Question for Keith about iCloud Drive Documents & Desktop - Scrivener packages sync on MacOS

A question for Keith - or anyone else who can answer this:

I am thinking of, maybe after the announcement of iOS 13 on WWDC and checking what the features are, to enable the Documents & Desktop feature on my Macs. I have all my Scrivener projects in a folder structure in my documents folder + active COPIES in my Dropbox so it syncs with Scrivener iOS.

I know (and love) how the Scrivener package format works, because I have a lot of 1-8 GB Scrivener Projects that still open quick and save quick because of the fact that it only saves the changed files and doesn’t write the whole multiple GB file again. I love this about the Dropbox system as well, although I’ve had my complaints about the system as well, but this is not what I wanted to ask.

If I would use iCloud Drive for my Documents and Desktop folders on the Mac, and use those only for syncing between Macs… If I make a change on a project, stored in iCloud Drive, does it also only save the small changes, often just kilobytes, I make in a text document OR will it save the whole 8GB file?
I know Dropbox supports the package format a bit better than iCloud Drive, but I especially need an answer on the above question.

Thank you very much in advance,

Both Dropbox and iCloud can see the internal structure of the project, and therefore only upload/download changed documents.

Note that we DO NOT recommend using the “Optimize Mac storage” option with iCloud Drive, as it is known to cause problems – up to and including missing data – with Scrivener projects.


Thank you for your answer, Katherine!

Has Scrivener considered adding its own online storage/sync option? Dropbox is cumbersome at best, and it sounds like other options have their problems too. Wouldn’t it be much simpler to just sync within the system itself?

We have, and we’ve decided that running a secure, reliable cloud service requires expertise that we don’t have. It also incurs costs that we would be unable to recover without charging a subscription fee, which we are unwilling to do. The suggestion that we could do a better job than a company like Dropbox – for whom it is their entire business – is flattering, but almost certainly mistaken.


Heya! Related question for you.

I remember back when iCould Drive was announced there were problems with it that wouldn’t play nicely with Scrivener’s package format … Is this still the case? And if not, have you considered introducing iCloud Drive-sync across devices?

I ask because, not only might it be a bit easier on the user end than all the Dropbox syncing, but I also noticed that sometime recently, Dropbox has limited its free service to only three devices. (!) I have and occasionally use Scrivener (either writing, editing, or reviewing) at least periodically on five devices: my iMac, my Macbook, my big iPad Pro, my small travel iPad, and my iPhone. For now I seem grandfathered in, but as those devices get replaced I’ll probably lose those connections. It seems at that point my decision would have to be either (1) decide which devices lose access to not only Scrivener, but all of Dropbox, or (2) pay $10/mo for their first tier of subscription Dropbox. To be honest, I don’t use Dropbox for much else these days, so if I had to pay $10/mo I’d rather be paying it to you guys than to Dropbox. :laughing:

So, just curious whether iCloud syncing is still off the table or might be up for consideration again on the roadmap in the future … thanks so much guys!

Still the case, sorry. It’s a very frequent request that we revisit on a regular basis, but there’s no change to the bottom line so far.


Well, drat. Thanks for the quick reply though! After tinkering with Scrivener for years since soon after it came out, I’ve recently put together an outline for a nine-issue comic arc I’m working on, and it’s been immensely helpful. Even if I’m not exactly using it for the manuscript-publishing purpose it was intended for. :wink: Thanks again!

That’s what I would call devastating news. :frowning:

My Scrivner project is saved on iCloud. Is that why it won’t sync to iPad?

Yes. Scrivener for iOS uses Dropbox, iTunes, or a similar iTunes-like file manager. … g-with-ios

Slàinte mhòr.