Understand iCloud’s capabilities and limitations, and put its key features to good use!

Take Control of

Seventh Edition
Joe Kissell

Apple’s iCloud service is highly useful, but it can also create headaches for the average user. In Take Control of iCloud, Seventh Edition, Joe Kissell explains how to avoid frustrations and make iCloud work for you across all your devices.

All Take Control books are delivered in three ebook formats—PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle)—and can be read on nearly any device.


iCloud is a simple idea in theory—access to all your data on all your devices, via the cloud—that can become complicated when put into practice. Instead of wasting time fiddling with iCloud, when there are many other more important things to be done with the information it contains, learn how to minimize frustrations with Take Control of iCloud, Seventh Edition!

Whether you want a quick tip or a deep dive into the inner workings of iCloud, you’ll find what you need in this best-selling book by Mac expert Joe Kissell. Start by learning what iCloud can do, how it differs from other cloud services, and how best to set it up on Macs, iOS and iPadOS devices, Apple TVs, and Windows-based PCs.

Then, move on to finding out the key aspects—and hidden gotchas—of iCloud’s core features, including:

  • Photo features: iCloud Photog, My Photo Stream, and iCloud Photo Sharing
  • Family Sharing
  • iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library
  • iCloud Drive (including folder sharing and the Files app for iOS and iPadOS)
  • Mail and Mail Drop
  • Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Notes
  • iCloud Keychain
  • the iCloud website
  • Location features: Find My Device, Find My Friends, and the Find My app
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Activation lock
  • Backing up and restoring data

This edition (see details under “What’s New” below) not only covers the changes to iCloud in macOS 10.15 Catalina, iOS 13, and iPadOS 13 but is also up to date (as of August 2020) with macOS 11 Big Sur, iOS 14, and iPadOS 14. It also continues to cover macOS 10.14 Mojave and iOS 12, but drops coverage of earlier operating system versions.

Joe Kissell

About Joe Kissell

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He also runs Interesting Thing of the Day and is a contributing editor of TidBITS and a senior contributor to Macworld.

What’s New in the Seventh Edition

This massively revised seventh edition covers all the changes Apple made to iCloud and its related apps since the previous edition of the book.

It also changes and expands coverage of Apple’s operating systems:

  • 2019 releases: The book is now up to date for macOS 10.15 Catalina, iOS 13, and iPadOS 13.
  • 2020 releases: As far as I can tell from beta versions available in August 2020, it is also accurate for macOS 11 Big Sur, iOS 14, and iPadOS 14.
  • Previous versions: This book also fully encompasses 10.14 Mojave and iOS 12. However, I dropped information about earlier operating systems.

The book features many hundreds of changes throughout, but the most notable ones are these:

  • Rewrote “iCloud Feature Changes” to reflect what’s new since the previous edition of the book
  • Updated all references to the iCloud pane of System Preferences to reflect the fact that starting in Catalina, most iCloud preferences are managed in the Apple ID pane
  • Updated the information on iCloud for Windows, particularly the setup instructions (see “Update Your Software” and “Set Up iCloud for Windows”) to cover the new version of iCloud for Windows available from the Microsoft Store
  • Revised my description of “The All-Purpose iCloud Troubleshooting Procedure” with additional details
  • Updated the discussion of Family Sharing to include feature and interface changes; see “Configure Apps and Services”
  • Revised the “Manage Your Photos” chapter to match current reality, which includes the service name “iCloud Photos” replacing “iCloud Photo Library,” the reduced availability of My Photo Stream, and alterations to features in Windows
  • Rewrote most of the chapter “Keep Documents and App Data in Sync” to cover significant changes in iCloud Drive (including folder sharing), provide more detail, and answer frequently asked questions
  • Updated the topic “Enable and Configure iCloud Keychain” with more information about working with this feature in the case of two-factor authentication being enabled or disabled
  • Refreshed the chapter “Use the iCloud Website” with updated instructions related to changes on the site
  • Fully revised the “Find My Nouns” chapter, which now covers the Find My app for macOS, iOS, iPadOS
  • Updated the chapter “Use iCloud on an Apple TV” to reflect recent changes in tvOS
  • Read Me First
  • Introduction
  • iCloud Quick Start
  • Catch Up with iCloud Changes
  • Get to Know iCloud
  • Set Up iCloud
  • Use iCloud Family Sharing
  • Use iCloud Music Features
  • Manage Your Photos
  • Keep Documents and App Data in Sync
  • Keep Mail, Contacts, and Calendars in Sync
  • Sync Other iCloud Data
  • Work with iCloud Keychain
  • Use the iCloud Website
  • Find My Nouns
  • Back Up and Restore iOS/iPadOS Data
  • Use iCloud on an Apple TV
  • Manage Your Account
  • Manage iCloud Security and Privacy
  • About This Book
  • Joe Kissell discusses iCloud for the umpteenth time on MacVoices

    Posted by Joe Kissell on August 13, 2020

    Joe Kissell joined Chuck Joiner on MacVoices in a two-part interview to discuss the seventh (seventh!) edition of his book Take Control of iCloud.

    In Part 1, Joe discusses some differences between iCloud and Dropbox, and whether you should consider storing Desktop and Documents folders in iCloud.

    In Part 2, Joe discusses iCloud reliability, the perils of oversimplification, the extent to which the book covers various Apple apps.


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    “I just read Take Control of iCloud cover to cover, and it helped me sort out several problems and clear up my confusion on how iCloud works with my iMac, MacBook, iPad, and iPhone. Your book has helped me get more out of my devices, and I can see it’ll make my life easier. Thanks for a job very well done!” —Andy Staab

    “Brilliant and concise information on using current iCloud systems. I love Take Control books—they teach me how to make the most of my Apple stuff in the real world.” —Brian Murray

    “As someone who hadn’t invested a lot of time in setting up iCloud before, I found this book very informative—particularly the information about managing multiple iCloud accounts and the Photos section. Thanks!” —Kelly

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