About iCloud Private Relay

Learn how iCloud Private Relay—part of an iCloud+ subscription—helps protect your privacy when you browse the web in Safari.

Note: iCloud Private Relay is not available in all countries or regions and is currently in beta in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey.

How Private Relay works

Normally when you browse the web, information contained in your web traffic, such as your DNS records and IP address, can be seen by your network provider and the websites you visit. This information could be used to determine your identity and build a profile of your location and browsing history over time. iCloud Private Relay is designed to protect your privacy by ensuring that when you browse the web in Safari, no single party—not even Apple—can see both who you are and what sites you're visiting.

When Private Relay is enabled, your requests are sent through two separate, secure internet relays. Your IP address is visible to your network provider and to the first relay, which is operated by Apple. Your DNS records are encrypted, so neither party can see the address of the website you’re trying to visit. The second relay, which is operated by a third-party content provider, generates a temporary IP address, decrypts the name of the website you requested and connects you to the site. All of this is done using the latest internet standards to maintain a high-performance browsing experience while protecting your privacy.


Turn on Private Relay

Turn on Private Relay to protect your IP address and browsing activity in Safari:

  • On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Private Relay. 
  • On your Mac, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Apple ID. Select iCloud > Private Relay. 

You can tap IP Address Location to choose a setting for your IP address.

  • Maintain General Location allows sites to show you localized content in Safari, while your IP address stays hidden
  • Use Country and Time Zone uses a broader location for your IP address, still within your country and time zone

If a website or network doesn’t work with Private Relay

Private Relay is designed to protect your internet privacy and maintain a high-performance browsing experience. Some websites, networks, or services may need to make updates for Private Relay, including networks that require the ability to audit traffic or perform network-based filtering—such as business or education networks—or services that rely on viewing your browsing activity, like parental controls or some “zero rated” services that don’t count against your data usage.

In addition, if you travel somewhere Private Relay isn't available, it will automatically turn off and will turn on again when you re-enter a country or region that supports it. Private Relay will notify you when it's unavailable and when it's active again.

If a website, network, or service you're using doesn't appear to be compatible with Private Relay, you can temporarily turn off Private Relay in iCloud settings. You can also turn off Private Relay just for a specific network. If you turn off Private Relay, network providers and websites can monitor your internet activity in Safari. 

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can turn off iCloud Private Relay in Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Private Relay. On your Mac, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Apple ID. Select iCloud > Private Relay.

You can also turn off Private Relay just for a specific network. On your iOS device, go to Settings > Wi-Fi, then tap the More Info button  next to the Wi-Fi network. Or for cellular networks, go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options. On your Mac, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Network and select the network from the list to see more options. 

If you turn off Private Relay for a specific network, the setting for that network applies to all your devices for which Private Relay is turned on.


Private Relay and network speed tests

Private Relay uses a single, secure connection to maintain privacy and performance. This design may impact how throughput is reflected in network speed tests that typically open several simultaneous connections to deliver the highest possible result. While some speed test measurements may appear lower when Private Relay is enabled, your actual browsing experience remains fast and private.


Additional resources for developers and network administrators

If you’re a website owner or developer, network administrator, or app developer, learn how to provide the best possible experience for users of Private Relay on your network.

 

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Contact the vendor for additional information.

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