Scrivener is crashing - repeated when idle

My Scrivener is repeatedly crashing. It is 3.2.2 and crashes when left idle either overnight or even while fixing breakfast. It is in Dropbox and there is no shortage of space. I travel and shift between iMac and MacBook, both new and on iOS 11.6. This is happening on the iMac because I am not traveling at this time. Scrivener on my machine does not have the SCFinder issue. It crashes at least daily. I need help.

As you haven’t provided an error message from Scrivener, I’m going to assume you aren’t seeing anything like that, and that what you mean by “crashing” is “Scrivener shuts itself down”.

This behavior could be due to your settings. In Scrivener Options, check setting General > Startup > Automatically quit after an inactive period. If this setting is enabled, you should disable it.


I had this happening on my MacBook Air on a daily basis. Every day when I started Scrivener, it generated a crash report and asked me to send it to L&L, which I did, two or three times, then started ignoring it.

It was nothing to do with the program closing itself, since I closed it manually when I finished work for the evening.

It’s not done it for the last couple of days though.

We never did figure out precisely what was causing this. The puzzling aspect about it is that the project that tends to cause the crash would be a project no longer opened at the time—and that did kind of fit with the symptoms, in that the type of crash happening relates to stuff being around that should no longer exist. So it was as if the system wasn’t properly cleaning up closed project windows and traces of them were left in memory, which wouldn’t manifest until “midnight”, or whenever the system is next turned on after such—presumably when the system runs scripts to do routine cleaning and maintenance.

I also suspect it may be related to another crasher that is very similar, though it happens instantaneously when closing a project before it has finished auto-saving. This is a similar crash in that by the time it happens, Scrivener itself is actually no longer involved and everything that is happening at the code level is macOS stuff. The project is fully closed on the disk, but that doesn’t mean the memory being used to store its settings and window parameters are yet dealt with. I manage to avoid that bug entirely by simply always waiting two seconds before closing a project window.

That aside, it always felt to me like the nightly variant (if they are the same indeed) needed more than just that one ingredient—of having a project open during the day and then closing it, while others are left open. Reason being, when I saw this happening nightly I had a project I was using at the time that had some nightly session counter reset options enabled. Once I moved on from using that project, I haven’t seen this crash since then—I even forgot about it entirely.

At any rate, while it is annoying it seems to be fairly benign. I never lost any work to it, even when it was happening nightly for months. Plus, it is something that can be avoided by simply closing down Scrivener at the end of the day. Frankly, that’s not so bad of a habit to get into anyway, since doing that creates a backup of all open projects. Unless you tweak your backup settings and make yourself more proactive about backing up, leaving Scrivener open for days or weeks on end does put your work at a greater risk.

P.S. I moved this topic as it is much more related to a specific Mac bug than something about learning Scrivener in general.