Book Review: Take Control of ICloud (Joe Kissell)

If you are anything like me and think you know enough about most aspects of the world of computers, think again. I recently was doing some work on old photos and had reason to consider whether I should use ICloud. I was uncertain how best to store the photos and, specifically, how to decide between a service like Flickr, my old friend, and ICloud. That was when I discovered that I really did not fully understand a great deal about ICloud – what it is , what it has to offer, or how to make it work well.

I started searching for advice with the help of Google but it seemed uneven. So I returned to see what the experts at Take Control had to offer. (Some while ago I reviewed two of their books and advised blog readers to make use of them.) As I expected, they had one on ICloud, written by a stalwart contributor, Joe Kissell.

This 167 page book – better still, think of it as a manual, guide, or handbook – is remarkably comprehensive and easy to follow. It is available as a pdf or mobi download or, I believe, on disc but not on paper. For $15 it’s an excellent investment unless you are 100% certain you will never want to use the cloud. But I assure you, not even folks older than me (an octogenarian), can safely assume that they will never need the cloud or be forced to use it. My prediction is that the Cloud will inevitably be part of your computing life, especially if you are a Mac user.

Of the 20 sections, there are three that alone justify the price of the purchase: Getting to Know ICloud, Set up ICloud, and any one or more of the sections devoted to Music, Photos, Documents, Mail, Contacts, or Calendars. The sections on finding your lost Iphone, perhaps Keychain, as well as the ICloud Web Site, complete the picture. The remaining sections will be useful to some readers but probably most will use one of those I have listed.

To give but one example of how clearly Kissell writes and how helpful the advice offered can be, this is an excerpt from the section on Photos.” iCloud Photo Library and the older My Photo Stream both sync photos across your devices via the cloud, but they differ in almost every other detail. You can use either or both, though most people will probably find that iCloud Photo Library alone is all that’s needed, as it essentially makes My Photo Stream superfluous (at least for those who have paid for enough iCloud storage to hold all their photos and videos).” Kissell unravels the confusion Apple’s changes introduced by explaining the other differences between My Photo Stream and ICloud Photo Library. He then discusses Photo Sharing and proceeds to untangle all three elements and compares them to help you choose which best serves your needs. My focus, and Kissell’s, is on the use of the Photo Library on ICloud. An important bonus for me, a Dropbox devotee, is the section where he compares the two noting where they overlap and where they do not.

To whatever extent this book may fail to answer all your Cloud questions, my guess is that the fault is not with Kissell but with Apple. The Cloud is confusing but it is now much less so having read this. I confess I am still not 100% comfortable but I am much more confident than I was a few weeks ago.

Contact for this book: https://www.takecontrolbooks.com

Barry Pless