Which new iPad Pro?

I’d be very grateful for any advice on iPad Pros. Has anybody used Scrivener for iOS on the new iPad Pro 10.5 yet? If so, are there any major compromises involved, compared with the 12.9? I am seriously considering buying an iPad Pro, now that Scrivener and DevonThink have top-notch iOS versions. As my Mac laptop is getting long-in-the-tooth, I want to do more writing on iOS, and this seems feasible, given also that iOS 11 is on the horizon, with its Mac-like features. Additionally, I like the idea of an iPad Pro plus Apple Pencil for proof-reading.

Given that the technical specs of the two iPads are now virtually identical, it seems to me that the broad choice is between a larger, more expensive canvas that is more unwieldy, and a less expensive, more portable device with a smaller screen (probably meaning that “applications split-screen” is compressed and of less value, and possibly also that the Apple Smart Keyboard is less easy to use - that seemed to be true of the old Pro 9.7 when I tried it out) .

But for me, the specific advantages or disadvantages of the two sizes of iPad as they affect my use of Scrivener could be decisive. I’d be most grateful for any thoughts that anybody might have.

I got a 10.5 to replace a 9.7 Air and the verdict so far is that the screen is a bit bigger and it’s faster :slight_smile: (I probably wouldn’t have upgraded but I have some earmarked funds at work for tech upgrades.). I have a Bluetooth keyboard which I’m happy with, so not going to get the smart keyboard.

I have noticed the additional ounce of weight, though, and I’d never want the bulk and weight of the larger screen.

Depending on just how old your Mac laptop is, the ability to run Duet should be a consideration - a lot of my iPad usage while writing is as a second monitor, and 9.7/10.5 is fine for that.

Thanks, derick.

I have the big 12" iPad Pro (and a 9.7 as well) and the big screen is fantastic for reading, and as an extra display alongside my 2015 Macbook, using Duet. Heavy? Yes, but compared to my 2002 iBook it’s lightweight. :slight_smile:

Thanks, lunk.

One further note - just got back from my first trip with the 10.5 and I am impressed at how much easier it is to type on the onscreen keyboard with the iPad on an airplane tray table than with the 9.7 . It’s less than a centimeter wider, but it’s enough for the key spacing to reduce a lot of errors and speed up typing.

Also, I was working in split screen quite a bit – I found I’d use split screen to copy & paste (from PDF Expert to 1Writer in this case) but generally found the half screen still to be too small to write in easily. But it’s very easy to flip back and forth from one to the other.

A note about keyboards. I usually use the 12" in portrait mode (like just now), but for serious writing landscape mode is better, giving me a 12" wide keyboard. So derick’s comment about 10.5" vs 9.7" seems valid

Thanks, both.

lunk, when you use your 12.9 iPad Pro in portrait mode, are you using the onscreen keyboard?

I only use the onscreen. I use my Macbook if I am to do serious writing.

Think about your usage scenarios before you decide that the size doesn’t matter. I have an iPad Mini, and wouldn’t even consider taking an iPad Pro in most of the situations where I use it.


Katherine is right.
My wife usually prefers her 7.9” Mini because it fits in her handbag.
I usually prefer the 12.9” Pro because I have a larger shoulderbag.

Well, in the end I bought the 12.9. Of course, although I tried a 10.5 in an Apple Store, I had no long-term experience of the smaller model. But even so, I’m really glad I went for the 12.9. I’ve teamed it with a Brydge keyboard, and the typing experience is pleasant. I write on it with an Apple Pencil, and I enjoy this. And, perhaps most importantly for me, I use the Pro with the Pencil to edit and proof-read a lot of PDFs; the almost-A4 size of the screen is perfect for this, and the medium is so much better in almost every way than dealing with paper. You can get a feel of the visual appearance of the pages, whilst spotting typos is still easy, but you don’t have to lug around a load of pulped lumber.

Yes, the Pro is, of course, heavier than the alternative, but not disastrously so. In my shoulder-bag it’s nothing like as unwieldy as my first laptop of nearly thirty years ago, a Toshiba with a monstrous battery.

So thanks to those who contributed to this and other similar threads on this subject. I learnt a great deal from your experiences.

Good day all

I just joined the forum…one hair short of yanking that out, homeschooling two of my three kids and trying to get back with writing, Per sounding redundant post wise — I purchased Scrivener, (for Mac & Windows) and then got heavy into homeschooling here. My writing took a back seat. So here I am learning the ropes for this app—double ugh! I skirted around buying a Mac laptop and jumped in and purchased a iPad Pro 12.9 and maxed it out (per my first experience with iPad, lesson learnt) opting for making the iPad it — my laptop. Got the Apple keyboard , etc.

So I’m trying to skirt around and logically talk myself out of why I shouldn’t buy a Mac laptop. We are a total Apple household for obvious perks. Anyway, I have the Scrivener app loaded but I noticed a BIG difference in feature functions—they aren’t the same or are they?

I noticed someone talking about “split screens” and “duet.” Can you absolutely do without one or the other? Still learning the ropes here — what am I missing? I really hate to think about purchasing yet another Apple device BUT, the I can’t drag my Mac Mini around with the fully loaded Scrivener app on it!

Best solution suggestions please!

Thank you!
PS: Other lesson learned, no more NEW expensive Apple purchases! Buying refurbished from a Mac Store!

Welcome to Scrivener and its forums, MamaLIB.

Re “split screens” and “duet”. You can do without both. “Split screens” is a feature of the latest versions of iOS, the iPad operating system, that enables you to run two iOS applications side-by-side on the same screen. So you could run Scrivener for iOS (please note, not Scrivener for Mac or Scrivener for Windows - they are different), alongside, say, a photo in the Apple Photos app that is important for the setting of the story you’re writing. I’ve not used the feature (but I like to try to keep things as simple as possible).

Duet is an application for iOS which, as far as I know, allows you to run your iPad as a second screen for your desktop or laptop computer. Some find this useful. I have never tried it.

As far as starting on an iPad or a laptop is concerned, my preference would be to start using Scrivener on a laptop (or desktop) first, if you can. The version of Scrivener for Macs is very comprehensive and comes with an excellent tutorial that will help you first of all to understand the “philosophy” of Scrivener (which is not the same as that of Word or Pages, say), as well as how to use it. Equipped with this understanding, it will be easier to for you to start using Scrivener for iOS on the iPad.

Scrivener for iOS on the iPad or iPhone also has an excellent built-in tutorial. So if you decide to start using Scrivener on the Ipad from the outset, do go through this tutorial before you begin to write. Scrivener is logical and straightforward when you understand the principles behind it, but you do need to “get” them to make the best use of it.

Thank you for your quick response. I started on my Mac Mini. I just wanted to make my work portable. So I purchased the apps for both Mac & Windows. I have a small Windows Netbook and tablet. I wanted something with a nice full screen — tada— my iPad Pro 12.9 maxed out. I’m trying to skate around not buying a laptop. I had purchased the Mac Mini (not my best Apple product) in the event I was going away on a retreat I could take that and work on it. However, I think I am skating around the inevitable—buying a Mac laptop.

Scrivener hasn’t been the most user friendly watching their tutorials. Taking time to watch them now. Looks like I have some more exploring with how to use what I have already.

Thank you for your response.

@Mamalib, I’m going to address portability strategies, and add a section about syncing strategy.

PART 1: Portability

I had the Mac mini + iPad combo for years–finally got a Macbook Air when the mini died… But as to how I schlepped Before MacBook, read on.

  1. Using iOS Scrivener: You’re right, iOS Scrivener is short on features compared to the Mac version. It’s fine for composition, OK but not great for organising, and the compile features are a bare minimum. See the syncing section below for details on how to make this work. Note that you must have Mac Scriv 2.8.x or better for this to work. If you’re going to sync with Windows as well, don’t upgrade Mac Scrivener beyond v. 2.9.x.
  2. Using a Remote Desktop service: If you’re going to be someplace that you know has excellent WiFi, or your iPad has unlimited cellular service and you’re going to be in a place with excellent connectivity, this can work. I used Splashtop for years. You’ll need to buy the Splashtop Personal app for iOS, subscribe to the “anywhere connect service” ($17/year) and download/install their free server app for Mac. Once you get it working (try it in your living room, to get the bugs out) you’ll be able to log in to your Mac remotely and, well, just use your iPad as if it were your Mac. It will act like your Mac, you’ll have a way to simulate a mouse, and everything will be stored on your mac just as it would if you were working at home–no syncing needed. The cons of this method are–will you have that excellent connectivity? If not, remote desktop can run real slow and be a pain.
  3. Schlepping your Mac Mini plus iPad: (N.B. This is where Duet comes into it.) The Mac Mini itself is not very heavy. An iPad isn’t very heavy. A cheap bluetooth folding keyboard isn’t very heavy. If you’re going someplace where you KNOW you’re going to be able to plug in your Mac Mini, you can do this: Get the Duet Display app for iPad, and download the Duet server app for Mac. Connect your iPad to your Mac, Set up Duet so that the iPad acts as a second display for the Mac. In your Mac System Preferences :: Security :: General be sure to UNCHECK the “Disable automatic login” item. Now you can use your iPad as the ONLY screen for your Mac Mini. Set up the cheap folding bluetooth keyboard, and you’re ready to schlepp your Mac Mini to your remote location. Cons of this setup: you MUST have a place to plug in the Mac Mini, and it’s about 2 lbs. heavier than carrying the iPad alone. Pros: no syncing needed. No connectivity, either.

PART 2; Syncing strategy

Each version of Scrivener also has a tutorial project. On the Mac (and presumably Windows), it’s available from the Help menu. On iOS, it’s at the bottom of the projects screen.

The intention is that you open the tutorial project, read it. and hands-on follow the directions inside, making the directed changes to the tutorial project itself. In the process, you’ll learn how Scrivener works (on each platform) and learn the basic vocabulary which will help you ask questions that other folks will understand (it helped me, anyway!) Don’t worry that you’ll “mess up” the tutorial project. You can always make a fresh copy and start over.

That said, only the iOS Scrivener tutorial project deals with sync. The video on how to set up Scrivener synchronisation between Mac and iOS is the best intro I’ve come across. https://literatureandlatte.com/learn-and-support/video-tutorials/scrivener-for-ios-sync-demonstration

So, for Windows and for Mac, you MUST have the Dropbox app installed on each of your computers. You must login on all three devices with the SAME Dropbox account. All the projects you want to sync with your other devices must be saved in one folder within your Dropbox folder (preferably /dropbox/apps/scrivener ). It’s best if ONLY the projects you want to sync are in that folder, and NOTHING else.

  • To start the process, let’s assume you’ve set up Dropbox as above, and you’ve moved your active Scrivener projects to dropbox. You’ve been working on your Mac Mini. Now, you must close Scrivener completely when you finish work on Mac (or on Windows). You must wait until the Dropbox app (in your menu bar(Mac) or sys tray (Win)) reports “up to date.” Now you may put your Mac to sleep.
  • If you want to work on Windows next, when you open your machine and log in, wait until the Dropbox app in the sys tray reports “up to date”. Now the changes from Mac have been downloaded to your windows machine. Go ahead and open a project as you normally would on windows. When you’re finished, close Scrivener completely and wait for Dropbox to report “up to date” before sleeping or shutting down your machine.
  • Let’s suppose that next you want to work on your iPad. You must open Scrivener and start sync on iOS (it may start automatically) and wait for it to finish. This may take some time if you have a big project(s) to sync. Once that’s done (you won’t be able do to anything else but “cancel” until it is) you may open your project(s) on iPad and edit them. When you’re finished, navigate back to the Projects screen and manually sync. When the dialog box is done, you’re ready to move to your next machine.
  • Finally, let’s finish the circle by moving back to your Mac, Again, wait until the Dropbox app in the menu bar reports “up to date.” Then open your project(s) in Mac Scrivener, and start editing.
  • Repeat as needed. :smiley:

I’d suggest trying this with a new project that doesn’t have anything you’d miss in it–probably the tutorial project. Yes, syncing is not user-friendly to set up, but becomes pretty automatic once you’re used to it.

The above will work with:

  • Any version of iOS Scrivener
  • Windows Scrivener v. 1.9.7 and above.
  • Mac Scrivener v. 2.8 and above.

A note about Win Scriv and Mac Scriv compatibility. It sounds like you haven’t updated your Mac to Scrivener 3.0.x. If you want Mac and Win synchronisation, don’t update Mac to anything past 2.9.x.

Wooooow what great info! Thank you! My Mac Mini was purchased in 2011. With such disappointment—it’s slow! I did max the memory out to 8gb. Contemplating whether to get a SSD or leave it for one of the kids, or just bite the bullet and treat myself to refurbished Mac Air. After paying off my 6s and all the crazy Apple upgrades, I ended up having to replace the new paid off cell for a refurbished upgrade. I will never buy a new anything for Apple after this lesson.

You’ve given me much to think about as I explore options. Thank you!

Alas, poor Mac Mini 2011! I remember her, Horatio…

But seriously, I just tried the “ipad as only monitor” thing for the first time in… quite a while. If you’ve upgraded to High Sierra, it’s probably not going to work (High Sierra update #4 broke Duet big time. DuetDisplay have released a workaround, but it seems that using an iPad as the only monitor was a casualty.) :frowning:

[EDIT] I haven’t bought new Mac tech for about 3 years now–refurbished all the way!. I’ve been very happy with my MacBook Air 11, but its screen is too small for many users. It works well for me by setting the dock and the menu bar to hide automatically in System Preferences, so that I have all the screen space of a MacBook Air 13 (the only difference is that the screen in the MBA 13 is taller.) Just as you say, every time I buy less than maxed I regret it.

Me thinks I am going for a treat-me Mac Air 13” refurbish. Apple has been a good investment thus far. I think I will not upgrade Windows and go for upgrading to Scrivener 3.0 for Mac. If anything, my kids will have something to use, a decent desktop.

After deleting and cleaning up ALL my gazillion-and-one backup scrivener files — I finally was able to sync my works in progress to my iOS iPad. I am the queen of a gazillion-and-one backups and feel sorry for my kids (lol) when I kick the bucket! I am notorious for multiple duplicate files. When you have experience the computer dingo eating up all your prized works in progress—you take extra steps to protect. Anyway, their video tutorials are a bear for clear directions. But I finally got things synced.

I may invest in the suggested apps you mentioned; and because I homeschool, I have extra to-go stuff to insure I have reliable internet connection. Thanks once again.

Congrats to both Hugh and MamaLib on your new tools! MamaLib, you might want to check out Best Buy for sales on the MacBook Air. Recently they’ve been going for about $700 US. I’ve bought many refurbished Macs and other Apple gear, and all have worked perfectly, but at those prices, a new Air from BB might be even cheaper.

I now do most of my Scrivening on a 2015 MB Pro (acquired during a similar BB sale for about the price of an Air at the time), and really like it, but I happily used Scrivener on a couple of Airs before that and it worked a treat. Another advantage of the Air is that you might someday acquire a larger display to use with it (which can come in handy in Scrivener, though it’s not necessary), and you won’t need a dongle if you get one that connects via standard USB.

The ability to connect to a larger display is the main reason I do most of my Scrivening on my Mac rather than on my 9.7” iPad Pro, although I love the portability of it when I’m at the library or reporting in the field or on the train or traveling, and Scrivener for iOS (coupled with a Bluetooth keyboard) really isn’t bad at all for most of my work. If I were primarily Scrivening on an iPad like Hugh, I’d certainly follow his example and get the larger 12.9” version. I expect that’s what will happen to me when my MB Pro becomes outdated. By then, maybe I’ll even be able to connect an iPad to an external display! And import files into a Scrivener project en masse rather than singly. Those are two of the major factors keeping me on the Mac. Anyway, happy Scrivening to you both!