How to turn on / off iCloud Private Relay in iOS 15

How to turn on / off iCloud Private Relay in iOS 15

One of the new security features arriving with iOS 15 brings a new level of privacy to web browsing beyond what VPNs offer. But while the feature benefits from full encryption, there is a potential downside to keeping it enabled. Here's how to turn on / off iCloud Private Relay on iPhone and iPad in iOS 15.

Apple announced iCloud Private Relay as part of its enhanced iCloud + functionality at WWDC with live functionality in iOS 15 betas. At first glance, it looks like a VPN, but it's notably different with the process including " two separate Internet relays ”. The second relay means that even Apple doesn't know who the users are and which sites they are visiting.

When browsing with Safari, Private Relay ensures that all traffic leaving a user's device is encrypted, so that no one between the user and the website they are visiting can access and read it, not even Apple or the user's network provider. All user requests are then sent via two separate internet relays. The first assigns the user an anonymous IP address that matches their region but not their actual location. The second decrypts the web address they wish to visit and forwards them to their destination. This separation of information protects user privacy because no single entity can identify both who a user is and what sites they visit.

Apple's vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, also explained iCloud Private Relay in more detail in an interview, including, “We hope users believe in Apple as a trustworthy middleman, but we don't. didn't even want you to trust us. [because] we don't have this ability to simultaneously find your IP and the destination you're going to, and that's different from VPNs.

iCloud Private Relay is available with iCloud + and the feature only works with Safari in iOS 15 on iPhone and iPad and Mac with macOS Monterey.

The main downside that you might see when using the feature is slower internet speed. During beta testing, some users even experienced serious Safari slowdowns with Private Relay enabled. But your mileage may vary.

iOS 15 is currently available in public and developer beta, with the official release scheduled for fall 2021.

How to turn iCloud private relay on / off

One quirk we saw in the beta of iOS 15 is that iCloud Private Relay turns on automatically. If you notice that your internet connection is slowing down randomly while running iOS 15, you might want to check if this has happened. You may also see a notification on your lock screen stating that Private Relay is on.

  • On iPhone or iPad running iOS 15, open the Applying settings
  • Tap Your name up> choose iCloud
  • Tap Private relay
  • Tap the toggle to turn iCloud Private Relay on / off
  • When enabled, you can also choose to “Maintain general location” which is the default or change it to “Use country and time zone” (more private but may delete local content in Safari)
  • On Mac, if you're running macOS Monterey beta, go to System Preferences> Apple ID> iCloud> Private Relay.

Here's what the process looks like on iPhone:

You can now enable / disable private relay or change your IP address settings.

If you have enabled the feature, Apple gives a detailed warning about what you are giving up privacy when you disable the feature.

What do you think of iCloud Private Relay, have you tested it? If your connection is slower with it turned on, is it worth increasing the privacy?

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