Digital Sharing for Apple Users: A Take Control Crash Course
by Joe Kissell

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In the digital world, the word “sharing” is right up there with “cloud”—it’s overused, ambiguous, and often misleading. Sharing sounds like a self-evidently good and useful activity, but there are so many different things to share and so many ways to share them that what should be a simple task often becomes confusing and frustrating. Even an everyday activity like sharing a file is rarely straightforward—should I email it to you, upload it to a cloud storage service and send you a link, hand you a flash drive containing the file, or use any of a dozen other methods? The answer depends on numerous variables, and may be different for each person.

Part of the problem is that the word “sharing” doesn’t refer to just one concept. If I share a chocolate bar with you, that means I have less chocolate to eat (so don’t even ask). On the other hand, if you share your ideas with me, I have something more but you don’t have any less. And if we share a taxi, we both benefit—we get where we’re going while paying less per person.

What’s true for candy and cabs is also true of digital data. Your wonderful Apple devices (including the Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV) enable many kinds of digital sharing, but what “sharing” means depends on the context:

This book covers all four senses of sharing (which sometimes overlap), but it uses the more specific terms syncing, sending, and broadcasting for clarity when describing activities that fit those definitions above.

Bear in mind that this truly is a “crash course”—it doesn’t cover every detail or option, but rather shows you the quickest and simplest way (or two) to accomplish each task.

All the techniques in this book work with OS X 10.11 El Capitan, iOS 9, or both. Many also work with older versions of the two operating systems—perhaps with minor modifications. I haven’t spelled out those differences or compatibility issues, but in general, the older your version of OS X or iOS, the less likely you’ll find that everything works as described.