Why I don't trust Dropbox and what the Scrivener developer can do about it.

iCloud Documents and Desktop is a whole other issue. I consider it very risky for any data that you care about.
derflounder.wordpress.com/2016/ … -the-ugly/


Similar indicators are available for all documents stored in iCloud Drive, even with iCloud Documents and Desktop turned off. The indicators seem to be reliable. I’ve used iCloud Drive for over a year to store and share all my Scrivener projects. No problems, so far.

Where are they? On a per-file basis in Finder, or an overall indicator in the menu bar? If it’s only a per-file indicator, I would consider it insufficient because that would mean you have to personally keep track of everything that you might have changed.


First, “iCloud Desktop and Documents” (iDD) is a terrible way to sync Scrivener projects with another computer*; it only downloads new files (generated on another computer) on demand, as you try to open them in a Finder window, or through the standard file opening methods that most other software uses. Scrivener doesn’t ask the OS for all 1,230 files in my project ever time I open that project; it just loads a handful of them from the hard drive to get up-and-running, trusting that all the rest are there for immediate opening as needed. If you have moved to another computer that’s syncing using “iDD”, that means when you click on a document in the binder, that document may not have any of the latest changes to that individual file synced to your computer; you’ll either open an old one, or that file (being new since you were last at that computer) won’t be there at all. That spells disaster as Scrivener is expecting your project to be there before it tries to open it, and there’s no way for Scrivener to ask the OS to refresh it before Scrivener tries to open it.

So long as you’re at one computer, and iDnD might not be an issue so long as it doesn’t try to delete local copies of files that haven’t been accessed in a while; since Scrivener projects consist of hundreds, maybe even thousands of files internally, that means the contents of those files might seem to vanish from Scrivener’s perspective. But I don’t trust that feature to treat my Scrivener projects properly, especially as I move from my MB Air to my Mac Mini.

As for iCloud Drive, try an experiment using a Scrivener project. Modify the contents of a document in a scrivener project that’s being synced with iCloud drive, but don’t have the Finder open and/or visible on the folder containing your project. This is common for people who just use the File->Recent projects menu, or let Scrivener open the last project(s) that were open when you quit the application.

Without the Finder window open to that project, how do you tell if it’s synced? Also, even if it is visible, does a change to a the text in a single document result in an icon next to the project? Internally, the text you write is stored in files that are within their own folder, and that’s inside another folder, which in turn is inside another folder. Does iCloud show sync icons for files that are several folders deep? Also, how quickly does a change trigger a sync? What happens if you change a big file that is already syncing?

In short: it’s always more complicated than you might think. As a long-time denizen of these forums, I can assure you that the developer (“KB” aka Kieth) has done the research, contacted Apple directly, and has done everything he can to ensure the integrity of your projects. When you see a caution against a given service, it’s not due to some arbitrary decision on his part.

[size=85]* I don’t pay attention to recent developments in this stuff, because I barely use iCloud Drive, and refuse to turn on iCloud Desktop and Documents because I want all my files on my hard drive at all times, even if I’m short of drive space. So this issue may have been resolved since I became aware of it.[/size]

In Finder.

Can sort by iCloud status, so it is very easy to see if anything is waiting to upload or download. If, for a transient interest only, you leave finder open while working in Scrivener, you can see the constant saves being made and uploaded.

iCloud Icons.jpg

Thanks for the advice and points to consider.

I don’t use iCloud Desktop and Documents: I linked only to show the type of icons available.

I need to check Finder to see if everything has synced, although I have grown to trust it, unless putting the Mac to sleep. I check before sleeping, as I used to do with Dropbox.

Yes, a change to a single file (even a Scrivener autosave) means the icon changes to show the update being made.

Yes, icons for every single file, however many folders deep.

A manual save or an autosave triggers an immediate sync.

A change to a big file that is already syncing just syncs again.

Yes, Keith says iCloud Drive is perfectly safe to use…

literatureandlatte.com/foru … 05#p244405

…and in my experience, he is right.

That doesn’t help when iCloud no longer updates anything. To me it seems that i loud has become a bit too smart. When problems arise, not even Apple can cure it.

Luckily, I’ve not experienced that.

I have, since mid april. I even tested a clean install on one of my Mac:s, resulting in not having access to any iCloud files at all from that computer.
Dropbox works perfectly…

Wish I had a solution to offer. But, sadly…

That’s not entirely true. If you turn off “optimize storage”, it will download files as soon as they’re available, not just when the user tries to open them.

It’s not a matter of the icon on the file, it’s a matter of not knowing which files might be syncing, and having to view those files yourself in the Finder. Apple should have an indicator in the menu bar that shows the overall status of the system, just like they do for Time Machine, WiFi and so on. It’s no less important than these things, to know that if you switch your computer off right now, something somewhere isn’t going to be up to date.

I understand there is a sidebar icon. I don’t remember the last time I ever used a sidebar in a Finder window, but I’m probably a bit weird in that regard. It still means you have to have Finder in the foreground with a window open that shows the sidebar and the iCloud entry added to the sidebar. Even with these default settings, it suffers from the out of sight out of mind problem.

What I will say for iCloud though is that its conflict resolution is a bit nicer for package formats like Scrivener. Rather than duplicating internal files, it asks you which package to keep from which system, or to keep both and sort it out yourself.

Yes, a menu-bar icon would be useful.

You don’t need the sidebar open in Finder as each iCloud folder/file has its own status icon (if enabled). I put all my Scrivener projects in a master folder on iCloud Drive. Any project (buried) in that folder will cause the master folder icon to change and update, so it is as simple as Dropbox, IMO, save for the lack of a menu-bar icon (and I am happy to open Finder to check that sync is complete before I put my Mac to sleep).

Dropbox has frozen while syncing in the past. I have yet to have a stall with iCloud Drive (tempting fate). Both work very well in general. As I don’t use iOS, I don’t need Dropbox for my Scrivener projects.

I think this menu bar item may only work with iCloud Drive, but I’ve no idea since I use DropBox for syncing Scriv projects.

At $2.99 USD it’s not a lot to lose if it doesn’t work as you expect, so may be worth a punt.


NB: I’ve not used it myself so try it at your own risk.

The Finder Status Bar also gives a clear and quick and accurate overview of what iCloud is doing.

macobserver.com/wp-content/ … 00x770.jpg

iCloud Drive has worked well with Scrivener for me (Mac to Mac). It’s been several months now with zero problems. I don’t use ‘Optimize Mac Storage’ or ‘Desktop & Documents Folders’.

In addition to what’s been posted, you can also monitor iCloud Drive’s activity at Finder’s Status Bar and in Icon View. See here:
osxdaily.com/2017/06/22/watch-ic … gress-mac/

For quick access to iCloud Drive’s folder, rather than enter it at Finder’s preference––New Finder window shows––I’ve added iCloud Drive app to the Dock. See here:
osxdaily.com/2017/12/29/add-iclo … -dock-mac/

How robust is iCloud for Windows? Given the…stability…of past Apple software for Windows (not to mention life span; Apple is the only major company to kill Windows software faster than Microsoft these days), I would not want to trust Scrivener docs being synced cross-platform on iCloud. That’s where Dropbox retains the advantage, IMHO, despite all of its many flaws.

Thanks, And this,

There is a very nice iCloud Drive utility that has recently been released by the wonderful eclecticlight:

eclecticlight.co/2018/05/19/cir … neral-use/

It allows you to check status and functioning of iCloud drive files.

My experience running both Dropbox and iCloud (not on the same file obviously) is is that iCloud is far less reliable. Even with the fact Dropbox is totally blocked in China and I have to go through a VPN, sync always occurs immediately and is totally dependable. iCloud (250GB paid option, optimize storage and desktop and documents OFF) infuriatingly syncs sometimes immediately, sometimes it takes minutes, or occasionally just doesn’t bother! Cirrus hopefully should help identify what the actual individual status is going forwards. But (as much as I dislike the company itself) I will grudgingly keep renewing my Dropbox annual subscription until I find a replacement that is anywhere nearly as reliable and ubiquitously supported as Dropbox is.

That looks rather more useful than the one I suggested upthread.

Exactly my experience. I’ve used DropBox for a long time and never had any problems with it. I’m fortunate that in DropBox early days I was able to build up a reasonable storage quota via recommendations and since I only use it for live projects am able to manage without a subscription.

iCloud does have the advantage of lower storage tiers at lower prices but its quirkiness and unreliability kill it for me. DropBox and for that matter, Box and Sync, do what it says on the package although neither of the latter are recommended for use with live Scriv projects. iCloud seems designed more to push you towards supporting Apple’s policy of selling devices with minimal local storage, everything else being stored in the cloud.