One of the features Apple introduced in iOS 15 is iCloud Private Relay. It almost functions like a VPN in the sense that it protects your identity online, but it’s not quite a VPN which is why Apple isn’t calling it one. That being said, the feature is still in beta but the company has since published a guide on the service.
For those unfamiliar, iCloud Private Relay basically hides your identity online. According to Apple’s guide, how this is accomplished is that it sends your request through two separate relays. The idea behind it is that by sending it through two separate relays, your browsing identity cannot be combined by a single entity to compile information about you.
This means that if you’re not a fan of your internet activity being tracked across the web, which in turn will then be used to create personalized ads and marketing campaigns meant to entice and appeal to you, then iCloud Private Relay will prevent that. However, it isn’t perfect yet given that it is still in beta, and there have been some issues in the past such as the leaking of IP addresses.
The guide also outlines some instances where iCloud Private Relay might not work, such as when you’re tethered, or if you’re on your company’s network in which those settings take precedence over iCloud Private Relay.