iOS 13 Scrivener users beware

That’s great news. Even though I have indeed decided to move to Ulysses.

Yes, it’s fixed for me as well. I also moved to Ulysses meanwhile, but I guess I’ll come back to Scrivener now. Only for complex and longer projects though, I learned during this episode that it’s not the right app for me to manage one-off texts like articles. I’ll just do that in Drafts from now on. But to write and organize novels I still prefer Scrivener a lot over Ulysses.


I have always loved Scrivener’s power but I am concerned by the dismissal of support during that time and the pace of upgrades. I have successfully written a small project in Ulysses and intend to ramp up to see if I can replace Scrivener in the end. TextExpander and iOS / macOS feature parity in Ulysses are really appealing to me.

Even though they were in fact correct that it was an Apple problem?

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I also found the tone in the support thread to be unfriendly or playing down the problem. But they tried to fix that. And I understand that they got a little nervous, because they just couldn’t reproduce the bug and didn’t know what to do. Also (that’s my personal interpretation) it affected Scriveners main weakness, the sync process. Pointing at that makes them a little defensive.

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@Robert said it all. What really came across was “deal with it, sync isn’t that important”. I’m sorry but it is. I have been a Scrivener affiliate for years, have loved and defended the product with my professional fiction writer colleagues but this whole mess seriously damaged my trust in the company and product, where the Ulysses guys come across as much more interested in what their users have to say.

I agree with Robert as well. Even though the problem was ultimately with iPadOS, I wanted to see the Scrivener team take the problem more seriously and to make it clearer that they were lobbying Apple on our behalf to get the problem fixed.

That said, for the long-form, heavily-researched non-fiction which I write, Scrivener is unparalleled. I have continued to use it on Mac through all of the iPad problems and will keep using it there. It has always been rock solid on Mac, including in projects with 1m+ words. I’m going to play with it on the iPad once again, but I don’t really trust it there. To think that just before the sync problem, I almost went iPad only on a two week trip on which I needed Scrivener. Luckily that problem happened just before I was scheduled to leave. I can’t see myself ever doing that now.

The problem is that Scrivener really complex, which is of course also its strength. But syncing this kind of project isn’t trivial and probably much harder than an Ulysses project, where meta data mainly consists of tags. And I actually trust L&L to be extremely productive concerning data loss. They explained reasonably that the clumsy syncing process is due to taking care that nothing gets lost. Whenever there was a conflict, Scrivener made backup files and asked to check etc. So I’m actually pretty confident in their sync. And I never lost anything. Actually the current bug was, as far as I understand it, not really a bug in the syncing mechanism, but the device crashing the app because of some ram issue. So that’s all fine for me. It’s just that they really don’t have any way out of this clumsy but save syncing phenomenon, unless they change everything. And I guess that’s why they sound so unkind sometime.
I think the iPad version is very stable, but it hasn’t any feature parity to the Mac version.
But to be honest, I also had problems with syncing in Ulysses, as sometimes it just took too long until the updates showed on the other device and there is no way of manually starting the syncing. So actually with Scrivener you have more control.

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