Scrivener won’t sync to dropbox

I’ve read the basic and in-depth knowledge base posts but can’t seem to find an answer to this question, so here goes.

I installed ios11 and then discovered scrivener wasn’t syncing automatically to dropbox. When I sync manually, I get a “Dropbox is up to date” message, which disappears almost immediately. But still no syncing.

I took the following steps, which may or may not be relevant:

  • de- and re-linked dropbox a number of times.
  • made sure both scrivener and dropbox are using the same dropbox account
  • deleted my (old, outdated) copy of the project off dropbox
  • made sure there’s enough space in dropbox

Anyone have any ideas?


Uninstall and reinstall the Dropbox application on your device? I found mine wasn’t talking to Dropbox anymore as they had updated something behind the scenes – my Mac and Windows devices got prompted to re-establish their connections, but my mobile devices didn’t.

Thanks for the suggestion Devin - I tried that but no luck, unfortunately. It synces one earlier project I have, but not the one I’m working on currently. I may have to abandon Scrivener if this keeps up, as it’s a little freaky working without an online backup.

  1. How do you know that Scrivener didn¨t upload any changed files to the Dropbox server?
  2. The project that doesn’t sync, was it created on your iDevice and did you then put it in the Dropbox area in the Projects pane. A screenshot of your Projects pane would really help.

I second lunk’s question about how you know the project isn’t syncing.

One way to investigate the question is to create a test project, then check the original device, your Dropbox account (via a web browser), and each synced device to see exactly where the changes don’t appear.


When I reinstalled Scrivener, it seemed to lose direction to my Scrivs folder (which was in a custom place, not the default location on DropBox).

I moved everything to the default location - since it seemed impossible to manually redirect Scrivener back to the original folder - and it worked again.

So just check it’s actually syncing the correct folder. It may have created a new, empty folder and is looking there.

If you delete and then re-install an iOS app, it says very clearly that you delete all in-app data as well, somof course the newly installed app doesn’t know where the previous installation saved its files. You could simply have told the app again to look in the right Dropbox folder:

Edit, gear wheel at the bottom, Dropbox settings.

Hi you all here
I too have this problem right now. for the past week. My most recent project (including a “test project” I just now created to see if it too did NOT show up in my dropbox) does not show in the Dropbox ‘recent files’ pane. Neither on the MacBookAir where I am now mostly working nor on the iPhone. Not sure if the problem is in the DB side or the Scrivener side. Where I thought would more automatically sync. I checked in Backups and the recent work IS there
I think I love Scrivener since I can now finally digitize/organize my scattered handwritten notebook attempts at publishing writing. I am still (more than a year) trying to be persistent on a committed learning curve with using Scrivener and I move around a bit away from my desktop PC, via thisMacBook Air and iPhone.
I do have Scrivener 2.8 and Dropbox 40.4.46. I hope it is something simple I am just not doing right.
Thank You

It isn’t clear which way you think it doesn’t upload to the Dropbox server. From your Mac or from your iDevice?

Thanks Lunk.
On my Mac…where I am recently working. when I click the DB icon at top the ‘recent files’ dropdown window does not show what I have just done…BUT
after my post yesterday I later went to Dropbox and From within the DB website I DID actually see my recent work even my TEST.
I am assuming that I should be working directly in Scrivener and not from within Dropbox…I may be a bit confused as to exactly when/if things get synced.
Like should I “Quit Scrivener” after each session and wait? In the past, I think I remember seeing a little blue bit of motion on the DB icon up top there but I do not see that anymore.

If you mean the DB menu bar icon it shows recently uploaded/downloaded files, which means there will probably be file names you don’t recognise because it is files within your project .scriv package.

If you put the project in a subfolder within your dropbox folder and tell your iPhone Scrivener to look in that folder it will download all files and subfolders in that folder. Just make sure that you get the green tick mark in Finder on your Mac before closing your Macbook Air.

So the question is, what is really the problem? What is it that is not working?

If you have a fast connection and your changes are small, syncing can take place very quickly. As lunk noted, the file names in the Dropbox “Recent Files” box will not be helpful as they’ll reflect the internal structure of your project.

The best way to determine whether sync is working as expected is to use a test project, make some changes, and see whether they transfer correctly.

You DO NOT want to edit files from the Dropbox web site. That’s almost guaranteed to mangle your project. But if the files are present on the Dropbox site, it’s a pretty safe bet that the transfer from your computer worked correctly.


Thanks for everyone’s replies. I was busy grading but I’ve had a chance to get back to this today. To answer questions:

I know it’s not syncing because the iOS app says the folder is only on my ipad, not dropbox; neither the app nor browser has the project in it.

I’ve created a test project; it also doesn’t show up in dropbox, via the app or browser.

Before, when Scrivener was syncing, it would show a moving completion bar. Now, it just briefly flashes the bar and disappears.

I don’t have Scrivener for the desktop, so I can’t check it there.

Using the iOS app, I can drag the project from the ipad to dropbox; then it copies 380 files. I can also move it back. But it doesn’t appear in both places. Following advice, I’ve left it on the ipad.

One project does sync, repeatedly. This makes me think dropbox is looking in the wrong place.

To back-up, I’ve been compiling and exporting a complete file to google drive, so it’s technically not a disaster. But the fact that I can sync ‘Rick and Bojack’ (screenshot attached) suggests the previous functionality can be restored… by just pointing Scrivener somewhere else?



Could you take a screenshot of how you have set up Dropbox on your iPad?
Tap on Edit -> Gear wheel -> Dropbox settings and then take a screen dump.

The projects in the ‘On My iPad’ section of your Projects screen won’t sync because you’ve told them not to. Move them to the ‘Dropbox’ section. To do so, tap ‘Edit’ above the Projects list, then drag and drop.


I really have to check the ‘notify’ button below :slight_smile: Thanks for your fast advice,

To reply… I can move projects to and from scrivener and dropbox, using the edit method as suggested. But it only appears in one of them. When I move it to dropbox it disappears from the app; when I move it back to Scrivener, it disappears from dropbox. In both cases, I hit ‘sync’ and nothing happens. (Previously, I used to leave it in the app, hit ‘sync’, it copied itself to dropbox and remained in the app as well.) Is there another way to tell Scrivener to sync that I’m missing?

A screenshot of the settings is attached.



I am confused. Both the “On my iPad” and the “Dropbox” sections of the Project list are still “in” the iOS Scrivener app. And if “moving to Dropbox” causes the project to “disappear,” how are you “moving it back?”


If nothing happens when you hit the sync icon on the iPad it’s because the projects are already synced.

What you see in the Projects view is the projects you have on your iPad, inside Scrivener, and the difference between the two parts (Dropbox vs On my iPad) is that the projects in the upper part are copied two the Dropbox server, to the folder you specified in the settings.

Yup, you both cracked it. I was misunderstanding the interface; I knew ‘editing in dropbox’ was bad, but I didn’t realize ‘in dropbox’ meant still on the app as well. I thought it was one or the other. So, when I moved the project (between ‘dropbox’ and ‘on my ipad’) I was adding it to dropbox, and then deleting it. Two or three times. Now, when I leave it dropbox, it syncs as usual. I was confused by there being versions of some projects in both categories, and some in 1.

Anyhow, it’s nice to know there is no problem and I can continue to back up as before. Thanks for your patience, Katherine and lunk!