Safe to Leave Scrivener Open on Mac AND IOS?

I aim to make Scrivener my primary application for both short and long-form writing. I frequently switch between my Mac and iPad when working on my writing projects. Can I safely avoid syncing conflicts and file corruption if I keep Scrivener open on both my Mac and iPad and alternate between them, as long as I ensure that I don’t begin typing on one device until Scrivener has completely synchronized in Dropbox on the other device?

I ask because I sometimes forget to close Scrivener on one device before moving to the other. I’d prefer to leave Scrivener running on both the Mac and iPad while being careful to wait for Dropbox to finish syncing before picking up my work on the other device.

Hi bmosbacker.

As this Knowledge Base article on syncing via Dropbox notes, you need to close Scrivener on the Mac before accessing the project on the iOS device.

If you go to Scrivener > Settings/Preferences > General > Automatic Quit, you can toggle that setting on and have Scrivener on your Mac close out after a specific amount of time to reduce the chance of syncing errors between your iPad and your Mac.

Also, we have this Knowledge Base article that explains how to create manual iOS backups.

Apple do not permit apps on their mobile devices to interact with the data in another app. That restriction prevents us from having the Scrivener app automatically back up the user’s information to the or

Therefore, I recommend adding that manual backup process to your writing habits when working with Scrivener on a mobile device.

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Thank you, this is very helpful. I’d read some of the information but was not aware of the automatic quit for Scrivener nor had I read how to backup on iOS.

However, I cannot get Scrivener to quit automatically. I have set that option at 15 minutes. I timed it and gave it an extra minute. Scrivener was still running. I closed the app, rebooted the computer, opened Scrivener, and waited another 15 minutes but Scrivener remained open.

Am I doing something wrong?

Just do the quick keyboard command. not at mac to look but can see what it is on the Menu. Good habit to get to quit when done.

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On my Mac, Scrivener will close out when my inactivity timer is reached, but only if Scrivener doesn’t have the cursor actively blinking in it.

I tend to see it close in the background when my cursor is active in a web browser or another program.

Its auto-save is rather sensitive to clicks as well, with changing from one document to another in the binder being enough to keep Scrivener thinking it’s being actively used.

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I can certainly do that (the keyboard shortcut is Command+Q), the problem I’m solving for is that I sometimes forget. :grinning:

Thanks, Ruth, I appreciate your help!

I’ll test again making sure that the cursor is not in Scrivener. Do I need to minimize Scrivener for this to work, i.e., will having Scrivener as the front window when I step away from the Mac cause the auto-quit not to work?

That’s a good question, and I’m not sure.

On my Mac, I tend to have 8+ programs open at a time. That gives Scrivener ample time to be shuffled to the rear before I take a break. When I get back, it’s usually closed out.

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You could test this and report back. Do one test with Scrivener in the foreground, another with any other app in the foreground, and a third with Scrivener minimized.

Obviously you might want to use shorter time out intervals for testing purposes.

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@bmosbacker, it’s NOT safe to leave the project open on iOS. iOS Dropbox syncing NEVER happens in the background. In order to get your changes back to your Mac version, you must close the iOS copy of the project.

… That said, I’m guilty of this at least once a month, and nearly half the time it bites me. If you need guidance on how to recover from the resulting sync conflicts, feel free to PM me.


Thanks everyone for your kind and helpful responses, much appreciated!