Tips for Faster Syncing

Syncing Projects for the First Time

When you first sync a project, all of the files need uploading to Dropbox from your desktop, and then the iOS version needs to download them all. For large projects - or for lots of projects - that could take a long time, depending on your internet connection. Here's a way of doing it without having to wait for ages to sync the files. The basic idea will be to copy the project to both Dropbox and your device using a USB cable or local WiFI, prior to syncing, so that sync itself need not transfer the project files over the web:

  1. Follow the instructions to set up Dropbox syncing if you have not already done so. For best results, after setting up sync, return to the Home screen on your iOS device and leave Scrivener running in the background.
  2. On your desktop, drag the large project you wish to sync into the sync folder that you set up in the prior step, and let the entire project upload in the background while you continue getting your device prepared.
  3. Plug your iOS device into the computer and launch Finder (or your preferred iOS file manager; the following instructions explain how to use Finder).

    1. Select your device in the sidebar.
    2. Select Files in the toolbar. You should see a Scrivener folder appear in the list of apps.
    3. In a new Finder window (⌘N), locate the large project you wish to transfer to the device, and drag it into the Scrivener folder. (If you prefer a more powerful third-party file management tool, it may allow you to copy the project directly into Scrivener's "Dropbox" folder during this step, in which case you can ignore step 4).

    Screenshot of an iPhone device open in Finder 4. You should now see the project in Scrivener for iOS under the “On My iPhone/iPad” section. To move it into Dropbox, tap Edit at the top of the Projects list and then use the grab bars next to the project to drag it under the Dropbox heading. When you’re done, tap the sync button (the curved arrows forming a circle) to upload changes to Dropbox.

With extremely large projects it may still take a while to sync, because Scrivener has to download a list of all of the files along with their modification dates. Large projects can be comprised of thousands of files, which is in itself a large amount of data to download. The good news however is that since we've copied the same exact project to the device and Dropbox simultaneously, the results of sync will be to declare that nothing needs to be synced.

At this point you should find sync performance to be in line with the amount of editing you do to the project. If you change five files, it should only require a moment or two to sync this project, even though it has thousands of internal files.

Syncing Only the Projects You Need

When choosing which projects to sync with iOS, it's good to bear in mind the following considerations:

  • Each project takes up space on your device's hard drive.
  • Syncing projects, especially for the first time, can take time (and bandwidth if you are not on Wi-Fi).

If you're working between an iOS device and a desktop machine, the chances are that you don't need all of your Scrivener projects available on iOS. You most likely only want available the projects you are currently working on. It's therefore a good idea to choose a Dropbox folder for syncing into which you only place works-in-progress, rather than trying to sync every project you've ever created!

Here's an example folder structure you might use on Dropbox:

        /Scrivener Projects
            /In Progress

In this example, you would set up Scrivener to sync with the ~/Dropbox/Writing/Scrivener Projects/In Progress folder (see Changing Your Dropbox Sync Folder). You would place any Scrivener projects (.scriv files or folders) you want available on iOS into the "In Progress" folder. Older Scrivener projects, or projects you're not planning on getting to just yet that you don't need available on iOS, could go into the "Archive" folder.

Keeping Your iOS Sync Folder Clutter-Free

Be aware that everything within the designated sync folder will be downloaded to your device, even if it is not a Scrivener project. Dropbox sync cannot distinguish between types of files. Therefore, it's best to keep your Dropbox sync folder free of all files except Scrivener projects to keep sync fast and your device storage requirements minimal.