Usefulness of the iOS app?

Hi Everyone, I have Scrivener on Mac and currently backup to Icloud. I’m fairly mobile and have been thinking about getting scrivener on iOS but I understand I can’t use Icloud. I really don’t want to use Dropbox because I already pay for cloud storage through iCloud. Am I stuck just using Scrivener on Mac? What do fellow Mac users do? Thanks for your help.

We’ve had lengthy posts from the devs about why it uses Dropbox. It comes down to other cloud services not behaving well with the Scrivener File/Folder format used on Mac and iOS.

If you want to avoid cloud, you can carry a dongle/USB stick and work from that on all of your devices - something I did for years.

Another way might be to copy the cloud file, from OneDrive or something, then work on the copy, before copying it back. That way the whole thing gets moved at once and shouldn’t cause any editing issues. Uncertain how that would work, but someone may have tried it and be able to report.

Dropbox is free (currently) as long as you only log in on three machines, which is why I use it., One Mac, One PC laptop, One iPad.

Actually, the iOS version of Scrivener doesn’t even count against that limit.

As long as you don’t install the Dropbox client on your iOS device. If you do that, it will take up one of the three free slots. However, as dirkhaun says, Scrivener for iOS includes the necessary Dropbox libraries within the application, so you do not need the iOS Dropbox client in order for Scrivener to do its thing.

I use Mac, Windows, and iOS. What I do is a variant of what Teriodin describes, but I use OneDrive and Dropbox (although you can substitute iCloud for where I am using OneDrive):

  1. On my PC and Windows, I have the Dropbox and OneDrive clients installed, so I have my “Dropbox folder” and my “OneDrive folder.” I am using a free Dropbox account.
  2. I have the OneDrive client installed on my iOS device. I do not have the Dropbox client installed on iOS, as doing so would take one of my three free device slots.
  3. I save my active projects to Dropbox\Apps\Scrivener. This is the location I open and edit these projects from on the PC and Mac. Scrivener on iOS syncs this location by default and sees all of the projects I have there. I make sure to wait for Dropbox to fully sync before I open a project on any device, and after I close on any device. Each project is only open on one device at a time. In iOS Scrivener, I manually scan the directory before and after working on each project to ensure the changes get written back to the cloud.
  4. Once a project becomes inactive, I move it (on my PC or Mac) from Dropbox\Apps\Scrivener to OneDrive\WritingArchive and wait for Dropbox and OneDrive to fully sync the change. This folder is the archive of all of my projects that are currently inactive. (I use this to keep my active projects folder on Dropbox as small as possible, which makes sync times faster.) Conversely, if an inactive project becomes active, I move it (on my PC or Mac) from OneDrive\WritingArchive to Dropbox\Apps\Scrivener and wait for Dropbox and OneDrive to fully sync the change.
  5. I have a OneDrive\WritingBackups folder. Scrivener on Mac and PC are set to create an unlimited number of backups there, as a single ZIP file, with the date/time stamp in the file name. (I have 1TB of storage on OneDrive, so keeping things here indefinitely doesn’t affect my Dropbox quota, AND allows me to manually find my latest backups if Dropbox is down.)

Most of the time, this is very automatic for me and I don’t have to think. I simply make sure Dropbox and OneDrive are up-to-date, open the active project in Scrivener, do my work, close the project, and wait for the sync clients to show they are up-to-date. On iOS, I open Scrivener, sync the directory, open the desired project and work on it, then close the project and sync the directory again before I close Scrivener.

If I ever need to access my backups for any reason, I can do so from any machine (using the Files app on iOS to move projects around.)

You can use iCloud (with caution), but it’s a manual process … maybe not as manual as some other solutions listed above. Any cloud service recognized by the iOS Files app will do. Be sure to allow plenty of time for syncs to complete, notice immediately if anything seems off, and know what to do if that happens (restore from a recent zip backup).

We’ve had some other users talk about Cirrus for the MacOS side to monitor iCloud sync status – is there anything on the iOS side to help do the same?

Not that I know of. It’s an awkward process at best, anyway.