Syncing with dropbox for ios, and also icloud for mac

Hi i’m a mac user and just downloaded ios, trying to figure out the best way to sync with ios, Could you please help?

I just downloaded the app and see it only supports dropbox, but i use icloud to sync my 2 macs. I thought about using hazel to sync dropbox and icloud folders, not sure if this is a good solution. Is it or is there a better way?

I think that i would prefer to continue to use iCloud in addition to dropbox so that i can retain extra redundancy and avoid messing up my current syncing workflow between macs. I just want all of my devices to sync as seemlessly and simply as possible - What should i do?

Also, I’ve heard some complaints about long sync times with dropbox to/from ios devices, how fast is the sync?

Thanks, Dan


Scrivener for iOS and macOS can only sync using Dropbox, not iCloud.

Users can also use iTunes or a similar third-party file-transfer solution.

Scrivener for macOS can sync using iCloud between Macs. … g-with-ios


iOS and macOS Sync.pdf (178 KB)

Thanks. So does that mean that i need to stop using icloud to sync between my macs and only use dropbox to sync everything? Or can i continue syncing via icloud on macs and also sync via dropbox on all devices so that all devices can sync together cleanly without any issue?

You can get into some very weird and scary territory if you allow two separate sync engines to sync the same material. Pointing them to the same folders on your hard drive will eventually get you into trouble. And you probably don’t want to make duplicates of your projects, and have to track which copy is the most up-to-date.

Since Dropbox is the only sync engine that supports all Scrivener environments, I would use Dropbox to sync all Scrivener projects (anything you want to be available on the places you run Scrivener). You can then use iCloud to sync all non-Scrivener project material. This is how I do it across Mac, Windows, and iOS:

Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener – active projects
OneDrive/WritingArchives – inactive projects, additional notes, things that will not be put in the project but are related to my writing (like my scripts for creating my jump line network for my military sf setting, etc.)
OneDrive/WritingBackups – zipped backuip driectory auto-created by Scrivener

And then I’ve configured iCloud to ignore the Dropbox and OneDrive folders, as well as to not use the feature that tries to optimize which files are on disk. I also set up Time Machine on my Mac, including DropBox and OneDrive local folders, so I have local disk backups as my first port of call in the event of a disaster cruise.

If I were using iCloud instead of OneDrive, then of course I would be using that for the WritingArchives and WritingBackups folders.

Depends on which devices will be accessing which projects, but as devinganger says, it is inadvisable for two cloud services to be given access to one project.

Syncing options:

Mac to Mac only – Dropbox or iCloud or a shared disk.

iOS to iOS only – Dropbox.

Mac to iOS – Dropbox or iTunes.

Dropbox is the only universal service at this time. But if you have projects that you know you will only edit on different Macs, you don’t have to store those projects in Dropbox…you can continue to share them between Macs using iCloud (but they won’t be available to you in Scrivener for iOS).

Discrete projects can be stored in discrete locations, but Scrivener for iOS can only access projects stored in Dropbox (or held locally on the iOS device and shared using iTunes).

Slàinte mhòr.

Thank you both!

I see the page linked above says:

Tap the “sync” button on iOS to download any changes.

Tap the “sync” button on iOS to upload any changes.

Does this mean that if i forget to tap sync on ios, then i’ll have out of sync almost-duplicate copies of projects on ios and mac? If so, is there any way to automate this so this never happens?

Also, is there any workflow change required in using dropbox to sync from mac compared to using icloud? After initial setup, does it still happen automatically and take the same approx amount of time? Or are there different steps required?

Yes, then the iOS and Mac versions will be different.
Automate it? Yes and no. In System prefrences->Scrivener->’Syncing and sharing’ you can set it to sync on project close, but that still require you to remember to back out to the project screen before you leave Scrivener, and to allow time for it to sync.

You need to hve the Dropbox app installed and set to start when you start your Mac, nd to give it time to sync any changes before you turn off or sleep your Mac.

In essence, remember that there are three computers involved - your Mac, the Dropbox server and your iOS device - and that any changes to your Scrivener project must be uploaded/downloaded between them for everything to work.

Is this new? How do I sync between Macs using iCloud ?

No, this is not new. Scrivener for Mac (and Windows) doesn’t need to have any special cloud sync code embedded, because there are separate apps for the desktop OS that handle synchronizing between the local disk and the cloud storage. So you use desktop Scrivener to open, edit, and save your project in an area of your local filesystem, and the sync app of your choice is configured to synchronize an area of your filesystem (including your project folders) to the cloud.

The trick here is to make sure that iCloud, DropBox, OneDrive, whatever sync service you’re using has fully written all changes to the cloud before you shut off the computer. (Some people leave Scrivener open, but I would not recommend that if you know you’ll be possibly be opening up the project on another machine, as you can only have a given project open on one machine at a time in order to avoid generating conflicts.)

With Scrivener for iOS, the various apps do not have a common shared filesystem – each app is sandboxed into its own area (with the exception of the Files app). So Scrivener on iOS has extra code integrated from Dropbox in order to perform the sync operating. It doesn’t happen continuously in the background the way it does on the desktop sync apps. However, because of this, iOS Scrivener only support Dropbox for cloud sync.

At the end of the day, if you want to sync to iOS via a cloud app, Dropbox is your only choice. If you don’t want to sync to iOS but only between Macs and Windows, you can use any robust cloud sync service you like. No matter which you choose, though, only open a given project on one machine at a time, and always make sure your changes are fully synced up to the cloud (and back down).

Thanks for the helpful information, I’m syncing between iOS and MacOS vis Dropbox, I see the Dropbox syncing prompts when closing. However, I don’t see any changes on the other device, in either direction. Also the sidebar binder item order and content is different. Maybe due to not syncing?

Is your iOS device looking in the right folder? Have you checked that the Dropbox app is active on your Mac?

Troubleshooting guide for iOS Syncing here: … os-syncing

In my experience, the most common issue is that Dropbox on the Mac just isn’t running. (Note that at least some Mac OS upgrades have silently disabled startup items. If Dropbox isn’t running, nothing you do will help.) The second most common issue is that Mac Scrivener is storing projects to a location other than the folder being used by iOS Scrivener.

The single best troubleshooting tool is a test project with only a few documents. It’s easy to see what does (and doesn’t) change when you synchronize, and you don’t need to worry about messing up your own work.