Keep Your Web Browsing Activity Private

* This article is from our Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Apple caused a big splash by introducing App Tracking Transparency, a feature that requires app developers to announce their intentions to track their users and allow users the opportunity to opt out of tracking. With iCloud Private Relay, a feature for paid iCloud Plus users, Apple doubled down on giving users the power to protect their own data. But what is iCloud Private Relay? Is Private Relay a VPN? How does it work? How can you use it? In this article, we'll cover all your burning questions about this service.

Why You'll Love This Tip

  • Keep your web browsing private.
  • Anonymize your location while still seeing geographically relevant search results.
  • Prevent websites from tracking you and collecting your data.

How to Use iCloud Private Relay

System Requirements

To use this tip, you'll need an iPhone running iOS 15 or later, an iPad on iPadOS 15 or later, or a Mac running macOS Monterey or later.

What is Private Relay on iPhone? This feature anonymizes your browsing activity and helps prevent websites from tracking you and collecting your data. While iCloud Private Relay masks your personal information while browsing the web, it is not a VPN. VPNs—or virtual private networks—are used to spoof your location, making it appear as though you are in a completely different geographic region, and route all your internet traffic through various channels to make your browsing data completely untraceable. They also mask their use of proxy servers, while Private Relay does not. If you are having trouble conducting important business while using Private Relay, you may need to temporarily disable it.

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Looking for how to hide your IP address on your iPhone? Now that you know what iCloud Private Relay is, it's time to try it out. Before you turn Private Relay on, make sure you are subscribed to iCloud+; if you're not, you can upgrade easily before beginning. For more iPhone privacy tips and tricks, be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter. Now, here's how to set up iCloud Private Relay with your Apple ID:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap your profile.

  3. Tap iCloud.

  4. Tap Private Relay.

    Private Relay
  5. Toggle Private Relay on.

    Toggle Private Relay on

And that's all you have to do! Private Relay requires no additional setup or configuration, so as soon as you toggle it on, you're ready to start browsing—privately. As with many Apple services, Private Relay aims to keep users within the Apple ecosystem, and as such, it only works with Safari. This may be a drawback if you have Chrome or Firefox set up just the way you like it.  Additionally, keep in mind that Private Relay is not available in all regions, so if you don't see it as an option in your iPhone settings, you may need to wait until Apple brings it to your region. You can learn about the other features of iCloud+ here!

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Author Details

Elisabeth Garry's picture

Author Details

Elisabeth Garry

Elisabeth Garry is an Associate Editor for iPhone Life. Formerly of Gartner and Software Advice, they have six years of experience writing about technology for everyday users, specializing in iPhones, HomePods, and Apple TV. As a former college writing instructor, they are passionate about effective, accessible communication, which is perhaps why they love helping readers master the strongest communication tools they have available: their iPhones. They have a degree in Russian Literature and Language from Reed College.

When they’re not writing for iPhone Life, they’re reading about maritime disasters, writing fiction, rock climbing, or walking their adorable dog, Moosh.