Regular manual backups and possible crashings


I’ve been using Scrivener iOS (iPad) for years, since it was released and I’ve been really happy with it. Absolutely zero issues or defects, It has been always working perfectly. Yesterday I purchased a new iPad (6th Generation, 2018) for specially my writing needs and I’m using Apple Wireless Keyboard. Works like a charm and I’m so pleased with this combo. Scrivener and other apps synced perfectly into my new iPad and all my projects from Dropbox got there without issues.

And now we’re getting into the point. As a human being, as a curious animal, I thought to give a shot to Ulysses iOS. Yes, I’ve been using Scrivener and I love it, but I thought to give a try to Ulysses since I’m starting to write my second novel (I’m a published author) and I’m exploring all the tools as a writer. But behold, when I installed Ulysses and I tried to open it, it just got stuck, totally freezed. Nothing worked, no reinstall, no restarting the iPad, no tweaking the settings etc. Everytime it just got stuck in the starting screen. I contacted their support if they can help me, but I must say, my trust for Ulysses is gone. If the app won’t even start, how I can work with it, how I can rely on it, to put thousands of hours into it and to be scared that if it got frozen once, why wouldn’t it do it again? But of course, I have Scrivener and I’m continuing to use it, so no real worries. But, questions arised.

And here’s the question for you, guys. Because the app didn’t work, it got me thinking. What IF Scrivener does the same? What IF our precious projects suddenly stop working and something goes terribly wrong with the .scriv file and we’re unable to retrieve it from the Dropbox? What IF the app just messes everything up? I read one Youtube comment from a writer who lost his Scrivener project files without a reason, but I doubt that. I think he messed it up, not the Scrivener.

Does anyone of you use manual backups regularly for your draft, say, like compiling your draft into .docx and emailing it to you or exporting the compiled .docx to Dropbox regularly after your workday? Or do you always rely on the app and the automatic.scriv file sync to Dropbox? When I used other word processors, I always emailed the .docx file to my other email account as a backup, so I’d like to know if you do similar with the Scrivener?


There was a discussion about this earlier this year: … hp?t=50324

Thanks a lot! So the best solution seems to be sending emails AND using the File App. Thanks again!

To clarify one point: the technique I use involves a free program called “”, not Apple’s built in “”. The backup procedure is:

  1. From the project screen in Scrivener, tap Edit.
  2. Select the project you want to back up and tap the export button in the footer.
  3. Target “FileApp”.

The view will switch to FileApp so you can verify it saved (stuff goes into its “Downloads” folder by default, I move them to a “Scrivener Backups” folder I created in the app).

To restore a project backup:

  1. In FileApp tap the desired backup.
  2. Tap the UnZIP button when requested.
  3. A new folder will be created, drill into that and you will find a “.scriv” project folder (acting like a proper folder, FileApp would have no way of knowing it is a package).
  4. Swipe left on the “.scriv” folder, tap More and then Actions.
  5. Select “Open in Scrivener”.

And that’s it! If another project already exists by that name, then Scrivener will automatically add a number after it. There are better ways of doing this (in fact I prefer to send .zips to my Mac over AirDrop, where it is set up to identify incoming Scrivener backup .zip files and file them into the proper folders), but this one works if you’re on the road with nothing but a phone.

The above of course presumes Scrivener is running fine—if you find yourself in a case where you are “locked out” like what happened with Ulysses, these .zips will be useful to any Mac or PC that can install a Scrivener demo. So even if you’re in a hotel or something and only have a courtesy computer to use, you could get a compiled or exported copy of the project out to another format and continue working in another program. Worst case, with no Scrivener at all, your content is stored in industry standard file formats. Putting it all back together will be another thing—but the data will be there.

AmberV, thank you so much for this clarification! Now I’m really confident and sure how to backup my projects. Thanks again!

I suggest that you create a small test project and run though the entire backup and restore process, to ensure it works for you. Better to prove it PRIOR to the big emergency. :smiley:

Aye! There’s a saying about backups: you don’t have any until you test restoring from them!

Thanks, guys! I just tested restoring the backups and it works perfectly! Thank you so much!

I’m so happy with Scrivener, it is absolutely fantastic. I’m doing the root writing with iA Writer, export the sheets to proper places in Scrivener and then continue in there. I find iA Writer to be the most convenient word processor for me because of the minimalistic view, but only for the early draft versions. When I’m done with writing first draft versions of the scenes in iA Writer, I write them again in Scrivener and finish the project in there. And I use Scrivener for researching, plotting, creating characters and so on. Did I mention how wonderful Scrivener is?

With those two apps, I’m in heaven. And now that I have a perfect backup plan (thanks to you), what a wonderful world this is!

I sometimes go through phases where I feel the same way you do. I write primarily with Markdown, so I sometimes use Fletcher Penney’s MultiMarkdown Composer to draft (he’s the maker of MultiMarkdown). Since I write that way in Scrivener as well, when I’m ready to bring it over I just copy and paste as formatted text, Markdown and all.

Glad we could help you get a system sorted out. :slight_smile:

It’s a shame the author doesn’t specify the cost of the “In-App Purchases”, although they list the upgrade details.

I’m in the market – and your recommendation is trusted – but I won’t install apps that aren’t explicit about pricing; mainly to avoid wasting time.

Am I misunderstanding or maybe it’s that the info availability is location specific? At the US MAS I can see (right side column) the Standard and Pro upgrade costs––$14.99 and $29.99 respectively. Also noted is that migration from Standard to Pro is $14.99.

[Features per option explained here: … ro-upgrade]

I’m in the UK. I don’t know what MAS means, where you state US MAS.

In the Mojave App Store (Is that what MAS means?), in-app purchases are indicated, but not shown.

(The Mojave app store is absolutely terrible, but that’s all I have.)

Ah, multiple possible causes; I’m running 10.13.6. Thanks for the Mojave app store review.

[MAS = Mac App Store; sorry. Note to self––abbreviations can cause confusion.]

Ah, okay. Thanks for the clarification. Prices are usually USD to GBP – which is daft, but they always excuse based on taxes, etc.

Hi, guys!

I wrote earlier that I tried Ulysses and it freezed and so on. I contacted their customer support and they answered very quickly and they were really kind and helpful. It turned out that the app was working fine all the time and it didn’t freeze. I just didn’t know that I should press one button. And oh my gosh, now it works perfectly. I was really dumb actually, dah.

So, I’ve been using Ulysses pretty intensively today, learning the basics and I learned them really fast. I wrote a little, I created the basic structure for my new novel and so on, and I really must admit something: after using Scrivener iOS since it got out, I’m now abandoning Scrivener and iA Writer and switching completely to Ulysses iOS.Why? Because I find Ulysses to be more intuitive than Scrivener, same features with more easier access, much better compiling, better layout (Scrivener looks and feels like from the ’90’s), better editor, better minimalistic, distraction free writing editor and the markup language doesn’t show at all (for examples italics are shown the same as in Rich Text Editor and to be set normally with Ctrl+B etc.). better group foldering etc. The list goes on and I don’t have any problems to pay the monthly subscription fee. I still own my texts.

But I’m really happy that I used Scrivener for thousands of hours. It was my best friend, but now it’s time to move on. Thank you Literature&Latte for providing such an awesome app! I wish you all the best and all fellow writers, keep on writing!

Hi David,

I’ve heard very good things about how immersive and distraction-free Ulysses’ interface is.

I’ve forgotten - what did iOS apps look like in the 90’s again? 8)

Thanks David, best of luck with your writing.


I have looked at Ulysses several times but one big thing I really dislike about Ulysses is their “unified library”. Having ALL my texts in one single library, always visible from within Ulysses, horrifies me. I have way to many projects and those that are no longer active I don’t need to see. I only have 3-4 active projects going and when working on one of them I don’t want to see the others.
Not to mention having to use iCloud for sync. None of my Macs have access to iCloud d’Drive since April in spite of testing every trick I have found on the web. Luckily Dropbox has never caused any trouble.

So no matter how nice looking the UI is, those two things have convinced me to stay away from Ulysses.

I was wondering whether anyone else would like to see an option for a compiled version of the manuscript to be added to the manual backup zip archive.

I discuss it more here:

The scenario this would be useful in is where you have access to your Scrivener file, but not to the Scrivener app such as on a computer where you don’t have permissions to install new apps.

In this scenario, the zip file would be pointless as there is no complete manuscript available in the zip file without opening it in the Scrivener app.

I know, it may not work for everyone, but for some of us, it would be useful. Currently, I’m compiling each time I create a zip file. It would be great if this were an automated option @KB :wink: .

Hi guys!

Does anyone knows if I can move a Scrivener’s .zip file from iCloud Drive to FileApp to open the .zip file in there and then opening it in Scrivener? Or if there’s another way to do it?

I hear ya! I’ve been using Ulysses iOS a lot, every day several hours for over two weeks now. But I’m coming back to Scrivener iOS. Home sweet home.

Ulysses is great in many ways. Easy to use, distract-free writing enviroment and nice, minimalistic layout. But Scrivener is also really easy to use because I’ve been using it for years and the writing enviroment is distraction-free enough for me when compared to Ulysses after all. Layout feels pretty old in Scrivener, kinda reminds of the '90’s, but that’s not really an issue here. Maybe it’s a nice thing to feel little nostalgic, not so Appleish like Ulysses. But the reason I came back to Scrivener was syncing between devices and how the formatting changed.

iCloud syncing via iPad and iPhone worked perfectly, but there were some really annoying bugs that eventually made me abandon Ulysses. For example when I wrote fiction in my iPad and opened it in my iPhone, all indents and paragraphs were messed up. So, if I wanted to rewrite my text in my iPhone, I would have to first edit all friggin indents before writing it. Impossible, no way. That’s the world of Word and I want to stay away from it.

And another issue: when I used the zoom option in text, indents went nuts again and the text was all messed up. But when I zoomed it again into the original, everything looked fine. And when I turned my iPhone into the vertical position, tadaa, the indents went crazy again. Maybe these all are just bugs or I don’t know how to use the software, I dunno. I contacted their customer support (which is really great by the way), so let’s see what they’ll answer. But the damage is done.

In Scrivener syncing via Dropbox have worked always perfectly for me and it seems I got over-excited about Ulysses. Green, fence, other side and so on. But now I’m happy to be back home, to feel confident of syncing my projects between devices and looking and writing them always like they should be, not to worry about formatting changes between devices.

So, once again, thank you Scrivener for keeping me sane and alive! I’m sorry I let you down, but I promise I won’t abandon you ever again, my old friend!