MacBook
(Photo : Unsplash/ Christian Wiediger) Mac computer

iCloud+ Private Relay is a feature that Apple added on its iPhone and iPad with iOS, as well as with iPadOS 15.

With the release of macOS Monterey, Mac users can use it now too. The feature is not only by default, so you need to enable it.

iCloud+ Private Relay and What it Does

Private Relay is a new privacy feature of Apple for iCloud+ customers. If you pay for iCloud space at 50GB or above, you will have access to the privacy feature, according to HowtoGeek.

Currently, it is in beta mode together with other features like Hide My Email. Private Relay may not operate in the way that you want it to, especially since it is brand new. But you can always turn it off if there are issues.

The service uses a two-phase system that anonymizes the web traffic in your Safari browser. ​The traffic is first transferred to servers, which is then encrypted, and all identifying information is removed.

Also Read: iPhone iOS Privacy Features You Should Know About for Added Security

The second hop goes to a third-party service and assigns an anonymous IP address to your request. It is designed in such a way that not even Apple knows what you are doing.

While Private Relay may be similar to a VPN, it has some massive differences. For example, Private Relay hide where you are connecting from, unlike VPN, which lets you tunnel to a different area of the internet and make it seem that you are from overseas.

But just like a VPN, the use of the service may slow down the internet traffic because your requests have to make two different hops instead of connecting directly.

How to Enable Private Relay

In order to turn on Private Relay, launch the System Preference option on your Mac and select Apple ID at the top. You will then see a list of iCloud features.

Next to Private Relay, choose Options. Now click on "Turn On Private Relay" to allow the feature to work.

Once you have done so, you will also be able to select a general IP address location that you can maintain or opt for a more precise but less private "Use country and time zone" option.

Sometimes will not work as expected, and an error will show on Safari. If this happens, you can always go back to System Preferences.

You need to select your Apple ID, then go to Private Relay to disable it and consider using a VPN service, according to 9to5Mac.

Private Relay Isn't Perfect

Some users saw issues in the way that the Private Relay handles requests, and it could potentially leak your real IP address. Users are hoping that the service will improve as soon as it leaves the beta phase.

If you are using Private Relay on your Mac, you can enable it on your iPhone as well. It is one of the numerous ways that the Private Relay feature is added with iOS 15.

iCloud Private Relay vs. VPN

The iCloud Private Relay works only with Safari and not any other apps or web browsers. It is also a proxy server, which a lot of large networks will not work with, like schools or businesses, according to MacWorld.

Related Article: Apple's iCloud Plus Promises to Protect Your Privacy on Apple Products for a Price

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Written by Sophie Webster

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