Note: This book is moderately outdated. The biggest change since the previous version of the book is that the iCloud.com website has been totally redesigned. The actual features on the site are pretty much the same, but where you find them is different. Prices for Apple One have gone up. In addition, Photos now offers a new iCloud Shared Photo Library, and iCloud Keychain now supports passkeys. Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16 made a few other small changes too. We hope, but do not promise, to release an update in December 2022. We have not yet determined whether that update will be free or a paid new edition. (Read more about updates).)
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, Eighth 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 Apple 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 PCs.
Then, move on to finding out the key aspects—and hidden gotchas—of iCloud’s core features, including:
- iCloud+, Apple’s paid membership tiers with extra features
- Photo features: iCloud Photos and iCloud Photo Sharing
- Family Sharing
- iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library
- iCloud Drive
- Mail and Mail Drop
- Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Notes
- iCloud Keychain
- the iCloud website
- Location features: Find My Device, Find My Item, Find My Friends, and the Find My app
- Two-factor authentication
- Activation lock
- Backing up and restoring data
- Managing your privacy and security
This edition (see details under “What’s New” below) not only covers the changes to iCloud in macOS 12 Monterey, iOS 15, and iPadOS 15 but also includes details about recent changes to iCloud that span operating systems, including iCloud+. It also continues to cover macOS 10.15 Catalina, macOS 11 Big Sur, and iOS 14/iPadOS 14, but drops coverage of earlier operating system versions.
What’s New in Version 8.0.1
In the previous version of this book, I said Apple fully removed My Photo Stream, their method for accessing photos across your devices before iCloud Photos. I’ve since discovered Apple has only partially removed it; see the sidebar “Apple Slowly Kills My Photo Stream.” I continue to omit coverage of My Photo Stream because most readers cannot access it and all indications are that Apple plans to remove it entirely at some point.
What’s New in the Eighth Edition
This edition of the book covers changes in iCloud during 2021, including new features added in macOS 12 Monterey, iOS 15, and iPadOS 15 and the transformation of iCloud’s paid tiers into the iCloud+ service. Changes throughout the book reflect updates to the operating systems and iCloud services.
Specific significant changes to the book are:
- iCloud+: A new chapter covers iCloud+, which includes not only extra storage but also new privacy, security, and convenience features. While changes appear throughout the book, some significant, you can find a full explanation of iCloud+ in “Use iCloud+.’
- Account recovery: Apple offers three methods of recovering access to an Apple ID account (including iCloud data) or to iCloud data on its own. Recovery Key is an option for increasing account security, iCloud Data Recovery Service lets you appoint trusted parties to help you recover iCloud data, and Digital Legacy lets you pick people to act as digital executors of your iCloud data. See “Decide on Using an Apple ID Recovery Key,” “Set Up Account Recovery Contacts,” and “Set Up Digital Legacy Contacts.”
- Windows: This version includes information on the expanded and changed capabilities of iCloud for Windows (see Set Up iCloud for Windows), notably the new iCloud Passwords app and Edge browser extension (see “Use iCloud Keychain in Windows”). Changes throughout the book reflect new or removed options.
- HomeKit Secure Video: This version includes more information about using the HomeKit Secure Video service with supported cameras in iCloud+. See “Add Security Camera Features.”
- iCloud Drive feature removal: In Use iCloud Drive, see the “Desktop and Documents Isn’t Documents & Data” sidebar about the discontinuation of Apple’s old iCloud Documents & Data feature; this is distinct from iCloud Drive’s ability to sync the Desktop and Documents folders.
- My Photo Stream feature removal: Apple quietly removed My Photo Stream from the set of iCloud-related photo sync and sharing options. I’ve updated “Manage Your Photos” to address that.
- Find My items: Apple’s Find My ecosystem has changed significantly in the last few years. In this version, I’ve updated it throughout to deal with Find My items, trackers like Apple’s AirTags, and the removal of Find My Friends from the iCloud website. See “Find My Nouns.”
- Find My Friends web app: Apple retained an increasingly out-of-date separate web app for Find My Friends at iCloud.com until late 2021, when it disappeared without a mention. To track one’s friends who have shared their location now you must use a native Find My app in iOS, iPadOS, or macOS. See “Find Your Friends.”
Note: This version removes details related to macOS Mojave, iOS 13, and iPadOS 13. Apple introduced features and changes to iCloud that are not supported by older operating systems, while macOS’s management of iCloud settings has been reorganized since Mojave.
Posted by Joe Kissell on February 17, 2022
Joe Kissell, now living in Canada, joined host Chuck Joiner on MacVoices to talk about Take Control of iCloud, Eighth Edition.
In part one, Joe explores some of the new iCloud features, issues with iCloud Drive, and more.
In part two, Joe talks about iCloud+ features and offers more thoughts on iCloud in general.
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.
November 23, 2022—This book is moderately outdated. The biggest change since the previous version of the book is that the iCloud.com website has been totally redesigned. The actual features on the site are pretty much the same, but where you find them is different. Prices for Apple One have gone up. In addition, Photos now offers a new iCloud Shared Photo Library, and iCloud Keychain now supports passkeys. Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16 made a few other small changes too. We hope, but do not promise, to release an update in December 2022. We have not yet determined whether that update will be free or a paid new edition. (Read more about updates.)