Scrivener iOS-Only Project Backup and Restore #amwriting

Scrivener syncing among various iOS devices and computers is a popular subject. The iOS Scrivener tutorial is a useful introduction which covers the basics. There are also several excellent Literature and Latte videos on this subject, as well as in-depth Knowledge Base articles.

What’s not covered is how to protect your data if all you have is iOS Scrivener. Maybe you just don’t have a Mac or a PC. Maybe you’re on vacation, or on a business trip, and only brought your iPad or iPhone. In these situations, how do you make a backup? If need be, how do you restore a backup to iOS Scrivener?

Fear not, there is a way. I’ll show you how with screenshots from iPhone Scrivener. You can also use the Restore process to restore a zipped backup from Mac or Windows Scrivener to iOS Scrivener.


Backup from iOS Scrivener is not hard, but the way to do it isn’t obvious—there’s no big button that says “backup.” You don’t need Dropbox for this; any cloud service that you can access through the Apple Files app will work. In fact, if you ordinarily use Dropbox for syncing among devices, I recommend you use a different service for backup.

  1. In iOS Scrivener, tap the Edit button at the top of the projects list.
    Edit Button
  2. Tap to select the project you want to back up.
  3. Tap the Share button at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see a brief message that says “Creating Archive.” This is when Scrivener zips the project into a backup file.
  4. Scrivener will display the standard iOS Share panel. Select the “Save to Files” option. Go ahead and save it anywhere you like, except “On my iPhone/iPad” (or Dropbox if you use Scrivener Dropbox syncing.) Yes, iCloud is fine, Google Drive works… any service you can access here will work. For this demo, I’ll save my backup to the Scrivener folder on iCloud Drive, but again, any cloud service connected to Files will do.

That’s it for backup! You’ve created a .zip archive from your project, and saved it to a cloud service. When you have an internet connection, that cloud service will save your backup on its servers.

Restore From Backup

The problem here is that iOS Scrivener can’t open a zipped project directly. You’ll need a utility that can open a zipped project, and send the result to iOS Scrivener. I’ll show you that utility, FileApp File Manager, and demonstrate how to use it to restore a zipped backup to iOS Scrivener.

  1. If you haven’t already, download and install FileApp File Manager by DigiDNA SARL onto your iOS device.
    FileApp (File Manager) by DigiDNA SARLFileApp (File Manager) by DigiDNA SARL
  2. Now open the Apple Files app, and select the backup you saved in step 4, above. Then tap the Folder (Move) icon.
  3. In Apple Files, tap On My iPhone > FileApp > Downloads. Then tap the Copy button.
  4. Open the FileApp app and tap on the Downloads folder.
  5. Still in FileApp, tap on the .zip file you just sent from Files. (If you can’t see it, pull down on the file list to refresh, then tap.)
  6. FileApp asks if you want to decompress the file; tap UnZIP.
  7. Tap on the folder that FileApp creates. Inside, you’ll find a folder with a .scriv extension (very important!)
  8. Long press on the .scriv folder, and tap the Actions button. FileApp displays the iOS Share panel. Select Open in Scrivener
  9. iOS Scrivener will open. Select a location for the project. Scrivener will create the project and open it for you.

You’ve now created a backup in iOS Scrivener, saved it to a cloud service, and restored the project from that backup to iOS Scrivener. You can use the Restore process to both restore iOS-created backups and import Mac- and PC-created zipped backups to iOS Scrivener.

(With thanks to Literature and Latte Tech Support and the users on the L&L Forums.)

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