Scrivener not working on macOS 10.15 Catalina beta.

Obviously this is a beta release but I notice that on macOS 10.15 beta Scrivener launches, asks for access to the Documents folder (I say yes) and then kind of hangs without being able to open any documents.

Just a warning to anyone considering upgrading to the beta macOS who needs to run Scrivener.

I have a spare Mac for testing so it’s not a problem.

Wonder if wiping the plists might help: … references

Slàinte mhòr.

Our policy with new versions of Mac OS is that we generally plan to have an update with any necessary changes around the time of the final release. Early betas in particular tend to be extremely buggy, and there’s no point spending our time working around bugs that Apple will fix.

We appreciate and make note of reports like this, but using Scrivener with beta versions of Mac OS is entirely at your own risk.

(And installing a beta OS on a system that you need for real work is a terrible idea in general.)


Resettting the Plists didn’t work for me. I get the UI elements, and sections of the binders, but no text.

This is a spare machine, so no harm on my end. Just letting folks now.

It’s great to know your policy is that you plan to be ready for the final release. That makes sense, and we appreciate you being here as a resource.

One thing I will say, as a support resource you could use a bit more tact when it comes to passing judgment on the decisions of others. You likely didn’t mean it that way, but it didn’t land too well.


“We do not recommend installing a beta OS on a system you need for real work, as we cannot guarantee the stability of Scrivener on a beta platform.”

Big difference.

Also note that people who are running betas are in a better position to highlight possible issues. You don’t have to work on them now, but you should have a process for taking in the feedback and keeping track of whether or not the issues persist in future updates to the beta software.

I am not a developer, so I don’t have Catalina, and I am therefore unable to test the following suggestion before posting.

I wonder, with Catalina being installed on its own system volume, whether Scrivener might work if it was uninstalled and then reinstalled so that the set-up is pointing to the correct system locations without any conflict.

Just a suggestion; might be worth a try.

Slàinte mhòr.

It also doesn’t land well when, within days after the beta drops, we get panicked emails from people who suddenly can’t access a project that they need for critical work. I’d much rather warn those people away from the beta in advance than try to help them after the fact.


Yeah, this is a fun time for developers. I feel for you. This is especially fun with big iOS updates that break stuff and devs can’t even ship a version with the new SDKs. Fortunately, with the Mac, if it’s an easy fix it is easy to push a beta outside of the Mac App Store.

She didn’t pass judgement. What she stated is common knowledge in software testing: don’t use test software for live work (unless you have the time and necessary support standing by). L&L is not offering that support, as per their normal policy, this early in the MacOS beta cycle.

They’ve been doing this a while now. Their process seems to work fine, and KB is definitely familiar with the ins and outs of dealing with MacOS beta versions.

I’ll also chime in, as a mere observer to both Mac app development and using beta Mac OS releases… I’ve seen it stated several times in the past years that early Mac OS betas have bugs that break existing software, but after some releases, those bugs are often fixed by Apple. Experienced developers like Keith tend to wait for Mac OS betas to stabilize before trying to fix it in their own apps.

I certainly agree with the foundation of where you’re coming from and how that can be frustrating. Warning, advising, and discouraging people from blindly jumping into unstable beta operating systems isn’t an issue. There are, however, ways of conveying the same message without risk of being interpreted as using shame or judgment as a motivator.

Your team is absolutely not responsible for issues experienced in a beta operating system. The emotions and frustration can be alleviated using tactful honesty: “Thank you for brining this to our attention. We are not able to guarantee the stability of Scrivener when run in a beta OS environment. We recommend downgrading to a stable OS release or waiting until the public release to ensure the highest level of compatibility and functionality.”

Apple’s own warning on the Developer website reads:

Important Note for Thrill Seekers: If you’re interested in living on the edge and trying out the great new features, we strongly advise waiting for the many bug fixes and refinements coming to the public beta next month.”

Coming from a company whose products are designed to help give voice to writers, the way a message is crafted is critical to achieving the desired outcome while maintaining a positive brand identity. Thank you for doing what you do. You clearly care about the wellbeing of the Scrivener community.

Perhaps I’m the only one who interpreted it that way, but the above excerpt seemed to detract a bit from the rest of the post. It seemed superfluous, as it’s more of a personal judgment or belief than the overall stance of the Scrivener team. Informally, it would be fine. As a representative of a brand, there are arguably better ways of positioning the same message.

I understand that the intent was not negative, so there isn’t a major issue here. My intent was to invoke reflection on the way the message was delivered. I am a strong believer in the value of feedback. If my feedback is off-base or mischaracterized Katherine’s intent, which is quite possible, she can take it with a grain of salt.

You know what else comes off badly? Tone policing the people who make these wonderful products available for us.

I agree. These are wonderful products that bring value to our lives as writers. With that said, these wonderful products also need feedback from the community to thrive. If my feedback came off as “tone policing,” that’s my bad. However, I stand by what I said. As wonderful as the products are, support interactions are an additional element of that experience. Cohesiveness is important.

I implore you to step outside the emotional appeals, as my feedback was not intended as a personal attack. Interpreting something differently doesn’t mean one of us is right and the other is wrong. Perception and reality are not always in agreement, but abstaining from discourse can increase the risk of a disconnect.

At its foundation, this is a community and no one should feel discouraged from sharing thoughts, ideas, or feedback. The OP posted an FYI about an experience running Scrivener on the new macOS beta. I felt the support response contained elements that could lead to discouragement, so I said something. It’s as simple as that.

Interactions between a representative of a company and a consumer are different than interactions between two consumers. What you say about Scrivener does not reflect on the company the same way as something that comes from a member of the support team. With that said, my feedback is simply my own perspective. Sharing my perspective doesn’t make it true, but it demonstrates that the original intent of Katherine’s message might be lost depending on who’s reading it.

Perhaps it would have been better to deliver my feedback privately, as it was not truly intended for anyone else. However, I chose to post it publicly because what I stand for is transparency, open dialogue, and support for legitimate discourse. This should be a safe place for all of those things to occur, and I greatly appreciate the feedback you’ve provided me.

Being rude is not a part of transparency, not even when you hide the rudeness in lengthy posts.

I don’t always agree with Devinganger, but this time I do.

Yah. The beta 1 is usually locked in early May, so beta 2 has more fixes.

Discouraging people from using the beta for important work was exactly my goal. I’m glad to hear I succeeded.


I am actually grateful for the information. I was looking at upgrading to the beta, but I decided not to until Scrivener works because I rely on it for classwork. I made the mistake last time upgrading to Mojave and having to wait till major third party programs work. It was stressing. Please keep this post going so that I know when Scrivener works.

I’d also recommend you check … g.2183923/

As noted above, we will be holding off on any Catalina compatibility fixes until relatively close to the release date.