Syncing hell ...

I love scrivener on my PC and laptop, but for some reason I always end up in syncing hell when I want to work on my iPad. I’m on holiday right now, and I only have my iPad with me. I wanted to open the latest copy from dropbox (which I use for backup), and put it on my iPad locally. I couldn’t find out how. I finally just duplicated the file, but then the terrible red circle with the “ X” in it appeared, indicating that I had entered syncing hell once more… The syncing symbol had turned red as well, and when I try to sync it says there are syncing problems.

So I’m stuck. In syncing hell. Without my laptop to untangle me. Just not okay. How can I fix this? Why does Scrivener iOS do this all the time? I’m quite upset.

I regularly work on both my iPad and Windows laptop. On my laptop I have Dropbox installed and work from the projects located in Dropbox/Apps/ Scrivener.
I have Dropbox installed on my iPad, and Scrivener linked to it. All the projects in the Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener folder appear in my iOS Scrivener under the Dropbox list. I work with those.
Syncing occurs automatically. The only thing I need to do is leave a few seconds after closing Scrivener to allow Dropbox to sync.
Your problems are happening because you are adding unnecessary manual steps that are confusing things,

No, for syncing I have to tap those circling arrows, otherwise it’ll turn into a whole lot of mess. And that makes sense to me: I would be working on files that haven’t been synchronized. But that’s not my problem. So before working on a Dropbox file in iOS scrivener you really have to sync, and that’s okay.

It’s just that when I have done all this (and I haven’t opened the file on another device, which is another game breaker) it still goes to pieces sometimes.

Anyway, I seem to have mended it by going to, copying the original file I was working on (the one that got stuck in syncing hell). Then I went back to scrivener, synced the “fresh” file, and it accepted it. Maybe this workaround is useful for others who experience the same problem.

My basic workflow is that I work on either my laptop or PC on a file that’s stored on my Diskstation NAS, and when I go to a monthly meeting with my editor, I’ll make sure to have put the “definitive” version of the project at that stage on my laptop locally. Afterwards I replace the one on my NAS with the updated version from the meeting, and continue working from there. I usually make a seperate “landmark” folder after each meeting as an extra backup. I think that’s a very thorough way of doing things. The only thing I use Dropbox for is to make backups. But now I was depending on those backups to continue working.

One thing you can still help me with: can I move a Scrivener folder from dropbox to my iPad? Since I don’t always have a good internet connection I want to be able to work offline as well.

Sorry, I misunderstood. I also sync on my iPad by tapping the circling arrows icon: at the end of an iPad session to make sure the works syncs to Dropbox and at the beginning of a session if Scrivener tells me that Dropbox contains unsynced files.

However, on the slide-out panel on the left there are two sections: Dropbox and On My iPad. All the work you are syncing should appear in the Dropbox section. (I have nothing at all in the On My iPad section.)
To answer your second question, I regularly work with my projects (in the Dropbox section) while I am offline, and then sync Scrivener when I get to some wifi later. I do not need to put them”On My iPad” to do this.


Hi Owen,

I think you’re still missing the point a bit. I understand that everything is in the Dropbox Folder. Same here. That’s what I was trying to correct, I wanted to get a file from the Dropbox Folder into the iPad folder. But that’s not possible it seems? Seems a bit silly since most major iOS writing tools I use (for example the magnificent iThoughts) do that just fine. But you’re right about being able to work on a file in a dropbox folder when offline. That’s something I overlooked, and that’s the good part of the syncing business: it doesn’t work on the file in Dropbox “in real time”, it just works on the Dropbox-file that’s on your iPad, then syncs. But do make sure that the file is properly synced before you go working on it offline! Otherwise you’d be working on an older version.

The other part of my problem, the first part actually, the sometimes unexpected syncing errors, and especially the fact that they’re very hard to correct, is still a source of tremendous frustration. I hope my workaround helps a little.


I think I do understand now :slight_smile:
My understanding is that L&L’s assumption is that projects that are synced live in Dropbox and only those that you do not want to sync live in the iPad section.
Having said that you can move projects between the two sections very eadily if you actually want to. Open the slide-out panel and show your projects. Press Edit in the top right corner. Now hold down on a project and drag it to the other section. It becomes local or syncable.
I have no idea why you would want to do this :slight_smile: but you can. I also have no idea if this will lessen or increase your syncing issues. I just tested it briefly by moving a project into the iPad section, making a minor edit, moving it back into the Dropbox section, and then syncing. It seemed to sync without any issues.


In Scrivener, project screen, tap Edit and drag the project from Dropbox to On my iPad.
But the only thing it changes is the ability to sync. The things you have in the Dropbox section in iOS Scrivener are of course stored on your iPad.

That part wasn’t that obvious to me before Owen pointed it out. Now it is. Now I know how to move these files, but the need is gone indeed :smiley: . I had assumed it was necessary for offline work, not realizing that the only thing the Dropbox folder did was sync. And, like I said I’ve revived the corrupted folder through Dropbox itself. All set to move on. Thanks for your support, both of you!

This is correct. Projects in the iPad section exist only there and are not synchronized to any other location.


One common use of the iPad section is to “protect” projects in case there is some kind of issue with Dropbox synchronization. You can keep your own work from being damaged while you use a test project to sort out what’s going on. You can also use it to prevent synchronization entirely if you have a bad internet connection or some other reason to believe it wouldn’t go well.


Sounds like a good enough reason to keep some backups on your iPad. Kind of the reason I started this thread. Dropbox syncing is still rather glitchy and even though I’ve learned it only syncs manually, every time you do so there’s a chance of things getting messed up.

I hope the iOS version will get WebDAV or SMB or UPnP so one can work on a NAS.

Hi Repelstale,

Glad to hear you’ve sorted out your syncing issues. :slight_smile:

You may already be doing so, but in case you’re not, I highly recommend you adopt both of the following practices for backups while working on your iPad:

  1. Duplicate your project periodically onto the “On My iPad” section of Scrivener. You do this from the projects screen, by selecting your project and clicking on the “Duplicate Project” button, second from the right on the bottom. After the project is duplicated, you would drag the copy to the “On My iPad” section. Over time, you would delete older copies, maybe only keeping the latest few. I’m suggesting you do this while you are on holiday, because you seem to have sync challenges, and doing this would give you a backup of the project that would be easily accessible while you are on your iPad-only holiday. How often you do it is a compromise between how large your project is, how much space you have on your iPad, how many copies you want to manage, and how much work you are willing to lose.

  2. Export your project periodically as a zipped file. You do this from the projects screen, by selecting your project and clicking on the “Send a copy” button, second from the left on the bottom. You can email it to yourself or save it to a cloud service (choose something other than DropBox, as you are already storing your live project there). This zipped file is what will save you if your DropBox version gets corrupted AND you lose/damage your iPad. How often you do it is a compromise between how large your project is, how fast your wifi is, and how much work you are willing to lose. My recommendation is to always do this at the end of an iPad writing session, whether you are on holiday or not, which would be exactly analogous to the desktop version’s Take Backup At Close. If you do it more frequently, then it is analogous to the desktop’s Take Manual Backup.

Best of luck, and I hope you have a productive holiday!


So …
One can keep a back-up on a home set NAS, back-up when finished working at home and connect to, and keep working, with an iPad while on holiday?
A private NAS will work just as fine as Dropbox?

(On track buying a NAS and a new iPad :smiley: )

Only if you connect the iPad to the computer with a cable and then use iTunes to transfer the project (not the backup) from the computer, which could then read it from the NAS. iOS Scrivener can’t read the project from the NAS, only from Dropbox.

Or––I work off of ZIP files transferred via a cloud service using this method, explained by AmberV:

Yes, there is a way to circumvent DropBox…! :smiley: :mrgreen:

No. NAS has no syncing routines the way the dropbox service does, but even if it did, Lit & Lat had to program in the Dropbox-specific routines at a more “primitive” level than their standard api. No other service documents that level of control over the syncing protocols, and so that’s primarily why there’s no support for those other cloud sync services. Your NAS solution is just network-mounted disk.

You can swap out the projects manually; move the old one into an archive folder, copy the new version into its place, going from and to your iPad, but that’s a far cry from what Dropbox does. Assuming you can easily connect your iPad to the NAS for file uploads and downloads. I have no experience doing that sort of thing, so I don’t know how easy/hard that is.