Apple unveiled a new security feature along with its premium iCloud+ service – Private Relay. It allows users to connect to the internet and browse the internet in a secure way. It is basically a VPN service but with some differences and some people argue that a dedicated VPN service will still be safer than Apple’s Private Relay. However, the feature is not yet out and only after proper testing can we say if it’s actually good or not.
The security service by Apple will not be released in China which is expected. The country is known for regulating the content on the internet heavily to allow users to access only what the government thinks is apt. Also, the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) is restricted in the country.
Private Relay: Is it a VPN?
Apple has not officially said that its Private Relay feature is actually a VPN service. However, it does operate slightly similar to a VPN protecting users’ privacy. Similar to China, the service by Apple will not work in Belarus, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Egypt, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and Uganda.
In 2017, Apple had to remove VPN apps from the App Store in China due to the regulations of the country. The Chinese government requires VPN providers to obtain a license before offering such services. The following year, in 2018, the iPhone maker was forced to store iCloud encryption keys of its Chinese users in a local operations center and the task of handling iCloud operations was handed over to Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) – a Chinese firm.
Apple has said that its new iCloud+ feature Private Relay basically encrypts users’ data. The data is then sent through two different internet relays which makes it impossible for any entity to access the data or even decrypt it. The service hides the data from ISPs, advertisers, or any notorious people on the internet.