Before deciding on which one to go for, let’s first understand what iCloud+ private relay is and what it entails. And then let’s try and position it with a VPN. We need to understand each serves a purpose of their own while being similar to each other but not inherently the same.
What is Apple’s iCloud+ Private Relay?
Apple’s iCloud+ Private Relay was first announced at the WWDC 2021 Keynote as a new feature for Apple users which will not let the third-party companies on the internet to hoard and collect the browsing habits of the apple users.
According to the official statement from Apple-
“iCloud Private Relay adds multiple secure proxies to help route user traffic and keep it private.”
With the advent of iOS 15 and Mac OS Monterey, Apple has introduced an exclusive new feature that is limited to the users who have paid iCloud plan. If watched by an uninitiated eye, it might look like a VPN but it is iCloud Private Relay, which is a whole different ballgame altogether.
Though iCloud Private Relay isn’t the same as a VPN but it does offer some similar and useful features like a VPN. First and foremost, it does encrypt your data when browsing the internet and also hides the IP address of the user, just like a VPN does. But one catch is that you can’t use it to watch geo-locked content, while with a VPN you can.
However, one of the major drawbacks of iCloud Private Relay is that it only works exclusively with Safari. So, if you are one of the millions of users who use Chrome, or Brave or Firefox or any other browsers, then it won’t work and your data will be unprotected. Now comes the important question though-
Should I turn on iCloud private Relay?
It depends on the users- if you are one of those users who want to stop websites collecting and hoarding their data, which is then sold to different companies selling and promoting ads, then iCloud Private Relay on your Mac, iPhone, iPad is an excellent choice to take. It’s smooth and easy to use and if you have already paid for iCloud storage, then you will get it for free.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that a VPN does all that and more for a lot less, so go figure!
What does Apple iCloud private relay do?
In a nutshell what iCloud Private Relay does is it protects your privacy by ensuring that when your browse the internet using Safari, no third party company- not even Apple- is able to collect or track your data or even know your real IP address or who you are, you remain anonymous! When Private Relay is enabled your data is sent through private and encrypted internet relays giving you an extra layer of security. Now comes the most-asked question-
Is Apple private relay a VPN?
No, iCloud Private Relay is not a VPN, even though they have lots of similarities. Private Relay is only available to people who pay for iCloud+ that is focused on mainly masking the users’ IP address and not letting any third-party companies to hoard the users’ data. Now comes the burning though-
Which is better – VPN or iCloud+ Private Relay?
As per the explanation stated above, one can come to a conclusion that VPN and Private Relay almost serve the same purpose, but they are inherently different than the other. So if you are one of the users who have paid for iCloud storage and use Safari for your regular use and you want some protection like hiding your IP address, then iCloud+ Private Relay gives you that with no additional cost.
However, it is not as useful as a full-fledged VPN.
As VPN offers more than just masking IP addresses and also lets you watch geo-locked content from all around the world giving you access to multiple servers around the globe, a good VPN might come in handy in most cases. It also protects you from some cybersecurity attacks; read this to find out more-
And also VPN gives you the flexibility to choose any browser you like, instead of just Safari in the case of iCloud Private Relay. One can find a wide array of VPN services for their iPhones or iPads like-