syncitus interruptus?

Did I observe correctly that syncing is interrupted when the screen locks?

I had this behaviour on my iPad (mini 2), but not on my iPhone (5S).

kOS apps generally stop when not open and in focus, push notifications being the exception.
I think L&L answered that syncing stops if the screen locks or you swap to another app.

Eek, that’s frightening.

Why? It only means that you have to wait for the few seconds it takes for the app to save any changed files to Dropbox.

When using it mobile (which it is made for) you might not have a good internet connection and you might be in a hurry. I think of jotting down something in between and then tucking the phone away. I was hoping it would finish to sync in my pocket with the screen locked. With a bad connection it can be a lot more than a few seconds.

Push isn’t the only exception - An app can choose support ‘Background Refresh’, and in the iOS settings you can allow background refresh per app.

In the scenario you describe it would still save the files locally, then offer to sync the changes when you open Scrivener for iOS again.

But if you really anticipate using your phone to capture ideas quickly on the fly with a lousy internet connection and then potentially forgetting to sync Scrivener, you’re going to be better off using a program like Drafts or Byword or another plain text editor. Saving plain text you’ll be sending a few hundred bytes to the cloud in a single file. Saving a Scrivener project you’ll be sending a single file of edited text plus the Binder and other background files necessary for maintaining the project structure. So you’re adding overhead to the sync by using Scrivener.

My solution (since long before Scrivener for iOS) for capturing stuff that I want readily accessible in Scrivener for Mac has been to point my Scratch Pad in Scrivener for Mac to a Dropbox folder and use Drafts to dump stuff there for later triage.

I have the same workflow. Works very well.

That is exactly what I want to get rid of. I’m so glad Scrivener for iOS lets me store everything where it belongs immediatly, whithout a workaround. And of course it’s not only about notes, it can also mean making a little change or adding a sentence to a current scene on the fly, that just comes to mind while at work or in the bus or whereever.
Of course it’s still possible to do that and postpone syncing until you have time and/or better internet.

In my experience with the beta, the best solution is to just postpone syncing until you have time and a reliable connection. Scrivener projects are complex beasts, and the consequences of an interrupted or incomplete sync can be pretty severe. At the same time, iOS Scrivener itself is pretty reliable. Short of catastrophic failure of the device itself (or theft), your Scrivener projects should be pretty safe.

FWIW, I’ve nearly abandoned Evernote, which was my pre-iOS Scrivener solution to this dilemma.


That’s true, but it’s not enabled for Scrivener. I can imagine the reasons why, as so-called background operation could easily make real problems for Scrivener’s updates. Think of an uneven connection as you walk or drive around, so that a sync attempt is multiply interrupted. Here I suspect Keith as ever chose to take a well-considered safe side…my view anyway, having dealt a bit with such things.

I can’t remember the post exactly – maybe it was in the beta forum – but IIRC there were two reasons for this behavior.

One is cost to the user. Scrivener projects can easily become large enough that a user might not want to use their cell data plan for synchronization.

The second is data integrity. Having synchronization stop and restart repeatedly as the user moves in and out of connection ‘zones’ is just asking for trouble. Picture having an updated .scrivx file (the master index used to build the Binder), but not the new data files associated with it.

There’s also a potential performance issue: what if there’s a Scrivener synchronization running in background while the user is trying to use a mapping tool that needs real time data updates?


All excellent points. Thanks for the info!

Yes, background synchronisation is not possible, I learned that from Keith. I was just not aware that continuing to sync with a locked screen means background activity.
My problem is this: I work on a non-cellular iPad during my lunch-break. I can connect it to my personal hotspot on my iPhone, but that’s not very fast and not very reliable. I want to work as long as I can, using my break most effectively and then go back to work, still chewing and wasting no time with waiting for the sync. But I can’t wait with syncing until I get home either, as I might do little stuff on the iPhone during the rest of the day. So I guess I’ll best find me a nice cafe with free WiFi for my lunchbreak.

Yes, it would seem it’s not ‘turned on’ for Scrivener…:smiley: I was just pointing out that the focus or lack thereof for an app doesn’t have to be the reason for sync/no sync.

But the potential problems you mention do not feel strong enough as motivation. Look at all the apps that have continuous sync, and have dealt with those problems. But I see that those examples fit better as an answer to a post below. Obviously, there might be other, well merited reasons.

Interesting answer, Katherine! But those reasons seem slightly outdated, slash not really in sync (pardon the pun) with general iOS usage of today.

The cost - Background refresh is something you as a user can turn off if you have a data plan that is too limited. Same feature handles performance - it’s normal for iOS users to toggle according to what apps/functions they prioritize.

And as several have taken the example of file sizes and losing parts of the project, we can look at the example of Keynote. Like many others, I create presos on both Mac and iPad, with a very normal user case being starting out on the Mac and then continuing while on the road using the iPad. Because I most often present from the iPad. And even though Scrivener projects can grow in size as you add research, etc, they are seldom in the same league as Keynote files, for obvious reasons.

Still, as I edit my presentation on the Mac it is instantaneously ‘there’ on my iPad - when the connection is ‘good’. If the connection has been ‘spotty’, the app instead tells me I have changes to download. Keynote is also similar to Scrivener in that its ‘file’ really is a folder with an index and a lot of (XML) files describing the document and of course the graphical assets. A practical example of ‘data integrity’ would be one I’m on the train and constantly going in and out of ‘conncetion zones’, which is no problem for Keynote on the iPad.

In other words, if a ‘heavy’ app like Keynote can do it regardless of the mentioned reasons, I don’t think they are so solid for not doing it. But that’s not saying there might be others.

One that I am really happy to accept is that this is version 1.0 of Scrivener for iOS! More features to come. Right now I’m super happy that I can work on my iPad and take down notes on my iPhone in my Scrivener projects and have them synced to my Mac! Countless thanks for that!

@magnus – I think the thing is, there’s really a lot going on.

Watch when you make a change one place. Scrivener will sync several files. I’m not sure what that is about; the binder reference for one at least. These multiple files each mean an amount for a validating protocol like Dropbox’s, plus that of Keith’s in Scrivener on top of it.

A new iOS handheld might handle it, but with older model iPads/iPhones, which remain a big proportion of the application market, you will find they are really struggling just to keep up with the demands of ordinary applications, never mind switching out and background actual multithreads/tasking. It’s a better operating system than Windows, but its running in 500KB of front-end memory, and swapping like mad, as of recent updates.

I have to say that the most recent, 9.3.3, besides carrying an absolutely essential (and time-threatening) security upgrade, actually calmed this swapping down, and my iPad 2 feels much as it did as new. This is a great thing, a great and fair accomplishment for Apple, and makes Scrivener iOS very comfortable.

Beware the Ides of March, and any extra background lumps to disturb this new recovery :wink:

I really wonder what all those files are. I just worked on the iPad and I opened only two documents. Anyway it had to sync 20 files afterwards. I’m sure it does this for good reasons but I’m curious what they are.

Scrivener uses an document package (a special folder) for its documents, and thus there are multiple files to sync (actual document files plus metadata and project descriptions etc, and they all need to get synced to ensure integrity). Keynote as an example uses a binary document, one file only so syncing is a different matter entirely…