At WWDC 2021, Apple introduced iCloud+. This is a new feature for paid iCloud subscribers that adds new privacy tools like Private Relay which acts kind of like a VPN (which Apple insists that it is not). However, it seems that the feature won’t be available in some countries around the world.
In a statement made to Reuters, Apple confirms that Private Relay will not be available in Belarus, China, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and the Philippines. Apple’s decision, especially regarding China, shouldn’t be surprising as VPN services are heavily regulated in the country.
For those unfamiliar with Private Relay, how it works is that your web traffic is first sent to an Apple server where your IP address is stripped to help hide your identification. The traffic is then sent from Apple’s server to a third-party operator who will then assign users with a temporary IP address while the traffic is sent to the destination website.
The reason for the use of the third-party operator is to prevent even Apple from knowing the user’s identity and the website they are visiting, thus ensuring extra layers of privacy. Apple has yet to disclose who they will be working with but they will name them in the future.