Synch Mac/IOS with Dropbox - Rookie issue

Folks, I messed up the initial setup. Now I have my two IOS devices syncing fine via Dropbox, but can’t figure out how to get the Mac version to sync. I believe I had set up the Mac to save locally. How do I change the settings so that all three devices now sync? thanks!

You install the Dropbox app on your Mac and log in to the same account. When that’s done and your Mac has had time to download everything from the Dropbox server you will find all your iOS synced projects in the Dropbox folder’s sub-folder into which you set your iOS device to sync.

Make sure the folder where you store projects is set so it stays on the local drive, not online only.

That works perfectly. What I can’t figure out how to do is to sync Scrivener files created on IOS devices to my Mac. I haven’t used the Mac for Scrivener yet, so there are no files at risk on it. Going forward I would like to work on my Mac on files originally created in IOS, and vice versa. thanks!

That sounds desirable. How do I set files to be both stored locally and capable of Dropbox sync?

Look for the smart sync options.

Dropbox options

When you install the Dropbox app on your Mac it creates a folder called Dropbox.
When you log in to your Dropbox account from the app, it starts syncing, and keeps syncing, in the background.
That’s it.
Don’t enable Smart sync. You need the whole project package stored locally on your HD and synced to the Dropbox server, and that’s exactly what the app does on your Mac.

It might be wise for you to read the instructions on the Dropbox site, to learn more about Dropbox.

You can enable smart sync and disable it for the folder where you put your projects.

I agree with you, actually. I tried smart sync today and found it’s a pain getting a file back to the hard drive if you let it go to cloud only. I disabled it tout suite. It could be useful if you have huge files you really don’t need on the hard drive, but I wouldn’t do it (in future) unless you’re short on disk space.

Smart sync makes sense for phones and tablets, as they tend to have somewhat limited capacity and are not easily upgradeable. And maybe there’s a use case for laptops, because who wants to carry an external drive around?

But for a computer that primarily sits on your desk? An external hard drive is always going to be cheaper and faster than the cloud.

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Thanks. I now get the Dropbox part.
On the Scrivener side – on a Mac – what settings will

  1. import Scrivener file updates created on an IOS device linked to Dropbox?
  2. export Scrivener file updates created on the Mac to IOS devices linked to Dropbox?

Appreciate your guidance. Uncertainty about file accuracy and preservation is a giant stopper for me in wholeheartedly adopting Scrivener. I’m eager to go all in.

On the Mac, put the project in the Finder location that is synchronized with the iOS device.

That’s it. The Dropbox software does the rest.

Full configuration details here:

On the Mac side, Scrivener doesn’t care into which folder you save the project. If you save the project into a subfolder under your Dropbox folder, the Dropbox app handles the syncing, not Scrivener.

In iOS it’s Scrivener itself who handles the syncing.

Easy to save the Scrivener project file on the Mac to Dropbox | Apps | Scrivener.
Easy to open projects created on IOS devices that are saved to Dropbox | Apps | Scrivener.
Question: If I want all projects to reside in up-to-date form on the hard drive of my Mac AND I want them to sync with IOS, do I have to manage this manually?

The key outcome desired here is to create a project that resides on the Mac hard drive, syncs via Dropbox with with IOS devices, and globally remains up to date. Is that even possible – or does Scrivener require a manual save-as operation to create an up-to-date copy in Dropbox?

If I create a new project on Mac and save it, the .SCRIV file is saved by default to Documents. How do I change that default?

I seem to have mastered the backup settings: on open, close, or manual save of a project, the file is saved to the location on my Mac hard drive.

Scrivener will save a new project wherever you tell it to. To achieve your desired outcome:

  1. The Dropbox software should be installed and running on the Mac.
  2. The folder where you create the project should be inside the Dropbox folder. (If you don’t have a Dropbox folder, see step 1.)
  3. The sync options on iOS Scrivener should point to the same folder as in step 2.

I infer that what I want to do – automatically maintain an up-to-date version of the project file on my Mac hard drive AND keep it synced via Dropbox – cannot be done. Is that correct?

If so, my head will stop exploding. In that case, what’s the best practice for maintaining an up-to-date copy of a project on both Mac hard drive and Dropbox, allowing for the possibility of working on it offline?

If I understand correctly, absent an internet connection, I cannot sync with Dropbox and therefore cannot work on my project offline with certainty that I am working on the latest version of the file – unless I previously established some discipline to save project to both Dropbox and hard drive at the end of every session.

Sounds like I must keep the primary version of the project in Dropbox and manually do a save-as to Mac hard drive at the end of every editing session? And after working offline on such a project file, I must remember, as soon as I’m back online, to do a save-as to Dropbox to re-add it to the sync chain?

This seems unduly cumbersome, which leads me to believe I’m missing something.

One related question: Is there a way to directly set the DEFAULT location of a new project that I start on the Mac? Such files now go to /Documents. I would like to default to a dedicated folder instead.

No. The Dropbox folder is located on your local hard drive.

That’s the simple answer I was hoping for! Thanks a million.

How do I make /Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener the default folder for all new project files on my Mac?


Dropbox keeps a copy of your project in the Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener folder on your hard disk. It then syncs that with a copy of your project on the Dropbox servers. The copy in the Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener folder IS the latest version and it is just in a specific folder on your Mac like anything else that is in a folder on your Mac.

The project in your Dropbox folder is available to use offline. Dropbox will sync it with the version on its servers the next time you go online.

All you need to do is make sure you don’t work on your Mac and then your iPad without giving Dropbox a chance to sync to its servers inbetween.