Sync Reminder on iOS

I followed all the suggestions from the last thread about iOS syncing and am still having massive problems. Maybe I’m the only one, and I’m a stupid forgetful goldfish or something, but I’ll get a text or other message, have to answer it, and then the dog will have to go outside, or I’ll have to answer the landline, or answer an urgent email, and forget to go back to the starting page for Scrivener, and it might be several hours to a day before I get on my computer and by that time I’ve forgotten I had Scrivener on my phone open at all, or simply forget to double check that it synced, and it can cause massive problems.

It’s going from the phone to the computer that is a problem under normal circumstances. It’s just so absolutely counterintuitive to how essentially ever other program on macOS and iOS works. Autosave is such an automatic thing. Manual save practically doesn’t exist.

Can there be some fix to this? Anything. A scheduled autosync? An automatic sync when going to another app? A sync reminder? I don’t know what will fix it, and making suggestions doesn’t usually seem to help if only because I’m not a programmer and don’t know what will and won’t work, but I’m coming to beg for some sort of solution, or at least something to help alleviate the problem.


Now there’s an idea that might possibly work— using the iOS push notification system! it’s certainly OS supported. Say, have Scrivener just send a push notification after a Dropbox project gets left open with changes. Time delay to be user configurable.

Another possibility: Scrivener already has an “I’m open on another device” flag that’s used when editing the same project on different PCs/Macs. Why not add a “I’m open on an iOS device” flag that gets synced right away when you open the project, and gets removed when the project is finally synced back to Dropbox? It wouldn’t be foolproof—but then the desktop flag isn’t, either.

I’ don’t panic when I have iOS sync conflicts, but I’m just as absent-minded as you and I spent an hour unravelling one of these yesterday… :smiley:

Omg, yes please.

I’m glad I’m not the only one. :laughing: :blush:

I agree, something along the lines of a reminder would be great.

In the meantime, what I do is press the Sync Now button if I need to put the iDevice down for a second, in case that second turns into hours. You may want to get in the habit of doing that too. It can’t hurt to do this, and it may save you having to work through sync conflicts for hours.

From Binder screen, press Settings gear > Sync Now.

From Editor, press Share > Sync Now.

This is already how it works. Of course it depends on Dropbox having synced, otherwise there’s no way of detecting it.

And how would the Mac know what you have been doing on your iDevice? If iOS Scrivener isn’t synced to Dropbox, there is no way anyone can know that it isn’t, except you yourself.

A reminder? Well, it would have to be using iCloud if it is to pop up on any device you are using, because it would not be enough to get the reminder on your iDevice. Having a flag on the Scrivener icon on the iDevice which has unsynced projects shouldn’t be too difficult to add, but wouldn’t do much good, would it?

Maybe add the sync icon on every menu inside iOS Scrivener, at the top, and maybe have it change color/shading as soon as something has been changed?

What I suggest is that this flag — and this flag only — be saved to Dropbox on project open. That in the case of this flag, the entire project need not be synced. Perhaps it could be a separate “lock file” not saved in the project itself.

I would like to ask this, not just as a user, but as a disabled user, diagnosed with adult ADHD. No matter how disciplined I might attempt to be, @jimrac, I will forget to sync more often than many, just as I forget to lock my car or take my credit card back from a cashier… there are many more examples. I manage to function with the aid of automated accommodations, but it still impacts my life negatively. And yes, spending time detangling sync snafu in Scriv is one of the ways it does.

Hi Silverdragon,

Like I said, I think the idea is a good one, was just offering an unasked for suggstion to the OP on workarounds in the meantime. :smiley: I don’t know if everyone knows where the Sync Now buttons are.

Here’s another unasked for suggestion: I’m a big fan of timers. I set them all the time, to remind me to save, sync, backup, breathe, etc.


Timers—I use 'em too. I like the faint sound they make in the background as they fail to register when I’m hyperfocused on something… :wink: Rather like Douglas Adams’s response to deadlines…

Speaking of which, I think one just went off… That faint beep…beep…beep in my headphones…it probably means something….

I would, except Scrivener refuses to sync unless I’m in the app. :frowning:

Right. That’s sort of the issue. Remembering to sync on iOS.

Is there any solution to be had at all? I know you said this is already how it works, so, is there anything else that can be done?

I don’t know what the deal is, but Scrivener takes forever to sync on my phone - my phone is by no means slow - and as mentioned it refuses to sync when the app is in the background. And it’s counterintuitive to how all other macOS/iOS apps I use work. And of course I’m forgetful.

It all adds up to a situation that is beyond frustrating.

I am about to go and sort out such a mistake right now, in fact. :frowning: :cry:


Yes. That’s why I mentioned getting in the habit of syncing before I put the device down. I realize that won’t work for all situations, but if it does for half or even a quarter of them, you’re still better off. Of course a technical solution would be better, but my sense is we won’t be seeing one anytime soon.

My process that hasn’t failed me yet. (Please don’t let that jinx me)

When in the Mac app I do a save as I exit. I never leave the study with Scrivener open, though it is set to close after 10 minutes of inactivity (default 30) should I forget. Yes, if I go into daydream mode and it auto closes, I may have to reopen, but 30 sec is not going to kill my creative.

When I open in IOS it prompts to synch which is the first thing I do unless I know for certain I haven’t opened it on Mac (or Win beta).

I have a simple rule, I do not walk away from the iPad without syncing and closing Scrivener.

Yes, it’s a bit fiddly however the app on iOS opens quickly and synch is quick. I do have the latest 12.9 Pro which is a screamer, however the old Pro was hardly slow. So, if I walk away for a short time I may waste 20 sec on restart etc, but better than an hour sorting out a synch mess if I forgot and opened on Mac.

On the Mac my current machine of choice is a 2013 15” MBP and it’s very fast on that (Keith does tight code). I have a new 15” Macbook Pro CTO with 32GB RAM and Vega GPU in transit from the factory and expect that to do Scrivener in the blink of.

Oh, and yes, backups - I use Scrivener backups plus Time Machine which is free in MacOs and as good as any 3rd party program, auto incremental each hour and easy to drill down to find a specific file from an hour, day, week etc if the unthinkable happens. I do also use a 3rd party program for regular bootable backups of the whole system, and the backup hard drives, router, fibre modem etc protected by UPSs just to be anal about it all.

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That’s nice. I do not have such a luxury. My phone takes anywhere from 2-10 minutes to sync and has to be the active app or it just fails. That eliminates most scenarios of being able to sync it before doing something else urgent. Which apparently I have a lot of in my life. :confused: :unamused:

Let’s face it, there is no ideal solution. I also am pretty careful and sync often and used to have automatic quit on MacOS set to ten minutes (reverted it back to default 30 minutes because it was annoying), but eventually it’ll happen that you leave something open on one machine and you open the project from another one. Yet my experience is that Scriv or iScriv will tell you about it and ask you whether you want to open a copy of the project. That’s what I do, when it happens to me. So, I don’t think it’s such a major ordeal. I have to say, though, that I like the mindless syncing of iCloud (I know, it’s not suggested for Scriv and I am not using Scriv with iCloud)

Desktop Scriv will NOT tell you if you’ve left something open in iScriv. Nor will iScriv tell you if you’ve left something open, either on a desktop or on another iDevice. That’s the whole point of this thread. You only get notified of conflicts, after they’ve happened.

Right. Only after it’s synced. Which is too late. :cry:

Can’t iScriv send a notification to desktop Scrivener automatically as soon as it’s opened?

I think that’s in essence what you were suggesting. I mean does it have to go through DB to do that? Or can it be skirted somehow?

Yeah, that wouldn’t work for me.

Sync time is partially due to limitations of particular devices (my iPhone 7 syncs way faster than my iPad Air 2), but there are other aspects that you can theoretically control. Have you seen this (lengthy) thread that discusses things you can do to reduce sync time?

It discusses things like only syncing active projects, that is, projects that you’re actually working on, and moving inactive projects out of the sync folder. Another tip was a poster deleted (many) snapshots and got syncing down from minutes to seconds. There might be other ideas in there too. Hopefully you’ll find something useful to you.


Yes, ForgttenGold, letting desktop Scriv (or another iScriv) know immediately that the project is open—or at least leaving a “note”—is what I’m suggesting. Yeah, it would pretty much have to go through DB, as that’s the only thing that both iScriv and desktop Scriv listen to. Mind you, it involves an update, not only to iScriv, but possibly also to Mac and to Windows Scriv, so that they know to look for a “note.”

It probably adds a complication KB would prefer to avoid. But if we can’t have true auto sync on iOS (and I get it that we can’t) I surely would like to have a bit more protection against sync problems. And again, discipline will not save me. I am disabled.

It seems to me that some things that should be borne in mind, because of the way iOS works compared to MacOS/Windows, are:

a) the projects you actually work on in Scrivener in iOS are actually stored in the memory space allocated to Scrivener, not that allocated to Dropbox. If you remove Scrivener from your iDevice, you will also remove any projects within that space, but not the copy in the Dropbox space.

b) The Dropbox app on your iDevice automatically sync’s the copy in its memory space, with your space on the Dropbox server; it does not sync the copy in Scrivener’s memory space. If you haven’t told Scrivener to sync the project in its space with the copy in Dropbox’ space, the two will be different.

c) The Dropbox app automatically sync’s the copy on its server with its folder in the file system on your computer.

d) Scrivener for Mac and Windows access the project directly in the Dropbox folder in the file system on the computer, so any changes you make to that are automatically sync’ed with the copy on the Dropbox folder.

e) There’s another fundamental difference between iOS and MacOS/Windows: when you “close” an app on your iDevice by clicking the Home button, it merely puts it in the background. To actually close an app you have to double-click the Home button, then swipe up on the app’s thumbnail in the list of thumbnails to remove it.

f) On the Mac/PC, when you Quit/Exit Scrivener, that saves what’s in memory to disk, makes a backup, shuts the program down completely, releasing memory space. Having followed these forums for over a decade, it seems that there are many people who leave their computers running for long periods and also leave Scrivener open for days, even weeks at a time.

Given those differences, it seems clear to me why sync’ing on iOS has to be a deliberate action, and also how people can easily end up with conflicted files.

I hope I’m not teaching my grandmother to suck eggs … she’d be about 130 now!



Yeah, I have an iPhone 7, so I don’t know what the deal is. Maybe it’s the number of snapshots I have, because I do have a lot of them. Not sure what I can do about that though, since I need my snapshots. Either way, I will take a look at the thread. Thanks.

I absolutely agree with you here. If we can’t have a true auto sync, I too would like to have more protection against sync problems.

Um. I gotta be honest, most of that was Greek to me. Haha.

What I know is that I save all my projects in the Dropbox folder though I don’t know what that end result is, and that if I actually close Scrivener on the desktop, it puts me in more danger of conflicts because opening it automatically makes it sync, which is the failure point for me - going from iOS to desktop. I have far less problems with conflicts if I leave Scrivener open on my desktop because if Scrivener is open on the desktop, at least I get a warning if I have synced at least once, but maybe not a second time on the phone. I can merely ignore the prompt to sync until I know for positive my iPhone has synced, or if I realize half a moment too late after hitting the Scrivener icon that I need to check my phone’s sync status, at least I have a chance to check to see if my phone is synced up or not, instead of desktop Scriv just automatically syncing and creating total conflict chaos.

That’s all fine that syncing the actual project files on DB has to be a deliberate action, but, as for notifications, just a simple reminder built in somehow would be helpful. I don’t care if it’s a different line of communication for desktop and phone Scriv to communicate or a “when this app becomes the active app (on macOS or iOS) create a prompt to remind user to check that all applications have synced”. Something - anything practically - would be helpful.