Working on the Same File on 2 different Macs?

Apologies if this has been addressed before, but I’m new to Scrivener, loving it, using it, and have my entire Graduate Thesis in it now due in 3 days. My time-limited searches have not revealed all I hope to know before I need to turn in my 120 pages. Took me ages to find the setting to enlarge fonts on the corkboard (because they’re called “index cards,” I finally learned), and I don’t have any more rabbit holes I can afford to fall down.

Using Apple’s iCloud Drive service, is it easy enough to put a copy of the project I’m working on there and bounce back and forth between 2 macs throughout the day and work on it?

Is there a safe way to do this? Or does this risk corruption?

I’m currently storing my backup there on the desktop Mac mini at home (latest version of Cataline and Scrivener 3.2.3) and have just set up my MacBook Air (Monterey and Scrivener 3.2.3) to do the same.

But can they share the same primary file without colliding or causing more trouble than it’s worth?

It’s too difficult to track separate versions, so if I can’t do this safely, I won’t. Just wondered if the program was designed with this in mind. iCloud Drive is pretty seamless and for simple storage and access, much easier to use since both Macs are tied into my same Apple ID.

Much obliged for any wisdom here. I’ll do my best to zip in and out and check for answers over the remaining hours on my project!


It is not safe to work on the same project using two computers simultaneously. But it doesn’t sound like you’re doing that.

Best practices for using Scrivener with cloud services can be found here:

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Ah, thanks for the link. Sounds risky unless you’re religious about closing the project each time. I’m surprised no one has addressed iCloud Drive syncing since that’s more seamless on a Mac. I kind of let DropBox fall by the wayside as it started to gobble processor power in the background all the time, even though I barely used it.

Interesting. I also “hardly use Dropbox” (just for synching Scrivener projects with which I’m working on using in recent weeks). I notice nothing about Dropbox performance. While I suspect you might not want to be bothered to try, I would delete the Dropbox app, and re-install it. Also (last resport), you can keep Dropbox off except when you want it to sync.

Re iCloud, I find that it has a mind of it’s own and sometimes works, but sometimes is cranky. Just seems as though Apple might be throttling it when there are larger files involved. Never really investigated, but there have been times when I’ve been disappointed that the files not delivered. Probably just me.

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I’m a Mac Tech in recovery, so I still have a lot of the software tools of the trade. One of them which I can’t live without, and we used to install on all client machines is iStat Menus. It’s a fast, easy way to see what’s going on under the hood. It was some years back (2-3?) when I noticed it, maybe more, and nothing really could cure the problem. Since I didn’t use it much and Apple had Mail Drop folded into their email accounts and software, I just uninstalled it.

iCloud Drive is not perfect, but it’s so easy to access on all of my devices and we have the 2TB plan for the family, with oodles of space left. Many of the most frequently used folders on my Desktops on both Macs are just aliases to the original on iCloud Drive.

I do get annoyed when various software companies don’t place nice with the processor and then (in a sense) expect us to troubleshoot for them. If there were no other choice, and that was the only hard disk in the cloud, I’d do it. But I got tired of DropBox grinding away and stealing processor cycles when I wasn’t even using it.

They may have fixed it by now, but I’ve moved on. :sunglasses: :sunglasses:

That’s fine. FYI, I use iStat also which is one of my data points to have me conclude that Dropbox doesn’t, for me, consume any noticable CPU. Even it it did a little bit, I’m not really bothered as I’d rather the computer do the work instead of me. :wink:

Yes, which is why the auto-quit feature exists. (Scrivener → Preferences → General → Automatic Quit)

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As a one-time swap between computers and not needing sync, I copied from a 2021 macbook pro 13" to a flash drive the whole folder that included the project.scriv and all supporting files and folders. But when opened on 2016 macbook air, all the subdocuments (scenes) were blank. It still works on the macbook pro. I’m getting a 2020 Air tomorrow and want to move my project there. How best to do that? I searched forums and apologize if this isn’t the best thread.

File → Backup → Backup To, and check the box to create a ZIP file. That’s pretty robust against anything that tries to mess with the internal structure of the project.

Thank you kewms! That worked. I think for an external/cloud backup I’ll do a zipped backup (daily hopefully) and save that to the cloud just in case. I wonder how Time Machine restore would fare if I ever had to resort to that, but that’s probably in another thread. Rob

You have to do it; you don’t have to offer up prayers.

Nothing is seamless across the web. For some use-cases, iCloud Drive is fine. For others, it is not.

The issue has been argued to death in the forums.

Set Scrivener to make a zip backup (in a cloud folder) every time you close the project, close Scrivener every day (at least), and never think about it again.

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I’ve tested Time Machine restores. Should be fine. Zipped backups aren’t a bad idea, though.

Even better! This autobakupzip is perfect for having a total or pretty current draft to fall back on. I also compile at the end of writing each day and email the rtf to myself. Then if everything got corrupted/overwritten I still have my book. Thanks drmajorbob

I’ve had Time Machine failures on several external usb-c drives. Sometimes it’s “not enough space” when I know that can’t be true. Recently, usb-c hubs fail on Monterey and a usb-c TM machine failed even when plugged directly in the Mini. I still use TM on my laptop, but I no longer put any faith in it.