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

Take Control of

Ninth Edition
Joe Kissell
(1 customer review)

Apple’s iCloud service is highly useful, but it can also create headaches for the average user. In Take Control of iCloud, Ninth 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 two ebook formats—PDF and EPUB—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, Ninth 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, iCloud Photo Sharing, and iCloud Shared Photo Library
  • 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 recovering data
  • Managing your privacy and security (including the use of Advanced Data Protection)

This edition (see details under “What’s New” above) not only covers the changes to iCloud in macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16 but also includes details about recent changes to iCloud that span operating systems, including the iCloud website. It also continues to cover macOS 10.15 Catalina, macOS 11 Big Sur, macOS 12 Monterey, and iOS 15/iPadOS 15, 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 and their two sons.

What's New in Version 9.0.1

Version 9.0.1 is a minor update to address the following:

  • Added two sidebars, “About Card Verification Numbers or CVVs” and “Apple Pay, Safari-Stored Cards, and Safari Settings,” which clarify Safari’s use of CVV codes for credit cards
  • Made another clarification about credit cards in “Use iCloud Keychain with Another Password Manager”
  • Corrected a misleadingly worded statement and a typo in the sidebar “iCloud Drive and Backups”
  • Removed a few lingering references to two-step verification

What Was New in the Ninth Edition

This edition added coverage of Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16, plus recent changes to the iCloud website. Besides detailing the many adjustments to settings and apps in the latest operating systems, I made the following changes:

  • Apple’s prices for Apple Music and Apple One increased in October 2022. Current prices are shown in “Apple One,” “Use iCloud Family Sharing,” and “Understand Apple’s Music Services.”
  • I cover new and significantly changed features for Windows users; see “Set Up iCloud for Windows,” “Use iCloud Music Features,” and “Manage Your Photos.”
  • You can now disable Private Relay for a single webpage; see “Enable and Configure iCloud Private Relay.” Apple also removed the “beta” label from Private Relay toward the end of 2022.
  • I added an overview of how to Share a Photo Library in Ventura, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or later, as Apple created a newer system than the one in place for years.
  • The topics “Share Files and Folders on a Mac or PC” and “Use the Files App for iOS or iPadOS” have been fully revised to cover interface changes in Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16.
  • Starting in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, you can create and edit groups of contacts (which can then be used as distribution lists in Mail). See “Work with Contact Groups.”
  • Apple redesigned the iCloud website, so I’ve made the appropriate adjustments in the chapter “Use the iCloud Website.”
  • macOS, iOS, and iPadOS now support hardware security keys for two-factor authentication; I mention these in “Use a Security Key.”
  • The “Protect Your Privacy” topic is now divided into a revised discussion of how to Take Basic Privacy Steps and a new topic, “Use Advanced Data Protection.”

Note: Due to significant iCloud changes since their release, this edition removes details related to iOS 14 and iPadOS 14.

  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • Settings vs. Preferences
    • What’s New in Version 9.0.1
    • What Was New in the Ninth 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+
    • Increase Your Storage
    • Browse the Web Privately
    • Hide Your Email Address
    • Configure a Custom Domain
    • Add Security Camera Features
  • Use iCloud Family Sharing
    • Enable Family Sharing
    • Configure Apps and Services
    • Share Calendar, Reminders, and Photos
    • Use Find My
    • Share Media and Apps
    • Use Ask to Buy
    • Share iCloud+ Features
    • Update a Child’s Age
    • Change Family Sharing
  • Use iCloud Music Features
    • Understand Apple’s Music Services
    • Use iTunes Match
  • Manage Your Photos
    • Sync with iCloud Photos
    • Share Photos, Videos, and Albums
    • Share a Photo Library
  • 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
    • Use iCloud Keychain in Windows
    • 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 Web App
    • The News Publisher Web App
    • Settings
  • Find My Nouns
    • Activate Find My
    • Find Your Hardware with an App
    • 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
    • Use the iCloud Website Settings Page
    • Change Payment Settings
    • Check and Modify Your Storage Usage
    • Manage Account Recovery
  • Manage iCloud Security and Privacy
    • Choose a Good Password
    • Use Two-Factor Authentication
    • 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 Talks iCloud (Yet Again) on MacVoices

Posted by Joe Kissell on March 19, 2023

Joe Kissell joined host Chuck Joiner on MacVoices to talk about Take Control of iCloud, Ninth Edition.

In part one, Joe covers Advanced Data Protection and the challenges he faced moving his Apple ID from one country to another.

In part two, Joe explains what’s new in iCloud for windows, and talks about problems with Desktop and Documents syncing.

Joe Kissell Talks iCloud for the Umpteenth Time on MacVoices

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.

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.

1 review for Take Control of iCloud

  1. Dave Muth (verified owner)

    I’ve only read the “What’s New” first chapter. It’s so well done that I will read all those links 1st! (I already read older versions.) THEN I’ll read the rest of the book. THANKS Joe Kissell! You’re the best of a great bunch of writers here.

Add a review

“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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