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How to use iCloud Private Relay

27th September 2021

Jacob Woolcock



iCloud Private Relay is new with iOS 15 and is available to anyone who pays for additional iCloud Storage. This new setting will protect your internet browsing and prevent websites and networks from tracking your activity. Here’s how it works…

If you pay for iCloud storage on your iOS device, there’s a brand new feature called iCloud Private Relay. Here’s how it works. Private Relay is designed to keep your web browsing private and safe, and the way it does this is quite clever. At the moment, when you go to a website, the website owner can track your IP Address which, in turn, can kind of connect you and the websites you visit together. Private Relay breaks that connection by sharing the IP Address as far as Apple, which then gets changed into a different IP Address to go to the website. Essentially, this means that the website has no idea who’s browsing it and Apple has no idea what websites you’re browsing. So there’s a little disconnect between your device and the website you’re going to, which makes your browsing safer.

At the moment, if I go onto a website that tracks my IP Address, I can find out whereabouts in the world I am. I’m very close to Truro in Cornwall (a few miles down the road in fact), but if I go into Settings and then tap on my iCloud Account, I can go onto iCloud Private Relay. If I turn on the Private Relay (which is currently in beta but won’t be forever) and then go back to that same website and reload, you’ll now notice that it’s got a different location for me. In fact, it now thinks I’m in Croydon which is over 200 miles away! I can even go back to settings and make this location even more vague so I can go to a country-wide level. So that means any website that I go to will only know that I’ve come from the United Kingdom rather than coming from Truro in Cornwall.

This sort of feature is particularly good when you want to keep your browsing safe or when you’re perhaps using a Wi-Fi network that you don’t necessarily trust that much – maybe in a hotel Wi-Fi situation or maybe you’ve gone to a restaurant and you’re connected to their network. It’s a nice little feature to have but it’s only available if you’ve got an iCloud subscription – even if you’re paying 99p a month, it will get you covered for this. That’s it for this #QuickTip, but there are loads more iOS and iPadOS 15 ones on my Channel so please click the name below and Subscribe so you won’t miss any tips in the future.

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