The nightmare of going between ipad and imac

Every time I try to use Scrivener on both my ipad and my mac I fall into utter confusion. Much of it is my fault. I have too many related projects with similar names.
I have looked at support options and find that they all seem to come with warnings and provisos. Today I loaded what I thought was my most recent project into my ipad and worked on it. When I went to my computer and opened Scrivener, I could not find that (most recent) edited version.
It is on my ipad, however, so I can copy and paste it into Pages (easiest wp on mac) and then copy and paste it into scrivener on my mac. But that’s just ridiculous.
IS THERE ANY SIMPLE WAY TO ACCESS A (VERY LARGE) PROJECT ON BOTH? And have them both sync? If I break up the project confusion ensues.

Hi mspepper, and welcome to the forum.

Cloud Syncing with Dropbox

If you want to use a cloud-syncing service to share your projects between your Mac and your iPad, we have this Knowledge Base article on syncing via Dropbox.

It provides step-by-step instructions for getting Scrivener on your iOS device to sync via Dropbox. It also explains moving your projects from being stored locally on your computer and into that shared Dropbox folder for syncing.

If you choose to use the Dropbox syncing process, you’ll want to work on the project on one device, sync the changes to Dropbox when you’re done, and then close the project before accessing it on the second computer.

The syncing process isn’t automatic, nor is it instantaneous.

My Basic Cloud-Syncing Workflow

With that being the case, my workflow for syncing my projects is to write and edit on my computer. Then, I close Scrivener on my computer and monitor my Dropbox badge. On my Mac, it’s in the menu bar.

I can hover my mouse pointer over the Dropbox badge to see if it indicates that all syncing is completed. Once I see that, I can power my computer down or put it to sleep.

On my iOS device, the first thing I do when starting to use Scrivener there is to tap the circular arrows icon to force it to download any recent changes from Dropbox. I’ll write and edit on the mobile device as needed.

When I’m done writing on my iOS device, I return to the Scrivener app’s main projects screen and tap the circular arrows button again to make sure that Scrivener uploads all its changes to Dropbox. I then swipe Scrivener off the device’s multitasking screen to close it.

Manual iOS Backups

If you’d rather send ZIP files between the Mac and iPad so that you’re not dealing with possible syncing errors, this Knowledge Base article explains how to create manual iOS backups.

As an aside, Apple do not permit apps on their mobile devices to create automatic backups of your data like Scrivener 3 on a computer does, I recommend adding that process to your writing habits when working with Scrivener on a mobile device.

ZIPs and Manual Transfers

That manual backup process is also how you can send a ZIP copy of your projects from your iOS device to your computer.

On your computer, you’ll unzip that ZIP file to access the Scrivener project. The macOS can do this for you if you double-click on the ZIP file. You can then open the project and make whatever additions or edits are needed.

When you’re done, you can send a ZIP of the project back to your iOS device.

To send a ZIP file from your computer to your iOS device, you would use Scrivener's File > Back Up > Back Up To... command and tick the box for Back up as ZIP file. Then, you can email or use anther file transfer process to copy that ZIP to the iOS device.

For Apple users, AirDrop is an option if the file is small enough.

On the iOS device, you’ll need to move that ZIP file into the device’s has the ability to unzip the compressed file. Tapping on the unzipped Scrivener project should have your device open that project in Scrivener.


Wow. Exactly what I needed. All of it. So GRATEFUL!!!