Scrivener refusing to load and when it does, everything is empty

Yesterday on my IMAC, my scrivener was working fine and then suddenly it refused to open anything at all, even new projects. When a project does load everything is blank. No templates or anything and I have to force quit the program because it won’t close normally. at first I thought it was just my IMac, so I uninstalled and reinstalled the program several times. Shut down my desktop, but nothing. Then this morning, I am having the same problem with the Imac and my laptop…send help

Where are your projects stored?

On my desktop where they have always been. I haven’t changed anything. And it’s not just with old projects. When I load a new project it either doesn’t load at all with the spinny wheel of death or when it loads its completely blank. No templates or anything and you can’t press any buttons or anything either.

I wonder if this is a sychronisation problem. If the Desktop is set to synchronise with iCloud it could be a source of trouble. In my experience iCloud is slow and unreliable. I have seen files 74 bytes in length sit waiting for three days and failing to synchronise.

Could you tell me which version of Scrivener you have, please, and with which version of Mac OS?

I have scrivener 3 and the latest Mac update on Big Sur

I’ve never had this problem before and I haven’t moved any of my files. Some of my files are loaded on an external hard drive and not on icloud

Do you also have Scrivener 3.2.2, our Big Sur compatibility update?

Yes. I uninstalled and reinstalled the latest version several times and nothing

Is your computer otherwise behaving normally?

Having this kind of sudden and dramatic failure usually points to an issue outside of Scrivener. Something changed. If it wasn’t Scrivener or Mac OS, what was it?

That’s what I’m curious about. No changes and if it was just one of my computers I would think so, but it’s the same with both my Mac and my laptop. My laptop was working fine yesterday but then I opened it today and nothing.

When I have “mysterious” problems I usually shut down (including internet connections), unplug everything, plug it back in again, restart the computer(s), then run a utility like Onyx or CleanMyMac to make sure permissions and the like are OK. If I stored material on an external hard drive, I would also run a health check on that. They can stop working from one moment to the next.

How are you transferring projects between the two devices? If it’s a problem on both systems, that points to an issue with whatever that mechanism is.

How can you open the projects on the laptop if they are saved on the desktop of your iMac?

Smells like iCloud sync.

I tried everything and unfortunately I am not anywhere near versed in iCloud and what the heck went wrong. I just ended up doing a factory reset on both my desktop and my laptop to clear away all the data and reinstalled everything. Plus, I had to get a new Apple ID. Worth it. Started working on. It wouldn’t have been a major loss if the program was unable to work even after the reset, I have back up to back ups, but scrivener just makes it easy and convenient.

I cloud sinks everything across my Apple ID. So if I save something on my desktop in any folder that is keyed in with iCloud, it will automatically save it to my laptop as well. convenient, but it looks like ill be storing all of my scrivener off cloud for the foreseeable future. Which is a pain because it sucks to have to take my external hardrive and the adapter to my laptop everywhere I go.

I’m puzzled as to why you had to get a new Apple ID, but I’m glad it is working.

For future reference, it might be worth knowing about Cirrus, which is a free application that can “unjam” iCloud if it gets stuck: ( This is quite a regular occurrence for me, so I have to use the utility about once a week. I keep thinking that Apple must have sorted out the problems and keep being disabused. In short, if you keep stuff in your Desktop folder, don’t expect it to sync automatically. There will be occasions when it will fail, and you won’t know about it unless you check the icons on the folders, and even that may not help, as I find they regularly do not show the real state of affairs.

If I were you, I would keep material on my internal hard drives, and sync using zipped files and a USB stick.

PS: maybe a little off topic, but for anyone who wants to understand iCloud better, this is useful –

Thanks for that. And basically, the rule is don’t put Scrivener Files in folders that are included in iCloud’s “Optimization”, controlled in iCloud Settings, check “off” the setting for “Optimize Mac Storage”. Using it puts Scrivener’s files at great risks, proven here yet again.