Lost several chapters when syncing from iOS to Mac.

I know there have been a handful of post about this but I wanted to throw a hail Mary out there to see if anyone had anymore ideas. Spent all day yesterday writing on my iPad in the airport on and off of wifi but without manually syncing my document to Dropbox. Pulled the iPad out at home today to sync what I had written to my Mac. I had the original file open on my computer (maybe that was my mistake?) and when Dropbox did it’s sync it erased the new stuff on my iPad in favor of the file on my Mac. I never got a conflict error or anything. I can’t seem to find any trace of my hard work yesterday. Dropbox versions of the file are only good from before I wrote everything since I did no syncing. So now I’m wondering if there is some backup folder on the iOS version or if I’m out of luck.

I know the larger lesson here is to do more backups via the share sheet but I’m just hoping there might be something I’m overlooking.

Thanks for all your help! You all are doing the Lord’s work!

It is always a good idea to close the project on your Mac whenever you stop writing. If nothing else to force it to make a backup copy.

Yeah, I should have done that and backed up the content on my iPad. I guess its lost unless there is a way to find older versions on the iPad. Thanks for the reply!

The system is really very simple in its basic design.

There are three computers involved. Your Mac, the Dropbox server and your iPad.
The Dropbox app on your Mac makes sure that the files on your Mac and on the Dropbox server are identical.
On your iPad, when you tap the sync icon, files are uploaded/downloaded to make sure that the files on your iPad and the Dropbox server are identical.

I know there are some safety measures in Scrivener 3 to make sure that changes on iOS Scrivener are not discarded but at the same time the system must assume that you know what you are doing. There are no automatic backups on iOS Scrivener.
Are you running Scrivener 2 or 3?

Yeah seems like my problem was having the desktop version open while trying to sync. I’m running Scivener 2 currently. Haven’t updated to 3 yet. Guess it’s a good time to do that!

EDIT: scratch that, I am running 3. Currently on 3.0.2 - does that improve my chances at all?

Not a Scrivener for iOS user, so I might well be entirely misdirected with this, but if you are using Dropbox to sync between your iPad and Mac, have you tried recovering older versions of the project from Dropbox itself?

dropbox.com/help/security/r … r-versions

Of course, protect the project you have now by duplicating it in Finder so that you have a safety net to rely on.

Also, if you use Time Machine on your Mac, it might be worth checking to see if any earleir version of the project on the Mac has any of the missing text.

These ideas are both speculative, at best, but worth exploring every avenue?

EDIT: if you have recently upgraded from Scrivener 2 to 3, is it possible that you still have both versions of Scrivener on your Mac and that you have reopened an old S2 version of the project? S3 has a new file format. If the project started in S2, Scrivener would have made a backup copy of the S2 file before reformatting the project for S3. If the project started in S2, there is a tiny possibility that you might have two versions of the project on your Mac and that one of them might have the latest edits, while the other is the old, archived version of the original S2 project. Unlikely, I know, but not absolutely impossible.


I think the problem here is that this text never existed anywhere on my Mac. It was only on my iPad. It seems that Scrivener takes the desktop version of a project as the priority and conforms the iOS version to match that. So since I had the project open on my Mac when I attempted the sync, it revert my iOS version to the Mac version , which did not yet have the new chapters. Unless I’m mistaken I think that is what happened.

However it would seem like this is a bad practice and from what I’ve read on other sites I think either the desktop version or the iOS version should have created a conflict folder with the new chapters in it but I never got that. This is either a Scrivener issue or an issue with how I went ahead with the process. Either way I don’t think it should be this easy to lose content.

And thanks for the advice with Dropbox. I actually did go back and try to restore older versions of the project from Dropbox itself but the problem there is that I never did a sync to Dropbox before I tried and failed the one time. So the only versions I had to go back to still did not have the new chapters.

It’s a bummer and I’m taking it in strides (already started rewriting) but the big take-away here is ALWAYS BACK UP. I’m now keeping multiple versions of my text outside of Scrivener in case I ever run into this issue again.

Thanks for all the suggestions!

Was hoping Dropbox would at least have uploaded the files when the iPad was connected, even if it then replaced them with the Mac files. Shame.

Keep striding. Good luck with the project.

No, it seems I was unclear above,

Mac Scrivener doesn’t know about Dropbox or iOS versions. Mac Scrivener only knows about the project you tell it to open from yor HD. When the project is open it basically only loads the documents (i.e. files) you load in the editor and it automatically saves any changes as soon as you stop writing for a few seconds. So if you poke around in the Binder, looking at stuff, Scrivener will make sure that what you currently have in your project is safely saved on your HD.

The Dropbox app on your Mac simultaneously make sure that what you have in the Dropbox folder is uploaded to the Dropbox server so they have the same content. If the file on the Db server is newer than the one on your HD, it downloads that newer version to your HD.

On your iOS device there is no such background syncing because it’s not allowed in iOS. So you manually have to do this within iOS Scrivener by tapping the sync icon. Scrivener then downloads a file list from the Db server and compares the time stamps for each file. When you are working on your iPhone or iPad, the documents in your iOS Scrivener binder is newer than the versions on the Db server, so Scrivener uploads all changes to the Db server and says that everything is synced.

BUT, if you don’t sync on your iPhone, and instead do stuff with that project on your Mac, then what you have on your Mac is suddenly newer than the unsynced stuff on your iPhone and this ”newer” Mac version is then synced to the Db server and finally uploaded to your iPhone, causing things to disappear from your iPhone.

…except that it doesn’t usually disappear. It is placed in a conflict folder in the Research part of the Binder. Did you check that?

It’s possible to “trick” the conflict resolution tool. I haven’t tried to do it on purpose, but I think your description is basically correct. The conflict resolution is good, but it isn’t perfect: it should be seen as the last line of defense in case you forget to synchronize or whatever, not as carte blanche to never worry about conflicts.

Always shutdown Scrivener and allow Dropbox to sync before leaving the Mac. Always sync before and after working with the iOS device.