IOS sudden syncing error

I still have iOS 11 on my phone as I have an iPhone X and don’t want the photo colour bug.
My macbook Pro uses Mojave.
I have been syncing between my iPhone and Mac with no problems for a long time, then suddenly the whole thing goes pear shaped.

I opened Scrivener on my iPhone today and suddenly it wanted to sync all my files which is odd. So I tried syncing and got this error:

If I choose a file it says that it’s possibly not fully synced, but it won’t actually sync.

I can open all these files from dropbox on my Mac no trouble, but I can’t sync them with the iOS version. Dropbox on the Mac says it’s up to date.

Does anyone have any idea what is going on? I have tried restarting my phone but to no avail.

Many thanks


Check the settings on the iPhone, that it is really still looking in the correct Dropbox folder, and that your iPhone is logged in to the Dropbox account.

I opened the Dropbox app on my phone and it shows the right folder with the files there. I’m not sure how I can check if scrivener is accessing it when it syncs as it seems to be finding Dropbox ok and I don’t seem to be able to alter anything on the sync dialogue screen.

I tried again after opening the Dropbox app but still the same error.

Further information.

I created a new project on my iPhone and it asked where I wanted to store it. I chose Dropbox. It created the project fine. Then I went back to the project list screen and it started to sync automatically. On my mac, Dropbox informed me that the project had been added to Dropbox, so the iPhone is diffinitely looking at the right Dropbox folder and accessing it.

However, it then failed to sync with the same error.

I tried opening the file that had appeared in Dropbox on my Mac, but got this error.

The project at “/Users/traceylane/Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener/Test.scriv” seems to be of an older format, but no binder.scrivproj file could be found inside it. It may be missing or corrupt, possibly because of a problem with the device on which it is stored, or because of a synchronisation problem.

Try ctrl-clicking on the project in the Finder and selecting “Show Package Contents”, then look for a file entitled ‘binder.scrivproj’. Ensure it has not been renamed by a backup routine. If it does not exist, try restoring from a backup.

I am using Scrivener 3 and the current iOS version of Scrivener.
Macbook Pro 2017 15" with Mojave
iPhone X with iOS 11


But did you check the Dropbox settings in Scrivener? Not the Dropbox app. Scrivener on your iPhone doesn’t even know there is a Dropbox app.
The messages you are getting say that iOS Scrivener can’t access the Dropbox server the way it should. You can also test to reset the sync cache in Settings->Scrivener->Reset Scrivener -> Clear the Dropbox Sync Cache

iOS Scrivener is definitely accessing the correct dropbox folder. As I mentioned above, I made a new project on my iOS Scrivener and it added it to dropbox when I synced. However, when I tried to open that folder on my Mac it came up with the second error I pasted in my last post.

I tried the Clear Dropbox Sync Cache as you suggested and again it started to sync and added something to the Dropbox folder but then stopped with the first error.


1.I know that iPhone Scrivener is able to access the correct Dropbox folder as it will start to write to it. However, while writing to it, it suddenly stops and I get the Sync failed error. A partial file that cannot be opened is created in the Dropbox folder that my Mac can see. Therefore they are both accessing the same Dropbox folder.

  1. My Mac is able to access and write to the DropBox folder without a problem. However, if I try to read any of the projects that the iPhone has attempted to write to it I get the ‘seems to be older format’ error.

  2. when the syncing with Dropbox dialog comes up it actually lists the number of files it needs to sync.

This was working fine a few days ago, it just suddenly stopped. I have no idea why and no idea how to fix it, but until I do, it makes my iPhone Scrivener useless.

Further tests:

I opened every project from Dropbox on my Mac - no problem. I then picked one that didn’t matter if it messed up and chose sync with mobile devices. A dialogue box came up saying that it was already synced and there had been no changes.

I clicked on that same project on my phone and it said it wasn’t fully synced.

So tried opening a project on my iPhone that didn’t matter if it messed up. Opened settings and chose sync now. It came up with a dialogue that I had to exit project to sync as there were some changes on the dropbox file. I chose the close and sync option. The syncing with dropbox came up and downloading file list. Then it disappeared. It didn’t come up with a sync error but the project still read as not properly synced when it had finished syncing.

Hi Traci,

Sorry you’re going thru this. :frowning: Sync issues are no fun.

Unless someone has a better idea, you may want to start from scratch. But before doing so, the most important thing is that you make sure you’ve got good backups of all of your projects.

You can open them all on the Mac, correct? The latest version of each project is on the Mac, right?

If either of these points aren’t true, then stop here and let us know, because I’d probably suggest a different course of action than what I’ve listed below.

But if both of those are true, then before going any further, I’d open each one up and make a manual back up to zipped file.

Then start with a clean slate. What I mean is doing the following:

  1. On the Mac, move all of your projects out of the DropBox folder. Allow DropBox to Sync. It wouldn’t hurt to confirm from the DropBox web interface that your projects folder is empty.

  2. On the iPhone, delete & reinstall Scrivener. Point Scrivener to your DropBox folder. There shouldn’t be any projects on your iPhone.

  3. On the Mac, move one project (Project A) to your DropBox folder and sync. Close Scrivener.

  4. On the iPhone, Launch Scrivener and sync. Try to open Project A. If it opens successfully, make a change to it and sync. Close Scrivener.

  5. On the Mac, ensure DropBox is synced. Open Project A and confirm your changes are there and all looks good.

If you’ve reached this point, then rinse and repeat with another project. I would take the conservative approach, checking one project at a time, because it is possible there is one project with some weird problem screwing things up.

If you get through all of them successfully, than you should be back in business.

Remember to always close Scrivener on your Mac before launching Scrivener on your iPhone, and vice versa.

Let us know how it goes, and good luck!

Thank you, I am going to try this now. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thank you so much. This worked. I had considered deleting Scrivener on my phone and reinstalling but I wasn’t sure how much information it kept from the previous install, but it looked like it wiped everything but the Dropbox settings as it didn’t ask me to link Dropbox or ask permission, it just synced. Luckily it synced without a problem.

I have no idea what happened, I’ve been syncing Scrivener without issue since I got it and this is the first time there was a problem.

Hopefully this won’t prove to be a recurring bug in my set up. There’s no real way of knowing what caused it, I guess so I’ll just have to cross my fingers.

Anyway thanks again for the help.