"Sync conflicts detected" on iPad but no changes on Desktop observed

I use Scrivener on my iPad and on my Mac but this is the first time something like this has happened. Sync has been working smoothly so far. Please tell me what I should do in this scenario.

This morning I opened the project in iOS (project was closed on MacOS), worked on it, made changes. Returned to project screen where I observed that it was synced on Dropbox.

I get home, open the project in MacOS. I observe that the changes aren’t there, so I manually select Sync → Sync with Mobile Devices. Scrivener tells me no mobile changes were detected. (If I open my Dropbox menu, it says that my files are up to date also.)

Now when I go back to iOS and try to open the project again, it says “Sync conflicts detected: To help Scrivener resolve the conflicts, please double-check that Dropbox is fully synced before opening this project.” I’m afraid to tap “Dropbox is Synced” and find that I have lost my changes from this morning. The other option is “Cancel.”

What should I do to recover the edits I made to the project this morning?

First, make a backup. Instructions for backing up iOS Scrivener projects can be found here:
I’d recommend using one of the methods that does not require Scrivener itself: either the Files App or Apple File Access from your Mac.

Second, did the changes ever appear in Mac Scrivener? If not, then yes, it’s likely that they will be lost when you synchronize the iPad. Take the backup you created in Step 1 (I’ll call it Backup.scriv), transfer it to the Mac, and put it anywhere other than the Dropbox folder. Use Finder to make another duplicate of it, then open in Scrivener. Are the changes there?

If so, then close Scrivener. Use Finder to drag the original version of the project (I’ll call it Dropbox.scriv) out of Dropbox to any convenient location. Drag Backup.scriv into the Dropbox folder. Synchronize everything, and you should be ready to go.

(I’m skipping some steps in the above instructions. Your backup copy should be a ZIP file, which you’ll need to uncompress to get Backup.scriv.)

To answer your question, no, the changes never appeared in Scrivener.

I followed your instructions up to this point: “Use Finder to make another duplicate of it, then open in Scrivener.” When I tried to open the file, I got a “Sync conflicts detected” message. Is it safe to open?

When you tried to open which file?

If you’re opening the Backup.scriv file in a not-Dropbox folder, after making a duplicate, then you can safely let Scrivener resolve any conflicts it finds. Since you have a duplicate, you can revert to a previous version if necessary. Since it’s not in the Dropbox folder, it can’t synchronize and therefore can’t overwrite any other versions of itself.

I’m talking about the bolded part. These files are saved on my Desktop, not in Dropbox. Should I be opening Backup.scriv or Backup copy.scriv? (Does it matter?)

By the way, thank you so much for being here. I see you helping people around here all the time!

They should be identical, so it shouldn’t matter.

Thank you. Okay so the backed up copy did have my changes, and I have moved them back into the Dropbox folder. I can see the changes when I open the file on my Mac. When I go to the iPad however I still see the “Sync conflicts detected” message and the sync time is still the earlier one. How do I make sure that the iOS version doesn’t overwrite all the changes I now see on Mac?

You still have a copy of Backup.Scriv in another location, right?

If so, then you can go ahead and synchronize to the iPad, let Scrivener resolve the conflicts, and restore from the backup copy if you don’t like the results.


Yes, sounds good, thank you for all your help!!

I have experienced this issue, as well.

Fixing it seemed to be a matter of allowing Dropbox to sync.

From my point of view, it appeared to be a matter of the sync catching up.

Hope this is useful.

Adding this info here in case it helps someone else: After experiencing this issue a couple more times, I looked into Dropbox sync and eventually realized that in upgrading my 2017 MacBook Air running Catalina to a 2023 Mac Mini running Ventura, my Dropbox location was moved without my knowledge. Neither the Mac migration process nor Dropbox alerted me to this possibility. Therefore none of my local files were syncing to Dropbox anymore. I probably should have realized this sooner due to the timing of my issue, but I’m glad everything is syncing properly now.

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