Open but unchanged projects marked as modified in v3

From the moment that Scrivener v3 for macOS was released I have had a problem with projects stored on Dropbox that sync with my iOS devices. Any project open in Scrivener for macOS is marked under iOS as having been modified even when they have not! I run Scrivener v3 for macOS with several open projects although only one is usually being changed in any 24/38 hour period. I run Scrivener v3 for macOS for days without closure because I want instant access to my projects and am so impatient I cannot wait for it to start up — I’ll lose that butterfly thought in the start-up time.
This is the cause:

This is a bigger change from v3.0.3 (which I was running until the weekend when I upgraded to 3.1.3). There this mis-guided modification timestamp updating was only done the first time that Scrivener was brought to the front in a 24 hour period. Either way this “check” goes too far.
This behaviour plays havoc with bandwidth usage because projects that have not been changed have to be synced with iOS! It is the very opposite of behaviour reported as “fixed” in the release notes for v3.1.1

Scrivener v2 for OSX did none of this. Only projects that had been modified were marked under iOS as needing to be synched.

I hope you occasionally tell Scrivener to make a backup, as the default setting is to backup on project close…

You shouldn’t have them open if you plan to access them from an iDevice, so why sync them at all if you are not gonna edit them on the iDevice??

They get backed up when they sync

But as the unchanged don’t actually need to be synced what’s the harm? Other than excessive use of my bandwidth?

When they sync with what?
I’m referring to the built-in backup system in Scrivener, in which Scrivener automatically saves a copy of the project (preferably in zip format) to a designated folder.

If I had a dollar for every post I’ve read on this forum where the poster relied on syncing for their backups and then when trouble struck were left with no easy way to restore corrupted projects, I’d have…well, I’d have enough to buy a very nice dinner for my wife and myself. :smiley:

Perhaps I’ve completely misunderstood your post and you do take zipped backups. But just in case you don’t -

A backup is a read-only snapshot in time of something, while Syncing is a living breathing thing. That’s why syncing is not a backup.

It’s your data, your writing, your time, so yours to do with as you will. But be aware of the following types of challenges that have been mentioned on these boards:

  • The sync process itself barfed and completely corrupted a project. Recovery: many hours sorting through files on DropBox version history to recreate it from individual documents.

  • Something unknown partially corrupted a project. Recovery: many hours sorting through files on DropBox version history to recreate it from individual documents.

  • The Dropbox account was deleted, and all files lost irretrievably. Recovery: None.

  • Poster wanted to recover older version of a project/document, and had to spend many hours sorting through files on DropBox version history to find it.

Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head while sitting here drinking my morning coffee. But you get the idea. I wish none of these on you.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, I have a version of the project on all my other devices, I’ll fall back on one of those.” That only works if you realize there’s an issue before DropbBox works its magic and syncs corruption to all of your devices. All the people in the posts I referred to did not.

But perhaps you’ll be luckier. Or perhaps you have some other backup process (Time Machine?) you are relying on, so my cautions are unnecessary.

But even with Time Machine, there is no easier way to recover a Scrivener project with problems than from a zipped backup.


If I understand you correctly, Reepicheep, you have Scrivener set to automatically backup before mobile sync as in the screenshot below. If that’s correct, the above comments regarding relying on syncing as backup don’t apply. :smiley:

… but that doesn’t help if the projects are edited on the Mac for a while and not on the iDevice, because then there is no syncing going on and hence no backup created. So if the project is corrupted, the corrupt version will be synced with Dropbox, iScrivener will say it needs to be synced, the corrupt version is then destroying the older but correct version on the iDevice and only rather old backups (hopefully) exist on the Mac.

Well, it’s better than none. :smiley: But yes, if you’re never going to close the project on the Mac, a good plan is to tie backup to the save (cmd-s) and use it often.

I do have that enabled. So yes it does make the earlier suggestion useless.

Except that the open projects will have been edited at some point in the past on iOS and the subsequent sync will have created a backup as a side effect. It still does not change the fact that Scrivener for macOS is marking projects as changed that have not been changed.

In addition to Scrivener backups I have Time Machine running so there is a backup available.

You mean apart from Time Machine which I have running? The sync process creates a backup when iOS sourced changes are included and the macOS version is closed and re-opened.

Let me spell this out as simple as possible. Scrivener for macOS marks open projects as changed that have not been changed.

On the Mac, synchronization is completely under the control of Dropbox. The Dropbox application walks through the project folder and checks the individual component files. Files that have not changed will not be synced, and therefore will not consume bandwidth.


Opening a project changes it. At a minimum, it updates the interface settings to “remember” the current window size, cursor location, and so forth.


As I understand it, Reepicheep’s projects are never closed nor opened; they are just left open on Mac all the time. Therefore, his argument is that they should never be marked changed unless he actually makes a change. Accordingly, the fact that they are nonetheless marked changed (even though he hasn’t touched them) is a bug. Do I understand you correctly, Reepicheep?

Well, if that’s the case, my recommendation would be “don’t do that.” Leaving projects open all the time is a bad idea in general, and a terrible idea if those projects are also being edited from another device.



It that case there is no point to having Scrivener for iOS.

That was really strange logic.
I use iOS Scrivener quite a lot, and Mac Scrivener even more, but I never leave my projects open on any of my Mac:s, and always back out to the project screen and sync before leaving my iPad.

In what way does keeping projects open all the time on a Mac have anything to do with the reason for iOS Scrivener to exist? :open_mouth: