Synching Scrivener on iMac and MBP

I usually use Scrivener 3 on my iMac. But occasionally when traveling, I take my MacBook Pro, which also has Scrivener 3 installed. When I open my draft under Recent Projects on the MBP, it is the draft from the last time I used the MBP, not the newest draft on my iMac. So I backed up the project on iCloud and iDrive on the iMac and then open these on my MBP, but the most recent draft there is still from when I last used my MBP.
Any suggestions how to get my MBP Scrivener to synch with the iMac?


What you see in the recent project list, though the name of the project, is associated with a hard-drive location too.
So, if you want the recent project list to point to the right version of your project, that up to date version needs to be in the same location. Which in turn implies an overwrite.
The proper way to sync is through a cloud service, with the files set to be available offline.
This makes a folder that keeps up to date across machines, without you ever duplicating/overwriting the project file per say. (It is always the same one.)

I personally opt to use a tiny thumbdrive that I carry along with me and simply plug-in whatever computer I use. (A choice like another.)
My projects permanently reside on that tiny thumbdrive. (USB 3.0 64gb) – When I say tiny, I mean in physical size. It barely sticks out.
I have backups set NOT on that thumbdrive, but on the computers themselves, locally.

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Thanks, Vincent. But given I backed up the project on my iMac to both iCloud and OneDrive, I don’t understand why these wouldn’t be the same when I open iCloud and OneDrive on my MBP. I thought both computers were in synch; perhaps they are not.

They most certainly are not.

And… Technically, when you sync a project, it is the project that goes in the sync folder. Not a backup.

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As @Vincent_Vincent said, “sync” and “backup” are not the same operation.

Best practices for synchronization are discussed here:

If you want to ensure that either computer is opening the “correct” version of a project, locate it in Finder. The Recent Projects menu is untrustworthy in these situations.

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Backing up and Synchonisation of projects are two separate things.

There are inumerable reports here and elsewhere of data loss for people keeping their projects on iCloud, OneDrive, and Google Drive. The only supported way of opening projects safley from a desktop to a laptop Mac is via Dropbox; get a free Dropbox account which will more than suffice unless you are editing every entry in WikiPedia there is more than enough space for multiple projects though.

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Actually… there is another (“slightly more involved than the direct syncing of a project, [but] it is much safer”):

I use this with iCloud Drive.

This is untrue. Scrivener is agnostic about synchronization services between Macs. Almost all of them, including Dropbox, pose the same basic risks. The only “officially supported” service is Dropbox for iOS synchronization.

With that said, there are several advisories in the article I linked above. If there is one for the service you intend to use, please read it.

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I sit corrected. But as I use not only my Macs but also iPhone and iPad Dropbox is my only option.

Have had serious issues with iCloud syncing data to my iPhone in other apps the most serious being from Apple Notes (on Mac) to Apple Notes (on iPhone) and similarly with Obsidian both ways between Mac and iOS/iPadOS. Although since upgrading to Sonoma that particular nasty seems to have be dealt with.

The one irritaing experience I had with Dropbox was when it (they) decided that despite my setting files to be offline the thing switched it to Online only which, as we know, screws up Scrivener royally.

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Thanks, everyone for commenting. I’ve decided to go with Vincent’s advice and will use a USB. Anything I should be careful about, Vincent?

Just be aware that it may die or be lost at any time. So make sure you have a proper backup routine for your projects, and backup systematically.
Don’t use a cheap thumbdrive. (Obviously.)
Do NOT configure backups of your projects to be on the thumbdrive. Backup locally, on the computers themselves.

If you decide to buy a tiny one, say on Amazon, read the comments, beware of those that overheat. (Some are very bad. Some even melt.)
I recommend Lexar 64GB JumpDrive S47 USB 3.1


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Don’t forget to encrypt that device. (Running FileVault on an External Hard Dri… - Apple Community)

Vincent–I’m not sure what you mean by Do NOT configure backups of you projects to be on thumbdrive.

In the options / Backup.
Where you configure the backup location.
You don’t want to set it up so that it is on your USB key.
It might seem convenient, but it is not. It would be playing with fire.
Don’t put all of your eggs in the same basket.

If you don’t know what these options’ settings are for, I strongly advise that you read the manual about them. They are essential, if you care about your peace of mind.


USB thumbdrives have a limited life based on the number of reads/writes/rewrites performed. If you use the drive for both syncing the project and backing it up you will seriously reduce the life of the drive.

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You will lose it anyways long before that happens. Likely multiple times. And then you lose both your work and the backups of your work. At the same time. If you have trouble prioritizing hazards, start with this one.

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