scrivener for ios review

Scrivener for iOS Review

You’re out and about, and suddenly, inspiration strikes. You have the perfect line to end your last chapter, or you finally realize how to solve that plot problem that’s been plaguing you. You want to open up Scrivener, but you don’t have your laptop.

You can jot down a note and hope you remember how to implement it later, but wouldn’t it be so much easier if there was a mobile Scrivener app?

If you’re an iPhone user, I have good news for you: Scrivener for iOS allows you to write on the go. Let’s look inside the Scrivener for iOS app to help you decide whether it fits your workflow.

For this review, I’m assuming you’re familiar with the desktop version of Scrivener. If you don’t have Scrivener for Mac or Windows, you can get a free 30-day trial here.

Scrivener for iOS Demo

Let’s start by taking a look inside the app. Here are some screenshots showing Scrivener for iOS in action.

When you open Scrivener for iOS, you will see all projects currently synced in your Dropbox folder. Tap the + to create a new one—either in your Dropbox or on your iPhone or iPad.

I would recommend keeping your projects in Dropbox. Even if you’re a mobile-only user, using cloud storage protects you from losing your work.

Inside the project, you can access your manuscript and your research materials. If you color code your chapters to show different timelines or POVs, you’ll see those colors in Scrivener for iOS.

Inside each chapter, you will see the list of scenes. When you click on a scene, you access the content. The editor is very simple to use. You can adjust the font size, and Scrivener for iOS supports both light and dark modes.

Long press or click the “i” symbol at the bottom of the screen to open the inspector (found on the right of the screen in the desktop version). You’ve also got plenty of options for sharing your project and for viewing it on the screen.

You can add a new scene, character sketch, or setting sketch right from the app.

The list of recently accessed files makes navigation quick and easy. I use this often to navigate between scenes and research.

Share options in Scrivener for iOS include compiling, sending a copy, opening in another app, and syncing with Dropbox.

Compiling in Scrivener for iOS is extremely simple. Compared to the desktop version, compile options on iOS are unsurprisingly limited. But it supports basically anything you would need to do on mobile.

The main compile menu is very straightforward.

Scrivener for iOS features compile options for PDF, Word, RTF, and plain text.

Easily change the appearance of your compiled manuscript.

Mobile-specific options make compiling manuscripts on Scrivener for iOS simple and intuitive.

​Features of Scrivener for iOS

This handy little app has some great features. You can compile directly in the app, but unless you’re an app-only user, there’s really no reason you wouldn’t wait to compile using the desktop version. I suppose compiling on mobile might be handy if you’re working with several smaller documents, but I’m assuming most of us use Scrivener for larger projects.

The app makes use of the long press to access the inspector. You can pinch to zoom, and the app transitions smoothly between portrait and landscape orientations. Overall, it does a great job converting the functionality of the desktop program to the small touchscreen.

Here are a few of the features I’ve missed, at least in the iPhone version.

  • Corkboard
  • Quick Reference
  • Revision mode

​Storage and Syncing

syncing with dropbox in scrivener for ios

The app syncs with Dropbox. It’s easy to set up a free account, if you don’t have one already. The free plan includes 2 GB of storage space.

I use a different cloud storage system for the rest of my work, and it’s been no trouble to keep only my Scrivener files in Dropbox.

Here are a few tips for connecting Scrivener for iOS to Dropbox.

Keep Scrivener files in one folder.

You will direct the Scrivener app toward an entire folder in your Dropbox, and it will sync the whole thing. Scrivener files and non-Scrivener files alike. It will sync nothing outside of this folder.

If this doesn’t jive with your current organizational system, I would suggest creating aliases for your Scrivener project files. Keep the originals in one folder, and use aliases elsewhere.

Close your Scrivener project after each session.

I learned this the hard way. Scrivener used to be open on my Macbook at all times. When I made changes to a file in the Scrivener for iOS app while the same project was open on my Mac, the changes were lost.

Just remember to close your project after each writing session. Never have Scrivener open on two devices simultaneously.

How I Use Scrivener for iOS

Personally, I use Scrivener for iOS on both my iPhone and my iPad. The app really shines on the iPad, especially when paired with a portable Bluetooth keyboard. I love taking my iPad Mini and portable keyboard in situations where I’d rather not carry my Macbook. Writing with that setup still feels natural.

I’ll also keep my keyboard in the car for impromptu writing sessions. All I have to do is open Scrivener for iOS on my phone, unfold my keyboard, and get to work.

​How Much Does Scrivener for iOS Cost?

scrivener for ios pricing

Scrivener for iOS costs $23.99, as of December 2022. That may seem a bit steep for someone who’s already shelled out $59.99 for the desktop version. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Scrivener is worth every bit of the cost.

But is the iOS version worth an additional twenty-four bucks? I’d say it depends on how often you use it. Personally, I have never regretted the purchase. Even if I don’t use the app all that often, those few moments when I need it fully justify the price.

Plus, Literature and Latte still offers perpetual licenses in the world of dreaded subscription models. The fact that you pay once and can use the app for life is a massive pro.

Is Scrivener for iOS Worth Buying?

​The big question: Should you buy Scrivener for iOS?

My opinion is that if you have twenty-four bucks to spare and have ever wished you could access your Scrivener projects on the go, it’s worth purchasing Scrivener for iOS.

Stable, reliable appNo alternative syncing method
Functional and user-friendlyMissing features (especially on iPhone)
Easy transition from desktop
No subscription fees

Scrivener for iOS Makes My Life Easier

​Would I buy it again? Definitely. It’s easy to use, and the transition from desktop to Scrivener for iOS was seamless. Syncing is automatic and reliable (as long as you follow two simple rules). I can access my Scrivener projects on the go, and impromptu writing sessions became much easier, especially when paired with a portable Bluetooth keyboard.

The functionality combined with the one-time purchase model makes Scrivener for iOS a winner for me. If you find yourself wishing to access Scrivener on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll most likely be happy with this app.

If you’re new to the Scrivener game, you can try Scrivener for Mac or Windows free for 30 days.

* Note that there are affiliate links in this post. I’ve been a fan of Scrivener for over a decade, and I recommend the program regardless of whether you click through those links. Happy writing!

FAQ About Scrivener for iOS

How do you sync Scrivener with Dropbox?

Syncing is easy and automatic. Just keep your Scrivener project files in your Dropbox folder. Remember to close your project after each writing session. (Having the project open on multiple devices may cause syncing errors.)

What format do you have to put files in on scrivener so that the iOS app can open them?

You don’t have to change the format at all! As long as your Scrivener files are housed in Dropbox, you can open them on the iOS app.

When using Scrivener for iOS, how do you save?

Scrivener for iOS saves your changes automatically. You can adjust the autosave frequency in your settings.

What is the most current version of Scrivener for iOS?

As of December 2022, the most current version of Scrivener for iOS is 1.2.2.

Should I get Scrivener for iOS or Mac?

You should get Scrivener for whichever device you use the most. For the most functionality, get Scrivener for Mac. But if you’re an exclusive iPad user, you’ll be fine with just Scrivener for iOS.

If you write on a computer and on the go, think about getting both Scrivener for iOS and Scrivener for Mac or Windows.

What are the Scrivener for iOS memory requirements for an iPad?

Scrivener minimizes memory usage with a unique project file structure. Here is what Literature and Latte has to say about memory usage with Scrivener for iOS:

Every Scrivener project is really a folder full of files and subfolders. This is different from most apps, which more commonly use “flat” file formats – a single text or XML file, or a zip package. This package-based format means that Scrivener doesn’t have to read into memory the entirety of a project containing a gigabyte of research materials upon opening it; Scrivener only ever reads into memory the files you are working on, and it releases them from memory if it no longer needs them or if memory usage gets too high (a particular concern on iOS).

What are the Scrivener for iOS system requirements for an iPad?

Scrivener for iOS requires your device to be running at least iOS 11. To check your iOS version, go to Settings → General → About. Your software version will be listed.

Can Scrivener for iOS be used with OneDrive?

Unfortunately, Scrivener for iOS is only compatible with Dropbox.

Does Scrivener for Windows sync with Scrivener for iOS?

Yes! Scrivener for Windows and Scrivener for Mac sync with Scrivener for iOS using Dropbox.

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