Work lost when downloading from the Cloud

I saved my Scrivener project in my iCloud drive so I could work on it from my laptop whilst away (I usually use my desktop at home).

When I loaded it up to my desktop again I realised that it hadn’t automatically updated from the cloud so I saved the old project on my desktop to the cloud using ‘Save As’ and gave it a new name (let’s call this ‘A’). I then saved the new project to the cloud from my laptop using ‘Save As’ and a new filename (let’s call this ‘B’). I then manually got the cloud to update the files in Finder (on my desktop and then, I think, I did it on the laptop) When B was still up on my laptop it had all the new work I’d added but when I tried to open it on the desktop it said there was another copy open somewhere so I shut down the laptop copy.

When B loaded onto the desktop it had the new files I’d added but the text was missing, the photo images I’d added as documents were also blank. When I re-opened B on the laptop the files and pictures were also now missing. When I tracked down the backup I found that the only ones I had on the laptop were the ones from today and therefore had the same problem (it’s set to backup only when I close the project and I didn’t close the laptop version until today).

Help!!! Can you think of any reason why the text would have disappeared? Unfortunately, I have no other backup of this work so any help at all you can give with tracing where the data might of gone would be hugely appreciated.

PS The laptop is running vsn 3.0.2 and the desktop vsn 3.0.1.

First, go to Scrivener->Preferences->Backup. You’ll find a button to open your backups folder in Finder. Drag all of those backups someplace safe, where iCloud drive isn’t doing anything.

Now that you’ve got that done, you should have at least one copy of your project that’s in good shape, I hope.

Stop using iCloud for your work; I don’t think it’s reliable for use with a Scrivener project. If you want to sync, see this article: … c-services

P.S. Update Scrivener to the latest on your computers. There’s no reason to hold back from updating.

Thanks for the help rdale. I’ve followed your steps but as you can see above, none of the backups have the missing information so there is not an option to extract it from there.

I’ve tried the ‘show package contents’ option as well and looked in the data but it’s not there either. In the guide you gave me the link to it says:

'The key thing to look for are files which have had a parenthetical statement added to their names, which will state something to the effect of the file being conflicted, ’ But I don’t see this when I look at the package contents.

What I don’t understand is this: the new data was there when I chose ‘save as’ on the laptop version (and this was saved to the cloud). When I loaded it up on the desktop the new data had gone - as this had a completely new filename there was no synching necessary, so where did the data go?

I’m sorry you weren’t able to recover your data from Scrivener backups. If you’re using Time Machine, and it was backing up while you wrote, you might be able to recover the project from that backup…

That’s most likely not a feature of iCloud drive. Dropbox is careful to retain copies of conflicted files. I’m not so sure about iCloud’s conflicts management.

My guess… and it’s just a guess, is that the Save-As function just copies the original project’s files and folders, as would the Finder if you were using it to create a copy of the project. If, at the time you save it to another location, the files are already missing from within the project bundle, then that’s what you’re going to get with the new copy too.

iCloud Drive does not always uplod and download all files, like Dropbox do. And there is no reliable indicator for the iCloud Drive showing clearly if everything is updated or not.
Use Dropbox and you won’t have any problems.

It is impossible to know for certain what happened, but most likely, as others above have stated, iCloud did not fully sync your project. It is also possible that there were multiple syncs, and your latest good project version was overlaid with an old and/or damaged project.

The bottom line is that iCloud syncing seems to have damaged your project. If you didn’t make a good backup before turning iCloud loose, you have likely lost that work.

The laptop was the last place where the latest project existed. From your listing of the steps you took,it also seems that you renamed the laptop version at some point. My recommendation then would be to search again, on the laptop, for zipped project backups, looking with the old project name as well as the new name.

The other thing you can try is to go into your project folder on the laptop and begin to open individual .rtf files, in the hope that your writing is one or more of them. That is a long shot, but sometimes people with corrupted projects get lucky with the .rtf files.

But the backups are your best hope.

Good luck,

Thank you rdale, link and JimRac. ‘Regrets I had a few…’ Unfortunately, since I stopped using the laptop as my main computer I haven’t got an external hard drive set up to back it up with Time Machine. I have tried going through the .rtf files JimRac but alas no luck there. Looks like I will have to suck it up and learn my lessons for next time.

This would be my advice as well. Scrivener would have made automatic backups on both systems, so it’s definitely worth checking both.

You can also use Spotlight to search for text that you would expect to find in the missing material.


I was ‘burned’ as well.

For years I’ve backed up to Dropbox, but moved my latest Scrivner project to iCloud recently. The Scrivner sync on Dropbox across multiple devices is unreliable and the IOS sync doesn’t work well either, so I thought I’d move entirely into the Mac eco system and it worked well,

Then all my latest work from last night was not there when I opened it this morning.

I’m speculating iCloud automatically synced in the ‘other’ direction, rewriitng the iCloud save over my the latest draft on my desktop. To add to the woe of this Author’s Tragic Tale, my Time Machine backup had come disconnected and I hadn’t noticed it.

Now I want to move b/u back to Dropbox and I need to make sure iCloud is out of the loop.

My general suggestion is choose a device and don’t share projects across multiple devices. Not worth losing writing, especially in 1st draft.

While I sympathize with your loss–no way to say it other than ‘lost work sucks’–I’ve been syncing flawlessly via DropBox between an iPad, iPhone, and PC since the day iOS scrivener was released nearly two years ago. Not a word lost.

That said, I do believe some folks, perhaps many folks, jump into syncing too casually, without a real understanding of the risks & processes involved. Or for that matter, without a solid backup system in place.

So perhaps I agree with you after all! 8)