Autosave function

Hello and congratulations to the team for the amazing achievement that is Dorico for iPad! Is there any way to deactivate the autosave function on iPad? Most of the times while composing I take different routes in a composition just to realize that I need to go again from the starting point. I know that I can always use undo function but its not ideal because besides the many clicks sometimes I’m not sure what I even change in the score. I would really like to have control over the saving process the same way I do it on a computer. Thank you in advance!

I don’t have my iPad to hand this evening (for the first time in months!) so I can’t remember whether or not the preference to enable or disable auto-save is exposed, but if it is, you’ll find it on the Files page of Preferences (which you can access via the application menu at the right-hand end of the toolbar).

I would advise against it, though: there’s no way for you to trigger a save operation manually except for by closing the project by returning to the hub, putting the app into the background, or sharing your project via the share sheet.

I do not see it there.

No, that doesn’t surprise me. I really wouldn’t recommend disabling it! You can always make a copy of your project in the iPad Files app before a session if you want to be sure of keeping the version before your changes.

Be careful, the iPad is more prone to erroronous input due to the touch interface. I lost an important bit, couldn’t remember it and didn’t notice until too late, and the undo was zeroed out (maybe I picked it up and went somewhere while it was still in note entry). Just be aware it’s much easier to lose stuff while in the app than on the desktop due to the interactive interface.

Incidentally, a word of warning: I’ve encountered a few crashes so far on iPad, which is no big deal for a 2-day-old app of course. But I was shocked to discover when I reopened the app that a load of my work had been lost. This is what I’d expect on desktop, which is why I learned the compulsive Command+S habit years ago. But on iPad, the behaviour of most other apps is that you can close and reopen the app (even with a force quit) and app state is retained. Most apps that use the ‘document’ idiom save constantly in the background (cf Office, Adobe, Notes, etc).

I have now learned that iPad Dorico requires Command+S just as often as on desktop!

If you have an external keyboard you can certainly tap Command+S to save if you want. We could consider upping the auto-save frequency, but Dorico is not fundamentally using the same kind of document model as so-called fully native iPad apps, which means that we don’t get the kind of incremental file saving provided by those native APIs, and we have to muddle along as best we can.


Please make a button on the top to save the actual score. Not everyone uses a keyboard. I had the same experience that Dorico crashed and the last state of the score was lost.


I totally agree with Mitchellmusico. I always disable the autosave in the programs where it is possible. If that’s not possible, I always make a copy first. That’s the only reliable way not to lose the original. Unfortunately, that is cumbersome and a lot more work.
I am very happy with Dorico for Ipad, but I would really like to see a possibility to disable autosave.

Thanks for the feedback, Marien, and welcome to the forum. Can you say why you prefer to disable autosave?

I cannot speak for Marien, but I know I prefer to save manually. That way I know when changes will be made permanent on the disk. I also often Save As under a new name so I can go back to a former version and would prefer not to find the former version has been changed while I experimented with something else.

On the desktop, this works well, and although I do not know how often I will use the iPad instead, I would like the behavior to be as consistent as possible so my workflow stays dependable.


I would like to add that ‘Quit without saving’ is a major part of my workflow. When working with tricky edits, sometimes it’s best to quit and start over with a different approach.

To put it simply; I want to stay in control of my work and not let an app dictate when and how I save something.
When I’m working on a new piece, I save every little step when I’m happy with it. After that, I’m going to try new things, knowing I can always go back to my saved version. That can be as many as 100 changes. In the autosave world, that means I have to do 100 undo steps with the risk of doing too many or too few to get to my original.
In short, error prone and way too much work.
For a simple app I can imagine that an autosave function is useful, but for an extensive creative tool like Dorico it is counterproductive for me.
I think this also applies to many other users of Dorico.


I work a lot with forScore (on my iPad). With this program you can also edit files (accidentals, dynamics, notes, etc.).
When you’re done with the editing, you can just save or go back to your previous version.
You can make the choice yourself. No auto save.
This would also be perfect for Dorico-for-iPad.

With creative apps, it’s important to be able to experiment without saving.
Imagine if you opened a file in Photoshop because you wanted to experiment with a particular filter to see if it creates the effect you want. Further suppose that you conclude that the effect is not what you wanted but Photoshop saved your experiment whether you wanted to or not.
That is not a good creative workflow.
…and it’s a bad user experience with Dorico for iPad as well.
Being able to open an existing document, experiment and not save has been a well-established user experience since the first Macintosh, (or longer)


Welcome to the forum, @Jerry_Barnes, and thanks for your feedback. I agree with the sentiment you express, though Apple in fact have been muddying those waters in their own applications since MacOS 10.7 Lion, and in their own applications, manually saving is considerably and increasingly de-emphasised, and of course on iOS the notion of maunally saving something is anathema.

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I think this is also true with Google products like their online spreadsheet and word processor. They just save all the time, like Gmail saves after every keystroke. It’s really weird until you get used to it (compared to the old ways of doing things). I wish there was a setting one could choose – autosave on/off.

Dorico for iPad and for computer work differently in this one important way. I wonder if iPad versions of, say, Adobe products also do this?

One way around it is to save off versions, but you need to realize it works differently than computer apps.

Many app makers assume that we all go for convenience and that we should no longer be bothered with something as trivial as saving. It is apparently irrelevant that this stands in the way of a sensible working method and makes the creative process more difficult.
Of course, autosave can be useful in simple apps, but not in complicated software. You should at least be able to disable it.
There are apps I use on my iPad that don’t have autosave, such as iReal Pro, ForScore, and GraphPad. So it is possible.

Groet, Marien

I think the motivation for the {auto-save only} workflow is trying to make the interface more foolproof for new users, rather than specifically convenience. I dislike it, and I turn it off wherever possible. The {close without saving} or sandbox-style workflow is very useful for music, especially composing.

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Is there an update on this? I often just need to have a look at a file on the iPad and I definitely don’t want it saved. With the 2.4 update, I can see the possibility of saving a file to the iPad or to Cloud storage, but I can’t find where to disable automatic saving.