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.


Note: Work is underway on a new edition of this book, which will cover changes in macOS 12 Monterey, iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and iCloud+. We expect the new version to be ready in January or February 2022, and it will be a free update for anyone who purchases the book between now and then.

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 November 2020) with macOS 11 Big Sur, iOS 14, and iPadOS 14. It also continues to cover macOS 10.14 Mojave, 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 formerly wrote for publications such as Macworld, Wirecutter, and TidBITS. He lives in Saskatoon with his wife, his two children, and his cat.

What’s New in Version 7.1

This minor update covers changes Apple made since the previous version of this book was published:

  • Since iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 have been released, instructions that were specific to iOS 12 have been removed; iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 are still covered.
  • The book now discusses the Apple One subscription bundles Apple made available in late October 2020.
  • The Find My app in iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and Big Sur can now tell you when a friend is not at a specified location during a given time frame. See “Find Your Friends.”

What Was 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
    • Updates and More
    • What’s New in Version 7.1
    • What Was New in the Seventh Edition
  • Introduction
  • iCloud Quick Start
  • Catch Up with iCloud Changes
    • iCloud Feature Changes
    • Storage Checkup
    • Apple One
  • Get to Know iCloud
    • What Is iCloud?
    • Major iCloud Features
    • About iCloud System Requirements
    • About Your Apple ID
    • About iCloud Storage
  • Set Up iCloud
    • Update Your Software
    • Set Up iCloud on a Mac
    • Set Up iCloud for Windows
    • Set Up iCloud in iOS or iPadOS
    • Work with Multiple iCloud Accounts
    • Disable iCloud
  • Use iCloud Family Sharing
    • Enable Family Sharing
    • Configure Apps and Services
    • Share Calendar and Reminders
    • Share Family Photos
    • Use Find My
    • Share Media
    • Use Ask to Buy
    • Share Storage Space
  • Use iCloud Music Features
    • Understand Apple’s Music Services
    • Use iTunes Match
  • Manage Your Photos
    • Compare iCloud Photo Options
    • Use iCloud Photos
    • Use My Photo Stream
    • Share Photos, Videos, and Albums
  • Keep Documents and App Data in Sync
    • Use iCloud Drive
    • Use In-App Data Syncing
  • Keep Mail, Contacts, and Calendars in Sync
    • Work with iCloud Mail
    • Use Mail Drop
    • Sync Your Contacts
    • Sync Your Calendars
    • Troubleshoot Contact and Calendar Problems
  • Sync Other iCloud Data
    • Work with Browser Bookmarks, Tabs, and Reading List
    • Sync Messages
    • Use Reminders
    • Work with Notes
    • Sync Data from Other Apps
    • Use Universal Clipboard
  • Work with iCloud Keychain
    • Enable and Configure iCloud Keychain
    • Use iCloud Keychain in Safari
    • Use iCloud Keychain in Other iOS/iPadOS Apps
    • View and Edit iCloud Keychain Contents
    • Use iCloud Keychain with Another Password Manager
  • Use the iCloud Website
    • Navigate the iCloud Website
    • The Mail Web App
    • The Contacts Web App
    • The Calendar Web App
    • The Photos Web App
    • The Notes Web App
    • The Reminders Web App
    • The iWork Web Apps
    • The iCloud Drive Web App
    • The Find My Friends Web App
    • The Find My iPhone Web App
    • The News Publisher Web App
    • Settings
  • Find My Nouns
    • Understand What Find My (Device) Can and Can’t Do
    • Activate Find My (Device)
    • Find Your Device with an App
    • Find Your Device with Siri
    • Deactivate Find My (Device)
    • Find Your Friends
  • Back Up and Restore iOS/iPadOS Data
    • Understand How iCloud Backup Works
    • Activate and Configure iCloud Backup
    • Restore an iOS or iPadOS Device from a Backup
  • Use iCloud on an Apple TV
    • Set Up iCloud on an Apple TV
    • View Shared Purchases on an Apple TV
    • Use iTunes Match on an Apple TV
    • Use iCloud Photos on an Apple TV
    • Use AirPlay from iCloud
  • Manage Your Account
    • Change iCloud Website Settings
    • Change Payment Settings
    • Manage Your Storage
  • Manage iCloud Security and Privacy
    • Choose a Good Password
    • Use Enhanced Security Features
    • Check Activation Lock
    • Protect Your Privacy
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Author and Publisher
    • Credits
  • Also by Joe Kissell
  • Copyright and Fine Print

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.

January 12, 2022—Work is underway on a new edition of this book, which will cover changes in macOS 12 Monterey, iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and iCloud+. We expect the new version to be ready in January or February 2022, and it will be a free update for anyone who purchases the book between now and then.


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Be the first to review “Take Control of iCloud”

“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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