Quick Troubleshooting for iOS Syncing

Here are some quick things to check if you encounter syncing issues on the iOS version of Scrivener.

Double-Check the Dropbox Set Up Steps

The first thing you'll want to do is ensure you have carefully followed the steps to set up Dropbox in Scrivener for iOS. In particular, you'll want to make sure you have linked the correct Dropbox folder in Scrivener for iOS (i.e., the folder that contains your projects). You will need to access your projects from that same Dropbox folder on all of your devices if you would like to sync changes between them.

To confirm that you have linked the proper Dropbox folder in Scrivener for iOS, navigate to the Projects list in Scrivener for iOS, then tap the Edit button in the header bar. Tap the gear button that appears in the footer bar, then tap Dropbox Settings. You should see the path to the current linked Dropbox folder. On your desktop, open up the Dropbox folder in your Finder or File Explorer and ensure your projects are stored in that same linked folder.

Make Sure You Are Using the Correct Dropbox Account

Open the Dropbox application on your iOS device and browse around the files in general. Do they match what you see in the Dropbox folder on your desktop computer? If not, you may be signed into a different Dropbox account on the two devices.

This is just a test to see if you are using the correct Dropbox account---don't try to open the Scrivener project from within the Dropbox application.

Check Your Scrivener Version on Desktop

You must be running at least Scrivener 2.8 on Mac, and Scrivener 1.9.5 on Windows to sync projects with iOS. To check which version of Scrivener you are running, use the About Scrivener command under the main Scrivener menu on Mac or the Help menu on Windows.

Projects last saved in versions of Scrivener older than these will need to be updated using a more recent version of the software before they can be opened on the iOS client. If you are getting an "Invalid Project Format" error of any kind, it might mean that you need to open the project on the desktop so that it has a chance to update.

Do Not Use the External Folder Sync Feature

This feature, accessed in the desktop version via File ▸ Sync ▸ with External Folder, is designed to be used to sync Scrivener with third party tools, such as other text editors. It has nothing to do with Scrivener for iOS.

To sync changes you've made in the project to Dropbox, all you need to do is close the project. So long as the project is stored in the same Dropbox folder that you configured Scrivener for iOS to use, the changes you've made will be downloaded to Scrivener for iOS as soon as you tap Sync on that device.

On the Desktop Computer, Use the Dropbox Application, Not the Web Interface

You must install the Dropbox client in order for the syncing process to work seamlessly. Doing so will create a Dropbox folder on your computer, so you can access your projects with ease.

Instead of uploading your Scrivener project to the Dropbox website, you'll want to simply move the project into your Dropbox folder on your computer, ensuring that it is in the same folder that you have linked in Scrivener for iOS (see Double-Check the Dropbox Set Up Steps above).

Do Not Try to Open Scrivener Projects Using the Dropbox App on iOS

If you open the Dropbox app on your iOS device, you will see the project files, but you will not be able to access them. You can only access the projects by linking your Dropbox folder in Scrivener for iOS so that the projects become available from the Projects list within the app.

Was the Project Created in the "On My iPad/iPhone" Section of the iPad App?

The Projects list in Scrivener for iOS is divided into two sections: the first is labelled "Dropbox" and the second is labelled "On My iPad" or "On My iPhone", depending on which device you're using. Projects created in the "On My iPad/iPhone" section will not be visible to other devices, as they are stored locally on your device's hard drive. To move a project into Dropbox, tap the Edit button at the top of the Projects list, then use the drag handles on the right side of each project to drag it under the "Dropbox" heading.

Tap the Sync Icon in the Top-Right Corner

When you are viewing the Projects list in Scrivener for iOS, there should be a sync icon in the top-right corner of the screen. Tap this to ensure your projects are up-to-date with any changes you may have made on other devices.

Is the Project Zipped?

Make sure you are not trying to sync/open a zipped copy of the project. The project file (or folder on Windows) must be placed in Dropbox in its normal, uncompressed state. If you cannot open it directly from Scrivener on your desktop computer, then Scrivener for iOS will not be able to open it either.

Clear the Dropbox Cache

If you are finding that Scrivener is getting stuck on the "Syncing with Dropbox..." screen upon syncing, it's a good idea to clear the Dropbox cache. To do this, navigate to the iOS Settings app. Scroll down to Scrivener, then tap Reset Scrivener. Flip the switch for Clear Dropbox Sync Cache. Now quit and relaunch the Scrivener app, then tap the sync icon. As it syncs, Scrivener will check the local files against all files in the Dropbox folder rather than just those that have changed since last sync, which will hopefully clear up whatever was causing syncing to get stuck.

If You've Lost Data, Recover From a Backup

If you have been backing up your projects, then the best thing to do when you encounter data loss is to recover your work from a backup copy.

If you haven't been backing up your projects, be sure to have a look at our article on keeping iOS projects backed up.

"Invalid Project" or "Does Not Contain a Valid Binder Structure" Errors

If you receive one of these errors, the most likely cause is that you have not waited for Dropbox on the desktop to fully sync all of the files.

Each Scrivener project has many files inside it. If you don't wait for Dropbox on the desktop to upload all of the files before syncing on iOS, not all files will be available on the Dropbox servers, so the iOS version cannot download all of the files needed to open the project.

To fix this, simply check on Dropbox on the desktop, wait for the files to sync, and then tap the sync button in the iOS version to download the rest of the files. If you’re not sure how to tell when Dropbox is synced, see Preparing Projects for Syncing for screenshots.

More Help

An extensive guide to syncing can be found in Dropbox Syncing with iOS.

If you are experiencing a crash with iOS, please send us a crash report.

Finally, if you cannot find the solution to your problem, please contact our support team.