that got me to a solution.
Scriv on ios does not use the dropbox app. It uses dropbox’s REST API. It’s too bad that the desktop version does not - that would have made this situation much simpler to diagnose.
On the good news side, that means that on ios you could use one of many dropbox accounts, if you wanted to.
Anyway, I got it diagnosed and fixed, thanks to everyone who replied.

What was the underlying issue? Future readers of the thread might like to know.

On the Mac (and PC), Scrivener doesn’t really need to know much about Dropbox at all. It just saves to the local disk and synchronization happens behind the scenes. It’s a much simpler solution, and If we could do it that way on iOS devices, too, we would.

1 Like

I am not sure why it would be “much simpler”, since you already have the dropbox API integrated into the ios version, so it should be portable to the OSX version.
I have written multiple apps that use the dropbox API. For us, using the API has proven to be less problematic and more reliable than relying on the dropbox desktop app. Issues like timing, the app crashing (which, admittedly, is rare), or some other random issue that gives you no feedback in the desktop app can make bad mojo.
In the case of my issue, we can chalk it up to operator error - new ipad, logged into the wrong dropbox account, that had a broken scrivener folder in it from a previous dropbox test.