Please free us from Dropbox


10 years ago DropBox was a leader and most others trailed.
Now I use OneDrive flawlessly from my iPad for other work.
Just need Scrivener to allow me to save my project where I choose on the iPad. The iPad has great support for added cloud services and iCloud. Bypassing that for a service I keep seeing troubleshooting tips. Is frustrating.

Might be good to have options, but I have no problems with DropBox with Scrivener or any other purpose. Just works. And currently it provides, as I understand, an API that is more sophisticated than other vendors, and that is useful. That of course may change in future. But then unless there is an industry standard for an API to sync services, there will be a lot of redundancy of interfaces for developers to support. That adds complexity (bugs) and cost.

I realise from what you report that your experience is different.

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Others can comment, but my understanding is that Scrivener only requires Dropbox for syncing to iOS devices. Using other sync services for other synching to other than iOS devices is really up to the user to configure, test, and use. See Using Scrivener with Cloud-Sync Services / Cloud Syncing / Knowledge Base - Literature and Latte Support for a more authoritative position than I can give.

Re other sync services, in 2021 Keith (the Scrivener inventor and guru) commented at ICloud sync in future for iOS - #9 by kewms

Edit: Also see new post PC Windows 10 syncing with iPad using OneDrive - #7 by kewms

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Here is another link to a forum discussion on how to use different vendors with Scrivener on iOS.


I wasn’t pleased needing to add Dropbox for automated syncing of the iOS app and my Mac. I just assumed iCloud and Google would be default options as they own the smartphone market and are best in class for security with proper configuration. I really didn’t want to add another service. Now, I feel differently. Using Dropbox means I have an additional platform where my project is residing, which mitigates risk of loss. I don’t use Dropbox for anything else. So, its purpose is dedicated no differently than if Scrivener hosted its own project files. I am then using iCloud/local, Google, and iDrive for backup zips (both syncing and backup). I would love if Scrivener gave a thumbs up to other services to sync .scriv files so we have more official options. But, I appreciate that creates risk for Scrivener as they are then actively tracking changes on those platforms that could corrupt our projects. From a security perspective, I would welcome iCloud, as I can now own my encryption keys with Apple iCloud, which Dropbox doesn’t permit. Edit: appreciate @rms linking to Keith’s post, above, which fully explains the current obstacles with iCloud. That’s an impressive level of disclosure from Scrivener.


Hi Amber,
Sorry but that is not a serious response. Not for a customer oriented company that is so customer focused you underprice your software and build features for niche writers. But then tell mainstream users… SAVE WHERE WE TELL YOU… It’s a philosphical breakdown. I am 100% in support of you being the best writing software on the planet. So let the writer choose where to save.

Your solutions are:

  1. Do all your writing on the iPad, syncing is overated.
  2. Add new software and complicate or break you your systems for protecting your work that works with EVERY OTHER peice of software, because over a decade ago, Scrivner wrote custom code for ONE VENDOR.
  3. Create a habit of copying you files all over the place to use the vendors you trust vs the vendor Scrivener trusts.

I am not asking for you to “Support” any other vendor. I am asking for you to support open iOS access to file system so I can chose my own save location and if that happens to be a folder attached to iCloud or OneDrive… Then no skin off your back, you just saved and opened a file.

iOS is a fully realized operating system with inteligently designed features to support cloud synching, you get all that for free if you just use file save and open design that can move beyond the easy app folder. How do you think users of Windows or Macs would react if you removed the file save dialog, told them they could save on one location or DropBox?

You are asking for functionality that iOS does not support. Probably you should address this query to Apple.


That is not correct. Not sure the specific calls, I have not coded in a while and never on iOS but I understand the general concepts.

Below is is file open and save UI on Final Draft Mobile, which is clearly using an iOS supplied feature as it the same in the iOS file manager and photos apps etc.

I adapted to Scrivener already. I have a great Windows / Samsung echo system. But I dumped my Galaxy Tab for an iPad primarly for Scrivener so I could travel light and still work on my novels. I didn’t say “How hard is it to do Andriod?” cause I know that’s a pain. This is my first Apple device since 1985!! and I did that for Scrivener… so I am adaptable.

I bought FD Mobile first.
I open my FD, Go to open a file, there is iCloud and OneDrive. Cool… got to my writing folder, there is my screenplay. Open it make some edits save it.

Open on PC one minute later, boom! Open same file I have been edting on form weeks. There are my new edits… Fully synced. No special buttons in FD to do it. I just works.

Buy Scrivener iOS
Open…Empty space as I can only save to one App location, Or Drop Box >> I do not use, do not have a trust relationship with that woud like to cost me $120 a year to use.

Your Windows version of Scrivener is so much better done that Final Draft 12 on Windows. They aren’t that great and still they can open a file UI with access to local save, iCloud and OneDrive.

Again , I have faith that you are better then Final Draft :slight_smile:

Clearly some wires have been crossed. I was offering an example of how I work because it works well for me. It certainly was not an edict (?!). I’ll keep any ideas or suggestions from you, from now on, to be quite sure.

That said I don’t know if it was even fully communicated, as what you are describing in your hyperbolic bullet points sounds so little like what I do on a daily basis that you might as well be explaining how you think I pick fruit from a tree.

I open my FD, Go to open a file, there is iCloud and OneDrive. Cool… got to my writing folder, there is my screenplay. Open it make some edits save it.

You’re describing what was being talked about in one of those links, and why we can’t support that method given how Scrivener was built. Final Draft is completely irrelevant as a counter-example, as are most single-document based editing tools, which can implement this in minutes given the ready-made interface for it in iOS.

Maybe go back and read it again, in particular:

At some point not too long ago, the issues with file wrapper loading got fixed in the Apple frameworks, so that now it is possible to have something like Scrivener sync with iCloud (if you have a lot of large research files, you could run into issues, but that’s caveat emptor ). However, the current version of Scrivener is built to work with the file system directly, meaning it can’t sync with iCloud, and this isn’t something that can just be patched - the way it works with files is woven into the very fabric of the app, with the project load/save code being the foundations most of the edifice is built upon (forgive the mixed metaphors).


I literally have been told on another thread, iOS doesn’t support that.
It does.

What you said feels more honest and correct and is appreciated. :slight_smile: Scrivener can’t do that because of how it is designed. OK got it. Put it on the long-term feature request for major updates. Not asking for this to happen in weeks or even months.

Right now I am working on a short term-solution. But more complicated because projects are like large open loose papers on a desk vs a nice file cabinet. So I have to trigger off an update to the main file then have the automation pull all the files in the same folder and below and copy them over from DropBox and Back to DropBox from OneDrive. When someday I hope I can just choose a folder on OneDrive to open an save from inside iOS.

Long-Term Scrivner needs to look at how it saves files and interacts with what are now pretty powerful file systems that provide, security and file protection. What worked best, I believe can better service customers in the current world, by being updated.

Short-term I will be using Microsoft’s PowerAutomate which even in the free version has a connector to DropBox and on iOS will be using the custom connection Scrivener has for DropBox, I hope this works with the free account, (Which they hide) $120 to sync one Apps files would be a bit steep. :slight_smile:

But it means I have to create an automated workflow for each project. Not an optimal customer experience.

BTW tip from a Software Marketing Professional that worked in Microsoft’s HQ global marketing.
What your competitor or Industry simular solution does that makes thier app easier to use, is ALWAYS applicable to a discussion with customers. Final Draft sets a level of ease in file management that you are measured by.
As in Windows you set a level of proper UI design, that they are measured as lacking with.

I understand you have specific wants, however I, and presumably many Scrivener users are quite happy with the status quo.

Dropbox is solid, secure, and works seamlessly with the Scrivener project format.

I don’t want any multi-year project to completely redesign scrivener to work with other cloud systems. I’d rather Keith and co focus on their vision for the continued growth of Scrivener across the multiple platforms they support.

BTW, tip from a marketing & technical professional over many years with multiple leading multinationals, and a recently retired VAM at Apple, companies have differing visions for their products and no one approach is necessarily the right one. From extensive experience (as a Microsoft partner) I wouldn’t hold Microsoft up as the gold standard

You’ve used Final Draft as an example, one I wouldn’t use. Their iOS offering was an abomination from day one. If anything an example of how NOT to go about introducing a mobile version of a successful app. It’s improved, but I can think of many other apps I’d use as an example of ‘a level of ease in file management that you are measured by.’

Regardless of that, ALL those apps have very different file structures to Scrivener and significantly less capability (referring here to what makes Scrivener so great for it’s intended use).

As mentioned, I’m not keen to see L&L turn the whole Scrivener iOS on its head for what is IMHO a limited if any benefit.


@wordjoy - I appreciate that you want something other than Dropbox. Candidly, if L&L could wave a magic wand and make that happen, I’d probably like that, too. But since L&L can’t do that, I do have to agree wholeheartedly with @RuffPub’s comments above. I’ve been using Scrivener on my iPad (and iPhone) for years using Dropbox sync the entire time. It has worked flawlessly (or darn near flawlessly) all this time. (I think a few years ago there was some kind of memory bug in iOS that messed things up for a while, but it was an iOS issue.)

There are so many things I’d rather see L&L focus on to evolve the iPad version than adding more sync-service options. This is probably a trivial thing for some apps, as @AmberV mentioned, because they are single-document model apps. Our Scrivener projects only look that way to us (on Macs, anyway), in reality they are a complex package of files. I can only imagine how much that complicates developing syncing solutions.


Has Scrivener announced that the most recent Dropbox upgrade for OS X work for OS X - iOS syncing?

The recent Dropbox OS X app upgrade is fundamentally different than all previous OS versions. The update is compliant with Apple’s File Provider extension architecture (link). I can not loose the ability to reliably move between iOS and OS X when I use Scrivener. I am reluctant to upgrade to Dropbox OS X app that uses the Apple File Provider extension.

see Help | Literature & Latte and in particular Dropbox Syncing with iOS / iOS / Knowledge Base - Literature and Latte Support

I have latest versions of macOS, iOS, and Dropbox and it all works for me, for what it’s worth.

I don’t know anything about your need or not for Apple’s File Provider extension architecture and all that. Sorry.

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@WillamH, I had a look at the missive, and while Scrivener will need to comment on this, they should probably be doing so in the Scrivener for macOS forum (I don’t think anyone refers to it as OS-X in a long time).

I think you don’t have to worry about the iOS/iPadOS side, once again as Scrivener has done the right thing from long ago, and used DropBox’s API to directly communicate, rather than laziliy doing so in the filesystem. This is why it works so reliably and well, with the Files app or worrying about files being nonlocal not being needed.

On the Mac side, there could be more question, but if you follow the missive’s the company was working on a solution link down the page, you can find that Dropbox is aware of the potential problems with external filesystems and is providing a fix, including not implementing this Apple change for current users until they have that fix in place.

That leaves a question in my mind, about Mac local files Scrivener projects. I suspect it’s not a problem, though Dropbox long ago changed their own implementation to by default have files only in the cloud, not local,to be downloaded when they’re used. This can be quite a flakey situation, but as I never see the problem with Scrivener projects, I think Scrivener has done something to assure their project files are ready locallly when needed.

I’m saying this from Windows, but it must be true for Mac also, or there would have been an avalanche of complaints. How they do the assurance I don’t know; possibly automatically marking all their files in Dropbox as do-not-only-cloud. But it seems to work, as again persons don’t complain of files not being present when they are not on the internet, and haven’t themselves manually marked projects this way…

I would take your question to the Mac part of this forum, and ask again, I hope with less anxiety. Maybe this post can help calmness and thus writing a clearer question…best on it, and that your working turns out undisturbed, as I suspect it will…

(and just to say what you surely know, reliable backups are your truest friend always… :slight_smile: )

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A recent macOS Dropbox update did change my defaults from offline to online and I had to manually change that.

I’ve read of others with this issue, but again, others saying they’ve not had the issue.

With my recent upgrade of my NAS from a flakey QNAP to a Synology with 6TB of RAID, I also sync my whole Scrivener (and other) folders to the NAS. To be sure to be sure.


No, we do not, and yes, it can be an issue.

On Mac OS and Windows, making the files available locally is a matter for negotiation between Dropbox and the operating system. Dropbox does allow you to specify that particular folders should be available offline, and we STRONGLY recommend configuring that option with respect to Scrivener projects.

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Thanks for he reply, but I’m not interested in speculation. As our Chief Scientist used to say when we requested research funds to continue or expand a project, “show me the data”.

In other words, until Scrivener formally states the MacOS File Provider extension is a reliable method to work on projects using iOS and MacOS, I am reluctant to upgrade the MacOS Dropbox app.

On iOS this question is irrelevant of course, so to speak on macOS, you may be waiting a while for that. It strikes me that an audit of that nature would be very technical and extensive, something a third-party company would probably be paid a lot to do or have a budget for, and publish a formal result on—at least to the level you are requiring, of having a formal statement that assures people X technology passes X, Y and Z industry standard benchmarks and checks.

The only statement we make about using any sync at all is that it is all risky to use, and it is your responsibility to keep your work safe and backed up when using it. Is that lazy? No, it’s like saying using a spinning platter hard drive in a moving vehicle is risky, and that it’s your responsibility to keep the disk backed up when doing so.

So, until a third-party company does such a thing, your best bet will be to keep an ear to the ground and see how many reports of issues crop up, here and everywhere else on the 'net. It isn’t so much a Scrivener question as it is one of how well this technology syncs files and folders.

I.e. fundamentally you are asking us to render a formal opinion on whether something like a particular brand of hard drive is safe to use with Scrivener. It is that far removed from anything we are doing.


The article you linked is a pretty good explanation of things to watch out for.

From Scrivener’s point of view, the single biggest concern is the potential for files to be stored “online only.” We recommend configuring ALL Scrivener projects with ANY cloud service to be available “offline” on your local computer. We also recommend having either an offline backup or a backup stored with a different cloud service.

Once you’ve done that, your data should be safe from any File Provider/Dropbox shenanigans.

Still, as Ioa said, we are not going to be formally “certifying” anything. We simply do not have the resources it would take to prove that Dropbox (or any other service) is safe for all users under all circumstances. What we can do, we have already done: explain what the potential risks are, and how users can manage them.

We have also described a number of ways to transfer your data between devices without using any cloud service at all. That’s the approach we would recommend for people who are uncomfortable with the new File Provider architecture.