Apple announces iCloud+ to bring more privacy features to the web

Apple Iphone12pro Mail New Message Hide My Email
Apple Iphone12pro Mail New Message Hide My Email (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple has announced iCloud+.
  • The service brings additional privacy features to the paid tiers of iCloud.

During its section on privacy in the WWDC21 keynote, Apple revealed an entirely new level of service for iCloud, iCloud+.

The new service brings new premium features to the paid levels of iCloud including iCloud Private Relay, Hide My Email, and expanded HomeKit Secure Video support. There will be no additional cost for those who are already paying for a higher tier of iCloud service.

The first feature, called Private Relay, is basically a VPN service built right into iCloud. Users who have it will have all of their internet traffic on Safari encrypted through two separate internet relays.

Private Relay is a new internet privacy service that's built right into iCloud, allowing users to connect to and browse the web in a more secure and private way. When browsing with Safari, Private Relay ensures all traffic leaving a user's device is encrypted, so 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 the user's requests are then sent through two separate internet relays. The first assigns the user an anonymous IP address that maps to their region but not their actual location. The second decrypts the web address they want to visit and forwards them to their destination. This separation of information protects the user's privacy because no single entity can identify both who a user is and which sites they visit.

Apple is also bringing its Hide My Email feature, which was originally part of Sign In With Apple, directly into Safari. Users will now be able to provide a randomized email address to a website rather than their personal email address and get mail forwarded to them. If they don't wish to receive emails from a sender anymore, they can delete the randomized email address that was created.

Expanding on the capabilities of Sign in with Apple, Hide My Email lets users share unique, random email addresses that forward to their personal inbox anytime they wish to keep their personal email address private. Built directly into Safari, iCloud settings, and Mail, Hide My Email also enables users to create and delete as many addresses as needed at any time, helping give users control of who is able to contact them.

Apple Iphone12pro Homekit Notifications

Apple Iphone12pro Homekit Notifications (Image credit: Apple)

The company is also expanding support for HomeKit Secure Video so that content that is captured by cameras is analyzed and encrypted before being securely stored in iCloud.

iCloud+ expands built-in support for HomeKit Secure Video, so users can connect more cameras than ever before in the Home app, while giving them end-to-end encrypted storage for home security video footage that will not count against their storage capacity. HomeKit Secure Video also ensures that activity detected by users' security cameras is analyzed and encrypted by their Apple devices at home before being securely stored in iCloud.

iCloud+ is including for no additional cost in the following iCloud plans:

  • 50GB with one HomeKit Secure Video camera ($0.99 per month)
  • 200GB with up to five HomeKit Secure Video cameras ($2.99 per month)
  • 2TB with an unlimited number of HomeKit Secure Video cameras ($9.99 per month)
Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.