Take Control of iCloud
Publisher: TidBITS / Take Control Books
Final Release Date: March 2013
Pages: 155

Understand the features, get set up, and enjoy iCloud!

(Updated March 26, 2013)

iCloud may seem simple, but complexity lurks below the surface. In this essential title from best-selling author Joe Kissell, you'll learn how to set up and use iCloud successfully on Macs (running 10.7 Lion or 10.8 Mountain Lion), iOS devices, second- and third-generation Apple TVs, and Windows-based PCs. You'll also find advice on handling Apple IDs and solving problems with shared Apple IDs, non-email Apple IDs, multiple Apple IDs, and more.

With setup completed, Joe explains the key aspects--and hidden gotchas--of iCloud's core features: iTunes in the Cloud (including iTunes Match), iCloud Backup, Photo Stream, Documents in the Cloud, Find My iPhone, Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Notes, Reminders, and Back to My Mac.

You'll learn how to handle many aspects of iCloud, including:

  • iCloud Web site: The iCloud Web site is your go-to spot for configuring certain iCloud settings. And, in some cases, the Web apps available there--Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Reminders, Find My iPhone, and iWork--have different or expanded features from what you'll find in their counterparts elsewhere. Joe provides all the necessary directions for making the most of your time on the iCloud site. Features of special note that are covered include shared calendars, shared reminder lists, Mail rules, and Mail VIP lists.
  • App integration: All the iCloud Web apps listed in the above bullet item have counterparts in iOS and on the Mac. Joe describes how these apps are the same and different on different devices, and tells you how to turn on app-related services--such as synchronized calendars and contacts--on your devices. He also explains interactions within Reminders and Notes on various devices.
  • iTunes in the Cloud: Learn how to turn on automatic downloads so nearly anything you buy from Apple--music, apps, and ebooks, though not TV shows or movies--appears on all your devices. You'll also learn how to re-download previously purchased items, and you'll read about Apple's optional, $25-per-year iTunes Match music service.
  • iCloud Backup: Find out what data on your iOS device backs up, how to handle your backup, and--most importantly--how to restore after a problem!
  • Photo Stream: Having all your recent photos appear on all your devices sounds great, but there are gotchas. Joe explains the 1,000-photo and 30-day limits, shared photos streams, and how to delete a photo from a stream.
  • Documents in the Cloud: Start changing your habits as your documents begin living in the cloud and within apps instead of on a local disk. But beware, since Documents in the Cloud isn't always seamless!
  • Back to My Mac: With Back to My Mac, you can connect to your Mac at home or the office over the Internet and use both file sharing and screen sharing just as though you were on the same network. Joe explains the basics.

You'll find answers to questions such as:

  • How do I set up iCloud-based calendar and contact syncing on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch?
  • How do I share calendars with people who are not using iCloud?
  • How quickly should I expect iCloud to sync my data?
  • How do I configure my email software to use my iCloud email address?
  • How do I add files to my Photo Stream from Windows?
  • How can I configure my AirPort Extreme to work with Back to My Mac?
  • What should I expect iTunes to do immediately after I turn on iTunes Match?
  • How can I use Find My iPhone, to locate not only my iPhone but also any (recent) iOS device or even a missing Macintosh?
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oreillyTake Control of iCloud

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(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


Good primer on dealing with iCloud

By jsuda

from Rochester, NY

Verified Reviewer


  • Accurate
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    Comments about oreilly Take Control of iCloud:

    Just when you thought you had a good handle on coordinating your desktop Mac or PC and your iPhone and mobile devices – syncing, backing up, sharing media, etc., Apple changes it's ecosystem design with the Lion operating system (OSX10.7), the latest mobile operating system (iOS 5), and the new iCloud set of Internet services. iCloud is the successor to the Apple's current Mobile Me Internet services.

    Not only are your web photo galleries, your iWeb websites and blogs, and your shared documents in iDisk, gone (or will be by July 1, 2011) but you're forced now to rethink how you interact with your computer, mobile devices, and online services, as Apple has radically changed the rules of operation once again.

    This is when the book, "Take Control of iCloud," comes in handy. It is one of a set of well-regarding series of "Take Control" books published by Adam Engst.

    ICloud is the key element of the ecosystem evolution. It is a new set of tools and services which allows a user to coordinate devices and with others to a far more complex degree than ever before. It is a mostly invisible infrastructure which coordinates music, photos, documents, mail , contacts and calendars among all of your computers and mobile devices, and even eliminates the necessity of the computer itself. You can now wirelessly configure, work with, backup, and network with others without the need for any computer at all or even the iTunes media hub desktop software.

    This slim book is a comprehensive overview of the elements of iCloud and how iCloud interacts with computers (both Mac and PC) and mobile devices running Apple's iOS 5. In layman's terms it describes how best to understand the new services, how to configure them for yourself, when and how to transition from Mobile Me to iCloud, how to choose from various backup and streaming options, and how to use the suite of sharing tools like Back to My Mac, Find My Friends locator, and more.

    Mr. Kessel provides practical tips throughout. I found the sections on handling Apple ID account problems, finding substitutes for the missing MobileMe components, and how to transition from Mobile Me to iCloud the most valuable. There are some subtle issues which can create difficult problems if you don't know in advance what to expect.

    This is a fine, workmanlike primer on iCloud.

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