No More Dropbox

Please offer an alternative to Drop Box when working with iOS! I had so much trouble with it I deleted it from my iPad Pro (which was heart breaking). After having nearly lost hours of work on multiple occasions, I just want OneDrive or iCloud Support. Even Google Drive Support! Something that will function seamlessly as expected 99.9% of the time.

I use OneDrive to move between my Mac and Windows machines without issue. Why can’t Scrivener for iOS talk to OneDrive?

At this time, Dropbox is the only service that provides the level of access that is needed to support Scrivener’s fairly complex project format.

The situation on iOS is different because Mac and Windows computers have a real file system and so most of the heavy lifting is built in. iOS appears to be taking steps in that direction, but isn’t there yet. (In particular, new versions of iOS seem to break iCloud with alarming frequency.)

In the meantime, iTunes File Sharing is the simplest alternative to Dropbox. This forum post has a list of other possibilities that you may find helpful:


If you are routinely losing work when synchronizing via Dropbox, it is likely that your synchronization habits are a contributing factor. Using a different service would not necessarily improve the situation.

Without more information, it’s hard to make useful suggestions, but our troubleshooting guide for iOS synchronization is here: … os-syncing


I understand the concerns about file complexity and Dropbox’s functionality compared to iCloud, Box, or OneDrive — and why that keeps Dropbox as the sole means of sync across devices (besides iTunes). As a Mac user I would love to see iCloud sync be an option, but I know that would be less helpful for Windows users.

But like many others, I suspect, the three device limit is a concern and has caused me to move away from Dropbox as much as possible. That, in turn, has sadly limited my use of Scrivener.

I don’t know if it is technically possible, but if it is, I have a feature request — could it be possible to simply sign in to Dropbox (on the web), as opposed to having to authenticate using the installed app? That would be a big help with respect to using Scrivener and not prove to be a deal breaker like the Dropbox device limit.

Thanks very much, Chris

Yes, that is effectively a way around the device limit, if you’re willing to put up with the trouble. I don’t use Dropbox at all myself, and don’t have it installed, but I do need it for some things (like testing), and when I have to do that I use the website or a command-line client that runs one-off transactions rather than constantly monitoring my entire computer in the background.

There are definitely some things to be aware of:

  • Always download the “ProjectFolder.scriv” intact. The Dropbox website will send it to you as a .zip file, if you’re doing this right. If you’re doing it wrong you’ll end up with a .scrivx file which is about as useful as a cereal box without the cereal.
  • So you’ll need to unzip the project and replace the local copy with that, every time.
  • In the other direction, I’m pretty sure you can drag the .scriv into the sync folder the iOS version is linked to, but I would suggest testing that first with something disposable, particularly where it comes to overwriting the older version.

Honestly, I don’t see how any of that is actually easier than using simple file management though. Even on iOS 13+ makes this simple. If you use iCloud Drive, which you do by the sound of it, then you can put your .scriv project in Drive and set your iOS device to keep a copy of it fully mirrored on the device. So that handles the Mac side 100%, you’re “using iCloud” at that point.

On the iOS you would copy the project back and forth using Files, directly into Scrivener’s storage folder, also located in Files. That’s mainly because Apple does not allow anyone to make software that can share files and folders. Otherwise you could just load the thing right out of the iCloud Drive section of Files like on the Mac. But it’s silly arbitrary limitations like this that make Dropbox the only game in town for a program like Scrivener in the first place…

Myself I prefer the file manager route on the Mac. Since I don’t use any cloud technology, there is little benefit in using over third-party software on the Mac side. Keeping a project up to date between two machines is a snap with drag and drop. You don’t even have the proliferation of copies problem. I always copy directly over the previous copy in either direction.

Whatever you do: test your workflow, that’s the best advice I can give. As limited as iOS is, there are many more alternatives these days than there used to be, enough to play around with a few of them and see which works best for you. But make sure they work as you expect, with copies of the tutorial and so forth.

And until Dropbox decides to use cookies or some other method to uniquely identify each machine signed into your account.