How to use the iCloud + private relay

From iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, you can use Apple’s Private Relay with an iCloud + subscription to keep your surfing activities private thanks to encrypted relays. How to use it.

What is private relay?

Apple designed Private Relay to prevent ad networks and other services from creating a profile of you based on your browsing activity over time. When you use it Apple claims that “no single party – not even Apple – can see who you are and what websites you visit.”

Private Relay does this by sending your requests through two separate Internet relays. The first (operated by Apple) processes your IP address, and the second (operated by a third party) creates a temporary IP address and connects you to the site. On the go, Private Relay encrypts your DNS records to hide the address of the site you are visiting from intermediaries on the network.

Using the service requires some trust in Apple that your recordings will actually remain private, just as using a VPN requires that you trust the VPN provider.

What you will need

To use Private Relay, you’ll need an iCloud + or Apple One subscription – even the $ 0.99 per month subscription works – and your iPhone or iPad must be running iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 (or later). As of September 2021, you will no longer be able to use Private Relay with macOS, but that will likely change when Apple releases macOS 12 (Monterey), which is expected sometime in 2021.

As of September 2021, Private Relay is currently in beta form, which means Apple is still testing it and ironing out bugs before finally releasing it at some point in the future.

There are some limitations to how Private Relay works, since Apple explains on his private relay page:

  • Some websites may need to specially configured to work with private relay. If not, they may display information tailored for a different region. It can also interfere with logging in to some websites if the login relies on location-based information.
  • Some networks and services are incompatible with private relay. To the example, Networks that require filtering, services that rely on tracking your browsing activity (like parental controls), and others.
  • Private relay is not available in all regions. When you’re traveling, Private Relay will let you know if it’s not available in this area.

However, if you have problems with Private Relay, there is a quick way to turn it back off in Settings. If you need an alternative secure browser option, then you should try a VPN service.

What is a VPN and why do I need one?

How to Enable Private Relay on iPhone and iPad

To get started with Private Relay, you need to enable it in Settings. First, launch the Settings on your iPhone or iPad by tapping the icon that looks like a gray gear.

In Settings, tap your Apple ID name.

In Settings, tap your Apple ID.

Select “iCloud” in the Apple ID settings.

Tap iCloud.

In iCloud settings, tap Private Relay. (If you don’t see the option, subscribe to iCloud + or Apple One first).

In iCloud settings, tap Private Relay.

In the Private Relay Settings, tap the switch next to Private Relay to toggle it On.

Toggle the switch next to

After activation, you have the option of setting a location preference for the IP address. If you tap IP Address in Settings> Apple ID> iCloud> Private Relay, you have two options:

  • Maintain general location: This will assign you an anonymous IP address that will appear to website operators as if it were in your general area.
  • Use country and time zone: This will get a random IP address from anywhere within your current country and time zone.

Note that Apple doesn’t allow you to forge IP addresses other than those from other countries (as some VPNs do), which allows users to bypass certain geographic internet and streaming media restrictions.

Apple Private Relay

When you’ve set it up the way you want it, exit Preferences and start Safari. With Private Relay enabled, you can browse the web as normal with Safari.

How to access regionally restricted websites from anywhere in the world

Troubleshooting Apple Private Relay

If all goes well, you won’t notice any difference when browsing with Private Relay. But it may not work perfectly with every site or network. If so, you may need to temporarily turn off Private Relay in Settings> Apple ID> iCloud> Private Relay for these sites to work.

You can also turn off Private Relay for specific Wi-Fi networks or just for your cellular network. For Wi-Fi, open Settings and navigate to Wi-Fi. Then tap the “i” in a circle next to the Wi-Fi network that you want to turn it off. On the next screen, slide the switch next to iCloud Private Relay to Off.

(With this setting, iCloud Private Relay remains active for other Wi-Fi networks and your mobile data network, unless you explicitly turn them off or disable Private Relay completely.)

In the WLAN settings, switch

To turn off private relay for one cellular data network only, go to Settings> Cellular> Cellular Data Options and toggle the switch labeled “iCloud Private Relay” off.

In the cellular data options, switch

And if all else fails, you can try politely asking your carrier or site operator for it Actively support private relays with some changes at its end. Good luck and stay safe out there!

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