Scrivener won't update or sync with iOS via Dropbox

I’m having what I think is a strange issue I’m not seeing reflected in the other bug-related posts I’ve browsed. It’s all related to syncing not picking up any changes between my PC and iOS (on my iPad). It’s as follows:

  1. I discovered yesterday that changes I make on to a project file on Scrivener on my iPad are not syncing when I open Scrivener on my PC–and vice versa. On PC I get a message saying there is no mobile file to update. On iOS, the sync appears to occur but no update actually happens that I can then see on PC. As far as I’m aware, everything was syncing normally and has been for the last 18 months I’ve been using Scrivener, and I haven’t changed anything that I’m aware of. Before yesterday, I think the last time I worked between devices was exactly a month ago.

  2. I’ve gone through the help file for syncing issues and noted that Scrivener on Windows must be at least version 1.9.5. My version currently says 1.9.16 (Nov 14, 2019). So it seems it’s out of date–but then how have I been syncing for the last 18 months or so without issue? At any rate, the problem is that when I click “check for updates” under the Help tab I get a message that there are no updates available. So if the version is the issue, how can I update the file?

  3. Yes, my project on iOS is under the Dropbox field, not the “on my iPad” field. I’ve also tried restarting my PC and the app on iOS in case some kind of crash or other unrelated update (say, to Windows or iOS) is the cause, but it makes no difference.

  4. If I navigate on my PC to the Dropbox folder where the scrivx file is located the date says 12/9/2021 at 9:37 pm–which is yesterday, even though I’ve attempted to update it multiple times since then. Shouldn’t that file be showing the very latest time stamp?

Any ideas on what my next step(s) should be?


Hi sokalow,

First thing, thanks for sharing all your trouble-shooting steps, it’s very helpful. :grinning:

You are on an appropriate version for syncing, as 1.9.16 is later than 1.9.5 (16 > 5). So no worries there.

Is there is any chance at all that you’ve inadvertently duplicated your project into a non-Dropbox folder? Easiest way to confirm this is to launch your project, enable File > Options > Appearance > Show full project path in the title bar, and verify that the project you’re working on is actually the one in your Dropbox folder.

If that’s not the issue, here are some other things to check. Do these in the sequence listed below.

Confirm that the DropBox app is running on your PC, and that it’s signed in with the same DropBox account that iPad Scrivener is linked to.

Run this test to confirm your PC is syncing to Dropbox:
Create a new Scrivener project on your PC using the Blank Template. Create it in your DropBox folder. Name it PC Test. When the DropBox app says it’s done syncing this new project, sign into using your browser and confirm that the PC Test.scriv folder is there.

Run this test to confirm your iPad is syncing to Dropbox:
You should be able to sync Scrivener on the Ipad and see the new PC Test project in your projects list. (You may need to press the Sync icon to manually sync if Scriv doesn’t automatically detect the new project.) Open the project on the iPad, make a simple change by adding some text, close it, and sync Scrivener. Back on your PC, ensure DropBox is synced. When you open PC Test on your PC, do you see the change?

If one of these tests fails, that should direct you to where the problem is and hopefully you’ll figure it out from there. But come back if you need more help. :nerd_face:


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Thanks! So I’ve followed your instructions and everything is good until I get to the part where I run the PC Test and check to see if that file shows up via browser at It doesn’t.

But it DOES show up in my desktop Dropbox app. It seems my desktop app isn’t actually linked to the online app (I did a related test and noticed that some other non-Scrivener files I deleted via my desktop Dropbox app are showing as still there in the web app). Note that the original file in question that prompted my post IS in the web app, but I’m not sure it’s the latest version.

What can this possibly mean and how can I fix it? (I don’t see any options in Dropbox or Scrivener to “re-link” anything, etc.)

Also, just one small note, but on my version of Scrivener for Windows “show full project path in the title bar” is not under File. It’s actually under Tools–>Options–>General (startup options).


At this point, it’s an issue for Dropbox support, not specifically a Scrivener issue.

Check the options for the desktop Dropbox app, and make sure you haven’t paused synchronization, that you’re logging in with the correct account, etc.

If files are there in the web browser (not app), but not there on the desktop, the folder involved isn’t being synced between the two. That could mean one of these:

  • the Dropbox app isn’t running on the desktop
  • it’s not connected with the same userID you use to log into the browser
  • the files are not in the Dropbox folder on the desktop
  • they’re not in the Dropbox folder you think they’re in
  • sync is paused in the Dropbox app
  • you’re not connected to the Internet

Any of those could explain why the sync doesn’t work to iOS.


Thanks, all. I managed to fix the issue. I had to re-enable Dropbox such that it appears in my Windows tray. For whatever reason, having it in my Windows Explorer isn’t enough.

It’s not about the Windows tray, specifically, but the fact that you were not running the Dropbox app. If you don’t run the app, files are not synced to the cloud, from which they later sync to other devices.

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Right. I suspect I turned off the Dropbox process via Task Manager at some point and then went on to think that since I could still see the app in Explorer that it was “on.” Thanks again for the help!

There are two components to Dropbox.

One is simply a folder on your local hard drive. That folder continues to exist whether the software is running or not, and that’s what you saw in Windows Explorer.

The other is a software application that synchronizes that folder with the Dropbox server. That’s what appears in the Windows tray.

Especially if an installation that was working suddenly stops, it’s a good idea to check to make sure the software application is running and connecting to your Dropbox account. We don’t control Dropbox, Mac OS, or Windows, and all of them have had updates that caused things to stop working at various times in the past.

It’s also useful to check synchronization with an ordinary text file placed in the Dropbox folder. If it doesn’t appear in your account at, then the problem lies completely outside of Scrivener.