PART 1: Portability
I had the Mac mini + iPad combo for years--finally got a Macbook Air when the mini died... But as to how I schlepped Before MacBook, read on.
- Using iOS Scrivener: You're right, iOS Scrivener is short on features compared to the Mac version. It's fine for composition, OK but not great for organising, and the compile features are a bare minimum. See the syncing section below for details on how to make this work. Note that you must have Mac Scriv 2.8.x or better for this to work. If you're going to sync with Windows as well, don't upgrade Mac Scrivener beyond v. 2.9.x.
- Using a Remote Desktop service: If you're going to be someplace that you know has *excellent* WiFi, or your iPad has unlimited cellular service and you're going to be in a place with *excellent* connectivity, this can work. I used Splashtop for years. You'll need to buy the Splashtop Personal app for iOS, subscribe to the "anywhere connect service" ($17/year) and download/install their free server app for Mac. Once you get it working (try it in your living room, to get the bugs out) you'll be able to log in to your Mac remotely and, well, just use your iPad as if it were your Mac. It will act like your Mac, you'll have a way to simulate a mouse, and everything will be stored on your mac just as it would if you were working at home--no syncing needed. The cons of this method are--will you have that excellent connectivity? If not, remote desktop can run real slow and be a pain.
- Schlepping your Mac Mini plus iPad: (N.B. This is where Duet comes into it.) The Mac Mini itself is not very heavy. An iPad isn't very heavy. A cheap bluetooth folding keyboard isn't very heavy. If you're going someplace where you KNOW you're going to be able to plug in your Mac Mini, you can do this: Get the Duet Display app for iPad, and download the Duet server app for Mac. Connect your iPad to your Mac, Set up Duet so that the iPad acts as a second display for the Mac. In your Mac System Preferences :: Security :: General be sure to UNCHECK the "Disable automatic login" item. Now you can use your iPad as the ONLY screen for your Mac Mini. Set up the cheap folding bluetooth keyboard, and you're ready to schlepp your Mac Mini to your remote location. Cons of this setup: you MUST have a place to plug in the Mac Mini, and it's about 2 lbs. heavier than carrying the iPad alone. Pros: no syncing needed. No connectivity, either.
PART 2; Syncing strategy
Each version of Scrivener also has a tutorial *project*. On the Mac (and presumably Windows), it's available from the Help menu. On iOS, it's at the bottom of the projects screen.
The intention is that you open the tutorial project, read it. and hands-on follow the directions inside, making the directed changes to the tutorial project itself. In the process, you'll learn how Scrivener works (on each platform) and learn the basic vocabulary which will help you ask questions that other folks will understand (it helped me, anyway!) Don't worry that you'll "mess up" the tutorial project. You can always make a fresh copy and start over.
That said, only the iOS Scrivener tutorial project deals with sync. The *video* on how to set up Scrivener synchronisation between Mac and iOS is the best intro I've come across. https://literatureandlatte.com/learn-and-support/video-tutorials/scrivener-for-ios-sync-demonstration
So, for Windows and for Mac, you MUST have the Dropbox app installed on each of your computers. You must login on all three devices with the SAME Dropbox account. All the projects you want to sync with your other devices must be saved in one folder within your Dropbox folder (preferably /dropbox/apps/scrivener ). It's best if ONLY the projects you want to sync are in that folder, and NOTHING else.
- To start the process, let's assume you've set up Dropbox as above, and you've moved your active Scrivener projects to dropbox. You've been working on your Mac Mini. Now, you must close Scrivener *completely* when you finish work on Mac (or on Windows). You must wait until the Dropbox app (in your menu bar(Mac) or sys tray (Win)) reports "up to date." Now you may put your Mac to sleep.
- If you want to work on Windows next, when you open your machine and log in, wait until the Dropbox app in the sys tray reports "up to date". Now the changes from Mac have been downloaded to your windows machine. Go ahead and open a project as you normally would on windows. When you're finished, close Scrivener completely and wait for Dropbox to report "up to date" before sleeping or shutting down your machine.
- Let's suppose that next you want to work on your iPad. You must open Scrivener and start sync on iOS (it may start automatically) and wait for it to finish. This may take some time if you have a big project(s) to sync. Once that's done (you won't be able do to anything else but "cancel" until it is) you may open your project(s) on iPad and edit them. When you're finished, navigate back to the Projects screen and manually sync. When the dialog box is done, you're ready to move to your next machine.
- Finally, let's finish the circle by moving back to your Mac, Again, wait until the Dropbox app in the menu bar reports "up to date." *Then* open your project(s) in Mac Scrivener, and start editing.
- Repeat as needed.
I'd suggest trying this with a new project that doesn't have anything you'd miss in it--probably the tutorial project. Yes, syncing is not user-friendly to set up, but becomes pretty automatic once you're used to it.
The above will work with:
- Any version of iOS Scrivener
- Windows Scrivener v. 1.9.7 and above.
- Mac Scrivener v. 2.8 and above.
A note about Win Scriv and Mac Scriv compatibility. It sounds like you haven't updated your Mac to Scrivener 3.0.x. If you want Mac and Win synchronisation, don't update Mac to anything past 2.9.x.