iOS 6 has been out for several months now, and we’ve been hearing from Take Control readers who want to go deeper into Apple’s latest mobile operating system. Joe Kissell and Glenn Fleishman have been delving into what’s new since the release, and their efforts have now taken form in a pair of new ebooks: “Take Control of Mail on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, Fourth Edition” and “Take Control of Networking & Security in iOS 6,” both of which are available for $10, or together at a 20-percent discount for $16.
The 113-page “Take Control of Mail on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, Fourth Edition” is one of those books that should be essential reading for anyone who plans to use an iOS device for email — the real world of email just isn’t always simple and straightforward. Joe Kissell knows more about Apple’s Mail apps (in iOS, in Mac OS X, and in iCloud) than anyone outside Apple, and more important, he knows what questions real people have when attempting to use email with iCloud and Gmail accounts, both of which offer unusual features that aren’t necessarily easy to understand. For instance, how do you work with — or avoid — Gmail’s Priority Inbox, and which of four possible approaches should you use when configuring Mail in iOS to access Gmail?
Then there are the questions that arise with using email on an iOS device. How do you choose from multiple From addresses when sending email? How do you deal with attachments, both those that arrive in email and those you want to send? And what if you want to search for a message — you’ll use one technique if it’s not on your device and another if it is, but you don’t know which mailbox contains it. This stuff isn’t obvious.
What’s truly great about “Take Control of Mail on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, Fourth Edition” is the way Joe helps you create a sensible mobile email strategy. Reading email on an iOS device isn’t the same as reading it on a computer, and Joe walks you through Mail’s strengths and limitations so you can figure out the best way for you to work with email on your mobile device. And since even a properly set up account sometimes has problems, Joe explains how to diagnose and fix a number of common email-related problems in iOS.
Glenn’s 127-page “Take Control of Networking & Security in iOS 6” is definitely aimed at a geekier audience. I can’t envision my parents reading the book simply because they’re not that interested in networking in general. That’s not to say they haven’t benefited from it — when my grandmother was in the hospital recently, my mother called for help because although her iPad was connecting to the hospital’s Wi-Fi network, she couldn’t get email or load any Web pages. A few questions later and I walked her through using the Forget This Network button on the hospital’s network; when she rejoined it a minute later, the corrupt internal settings were replaced and she was able to access the Internet properly.
If you’re the de facto support person for your friends and family, though, “Take Control of Networking & Security in iOS 6” has loads of essential information that will help you set up and maintain networking configurations that go beyond the basics. For instance, Glenn explains how captive-portal pages work for enabling access to many public hotspots (and what to do if a captive portal isn’t detected automatically), how to log in to a corporate network using a digital certificate, all the cellular standards supported by different iOS devices over the years, how to use the Personal Hotspot feature, how to work around problems with previously paired Bluetooth devices, exactly what Airplane Mode does, and more.
The other major topic that Glenn covers in “Take Control of Networking & Security in iOS 6” is security, largely because many of the networking-related questions that we’ve fielded over the years involve securing network traffic. To that end, Glenn explains the real security risks of using public Wi-Fi networks and provides suggestions for ways you can ensure that your data cannot be sniffed in transit. Moving slightly further afield, he then talks about what data is at risk if someone were to gain access to the device, and what you can do to ensure that you don’t suffer the added insult of data theft on top of the injury of physical loss.
There’s no question that Apple has done a good job with making iOS 6 easy to use for most things, but email and networking continue to need explication because they must interact with the outside world that Apple can’t control. These ebooks offer exactly the sort of expert assistance that you won’t find anywhere else, so whether you need only one or both, we’re confident that they’ll prove useful.
Unless otherwise noted, this article is copyright © 2012 TidBITS Publishing, Inc.Published in TidBITS on 2012-11-12.
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