Apple's Private Relay feature for iCloud+ not available in China and other countries

Apple Privacy Day Privacy Logo
Apple Privacy Day Privacy Logo (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple introduced new features for iCloud with iCloud+ at WWDC 2021.
  • That includes 'Private Relay' which encrypts Safari traffic.
  • A new report confirms that the feature won't be available in China and several other countries.

Apple's new iCloud+ feature 'private relay', announced at WWDC 2021, will not be available in China, a new report confirms.

From Reuters:

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Monday said a new "private relay" feature designed to obscure a user's web browsing behavior from internet service providers and advertisers will not be available in China for regulatory reasons.

The report further states that Apple will not offer the feature in the following countries: Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and the Philippines.

Announced Monday at WWDC 2021, Apple's new iCloud+ service brings new premium features to iCloud including the aforementioned Private Relay, as well as Hide My Email and improvements to HomeKit Secure Video support. From Apple:

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.

The second relay is an outside provider, intentionally used by Apple so that it also can't see user data related to browsing. The feature will encrypt browsing data as it leaves your device and also makes it impossible to track your exact location using your IP address.

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