Macbook Pro<=>iPhone sync hazard?


I’m new to Scrivener and to DropBox. I’m working back and forth between my Macbook Pro and my iPhone 6+.

I recently saw a post from 2011 that warned against syncing a project to one device while that project is open on the other device. Is this warning still in effect? What am I risking if I forget to close the project before syncing?


The 2011 warning was about MacOS devices having the same project open. You’d get a warning if that happens. I believe that iOS and MacOS devices having the same project open at the same time is less of a problem. I forget why, because luckily I never had to deal with it. But if you only have a MBP and an iPhone, you should be fairly safe no matter what you do (but, still, try to be mindful) :smiley:

With the iOS version, there’s been a change to the project format so that mobile changes are compared to other changes, allowing the user to resolve any potential conflicts.

However, this does not mean that conflicts won’t occur if you edit the project on two different devices at the same time. It just means that when conflicts do arise, they’ll be easier to spot and fix.

It’s still very good practice to ensure that the project is in a stable state (saved, all changes synchronized) before switching devices.


Cool, I feel reassured, and I’ll heed the good advice!

Many thanks!

Ok, some real-life observations:

I get conflicts in iOS when I make even a single word change in a single chapter in my Manuscript and save the change on the Macbook Pro, and vice versa. The iPhone tells me that changes have been made in the Dropbox copy, then sets about syncing multiple files. At the end of that, it tells me that there are conflicts and the conflicted copies have been placed in a “Conflicts” folder. In the two cases I’ve tried, the file in the folder is the old file, which is fine. My questions are:

  1. What do I do with these files, and the folder itself? Can I safely throw them away since they’re outdated?

  2. What more can I do to keep this from happening? It’s not catastrophic, but it sure is distracting.

1: Do whatever you like with those files; they’re yours to dispose of or keep as you see fit. If they don’t contain any words that need to be transferred to another document, then trash them.

2: This sounds like you’re getting your sync steps out of order. Make sure you’re doing this:

a) work on Mac
b) step away from Mac, letting Dropbox sync before you sleep or shut down the Mac
c) open iOS Scriv & sync
d) open project on iOS & work
e) before you move back to the Mac, do one final sync on iOS
f) un-sleep/boot your Mac
g) be sure Mac has time to connect to internet and Dropbox has time to sync the last changes from iOS
h) resume working on project on your Mac

If, for instance, you’re skipping step E or if rushing before G can happen, then you can get sync conflicts.

If you’re following that sequence of steps perfectly, then there may be some issue with the project. At that point, I’d contact the support email to see if they can examine your project file for any bugs that might mess up your sync.

Excellent, and thanks!

Three questions:

  1. Am I right to assume that I need to save following step “a,” or do I need to do something else?

  2. Does dropbox automatically upload that saved change to the cloud (or wherever the heck it goes)?

  3. At step “g” will the Mac automatically sync any changes from iOS, or do I need to hit the Mobile Sync button?

1 - Scrivener for Mac and PC automatically saves every 2 seconds if you aren’t actively editing something, so there’s no need to actively save; it won’t accomplish anything unless you’re very quick on the draw. So no, you don’t have to do anything.

2 - Yes, so long as you have an internet connection and your computer is able to connect to their servers. The icon in your menu bar will change when its syncing vs when everything is up-to-date.

BTW, “the cloud” is just fancy talk for “computers on the internet”… the details are more involved, but essentially that’s all that it means.

3 - If you’ve just booted your mac up, or woken it up from sleeping, then give Dropbox ten or so seconds once it’s connected to the internet (look for the menu bar icon to change). Then in Scrivener, click the Mobile Sync button for good measure.

Very good!

Many thanks for your time and for the detail!

Considering your breed (or species?) you are exceptionally organized and have a gift of explaining in a way that people understand. A teacher by trade?

Also, note that it is possible to explicitly pause Dropbox syncing, and some people recommend doing so when using Scrivener projects with unreliable connections. HOWEVER, you then have to remember to un-pause syncing AND give Dropbox time to finish.


Thanks, I… HEY! We make excellent organizers! Ever see a sheep dog do her thing? 8)

No formal teaching for me, but I’ve had many years of practice translating technical things for muggles.

My grandfather used to say something like (translating partly destroying the phrasing):

“If you see part of it, understand part of it, and can prophesy part of it, then you can get the hang of it.”