Trouble with Compile on iOS

Hi, I recently bought Scrivener for iOS; it’s the most expensive iOS app I’ve ever bought but I’m looking forward to writing with it. And it seems great so far but I’m confused about using Compile:

  1. How to compile to EPUB?
    Obviously if I’m on iOS, the most important format for self-publishing is the one that iBooks uses. But I only see PDF, Word, RTF,… is EPUB in a different menu?

  2. No Title page?
    If I choose PDF, and I select the thing at the bottom that says “First item is Title Page”… I end up with no title page at all. (The Title Page is provided in the “Front Matter” part from the “Generic Non-Fiction” template.) But the Compile command ignores all the Front Matter, and instead what’s generated starts at the beginning of my Foreward. How do we get the Front Matter to actually appear?

  3. How to edit author/project metadata?
    If the Title page were to work, it’s supposed to filled in with things like $projecttitle and $fullname. Instructions for Scrivener say that the place to provide this metadata is in the Compile menu. But I can find no options for these, only the header and page number. (screenshot attached). How do we give the metadata?


Screenshot: see attachment scriv.png

  1. Sadly, there is no ePub option. I believe the usual iOS-only workflow is to compile to Word and open the result in Pages. Pages can then output ePub.
  2. To use your front matter on iOS, you’ll have to move it to the Draft folder.
  3. AFAIK, this metadata is not available on iOS.

Compile on iOS is primitive compared to that of Mac or Windows. Very little of compilation carries over. You’ll need to learn about it from the iOS tutorial, and from the help file available when you edit a compilation appearance. If you’re moving to iOS and avoiding Mac/Windows altogether, you’ll need to revise your project structure to accommodate iOS compilation.

Thanks very much. That’s very helpful. I think I will get the Mac version as well and let that be my primary version (in Dropbox), and just use the iOS version for “on the go” when the inspiration strikes.

To that end:
for other users who may find this post later…and this is probably covered already in other threads: Fixing a Sync problem.
The fact that I had started the project with iOS brought on all manner of Sync issues, whereby the iOS app simply refused to Sync the recent Mac-made changes. On iOS, e.g., it would show the latest Dropbox update to be two hours ago when Dropbox itself showed the update of a couple minutes ago.
The way I finally fixed this was to delete the local iOS version of my project, unlink Dropbox, and THEN on the Mac, go inside the Scrivener project (right click > “Show Package Contents”), then DELETE the entire Mobile/ directory.
And THEN in iOS re-link Dropbox, after which point the iOS app uses the Mac version of the project and syncs fine with no further “Conflicts”.

No, that was likely not the reason. I have been using iOS Scrivener ever since it was released and have never had any problems that weren’t caused by myself, e.g. by not letting the Dropbox app sync properly before closing the Mac or by not syncing on the iPad when I opened Scrivener on it.

On a Mac the Dropbox app manages the syncing in the background whereas on an iDevice it must be done manually from inside Scrivener. As long as you remember this and act accordingly there will be no sync problems.

Regarding all the three points above, isn’t Scrivener supposed to be—and marketed as being—compatible on different platforms (Mac and ios/iPhone)? Why is Scrivener ios actively marketed and sold to unsuspecting consumers if or when these very basic and integral functionalities are unavailable in the ios Scrivener? What is the purpose of ios Scrivener? Is it really meant to be just a document viewer (read: a toy)? It is annoying to realize this after paying for a product that is marketed as a tool for professional use. Why not be open about this and honestly disclose in the AppStore description that this product is “primitive” and doesn’t function the way it is marketed?

Please point out the spot on our site where we claim that iOS Scrivener has the same functionality as the desktop version, so that we can fix it.

Every function listed in the AppStore description of iOS Scrivener is in fact present in the product. If you choose to see this functionality as “primitive,” you are of course free to choose a different tool.


Scrivener is compatible across all three platforms. Projects are portable from one to the other.

iOS Scrivener is not as feature-rich as the desktop versions, but it’s far from “primitive”. If there’s a “toy” involved, it’s not the Scrivener app. iOS itself is quite limited compared to Mac and Windows due to smaller memories, slower processors, strict security measures for phones, and a relative dearth of helper apps and frameworks.

Some users have written multiple books entirely on iPhone or iPad with Scrivener.

See attached screen capture from Literature and Latte. Looking at the web page as a whole, potential customers are lead to believe that Scrivener projects that have been created on a Mac version can be operated on an iPhone or an iPad. Did I miss something?

As to the “primitive” nature of the iOS version, I was only referencing one of the replies that was posted earlier on this thread. Nothing on AppStore or on Literature and Latte’s web page appears to suggest that the iOS version is a significantly downgraded version of the Mac version, and that users cannot, for example, compile an e-book, compile a manuscript that contains the title page (at least without messing up the folder structure in the iOS or doing some other somersaults) or to modify those basic details in the title page that can be modified in the Mac version.j

Which is in fact the case. I do it myself constantly.

Silverdragon is not an L&L employee, and their views do not reflect official L&L policy.

iOS Scrivener is not a “downgraded version” of Mac Scrivener. It is a separate application, designed from the ground up for the iOS platform. Every feature that it claims to have is in fact present in the application.

Regarding the Compile function specifically, the App Store description of the product says:


Thank you. Yes, i am well aware that the developer praises the iOS version and its purported capabilities highly and without any reservations on AppStore and on Literature and Latte’s web page. It led to my decision to purchase the product. But this thread serves as a clear demonstration of just how surprisingly limited and downgraded those basic capabilities are. The marketing information that is currently posted on both AppStore and on Literature and Latte’s web page without any disclaimers whatsoever appears to be conveniently silent on the various deficiencies that have been discussed in this thread (and possibly some other deficiencies as well—I’ve only spent a couple of evenings using the iOS version and wondering if I’m supposed to be be able to perform roughly the same things on the iOS version that I can perform on my Mac or not and why basic things can be so difficult or impossible). That was my observation . Surely you must understand that it doesn’t have to be like this. As a paying customer, I shouldn’t have to find out all this by being forced to google for solutions to surprising problems and apparently lacking or hard-to-find capabilities and to find out all this with great effort by browsing the threads in Scrivener’s support pages.

The App Store description and the tutorial materials supplied with iOS Scrivener are entirely accurate: every feature that they describe is in fact present in the application. We have not claimed anything that we do not actually deliver. Nor do we ask you to pay for non-existent functionality: iOS Scrivener costs half as much as Mac Scrivener does.

Still, we are sorry that iOS Scrivener does not meet your expectations. While we do not have the ability to refund iOS App Store purchases, Apple is generally willing to do so in these situations.

Wishing you all success with your writing.


I did not mean to imply that iOS Scrivener is broken. Its compile is limited compared to Mac or Windows compile. If you want certain functions (ePub output) a user needs to use third party iOS apps to achieve them. Other functions (using a front or back matter folder) are not accommodated.