At this week’s WWDC Keynote, Apple announced iCloud Private Relay, a privacy feature aimed towards further separating you and your browsing activity from people who want to track and collect data about you. iCloud Private Relay works for anyone with an iCloud+ subscription using iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, and when enabled it protects all your Safari browsing, all DNS queries, and any insecure web traffic from other apps.
Apple’s iCloud Private Relay works similar to a VPN in that it routes your traffic through other servers, hiding your IP address from the websites you visit, and hiding your traffic from whomever manages your local network. Where it differs is that a VPN is generally just one server between you and the website you’re visiting. With a VPN, your traffic takes the route of You <> VPN Server <> Website . Private Relay adds another server to the mix, which ensures that no one in the chain—not even Apple—can see the whole picture: You <> Apple’s ingress server <> Content Provider’s Egress Server <> Website .
This is, as Apple calls it in their “Get Ready for iCloud Private Relay” WWDC Session on the topic, “Privacy by Design.”