lost my changes - dropbox sync


I am syncing a project between OS X and an iPad via Dropbox. A couple days ago, I was prompted to close the project on my iPad and download changes from Dropbox. This, even though I thought I had already synced everything up beforehand. So I did as prompted, and lost my most recent changes done on the iPad.

It wasn’t a big deal because the changes weren’t extensive. I replicated them later at home on my Mac. These changes then successfully synced back to the iPad.

I haven’t made any other changes on the Mac, and I have now made more changes on the iPad. However, I am being prompted again to close the project and sync changes from Dropbox.

I don’t want to do this because I don’t want to lose my iPad changes again.

I tried renaming my iPad file and then syncing, but Scrivener was too smart and was still going to download Dropbox changes.

So I moved the project from Dropbox to On My iPad.

Next, should I change the folder location where the project is synced to Dropbox, and move it back to Dropbox, then download it via Dropbox to my Mac?

Basically, I’m trying to duplicate the entire project as it currently exists on my iPad, then copy it to my Mac, so I can compare it to the version that currently exists on my Mac.

If you have the version you want in the “On my iPad” section of the project list, do this:

  • Using the Mac, move the project out of Dropbox and to a location such as your Desktop.

  • Allow the Mac to sync to Dropbox. Allow the iPad to sync to Dropbox. The project should now be gone from the Dropbox server, as well as from the Dropbox area on both devices.

  • On the iPad, tap the Edit button at the top of the project list, select the project, then tap the “Export” icon at the bottom of the list (it’s a box with an arrow coming out of it). This will create a ZIP copy of the project and send it to the location of your choice.

  • Now, move the project back to the Dropbox area on the iPad. Allow the iPad to sync. Allow the Mac to sync.

  • Make a minor change on the Mac, synchronize both devices, and verify that the change appears on the iPad. Do the same in the opposite direction. This will ensure that the basic sync functionality works in both directions.

You now have identical copies on the Mac and the iPad, a backup of the original iPad version, and a backup of the original Mac version. It should be safe to compare to your heart’s content.


Scrivener should be making regular backups to Dropbox (or wherever you have told it to make backups). Can you not use these backups to check the differences between versions?


Regular backups, but not to dropbox. You don’t want to keep all eggs in the same basket. Keep the backups somewhere else, in case something goes wrong with dropbox.

Thanks all!

I didn’t really know about the backups so I looked in the Mac Scrivener’s Preferences and found the backup location on my hard drive and found the backups. Thank you for pointing that out. :slight_smile:

I was not able to open my project on the Mac (it was not found in the Dropbox folder), so apparently moving the project to On My iPad effectively deleted it from Dropbox.

So next I will do as suggested and make a backup of the iPad version and then sync my iPad and Mac versions back to Dropbox and start comparing.

Thanks again!

All it takes is a bit of order. Work only on one machine at a time. Remember to back out and sync before leaving the iPad. Remember to close the project before leaving the Mac. Remember to sync the iPad before starting to work on it.

If you do it like this you will always be working on the latest, up-to-date version of your text.

And to add to the above: always remember to let each machine finish its job before syncing on the next. This is easier on the iPad where you must wait until syncing is finished before you can open the project, and it is obvious that if you switch off your iPad halfway through the progress bar that whatever ends up on the Mac won’t be complete—but on the Mac, where the emphasis is on background convenience, you have to pay attention to that upload/download status. I suspect that might be what happened initially—you synced on the iPad, opened it up and started working, and meanwhile the Mac was still uploading changes which were later detected and you received the alert.

Ah, but I do it properly :smiley:

I have a Scrivener folder in the Dropbox Apps folder and a Scrivener Backups folder in my Dropbox Backup folder. The Dropbox folder lives locally and gets backed up to another local backup drive every night. The backup drive is never online, so never syncs with anything. It simply receives updates locally from my main drive.

I should add that absolutely all my data is stored in Dropbox and thus available everywhere, using this same method.


I thought I had paid attention to that status but I must have missed something. Unrelatedly, I realized that I really like not having background processes running. So now I am extra careful:

  • I save and quit the Scrivener app on the Mac after I am done.
  • I manually open Dropbox, watch it sync, then quit Dropbox.

Quitting Dropbox means it’s not syncing things in realtime but it also means I have to make a conscious decision to back up data. That’s a good tradeoff for me.

My Dropbox indexing and syncing is taking a very long time - on the iMac computer - but is a breeze on the MacBook with the SSD drive.

I ALWAYS backup to a .zip file either on MY local hard drive or on an external drive / or even to the iCloud <---------- SO I DO NOT EVER lose my project.