Apple iCloud Private Relay doesn't cover Apple Watch, says developer

Apple Watch Series 6 Apple Watch Se
Apple Watch Series 6 Apple Watch Se (Image credit: Daniel Bader / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple Watch might not support iCloud Private Relay.
  • That's according to one developer who says links opened on the Watch expose your real IP address.
  • It comes after it emerged Mail Privacy also doesn't seem to work.

A developer who discovered that Apple's Mail Privacy feature doesn't work on Apple Watch now says that iCloud Private Relay is also not supported.

From developer duo Mysk:

Heads-up Part II: iCloud Private Relay doesn't cover the Apple Watch. If you open links sent to you via iMessage on the Apple Watch, your real IP address will be exposed.

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It comes after it emerged that Apple's Mail Privacy Protection also doesn't seem to work, from Tuesday:

New research appears to show that the Apple Watch Mail app is leaking people's IP address even when they have Mail Privacy Protection enabled...However, Tommy Mysk was able to send themselves an email with an image in it and then track the IP address used to download it. The IP address was their real one, not a random one assigned by Apple.

As noted, Apple uses both Mail Privacy Protection and iCloud Private Relay to hide the IP address of users surfing online and opening emails, however, it seems unclear whether this is intentional behavior or a bug. Apple's support notes explicitly state that iCloud Private Relay is in beta and that it works on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. It does not say the feature works on watchOS 8 and the support document doesn't mention devices like Apple Watch Series 7. Regardless of whether this is expected behavior or an oversight, users taking advantage of both Private Relay and Mail Privacy Protection will likely want to know the feature doesn't extend to opening mail or links on Apple Watch.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9