Macs All-in-One For Dummies, 4th Edition (2014)
Book IV. Your Mac as Multimedia Entertainment Center
Chapter 6. Reading, Listening, and Learning on Your Mac
In This Chapter
Attending iTunes U
We talk about iTunes and the iTunes Store in Book IV, Chapter 1. You may have noticed there’s much more in the iTunes Store than just music and movies. iTunes offers a warehouse of podcasts, books, and university courses, too. In this chapter, we walk you through the stacks of the iBooks Store and show you how to use your Mac as an electronic reading device (also known as an e-reader).
We also flip through the course catalog of iTunes U, the online Apple learning institution that gives you free access to the virtual ivy-covered walls of some of the world’s most prestigious universities. iTunes U also offers professional development courses, as well as K–12 materials and classes.
We close the chapter with podcasts, which are free audio and video broadcasts that used to be limited to iPods (hence, the name) but can be enjoyed on your Mac, too. The iTunes Store offers a seemingly endless assortment of podcast categories and topics.
Thumbing through iBooks
When you first open iBooks, you see the iBooks welcome screen that invites you to Get Started. Click the Get Started button, and then sign in to your iTunes account with your Apple ID and password (unless you’re already signed in, in which case you won’t be prompted to do this). For a refresher on how to get an Apple ID, see Book I, Chapter 3.
Any e-books (although not audiobooks) you previously purchased from iTunes will be automatically represented in iBooks, as you see in Figure 6-1. Books that have been downloaded to your Mac are accessible from iBooks. Books that you purchased but didn’t download to your Mac have a cloud icon in the right corner of the book icon, which means they’re available for download.
Figure 6-1: iBooks automatically accesses any e-books you’ve purchased from the iTunes Store.
If you have no e-books, or you want to acquire more, click the iBooks Store button in the upper-left corner, and go to Step 2 in the next section.
Finding something to read at the iBooks Store
Like other popular online bookstores (whose names we won’t mention), the iBooks Store offers fiction and nonfiction books on just about any subject you can think of and for readers of all ages. To shop for books and look for free books, just follow these steps:
1. Click the iBooks icon on the Dock or from Launchpad.
Your Library opens (refer to Figure 6-1) although you won’t see any book icons if you haven’t downloaded any books. Books you keep in iTunes, even if downloaded from other sources, will appear.
2. Click the iBooks Store button in the upper-left corner.
The iBooks Store opens, as shown in Figure 6-2, and has the same layout as the iTunes and App Stores with promotional banners and icons filling the main part of the screen. The tabs at the top of the window — Featured, Top Charts, NYTimes, Categories, and Top Authors — help you narrow your search. Use the Search field to look for a book by a specific title or author, or on a specific subject. The list running down the lower right of the window has Quick Links that access your Apple ID account and the short list of the most-downloaded paid and free books in the iBooks Store and the New York Times bestsellers. At the very bottom, you can find the More to Explore section, which gives you quick access to groups of books, such as Fiction Essentials or Popular Teen Series.
Figure 6-2: The iBooks Store looks like the other Apple stores.
3. Click a tab that interests you to narrow your choices and then click a book that you might like to read, or click a promotional button on the Featured screen.
The info screen opens (see Figure 6-3) and shows the usual information: Details, Ratings and Reviews, and Related tabs; and Price and Get Sample buttons to either purchase the book or download a sample, respectively.
4. After you find something you want to try or purchase, click one of the following:
· Get Sample: Click this button to download a sample to your Mac. If you like it, you can purchase it later.
· Price button: Clicking this button confirms that you want to purchase the book. Then enter your Apple ID and password.
As items are downloading, you can continue browsing. After the book downloads to your Mac, the book has a New or Sample banner across it in your Library (refer to Figure 6-1).
5. When an update for a book is available, the download button appears (the arrow, as shown in Figure 6-3); click it to download the updated material.
7. Figure 6-3: The info screen tells you everything you need to know to make an informed purchase.
8. (Optional) Do one of the following:
· Click the Read or Read Sample button to open your recently downloaded item.
· Click the Back button (to the right of the Library button) to return to the category or chart you were perusing.
· Click another tab at the top to go to a different category or chart.
As long as you sign in to the same Apple ID on all your devices, iBooks syncs purchases from the iBooks or iTunes Store across your iOS devices and Macs. Choose iBooks⇒Preferences and then click the Store button. Select the Download New Purchases Automatically check box so that purchases you make on another device are automatically downloaded to your Mac. On an iOS device, choose Settings⇒iTunes & App Store, and tap Books to the On position in the Automatic Downloads section to simultaneously download books purchased on your Mac to your other devices.
Shopping for books at the iTunes Store
Although iBooks has its own iBooks Store, you can also shop for e-books in the iTunes Store. The Books layout mimics the other media categories: banner ads, sections by category, and top charts down the right side. The iTunes top downloads are divided into paid and free; the New York Times bestsellers are divided by fiction and nonfiction. The Books section of iTunes comprises electronic books and audiobooks, which you listen to via iTunes on your computer or, more likely, on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad in the device’s Music app. To switch between electronic books (which iTunes refers to simply as “books”) and audiobooks, click one of the subheads in the Books or Audiobooks section to open that department of the iTunes Store.
If you download a book into iTunes and then want it to appear in iBooks, choose File⇒Move Books from iTunes.
Adding books and files from other sources
iBooks neatly keeps your digital reading material such as e-books in the ePub format and PDFs together in one place. To add your PDFs to iBooks, you can simply drag them into the iBooks window or iBooks icon on the Dock. To add either PDFs or e-books in the ePub format that you obtained from sources other than the iBooks Store, do the following:
1. Click the iBooks icon on the Dock or from Launchpad.
2. If iBooks opens to the iBooks Store, click the Library button in the upper-left corner.
3. Choose File⇒Add to Library.
Click and scroll through the chooser window or use the Search field to find the PDF or ePub e-book you want to add.
4. Click the Add button.
The file is added to iBooks.
To view only your PDF files, click the Collections tab at the top of the window and then click PDFs in the list on the left.
When you click to open a PDF in iBooks on your Mac, iBooks defaults to Preview, or another PDF reading app such as Adobe Reader, to open the file. iBooks does, however, read PDFs on iOS devices.
Reading by screenlight
After you download one or more books, the joy begins. Click the Library button in the upper-left corner, and then click the book you want to read. The book opens in a separate window, usually to the cover but sometimes (as with a sample) to a random page. You can use the following tools:
· Library: Click the Library button to return to the Library window.
To quickly open a book you recently read, choose File⇒Open Recent and select the book you want from the submenu.
· Table of Contents: Click the Table of Contents button, which opens the table of contents as a pop-up menu. Click the chapter or section you want to go to.
· Navigation: Click the right side of the page to go forward one page; click the left side to go back one page. Or swipe left or right on the trackpad to turn the pages.
· Readability: Click the Font Size button in the upper-right corner, and a window opens as shown in Figure 6-4.
· Click the small or large A to adjust the size of text on the page.
Figure 6-4: Adjust the typeface style, size, and color to make for comfortable reading.
· Click one of the color choices to change the page and type colors.
· Click a font name in the list to change the typeface.
· Search: Click the Search button to look for a specific word or phrase or jump to a page number.
· Bookmarks: Click the Bookmarks button to virtually dog-ear a page so you can find it later; click the disclosure triangle next to the bookmark to see a list of bookmarked pages.
· Resizing: Click the full-screen button to use your Mac’s entire screen or click and drag one of the window edges or corners to resize the window.
· Definitions: Double-click a word to open a definition of the word.
· Notes: Create a note. Click and drag to select a phrase or section of text. When the contextual menu opens, as shown in Figure 6-5, do the following:
· Choose a color to highlight the selected text or click the underlined a to underline it.
Figure 6-5: Highlight text and take notes; click the Notes button to see them.
· Click Add Note to open a virtual sticky note where you can type your thoughts.
· Click Copy to temporarily save the selection to your Mac’s Clipboard, and then paste it somewhere else.
· Click More to see additional options (see Figure 6-5), such as searching the web or sharing the passage on a social network.
· Click the Notes button to see sections you highlighted or notes you added to the book.
· Preferences: Choose iBooks⇒Preferences, and then click the General button to turn on options, such as auto-hyphenation and justified text, as well as to turn on syncing bookmarks, highlights, and collections on your other devices.
Enhanced or interactive books may have multimedia capabilities, such as clicking a three-dimensional item and then rotating it to view different angles, or watching a video that correlates with the book. These types of books can be read only on iBooks on Macs and iPads.
Sorting your books
iBooks gives you choices of how you want to sort and view your books in your library. Access commands for sorting the books and seeing more information in the View menu:
· Choose View⇒Sort By to re-order your books by Most Recent (those opened most recently), Title, or Manually, which lets you click and drag the books to the order you want.
· Choose View⇒Show Title and Author to see that information beneath the book cover icon.
· Choose View⇒Show Purchases in iCloud to see books that haven’t yet been downloaded to your Mac.
The tabs across the top of the window change your point of view:
· All Books: Shows you the covers of all your books.
· Collections: A pane appears on the left of the window that lists three collections initially:
· Purchased, which shows books you purchased
· Books, which shows only books
· PDFs, which shows any PDFs you’ve copied into iBooks
Collections are a great way to group and sort your books. Choose File⇒ New Collection, and then type in a new name in the highlighted item in the Collections list. (iBooks switches to Collections view automatically when you choose New Collection.) Click and drag books from the Purchased or Books collection into the newly created collection.
· Authors: A list of authors appears down the left of the window (refer to Figure 6-1). Click an author’s name in the list to see books only by that author, or click All Authors to see all your books.
· Categories: A list of categories for which you have books appears down the left of the window. Click a category to see the books within it.
· List: The icons disappear, and you see a spreadsheet-style list of your book titles, authors, and other information such as when you last read the book and the date it was added.
Continuing Education at iTunes U
Divided into 16 genres (think academic departments), iTunes U features audio and video lectures from seminars and courses at universities around the world. iTunes U isn’t limited to university, however. You find lectures and presentations from professional meetings and conferences, such as TED and the Prostate Health Conference, as well as K–12 and professional certification material. Aside from the vast selection of topics and the quality of the presentations, the best part is that the lectures are free!
Here we briefly explain how the iTunes U course catalog is organized in the iTunes Store. As with the other iTunes Store departments, iTunes U lets you look at its offerings overall, by genre, by most popular, and, of course, by searching, which we explain in Book IV, Chapter 1.
The iTunes U offerings differ a bit from Music and Movies. The selections are divided into “courses” and “collections.” Courses have a syllabus, study materials, which may be e-books or worksheets, and the lectures themselves as either audio or video files to be followed in chronological order as you build upon gained knowledge from one lesson to the next. Collections often run less than 15 minutes and are standalone lectures related to a similar topic; you don’t need to listen to or watch all of them to gain full knowledge.
In addition to downloading single lectures, you can subscribe to a whole course or series and manage subscription preferences. Here, we briefly repeat how to reach iTunes U in the iTunes Store, to lead in to subscription management:
1. Click iTunes on the Dock or from Launchpad, and then click iTunes Store in the upper-right corner.
2. Click the iTunes U tab at the top of the iTunes Store window.
3. Browse as you would for any media in iTunes by clicking through the categories that appear in the iTunes U pop-up menu or through the banners, icons, and lists.
4. Click the course or collection that interests you to open the info screen.
5. When you find a course or collection you want to watch or listen to, you have the following options, as shown in Figure 6-6:
· Click Subscribe to subscribe to the entire course. Links to the materials are added to your iTunes U Library in iTunes, and updates are added as they become available. (This is the default setting that we show you how to change later.)
· Click the Free button (in the Price column) next to a single episode or material. The icon next to the name indicates the type of file it is: A monitor icon means video, and a speaker icon indicates audio. Some courses also have a syllabus to download as a PDF file.
Figure 6-6: iTunes U offers lessons and lectures from universities around the world.
6. Course materials are often available only through the iTunes U app on an iOS device, such as an iPad or iPhone.
7. Click the Back button in the upper left to return to the iTunes U screen where you were before.
Click the Library button in the upper right of the iTunes Store window to return to your iTunes Library.
After you subscribe to a course or download single lectures, you find them in the iTunes U library, which you access by clicking iTunes U in the Library pop-up menu in the Library window. You can view all your courses by clicking the Courses tab, as shown in Figure 6-7. See those added most recently by clicking the New tab or see a list view by clicking — you guessed it — the List tab.
Figure 6-7: Listen to and watch iTunes U lectures from your iTunes library.
Click a course to display the lectures available so far. The icon next to the lecture indicates if it’s audio or video. When you subscribe to a course, the most recent lecture — called Episode(s) — begins to download, and future episodes will be downloaded automatically when available. Until an episode has completed downloading, an iCloud icon appears next to it.
To download previous episodes, click the Settings button to choose how you want to manage the episodes, as shown in Figure 6-8. To download previous episodes, open the pop-up menu next to Download and choose All Episodes. Click the Defaults button to select settings that will be applied to all courses, or use the settings for individual courses to differentiate between them. Click Done when you finish.
To listen to or watch an episode, click the Play button on the toolbar or next to the course title. Use the playback controls as you would for listening to music or watching a video (see Book IV, Chapter 2).
Figure 6-8: Select Settings course by course or choose default Settings for all courses.
Finding and Playing Podcasts
The iTunes Store offers both audio and video podcasts in 16 categories (at the time of publication), and you can view the podcasts by audio or video only, by category, or by new releases. Apple’s recommendations show up under the Staff Favorites link, and Top Charts lists the most popular episodes.
As with iTunes U, you can listen to, or watch, a single episode of a podcast or subscribe, in which case iTunes automatically downloads new episodes to your podcast library. You can also stream a podcast — that is, listen to it while it’s downloading. If you prefer to download and listen later, click the Pause button after clicking the download button; the podcast will download into the Podcast library, and you can play it at a later time. And, as with iTunes U, podcasts are free.
The iTunes Store isn’t the only place to find podcasts. You may find others on the web and you can import them into iTunes with the Add to Library function described in Book IV, Chapter 1.
Managing your podcasts
Whether you download a single episode or subscribe to a series, you find the podcast in the Podcasts library of iTunes. Click the tabs across the top of the window to see different views:
· Unplayed displays all the podcasts you have downloaded or subscribed to but haven’t listened to yet.
· My Podcasts shows you a list of the podcast series title on the left. When you click one of the series, a list of episodes appears on the right. You can access settings for a series from this view, which are explained in the upcoming List bullet.
If you want to see old episodes and even download some, click the Old Episodes button and then click Add All to add all the old episodes shown, or click the circle next to those you want to add and then click Done. Click the iCloud button next to the added episode to download it.
· My Stations sorts your podcasts by station categories that you create. Click the Add button (+) at the bottom of the My Stations view window and click the Untitled Station text box to rename your station. Then, click the circle to the right of the podcasts you want to be played on that station from the list on the right of the window, as shown in Figure 6-9. By default, the most recent unplayed episodes will be added to the station as they become available. You can adjust the order, number of episodes, and media type in the Station Settings, above the podcast list on the right. By putting several podcasts in a station, you can listen to a mix of similar podcasts — sort of like creating your own talk radio channel.
The icons next to the podcasts indicate the download status. A filled-in circle means the podcast has been downloaded, and a partially filled circle means the download is in progress.
Figure 6-9: Use the My Stations view to group and sort your podcasts.
· List shows a list (imagine that!) of the podcast episodes you downloaded or series you subscribed to. Click a specific podcast and then the Settings button at the bottom of the window. Click the Defaults button to select the default settings, as shown in Figure 6-10. After you select your default settings, click OK, and then click Done to close the settings. After you close Settings, the view switches to My Podcasts.
To set the same defaults for all podcasts, click the List tab, and then the Settings button directly, without choosing a specific podcast. The Podcast Defaults window opens (refer to Figure 6-10). Select your settings and click OK.
Figure 6-10: Choose default podcast settings from List view.
Choose your default settings first, and then make any changes for any single podcast series. Done in the reverse order, the default settings will override the single series podcast settings.
Use the pop-up menus to select options for the selected podcast series, as shown in Figure 6-11. Click Done when you finish making your choices. Click the Refresh button to update your podcasts to replace the settings you chose.
Figure 6-11: Specify different podcast settings for individual podcast series you subscribe to.
If you want to subscribe to a podcast for which you downloaded just a single episode, choose List view, click the podcast you want to subscribe to, and then click the Subscribe button. Should you ever want to unsubscribe, do the same but click the Unsubscribe button.
Choose iTunes⇒Preferences, click the Store button, and then select the Sync Podcast Subscriptions and Settings check box to sync your preferences across all Macs and devices signed in to the same Apple ID.
Listening to or watching podcasts
After you download or subscribe to a podcast, you’ll want to enjoy it. In any of the views, click a podcast and then click the Play button. If you click My Stations, just click the Play button next to the station name to hear all the podcasts on that station, back to back. Control playback as you would for audio or video in iTunes.