Chapter 17. Internet Setup & iCloud

No Mac is an island. Virtually all of them are connected to the internet—and therein lies the magic. So often do we think of our computers as windows to the web, email, and streaming entertainment that when we’re not online—when the Wi-Fi goes down—many of us feel vaguely panicky.

There are all kinds of ways to get your Mac online these days:

  • Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi hotspots are glorious conveniences if you have a laptop. Without stirring from your hotel bed, you’re online at high speed. Often for free.

  • Cable modems, DSL. Over 80 percent of the U.S. internet population connects over higher-speed wires, using broadband connections that are always on: cable modems, DSL, or corporate networks. (These, of course, are often what’s at the other end of a Wi-Fi hotspot.)

  • Tethering. Tethering is letting your cellphone act as a glorified internet antenna for your Mac, whether connected by a cable or a Bluetooth wireless link. You pay your phone company extra for this convenience.

  • Cellular modems. A few well-heeled individuals enjoy the go-anywhere bliss of USB cellular modems, which get them online just about anywhere they can make a phone call. These modems are offered by Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and so on, and usually cost around $50 a month.

  • Dial-up modems. A few people still connect to the internet using a modem that dials out over ordinary phone lines. The service is cheap, but the connection is slow.

This chapter explains how to set up each of these. It also ...

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