Scrivener failed to sync between desktop and iOS and now I've lost a whole day's worth of writing

Today I was writing on my iPad in the backyard, and when I was done with the writing session, I went into the house and back to my home office. I synced the project on the iOS, then opened up the same project on my desktop, but everything I’ve written today didn’t get synced to the desktop. I tried to sync the iOS numerous times but the changes never showed up in the desktop version. I then tried to use dropbox’s Rewind feature to go back to before I came into the house, hoping that would fix it, but it only rewound back to what was on the desktop at the time, which is missing everything I wrote on the iPad today. And this rewind also turned the iOS version to the desktop version, so everything I wrote today are now completely gone, with no way to retrieve. Something must have gone wrong with the iOS Scrivener’s syncing process because the files simply did not sync properly and only existed on the iPad, but now even that is gone. I can try to rewrite what I wrote but it was an extremely complex scene of a large scale group battle with detailed choreographed action and I don’t even think I can rewrite everything I thought of in the heat of the moment. I’m extremely upset because this is a manuscript I’m about to finish and send to agents. What can be done about this?

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Moved to a more appropriate forum.

The most likely cause is that the project had not successfully synchronized to your desktop before you opened it, most likely because Dropbox was keeping part of it exclusively on its server. You don’t say what desktop platform you have; our guidance for handling this situation on the Mac is here:

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the Dropbox Rewind feature is not your friend in this situation. The first thing to do when you discovered the problem would have been to create a backup of the iOS version, following our guidance here:
That would have given you at least one copy that was safe from any Dropbox shenanigans.

Absent such a backup, there may not be much we can do. Is Dropbox able to reverse a “Rewind” operation? If so, then you’ll want to “fast forward” back to the state before you invoked “rewind.”

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Unfortunately, rewinding back to before I did the first rewind didn’t work, because the iOS version didn’t get the stuff I wrote today back. I have to wonder if the iOS version even synced to Dropbox properly at all today, because it seems to me it never even showed up in Dropbox and that’s why the desktop version (Windows) never got the updated content.

Scrivener can automatically save a backup each time it is closed. Have you checked that you do not have an automatic copy in the established location? Check your settings just in case.

On the other hand, I don’t use Dropbox, but have you checked if there is a version control that allows you to select a previous version (a list?)? If so, you would just have to return each modified document to the same relative date as when you stopped working on iOS.

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Is this true for both Desktop and iOS versions? The main problem is with the iOS version now no longer having the stuff I wrote after the rewind.

Dropbox versioning only works if the file exists, but what I wrote in the iOS version includes newly added documents, which wouldn’t show up in Dropbox if it was never synced properly. When I looked in the Dropbox recent sync history I couldn’t find the new document I had created in iOS version.

Hi @Lunatique,

I believe you are correct. Based on your troubleshooting, it sounds like the updated text in iOS Scriv never made its way to Dropbox.

I hate it when I lose work, and I hate it when others do as well. :frowning:

As iOS Scriv does not have the auto-backup capabilities of the desktop version, I have forced myself to adopt a manual approach.

Whenever I wrap up a writing session or have written too many words to lose, I use one of the methods discussed in the link from @kewms upthread to back up my edited project: either zip & export the project to a cloud service, or zip & email it to myself, or make a copy of the project and move it to the “On My Device” section of the Scriv projects screen.

That way I have something to fall back to, if Dropbox syncing fails. Which it rarely does–but like I said, I hate losing work.

I know the above approach will not help you recover your recent lost work, but if you adopt a similar strategy, it will go a long way toward mitigating the risk of this ever happening again to you.



Yeah, looks like I’ll have to do something similar. I think what I’ll do, is next time, as soon as I notice the newly written content is not being synced to the desktop, I’ll immediately copy the new text onto my OneNote or any note-taking app, instead of hoping iOS Scrivener will eventually sync to Dropbox and show up on the desktop version. Then when the OneNote app syncs to the desktop version, I’ll just copy/paste the new text into Scrivener.

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I would recommend using one of the backup methods discussed above, since they don’t rely on you noticing that there’s a problem.

It would also be a good idea to play with a test project until you understand at what point things are potentially going wrong. iOS Scrivener communicates directly with the Dropbox server, and should give you an error message if it is unable to do so. Silent failures are much more common on the desktop side of things, where the Dropbox software operates in the background and Scrivener isn’t really aware of it.

A troubleshooting guide for iOS synchronization can be found here: Quick Troubleshooting for iOS Syncing / iOS / Knowledge Base - Literature and Latte Support

So, I’m a bit upset about this.

The last few days I’ve been away and got a fair bit of writing done on my ipad (My PC is my primary writing tool though) Today at home I opened my ipad and the lastest work I did was there, which is fine, then I went to sync with drop box, opened it on my computer and I lost all of my work. Now I tried to find a backup on the ipad or conflicting files, but no there was nothing. This is quite annoying, I don’t get why it decided what I wrote on the ipad needed deleting.

Any help to recover my work would be appreciated,

Thank you

I’m just guessing, but it could be Dropbox considered the PC text more current than the iPad text, and therefore overwrote what you did on your iPad. Again, just a guess. If this is the case, the text is gone.

A strong recommendation: going forward, after you finish a writing session on your iPad, be sure to always take a manual backup of your iPad project, as noted in this post upthread. That would give you a backup project with your iPad text, in the event this ever happens again.


Thanks for the reply JimRac!

Yes, it was dumb on my part of course not just creating a backup local to the ipad. I was in the process of this when this happened :frowning:

But anyway, I’m talking with dropbox to see if perhaps they have any records on their end. Likely not though. I always assumed any files that don’t mesh with date discrepancies would be put into conflicting files.

Oh well, from here on out I’m just going to be backing up every second word I type, I feel.

While you were away, were you in a location with spotty or no wifi? I’m wondering why you weren’t trying to sync during that time.

November 21st was the last day my Windows version synced to my iPad. I have checked the path for Dropbox on both my computer and my iPad and both appear to be correct. I’ve also verified the latest sync in Dropbox is correct as of this morning, but still cannot get it to sync to the iPad.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I’ve never had any syncing issues before.

Thank you.

There are some clues if you search the Interweb for “dropbox not synching in ipad”.

I’ll try that. Thank you.

Also some articles by the Scrivener folks at iOS / FAQs - Literature and Latte Support

Make sure that the connection to Dropbox is working in both directions.

You can do that by creating an ordinary text file on either side, allowing Dropbox to sync, and confirming that it appears on the other device. If it doesn’t, use a browser to check your account at to see if it’s there. That will tell you exactly where the connection is breaking down.

That worked, thank you!