Is Apple’s iCloud Private Relay A VPN? | #macos | #macsecurity


Private Relay is free with the entry-level iCloud+ subscription. While it isn’t a full VPN, privacy for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users is improved.

Apple now offers an enhanced security feature called iCloud Private Relay and it sounds a little like a VPN. Apple has placed more focus on privacy and security in recent years, and it makes sense given the ongoing threats from computer viruses, hackers, and online leaks. All of which means the user either must have nothing to hide and of value, or take extra precautions.

VPNs are popular with corporations since they can be set up to allow employees to work securely from what might be an unprotected network. Even when logging in via a MacBook or an iPhone from a public Wi-Fi connection at a coffee shop, all data is encrypted so anyone that has unauthorized access will still need to decrypt before seeing any data from the stream, which is not an easy task. VPNs are also used as a way to hide the user’s location, something that is used by some to access content from another country that might otherwise be blocked due to copyright issues.

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Apple’s iCloud Private Relay is similar to a VPN since it blocks IP (Internet Protocol) address tracking, which otherwise would allow a website to know the approximate location of an iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer that is being used. iCloud Private Relay also encrypts DNS (domain name server) records to prevent anyone from seeing which websites are being visited. This is another layer of tracking protection and it is worthwhile, but it doesn’t go as far as some VPNs. Most notably, the fact that a proxy is being used is obvious and the country or general region of the user is still shared since Apple is not trying to help users get around digital rights. This is similar to Google One’s VPN, protecting security but not circumventing copyright.


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Apple iCloud Plus Benefits

While iCloud Private Relay doesn’t go to the same extremes of anonymity as some VPNs, it is still a worthwhile addition to iCloud and comes for free with the lowest cost iCloud+ subscription. For 99 cents per month, iPhone and Mac users with privacy concerns can enable iCloud Private Relay for extra protection, while enjoying 50 gigabytes of online storage. Even better, the entry-level pricing allows family sharing so everyone gets access to iCloud for photos, videos, and backups.

iCloud+ also includes a ‘Hide My Email‘ feature that can generate unique, random email addresses whenever there is a need to sign up for something. These generated email addresses forward to the user’s real email, protecting the user from potential spam lists and hacking. More storage is available when needed for those large ProRAW photos and ProRes videos that the entire family might be uploading. 200 gigabytes costs $2.99 and 2 terabytes is priced at $9.99 per month. Even though Apple’s iCloud Private Relay isn’t a full VPN, it adds good value to iCloud+ and protects the user.


Next: How To Create & Share iCloud Calendars On iPhone

Source: Apple 1, 2

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