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Announcing an updated version of our unofficial iPhone user guide

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Publisher i30 Media has released an updated version of its iPhone user guide. Authored by Ian Lamont, iPhone Basics In 30 Minutes covers the current iPhone hardware lineup including the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and the iPhone SE. It also explores the iOS operating system, Apple services such as iCloud and Siri, and important apps such as Phone, Photos, Mail, and Maps. Finally, it provides reviews of nine powerful apps that many new iPhone owners may never have heard of, such as Waze and Wunderlist.

Written in plain English with a touch of humor and lots of images, this iPhone user guide covers basic setup, key hardware and software features, and various tricks and time-savers. Topics include:

  • How to customize the iPhone’s appearance
  • What users need to know if about migrating from Android
  • Touch screen basics
  • 3D Touch, Peek, and Pop
  • Switching apps and multitasking
  • Typing and text tricks
  • How to use Siri and its kid brother, Dictation
  • Getting the most out of the powerful iPhone camera
  • Managing iCloud settings
  • Security features, from Find My iPhone to Touch ID
  • Wi-Fi and other wireless settings
  • How to tame notifications and after-hours calls
  • Moving, deleting, and grouping apps
  • Four ways to conserve battery power
  • Seven ways to free up iPhone storage space
  • Nine exceptional iPhone apps

Not a comprehensive iPhone user guide

As its name suggests, iPhone Basics In 30 Minutes does not cover everything about the iPhone. Nevertheless, in a single reading readers will discover new features and learn time-saving shortcuts. The guide also explains how to leverage the iPhone’s increasingly powerful camera and photo-organizing software.

iPhone user guide camera tipsiPhone Basics In 30 Minutes contains updated text and imagery from an earlier title, iPhone 6 and 6S In 30 Minutes, but has been significantly revised to take into account Apple’s new iPhone models and updates to the iOS operating system.

Here’s what real readers have said about the guides:

John Steel:

“A really useful guide full of hints tips and information. You can save yourself a lot of money by following the clear instructions over usage. I would still be struggling to use the phone to its full potential without this book. Highly recommended.”

Gary Coates:

“Great help for Android users wondering where all the functionality has gone when using an iPhone for the first time.”

To learn more about the title, or to purchase the ebook, PDF, or paperback editions, visit the official companion website located at iphone.in30minutes.com. The book will be updated as Apple releases new hardware and software.

Announcing our new Microsoft Word guide

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Publisher i30 Media Corp. is pleased to announce the launch this week of Microsoft Word In 30 Minutes: How to make a bigger impact with your documents and master Word’s writing, formatting, and collaboration tools. While most people know how to open a .docx file and start entering text on the screen, Microsoft Word In 30 Minutes is designed to take readers to the next level and leverage Word’s powerful design, sharing, and reviewing tools.

Microsoft Word In 30 Minutes - new MS Word guideAuthored by Angela Rose, the book guides readers through the basics of Microsoft Word, from formatting to printing, before moving on to more advanced features such as collaboration, charts, and tables. Using real-life situations and amusing examples from her own home-based writing business, Rose shows readers how to move beyond simple letters and reports to create eye-catching and powerful documents for work, school, and personal use.

Microsoft Word In 30 Minutes can help turn the average computer user into the local office expert on Microsoft Word, if not an actual power user. The book covers Microsoft Word 2016 as well as Microsoft’s free (but limited) Word Online program. Most of the instructions and examples in the Word guide also apply to earlier versions, including Word 2013 and Word 2010.

Topics include:

  • MS Word interface basics, from Backstage View to the Ribbon
  • Office 365 subscriptions and OneDrive
  • Display options for individual documents
  • How to work with multiple windows in Microsoft Word
  • Working with .docx, .doc, .txt, PDF, and other file formats in Word 2016 and Word Online
  • Locating recovered files
  • Printing documents, envelopes, and labels
  • How to format text using the toolbar
  • How to format Word documents using styles, themes, and style sets
  • Creating Word documents with professional-quality templates
  • How to create tables and charts in MS Word
  • Adding images, video, and hyperlinks
  • How to automatically create a table of contents in Word
  • Adding footnotes, endnotes, citations, a bibliography, and an index
  • Word spelling, tracking, and other reviewing tools
  • Collaboration tools, from comments to live collaboration
  • How to protect your Word document

The Microsoft Word book is available in paperback and ebook formats through online retailers and can also be ordered through bookstores, libraries, and other outlets. For more information about the Word guide and to read an excerpt, please visit the companion website located at word.in30minutes.com.

About the author

Angela Rose is a writer and marketing strategist based in Colorado. When she’s not removing cats from her keyboard, you can find Angela searching for the perfect taco, running 5Ks, whipping up original pastry recipes, and hiking the Colorado Mountains with her photographer husband. Angela is also the author of LinkedIn In 30 Minutes (2nd Edition).

About the series

i30 Media is the publisher of In 30 Minutes guides – Quick guides for a complex world. Thousands of readers turn to the series to understand mildly complex topics, ranging from genealogy to software. The tone is friendly and easy to understand, with step-by-step instructions and lots of examples. Top-selling titles include Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, Twitter In 30 Minutes, and LinkedIn In 30 Minutes. For more information about the series, visit in30minutes.com.

Soulene wins IPNE book award

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Soulene: A Healer in Paris IPNE Book awardOn this blog, I have documented the ups and downs of running an experimental nonfiction publishing venture—i30 Media, which I founded four years ago to publish In 30 Minutes guides. But one thing I seldom mention on this blog or elsewhere is the fact that i30 Media is also a publisher of fiction. I am pleased to announce that one our fiction titles, Soulene: A Healer in Paris, recently received an award from the Independent Publishers of New England for young adult fiction. Congratulations go to author Ursula Pearson, who put in a lot of hard work over a period of several years to tell the story of Soulene, a young healer living in medieval France and England.

You may wonder how a publisher of utility nonfiction got involved in publishing YA fiction. I’ve learned that once you hang out your shingle as “publisher” all kinds of people will approach you for help with their work. As the self-publishing explosion has demonstrated, there is an incredible well of untapped writing talent out there. Unfortunately, the process of publishing a book can be difficult. Not only are the tools unwieldy, but also most prospective authors don’t want to deal with the work associated with editing, formatting, designing, and marketing a new book. So they turn to people with more experience to help them get their books published.

While I have said “no” to most prospective authors who have asked me to edit or publish their works of fiction, I made an exception for Ursula. At the heart of her stories was a strong character, a young woman pursuing a passion to help the sick and injured. Soulene lived in an unjust and cruel world, in which poverty, plagues, and war were a constant presence. Only a small class of educated men (most of them from noble families or the clergy) could ever hope to become doctors. Yet Soulene was able to find an alternate path through a religious order for women, the so-called Red Heart Healers, who specialized in working with the poor of France and parts of England.

Soulene also had a fascinating backstory. I won’t reveal it here, but suffice it to say that it rivals a Mexican soap opera for plot twists, villains, and vengeful plots. Ursula also paid close attention to important historical details, including the types of herbs and plants used for treating wounds and illness, the spread of plague in medieval towns, and even the layout of 13th-century Paris.

These qualities, along with the short length of the books, convinced me to take on Ursula’s trilogy. Book 1, Soulene: A Healer’s Tale, was released in 2013. The following year Soulene: The Art of the Red Heart Healers came out. Last year, Soulene: A Healer in Paris, was released. While the first book required a lot of rewrites and editing, by the third book Ursula had hit her stride. The characters were fleshed out, the dialogue was strong, and the pacing was just right. We found talented graphic artists—Steve Sauer and Malgorzata Godziuk—to handle the covers and interior maps. Reader feedback was great, but I also thought there might be an opportunity to get wider recognition.

award-winning Soulene trilogyEnter the IPNE Awards. Every year the Independent Publishers of New England holds an awards contest, the winners of which are announced at the annual conference. A panel of librarians handles the judging in more than a dozen categories, which include art, literary fiction, mystery, and several nonfiction categories. i30 Media entered Soulene: A Healer in Paris as well as two In 30 Minutes titles. Last month, Soulene was named a finalist in the YA category, and at the conference in Portsmouth New Hampshire it won the IPNE 2016 Book award for YA fiction. It was a pleasure to pick up the award on the author’s behalf.

Does the award mean that i30 Media will be developing more fiction titles? I am not sure, but I have told Ursula that when she starts work on another book I will be ready to read her manuscript.

To learn more about Soulene, check out the official Soulene.com website.

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes now available!

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Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes launchPublisher i30 Media today launched Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes: The quick guide to creating a family tree, building connections with relatives, and discovering the stories of your ancestors (ISBN: 9781939924681). Authored by professional genealogist Shannon Combs-Bennett, the book explains the joys, challenges, and triumphs of researching family origins. It aims to help people who are new to genealogy as well as those who have casually gathered information about their ancestors over the years and want to take their research to the next level.

While many people assume genealogy research starts online, Combs-Bennett shows the importance of getting started with family research using documents that can be found in one’s own home or with the help of relatives. She also emphasizes how to build a family tree the right way—instead of entering random ancestors’ names into Google or Ancestry.com, it’s critical to start at the base of the tree with one’s own family and then work back in time using vital records and other documents. As Combs-Bennett explains in the book, online research and genetic genealogy can play an important role once the most recent generations have been identified.

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is written in a friendly, easy-to-understand style that avoids complex jargon. There are lots of examples, case studies, and advice that can help would-be family historians quickly get up to speed. In addition to listing best practices for conducting genealogical research, Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes also warns readers about the many pitfalls of family research, from “brick wall” mysteries to time-wasting online searches. Topics include:

  • Why are people so interested in family history?
  • Evaluating clues, facts, and myths in family stories
  • The importance of linking generations
  • Vital records, from birth certificates to death records
  • Non-vital records, from census forms to wills
  • Religious records
  • Five things that can trip up newbies researching family history
  • Best practices for genealogy road trips
  • Interviewing relatives, and dealing with skeptics
  • Pros and cons of online genealogy research
  • Genealogy communities and continuing education
  • Genetic genealogy basics
  • Understanding the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
  • Genetic genealogy and adoptees
  • Non-paternal events and other skeletons in the genetic closet
  • Visualizing family history with charts
  • Research logs and genealogy journals
  • How to create good source citations
  • Preserving records and research
  • Genealogy software and GEDCOM files
  • Planning for disasters

Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is not a comprehensive guide. Nevertheless, readers will be able to quickly understand key research basics that will serve them well as they embark on a journey to figure out their family origins. Creating a strong family tree will not only satisfy their curiosity, but will also serve as a record to share with relatives and future generations.

More information about Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes as well as online ordering options can be found on the companion website, genealogy.in30minutes.com. The site also includes a genealogy blog and other resources for readers. The paperback retail price is $11.99 while the ebook edition is available on the Amazon Kindle and other devices for $7.99.

About the author

Author Shannon Combs-BennettShannon Combs-Bennett is an author, researcher, and lecturer based in the Washington, D.C. metro area. She regularly speaks and writes about genetic genealogy, Virginia genealogy, and research methods. Shannon is a frequent contributor to Family Tree Magazine and Family Tree University, serves as the Creative Director for The In-Depth Genealogist, and owns T2 Family History. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Indiana University, which started her passion for research and genetic genealogy. Shannon completed the Boston University Certificate of Genealogical Research in 2013 and is a student at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, earning a certificate in American Records. Shannon also serves as a staff genealogist at the National Society Colonial Dames 17th Century in Washington, DC. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

About In 30 Minutes guides

i30 Media is the publisher of In 30 Minutes guides – “Quick guides for a complex world.” Thousands of readers turn to In 30 Minutes guides to understand mildly complex topics, ranging from genealogy to software. The tone is friendly and easy to understand, with step-by-step instructions and lots of examples. Top-selling titles include Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, Twitter In 30 Minutes, and LinkedIn In 30 Minutes. For more information about the series, visit in30minutes.com

Twitter In 30 Minutes reviewed by Night Owl Reviews

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Not long ago Twitter In 30 Minutes received one of its first professional reviews. Now Pamela Robinson of Night Owl Reviews has published a review, which you can see on the Night Owl site. This is what she had to say:

Ian Lamont is good at breaking down steps and organizing directions so that anyone can understand them. Twitter is a part of social media that seems to be here to stay. Knowing how to not only create an account, but to use it effectively is important.

This book goes through the steps of creating your own account, adding pictures to your profile, and how to find others on Twitter as well. I didn’t know that if an egg is showing in someone’s profile picture they are usually new and haven’t added anything yet.

I loved the suggestions about how to search for like-minded friends and businesses. Adding pictures and posting (only a short amount of characters) is fun. If you are using Twitter to promote something you will be glad to know you can link it to your Facebook page and it will automatically post there every time you ‘Tweet’. This is a lot of helpful information that can be read, and applied, in a short time.

Thank you, Pamela, for the review!

Twitter In 30 Minutes book reviewed by Night Owl Reviews

Twitter In 30 Minutes, 3rd Edition

New genealogy book now available for preorder

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Genealogy basics bookGenealogy Basics In 30 Minutes is now available for preorder via Amazon (Kindle/Paperback). This genealogy book is a great resource for people who are interested in learning about their roots, but are concerned about confusing tools and ancestry research methods. Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes breaks it all down, starting with a simple approach to building out a family tree. It also describes various ways to gather information, including:

  • The types of vital records and non-vital documents to look for
  • Best practices for connecting with relatives, from gathering documents to conducting interviews
  • Researching family history on genealogy road trips
  • Technological tools, including online databases, GEDCOM files, and genetic genealogy
  • Using charts and forms to track research and share the results
  • How to store digital and paper records
Shannon Combs-Bennett

Shannon Combs-Bennett

Genealogy is a topic that we’ve wanted to turn into an In 30 Minutes guide for many years. In 2015 we connected with an up-and-coming genealogist and genealogy blogger, Shannon Combs-Bennett. Shannon is not only knowledgeable about researching family history, she has a science background and a deep understanding of genetic genealogy. Best of all she is a great storyteller, which helps to relate various research concepts into real-world situations.

It’s a fascinating genealogy book, and publisher i30 Media hopes you can preorder your copy today on the Genealogy Basics In 30 Minutes website!

New product line: In 30 Minutes video classes

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Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes video classes

Publisher i30 Media is pleased to announce a new product line: In 30 Minutes video classes. We’re starting with the Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes video course (For a limited time, available at a 25% discount on Gumroad or available as a video class on Udemy), but will expand to other topics soon. You can learn more about the Google Drive and Docs video here, and we will also distribute the class to other online educational platforms.

The idea for In 30 Minutes video classes has been around almost as long as the book series. Around the same time the ebook and paperback versions of Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes were launched, i30 Media posted a series of short video screencasts on YouTube. They were very popular — one video that shows how to convert a PDF to Microsoft Word or Google Docs has garnered tens of thousands of views. Would people be interested in watching a longer video course about Google’s free online office suite? The popularity of the YouTube videos indicated that the answer was probably “yes” … but it would require a lot of work, ranging from writing a script to setting up a studio to shoot the on-screen narrations and screencast demonstrations.

What’s inside the Google Drive & Google Docs video class?

Here’s an excerpt from the description of Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes (video class):

This 30-minute class is narrated by the author of the top-selling guide, Google Drive & Google Docs In 30 Minutes. The course includes lectures on registration, finding and organizing files, creating documents and formatting them, working with Microsoft Word documents in Google Docs, and a complete review of the interfaces for Google Drive and Google Docs on the Web and mobile devices. The tone of this guide is friendly and easy to understand, with lots of step-by-step instructions and examples that show exactly what to do.

In addition to serving as a solid introduction to new users, it’s great for people making the transition from Microsoft Office, not to mention teachers using Google Drive for education and Google Docs in the classroom.

Here is the lecture list:

  • Introduction
  • The Google Drive user interface
  • The Google Docs user interface
  • Using the Google Drive and Google Docs mobile apps
  • Formatting in Google Docs
  • Formatting Microsoft Word files in Google Docs
  • The Google Drive desktop application for syncing and storage
  • Collaboration

You can start the lesson on Gumroad for 25% off or watch it on Udemy.

We hope the Google Drive video classes prove as popular as the ebook/paperback versions of the guide. In addition, we will be paying close attention to how people use the course in order to improve the video tutorials and create new instructional videos based on popular topics.

LinkedIn In 30 Minutes gets a complete refresh

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Publisher i30 Media is pleased to announce a completely revised second edition of its top-selling LinkedIn book, LinkedIn In 30 Minutes. Written by author Angela Rose (bio), the new title explores the basics of setting up an effective LinkedIn profile, best practices for cultivating a network, and how to use LinkedIn to find a job.

LinkedIn book, LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, 2nd EditionLinkedIn In 30 Minutes (2nd Edition) also explores the updated LinkedIn interface. Since the first edition of the guide was released in 2013, LinkedIn has streamlined the interface while introducing or expanding new features. For instance, whereas LinkedIn used to be all about building a profile and growing a network, now there is a greater emphasis on reading or contributing content through LinkedIn updates or longer essay-style posts. The idea that LinkedIn wants to promote is linkedin.com is more than a career network or online resume — it’s a destination for learning and keeping up to date.

Rose expertly covers the newer features, but spends a lot of time in Chapter 3 getting into the nuts and bolts of creating an effective profile. She uses several real LinkedIn users as examples, including a Coast Guard officer, a financial journalist, and a website operator, and has lots of easy-to-digest checklists of profile elements that really matter … as well as things that don’t (“Six sections you can skip or save for later”).

LinkedIn Jobs: More than one place to look

People who want to leverage LinkedIn to find a new job should take a close look at Chapter 6 of the new guide. While it’s easy enough to click the Jobs link in the toolbar, or start a search for a specific position, the author points out that there are several other places to look for open jobs, including company pages, groups, and (of course) one’s own LinkedIn network.

LinkedIn In 30 Minutes (2nd Edition) is available now in paperback and ebook editions for Kindles, iPads, and other mobile devices. Go to the official book website located at linkedin.in30minutes.com to see the available download and purchasing options.

A new edition of our top-selling Twitter tutorial

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Twitter tutorial book - Twitter In 30 Minutes, 3rd EditionFor the first time in its short history, In 30 Minutes® guides is releasing a third edition of a book. It’s titled Twitter In 30 Minutes (3rd Edition): How to connect with interesting people, write great tweets, and find information that’s relevant to you. The first edition of the Twitter tutorial was only published in 2013, while the second edition was released in 2014, with thousands of copies (including the paperback edition and ebook formats such as the Kindle and Apple iBooks) having been sold to date.

So why are we publishing a third edition in three years? The short answer: Twitter frequently changes its interface—and does so more often than any other software technology that we cover. We also found a slew of new examples to use in the book. This post will describe what’s new in the third edition of Twitter In 30 Minutes.

First, here is a list of some of the changes that Twitter has incorporated since the last edition of the book was released:

  • New Twitter account onboarding processes for Web and mobile
  • Twitter timeline changes that show some tweets out of order
  • More Twitter ads
  • Favorites replaced by Likes
  • Addition of Moments on the Twitter toolbar (similar to the old “Discover” tab)
  • Tweaks to the toolbar (for instance, new icons, and moving things around)
  • Nested retweets and the decline of “RT”
  • New search results view
  • Updated user interfaces for the Twitter app on Android and iOS

Adding “likes”, the changes to retweets, and the new mobile interfaces significantly impact the Twitter user experience, and are featured prominently in the text and screenshots of the third edition of Twitter In 30 Minutes. Other changes don’t really add much to the Twitter experience, and aren’t really covered in detail.

Take Moments. It’s obviously a pet project of Twitter’s returned CEO, Jack Dorsey. Yet it’s a failure on several levels. I tried it in the first week and was greeted by celebrity news and cat videos. Twitter has a lot of data about me and my interests, and that’s the best its algorithms could do? Moments is also very similar to Discover, which was a bit of a flop in its own time. Why bring it back? My guess is @Jack wants Twitter to be a better environment for news and algorithmically curated content, kind of like Facebook and LinkedIn are positioning themselves to be. But people already have several ways to keep abreast of what’s happening, namely their Twitter feeds and the trending topics list.

Besides the changes to the Twitter UI, the new edition of our Twitter book also updated many examples. They range from ordinary users to celebrities, as well as small businesses, media accounts, a famous politician, and even a cat:

Sockington the cat Twitter

Many of the examples are practical—retweets, attaching photos, how to use hashtags, etc.—while others show what’s possible or interesting (trust me, @Sockington is consistently funny, and is worth following!)

As for practical “how-to-do X” Twitter tutorials, here is a short list of some of the topics that are covered:

  • Registration basics (Web and Twitter app)
  • The Twitter icons explained
  • Home timeline vs. personal timeline
  • How to customize your profile
  • Following other users
  • How to find local accounts
  • Accounts to avoid
  • Tips for writing great tweets
  • Controversial and angry tweets
  • How to delete tweets
  • Retweets and hashtags
  • Hashtag no-nos
  • Going viral
  • Shortcut keys

As the book is designed to be read in about 30 minutes, the total length is just over 16,000 words (compared to 50,000 words for a short novel). It’s written in an easy-to-understand style, with lots of screenshots (you can see a sample chapter on our blog for the Twitter book). The reader reviews for the first two editions were consistently strong, and I expect the same will be true for the new edition. Learn more about the latest edition of our Twitter tutorial on the official website, or check out the paperback and Kindle editions directly. We also have a PDF edition.

Lastly, I wanted to thank the Twitter users who agreed to our request to use their profiles in the book, including @jkrums, @sockington, @oprah, @momogoose, @RobertFischer, @Jus_Tish, @marty_walsh, @UniversalHub, @jnannapolis, @RICHi, and @estherschindler.

A new In 30 Minutes book about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S

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I’m pleased to announce the release of iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes: The unofficial guide to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S, including basic setup, easy iOS tweaks, and time-saving tips. This is a special book for i30 Media, as I will describe in the following blog post.

First things first: It’s safe to say that the four devices that make up the iPhone 6 family (and iOS 9) are the most innovative iPhone models since the iPhone 4/4S. With the new phones, Apple has moved beyond Steve Jobs’ emphasis on small and simple that defined all previous generations of the iPhone. The new phones have large screens and enable some advanced technical and UI features, such as 3D Touch and “Live Photos” in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models as well as a more sophisticated Apple Wallet experience. Here’s a chart comparing the basic features of the iPhone 6 family:

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S comparison chart specs

However, with the additional features comes additional complexity—and that’s where iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes comes in. The learning curve for people coming from Android or older iPhone models can be steep. For people who have never used an iPhone (or owned an older model), features such as Dictation, Maps, Touch ID, 3D Touch, Apple Wallet, and various camera modes are not readily apparent unless someone sits down and explains how they work.

That’s precisely what I have set out to do in this book about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S. Using the classic In 30 Minutes style (friendly, brief, lots of examples), I cover basic setup and then move on to hardware, touch screen gestures, Siri, and core apps such as Camera, Mail, and Maps. Topics that are particularly tricky (I’m looking at you, iCloud and Photos app!) get extra attention. I also warn people away from settings that can negatively impact the iPhone experience, such as Wi-Fi Assist. There are more topics listed here.

What’s special about this title, beyond the cool product it’s about? For one, it’s the first new hardware-specific book published by i30 Media in two years. However, I have to admit that iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes spends quite a bit of time on iOS, apps, and other software/network settings. In other words, it’s not purely about hardware.

iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 MinutesSecond, iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes is also the first new title that sports the new In 30 Minutes design. This new look has been in the works since the beginning of the year, so it’s a real relief to finally see it in the hands of readers!

Please go to the iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes website if you are interested in learning more about the book or reading some tips and sample chapters. We are offering a 25% discount to people who download the PDF version, but we also offer a paperback edition and ebooks for the Kindle, iPad/iPhone, Nook, and other devices that have e-reader software for the ePub format.