All About Updates

When you buy a printed book, you know that its contents won’t change. If the publisher later releases another edition of the book with new information, or a new book on the same topic, you’d have to buy it again from scratch.

With ebooks, we have the opportunity to treat books more like software. Conditions permitting, we generally try to keep our books updated as changes occur in apps, operating systems, cloud services, and other technology. Some books are updated quite frequently, others infrequently, and in rare cases, a book is never updated.

This page provides further detail about updates to our books. Below, you’ll see:

How to Find Out About Updates

The worst way to find out about updates is to email us, because answering those email messages takes time away from actually updating our books! So, please don’t do that. Instead, you can use any or all of these methods:

  • Check Ebook Extras: All our books contain a link to an Ebook Extras page that provides information about the most recent version (including any available free updates or paid upgrades), plans for future updates (if any), and in some cases blog posts, interviews with the author, or other resources. If you’re viewing one of our books in PDF format, click the Ebook Extras badge in the upper-right corner of the cover to view this page. Or, in any format, go to the Ebook Extras topic near the end of the book, in the “About This Book” chapter, and click the “access extras related to this ebook” link. If you purchased your book directly from Take Control Books (in which case you have an account with us), you can log in when you visit the Ebook Extras page. If you don’t have an account, you can still view the page without logging in; just click the close (X) button on the login prompt.

  • Check Your Email: We always email customers to let them know about updates to books they’ve purchased from us. If an update is free, the email contains direct download links; if it’s a paid upgrade, the email contains a link to buy the new version at a discount. However, since we respect your contact preferences, if you’ve opted not to receive email from us, you won’t get these notices. You can change your email preferences on your Account details page. Make sure your contact preference is not set to “(Almost) Never”—and if you want to hear about paid upgrades as well as free updates, set it to “Occasionally.”

  • Read Our Blog: At least once a week, we post an update to our blog, which (among other things) mentions any recently updated books. You can also, of course, subscribe to the blog via RSS.

  • Manually Check Our Site: The catalog page for every book includes update plans, if any. (Click the Update Plans tab. Often, though not always, we also include a box in the book’s main description that states our update plans.) If the page says nothing about updates, either the book is already up to date, or no updates are planned.

Once you download an update, you can generally delete any earlier versions of that book. However, note that at this time, we have no way to enable you to carry over highlighting, bookmarks, or annotations you’ve made in one version of a book to a newer version. If you’ve marked up a book in any way, you’ll probably want to keep the old version around even when you download the new one. (For more help with downloads in general, see our Device Advice page; for help with MOBI files for Kindle apps and devices, see About MOBI.)

Our Upgrade Policy

Whether, when, or to what extent we update a book depends on what has changed regarding the book’s topic, the author’s availability, customer demand, and other variables.

We have three types of updates:

  • Bug fix updates: When an update increments the number after the second decimal point—for example, going from version 1.0 to 1.0.1—that’s a very minor update intended to fix small bugs, such as typos, broken links, or other glitches. Bug fix updates are always free.

  • Minor updates: When an update increments the number after the first decimal point—for example, going from verion 1.0 to 1.1—that’s a minor update. We do these to address small changes in the subject matter or add a bit of new information. Minor updates are also always free.

  • New editions: When an update increments the first number—for example, going from version 1.1 to 2.0—that’s a new edition, which is a major update. Major updates typically add significant quantities of new material, and may include structural changes as well as widespread edits throughout the text. We charge an upgrade fee for new editions. The cost to upgrade varies depending on the length of the book, the scope of the changes, and other factors, but most new editions cost half (or less) as much as the full cover price.

    When we release a new edition, we generally offer free updates to people who purchased the previous edition recently. “Recently” typically means 90 days, though depending on the circumstances, sometimes the free upgrade window is shorter or longer. We always do our best to balance generosity toward our customers with fairness to our authors.

Because we often release free updates, some customers have assumed that all updates are free forever. To be crystal clear: We do not guarantee free updates to any book. Our authors don’t work for free, and as a result, we have to charge money for updates that required substantial time and effort to create.

Why Is That Update I’m Waiting For Taking So Long?

In an ideal world, every change to an app, operating system, or anything else “out there” would be reflected within days in our books that mention them. And often we’re able to accomplish just that! (In the week of November 21, 2022, for example, we released no fewer than 10 updates!) But sometimes weeks, months, or even years go by during which a book is out of sync with reality. This frustrates us just as much as it frustrates you.

From the publisher’s side, we are literally a mom-and-pop operation. Joe Kissell and Morgen Jahnke, the owners of alt concepts, are the entire company. There’s no other staff. We do, however, have two elementary-aged kids at home, one of whom has significant special needs that require an extraordinary amount of our time and attention. So sometimes we’re the bottleneck, because try as we might, we can only fit so much work into each day. (And, when it comes to the books Joe has written himself, we’re extra far behind because most of his days are spent wearing his “publisher” hat, which leaves far too little time for writing.)

Updates are sometimes held up because an author has an overloaded schedule, or because an editor is unable to squeeze in a book as quickly as we’d like. All our authors and editors (besides Joe) are freelancers. They all have other work, family responsibilities, and schedule constraints, and they decide on their own priorities. Although we strongly encourage our authors to keep on top of updates, we won’t ask them to blow off another deadline, cut short a vacation, or miss their kid’s soccer game. And life complications happen to all of us.

So if a particular update is not appearing as quickly as you’d like, we’re sorry, and believe us when we say we want it as badly as you do. We’ll do our best, and that’s all we can promise.

Pending Updates (last updated November 23, 2022)

As of late November 2022, there are 32 titles in our catalog that are out of date to one degree or another and for which updates are still planned. (Some of our older titles, such as those covering previous versions of macOS and iOS/iPadOS, will not be updated in the future.) To be fair, quite a few of these are mostly up to date but need a few minor tweaks to make them completely current. However, many require more substantial revisions, and a few need almost a complete rewrite.

Here are some things to notice about this list:

  • We use words like “hope,” “expect,” and “plan.” We wish we could give you an ironclad guarantee that a certain thing will happen at a certain time, but there are far too many variables for that to be feasible.
  • For the books written by Take Control publisher Joe Kissell, which constitute nearly half of this list, we’ve indicated their current order in his personal queue. That order could change! And remember, that applies only to the books he’s written himself—not those by other authors—so it does not reflect the overall order in which books will be released.
  • This list does not include all the other things on our list that are not books! For example, it doesn’t reflect fixing bugs or adding features on our website, doing customer support, taking care of our kids when they’re sick, shoveling snow, or a thousand other activities.
  • The time required for updates varies wildly from one book to the next. Some of these books may take less than a day to update, whereas others may take multiple months.
  • It is not helpful for you to tell us you think things should occur in a different order. We get it: everything is top priority for someone. We’re going to do the best we can, and this is it.

With those qualifications in mind, here’s our current list of pending updates, in alphabetical order (not the order in which they will be updated):

  • Apple Interface Mysteries (Michael Cohen):
    • Current version: 1.0.1 (April 20, 2020)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: In the past two years, Apple has released new operating systems that add still more mysteries.
    • Update plans: Michael hopes to update the book in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Take Control of 1Password (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 5.0 (July 26, 2021)
    • Status: Significantly outdated
    • Changes needed: The book requires a massive overhaul to reflect the changes in 1Password 8 across all platforms.
    • Update plans: This is #1 in Joe’s personal queue. Revisions are well underway, but have been slowed down by a series of interruptions. We hope, but do not promise, to release a new edition in December 2022.
  • Take Control of Apple Home Automation (Josh Centers):
    • Current version: 1.4 (June 29, 2022)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: Apple made changes in macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16 that could affect the advice in this book. In addition, it needs further coverage of the new Matter standard.
    • Update plans: Josh hopes to update this book soon, but because of his new job, he’s unable to say how soon.
  • Take Control of Apple Mail (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 5.2 (July 4, 2022)
    • Status: Slightly outdated.
    • Changes needed: Nearly everything the book describes is still accurate, but new features have been added in macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16 that the book doesn’t yet cover. These features include smart search, undoing sending, scheduled sending, automatic follow-up prompts, reminders attached to inbox messages, notifications of missing attachments and recipients, rich links, support for BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification), and (in iOS/iPadOS) the capability to add or edit lists (groups) in the Contacts app.
    • Update plans: This is currently #4 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release an update in December 2022.
  • Take Control of Automating Your Mac (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 4.0.1 (July 26, 2022)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: The Shortcuts app saw some minor changes between Monterey and Ventura, and UI Browser (which we said a fond farewell to in the book) is now sort of undead.
    • Update plans: This is currently #8 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release a minor update in December 2022.
  • Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 4.3 (May 30, 2022)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: Ventura changed the location of the Time Machine settings. In addition, minor tweaks may be needed in the discussion of APFS snapshots, and some additional detail could be added to the online appendixes.
    • Update plans: This is currently #6 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release a minor update in December 2022.
  • Take Control of Cryptocurrency (Glenn Fleishman):
    • Current version: 1.1 (January 14, 2022)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: Although the book is still largely accurate, Glenn wants to update it to reflect the widespread cryptocurrency crash and give the book a fresh, more cynical and practical tone.
    • Update plans: We expect to release a minor revision in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Take Control of DEVONthink 3 (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 1.10 (August 28, 2022)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: Minor revisions are required to reflect the latest updates to DEVONthink and DEVONthink To Go.
    • Update plans: We update this book four times per year. (We missed one update in 2021 due to my international move, and at some point I hope to do an extra update to make up for it.) Next update is expected in December 2022. This is currently #2 in Joe’s personal queue.
  • Take Control of Home Security Cameras (Glenn Fleishman):
    • Current version: 1.3 (January 15, 2022)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: Since the book’s last update, the range of available security cameras has changed somewhat.
    • Update plans: Glenn will most likely do a small refresh in the first quarter of 2023, though this is a low-priority book for him.
  • Take Control of iCloud (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 8.0.1 (February 12, 2022)
    • Status: Moderately outdated
    • Changes needed: 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.
    • Update plans: This is currently #7 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release an update in December 2022.
  • Take Control of LaunchBar (Kirk McElhearn):
    • Current version: 1.1 (September 24, 2014)
    • Status: Mostly up to date.
    • Changes needed: LaunchBar 6 has had a bunch of minor updates, but no major ones, in the last eight years. It still functions more or less as described, though it has some newer features too. In theory, the book could be tweaked to account for the revisions to LaunchBar and newer versions of macOS.
    • Update plans: For years we had assumed that if and when LaunchBar had a major new release, we’d update the book at that time…but that hasn’t happened and we don’t know if or when it will. In the meantime, unless we receive a lot of feedback suggesting that customers want an update badly enough to pay for it, it’s unlikely that we’ll put the time and effort into doing one.
  • Take Control of Mac Basics (Tonya Engst):
    • Current version: 1.1 (January 26, 2018)
    • Status: Badly outdated
    • Changes needed: When this book was released, macOS 10.13 High Sierra was current. The number and scope of changes to macOS since then is just breathtaking. Almost every bit of advice in the book would have to be thoroughly reworked to cover more modern versions of macOS.
    • Update plans: Unfortunately, Tonya is unavailable to do any further updates to this book. So far, we have not found another author with both the time and interest to take over the project. Although we like the idea of having a book about Mac basics, we don’t currently have any plans to update this title. We might simply discontinue it at some point…or we might come up with a different way of covering Mac basics.
  • Take Control of Maintaining Your Mac (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 3.1 (January 24, 2019)
    • Status: Appallingly outdated
    • Changes needed: Like Take Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac and Take Control of Speeding Up Your Mac, this book requires not merely a total overhaul but a rethinking from scratch. Among many other things, it has to support newer Macs with M-series processors, Macs using the APFS file system, and the latest hardware and software. In its current state, I can’t stand behind its advice anymore.
    • Update plans: The plan is to create a single new book from scratch that covers maintaining, troubleshooting, and speeding up Macs. It will draw on all three of the old books to some extent but offer greatly updated and simplified advice. That new book is #12 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release it in the second quarter of 2023.
  • Take Control of Managing Your Files (Jeff Carlson):
    • Current version: 1.0 (April 16, 2021)
    • Status: Slightly outdated
    • Changes needed: Some relatively small adjustments to account for changes in macOS 12 Monterey and macOS 13 Ventura are called for.
    • Update plans: Jeff currently plans to update this book in January 2023.
  • Take Control of Notes (Josh Centers):
    • Current version: 1.5 (September 20, 2021)
    • Status: Slightly outdated
    • Changes needed: In macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16, Apple added some features to Notes, including changes to smart filters, encryption, and collaboration.
    • Update plans: Josh is currently working on an update, which we hope but do not guarantee to deliver in December 2022.
  • Take Control of Pages (Michael Cohen):
    • Current version: 3.0 (January 12, 2021)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: Although nearly everything in the book is still accurate, Pages has acquired some new features since the book’s last update, and in addition, macOS itself has undergone significant interface changes.
    • Update plans: Michael hopes to update the book in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Take Control of PDFpen (Michael Cohen):
    • Current version: 3.0 (May 3, 2021)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: Smile sold PDFpen to a company called Nitro, which in turn is apparently about to be acquired by yet another company. So the app has changed names and branding (currently it’s Nitro PDF), and that may change again. Whether, when, or in what form we’ll see the next major revision in features will depend on what the new owners decide to do.
    • Update plans: Ideally, we’ll update the book when the next major revision hits, whenever that may be and whatever it may be called…assuming we have the support of the app’s new owners.
  • Take Control of Podcasting (Andy Affleck):
    • Current version: 1.0 (September 17, 2020)
    • Status: Moderately outdated
    • Changes needed: Since the book’s release, there have been major revisions to macOS and Windows, as well as some of the software and services Andy discusses. So the book has gone a bit out of sync with reality.
    • Update plans: Andy has been working on a revision, but has encountered a series of interruptions. We hope, but do not guarantee, to release an updated book in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Take Control of Preview (Adam Engst and Josh Centers):
    • Current version: 1.2 (May 22, 2020)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: In the past two major updates to macOS, Preview has undergone only minor changes, but there are a few worth mentioning—for example, in Ventura, Preview no longer supports PostScript. Along with some small tweaks, a number of screenshots should be revised.
    • Update plans: Josh hopes to update this book soon, but because of his new job, he’s unable to say how soon.
  • Take Control of Shortcuts (Rosemary Orchard):
    • Current version: 2.0 (September 4, 2022)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: Shortcuts underwent some changes in macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16. Although most of the the changes are not huge, they do make parts of the book slightly inaccurate.
    • Update plans: Rosemary has said that she plans to deliver an updated manuscript in December 2022.
  • Take Control of Siri (Scholle McFarland):
    • Current version: 2.0 (December 22, 2020)
    • Status: Moderately outdated
    • Changes needed: Siri has gained some capabilities in the last two years of Apple operating system updates, and the book should reflect those.
    • Update plans: Unfortunately, Scholle is unavailable to update this book further. So far, we have not found another author with both the time and interest to take over the project. If we do, we’d be happy to update the book, but at the moment, we don’t have a path forward for it. If we’re unable to find someone to take it over, we’ll eventually discontinue the book.
  • Take Control of Speeding Up Your Mac (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 2.1 (January 24, 2019)
    • Status: Appallingly outdated
    • Changes needed: Like Take Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac and Take Control of Maintaining Your Mac, this book requires not merely a total overhaul but a rethinking from scratch. Among many other things, it has to support newer Macs with M-series processors, Macs using the APFS file system, and the latest hardware and software. In its current state, I can’t stand behind its advice anymore.
    • Update plans: The plan is to create a single new book from scratch that covers maintaining, troubleshooting, and speeding up Macs. It will draw on all three of the old books to some extent but offer greatly updated and simplified advice. That new book is currently #12 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release it in the second quarter of 2023.
  • Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 1.2 (November 14, 2012)
    • Status: Slightly outdated
    • Changes needed: Yes, you still roast a turkey exactly the same way in 2022 as you did in 2012! But while using this book to prepare Thanksgiving dinner this year, I noticed a bunch of irritating little mistakes and thought of several ways of improving my advice. In addition, the layout and cover really need to be brought into modern times! So it needs a solid refresh, but because of this book’s unique formatting requirements, it will require more effort to pull off than our other titles.
    • Update plans: This is currently #13 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release a new edition in the third quarter of 2023—well before Thanksgiving in Canada (October 9).
  • Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 3.2 (July 26, 2022)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: The recipe “Read man Pages in Preview” has to be updated to work with Ventura, as the Preview app no longer supports PostScript. A few other tiny tweaks should also be made.
    • Update plans: This is currently #3 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release a minor update in December 2022.
  • Take Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 3.1 (January 24, 2019)
    • Status: Appallingly outdated
    • Changes needed: Like Take Control of Maintaining Your Mac and Take Control of Speeding Up Your Mac, this book requires not merely a total overhaul but a rethinking from scratch. Among many other things, it has to support newer Macs with M-series processors, Macs using the APFS file system, and the latest hardware and software. In its current state, I can’t stand behind its advice anymore.
    • Update plans: The plan is to create a single new book from scratch that covers maintaining, troubleshooting, and speeding up Macs. It will draw on all three of the old books to some extent but offer greatly updated and simplified advice. That new book is currently #12 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release it in the second quarter of 2023.
  • Take Control of Your Digital Legacy (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 1.0 (April 6, 2017)
    • Status: Significantly outdated
    • Changes needed: Death may be forever, but technology marches on. I have a list of several dozen topics that must be added or changed in this book, including discussions of new (or outdated) software and services, advice about dealing with several additional types of data, how to preserve data from mobile devices, further details about two-factor authentication, and much more.
    • Update plans: This is currently #9 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release a new edition in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Take Control of Your Digital Photos (Jeff Carlson):
    • Current version: 2.0 (October 20, 2019)
    • Status: Moderately outdated
    • Changes needed: Although the overall advice in the book is still sound, some strategies should be rethought—for example, recent changes to iCloud offer new ways of sharing photos, and improvements in AI/machine learning may alter some people’s organizational approach.
    • Update plans: Jeff currently hopes to revise the book by late in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Take Control of Your Digital Storage (Jeff Carlson):
    • Current version: 2.2 (May 25, 2022)
    • Status: Slightly outdated
    • Changes needed: Although the latest revision to the book was fairly recent, macOS 13 Ventura changed a few things that the book should address.
    • Update plans: Jeff currently plans to update this book in January 2023.
  • Take Control of Your Online Privacy (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 4.0 (April 11, 2019)
    • Status: Badly outdated
    • Changes needed: So much has changed in the story of online privacy in the past few years that the book’s advice as a whole needs a substantial rethinking. Although the current advice isn’t exactly bad, both the threat model and the tools available to address those threats have evolved tremendously since the last update to the book. Nothing short of a major overhaul will address these shortcomings adequately.
    • Update plans: This is currently #11 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release a new edition in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Take Control of Your Paperless Office (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 3.0 (March 22, 2017)
    • Status: Appallingly outdated
    • Changes needed: In the more than five and a half years since the last update to this book, pretty much everything has changed. For example, the selection of document scanners is totally different, OCR has gone from something that happens only in special apps (and with a great deal of fuss) to something that happens automatically in some operating systems, and software tools for automation have changed dramatically. Book scanners have become much more common, too. In addition, after receiving numerous requests, I’ve promised to include coverage of Windows in the next edition.
    • Update plans: This is currently #10 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release a new edition in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Take Control of Your Passwords (Joe Kissell):
    • Current version: 3.2 (July 26, 2021)
    • Status: Moderately outdated
    • Changes needed: Now that passkeys are a thing, the book has to cover them in detail—that will be a whole new chapter. There are changes to support for passwords and one-time passcodes in the various Apple operating systems, and Safari has some new password-related tricks too. The book should also address the significant changes in 1Password 8 and refresh the advice on other third-party password managers.
    • Update plans: This is currently #5 in Joe’s personal queue. We hope, but do not promise, to release a new edition in December 2022.
  • Take Control of Zoom (Glenn Fleishman):
    • Current version: 3.0 (July 22, 2022)
    • Status: Mostly up to date
    • Changes needed: The Zoom app now offers a Desk View, and has undergone a few other small changes since the book’s last revision.
    • Update plans: Glenn hopes to do a minor update to this book in the first quarter of 2023.