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

Take Control of

Eighth 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, Eighth 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, 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.

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 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.

  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • What’s New in Version 8.0.1
    • What’s New in the Eighth 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 Storage Space
    • 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
  • 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 iPhone 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
    • Change iCloud Website Settings
    • 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 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

You may also like…