How to Use Private Relay in Safari to Hide Your IP address on iPhone & iPad

Oct 4, 2021 - 2 Comments

How to Use Safari Private Relay on iPhone

Alongside the release of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Apple introduced a privacy-oriented feature that changes the way you browse the web on your iPhone or iPad. Dubbed Private Relay, it’s a part of the company’s new iCloud+ program that you can access as long as you’re paying for iCloud.

Private Relay works sort of like a VPN, and allows you to hide your real IP address with a random one. However, unlike a VPN, Private Relay does not hide your other network traffic outside of Safari, nor does it allow you to use a VPN from a different country. Hence, you cannot switch regions and unlock geoblocked content on services like Netflix, Spotify, etc.

Once enabled, Private Relay will encrypt the data that leaves your data in such a way that prying eyes are not able to intercept the data and read it.

Let’s take a look at using Private Relay in Safari on your iPhone and iPad.

How to Use Private Relay on iPhone & iPad with Safari

First and foremost, you need to make sure that your device is running at least iOS 15/iPadOS 15. Also, you have to be a paid iCloud subscriber to use Private Relay, as the feature is not available to other users. As long as you meet those requirements, you can follow the steps below to use the feature on your device:

  1. Head over to “Settings” on your iPhone or iPad. Here, tap on your “Apple ID name” located right at the top.
    How to Use Safari Private Relay on iPhone
  2. In your Apple ID settings menu, select “iCloud” to manage it.

    How to Use Safari Private Relay on iPhone

  3. Here, below the storage information, you’ll find the “Private Relay” option. Tap on it to manage the service.

    How to Use Safari Private Relay on iPhone

  4. Now, simply use the toggle to enable “Private Relay” on your device. To change your settings for the IP address used by Private Relay, tap on “IP Address Location.”
    How to Use Safari Private Relay on iPhone
  5. Here, you’ll find two options. You can either opt for an IP address that’s based on your general location or use a broader one from your country and time zone.
    How to Use Safari Private Relay on iPhone

It’s that easy to set up Private Relay on your iPhone and iPad.

Note that Private Relay uses the Maintain General Location setting by default which will allow advertisers to deliver content specific to your area.

Now that you’ve configured Private Relay, all you need to do is launch Safari on your iPhone and browse the web like you normally would. A random IP address will be shared with the sites you visit rather than your actual one, thereby safeguarding your privacy.

Again it’s important to remember this is limited to Safari, so if you check your iPhone or iPad IP address it will appear as normal, but if you use a website to check your external IP address from Safari app you will find it to be different.

One downside to the new Private Relay feature is that it only works in Safari. Although most iPhone and iPad users rely on Safari to browse the web, many people still use third-party browsers like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Firefox Focus, and others. If you’re one of them to protect your IP address, you’ll still need a VPN to get similar level of security.

As much as we love the new Private Relay feature, you need to keep in mind that it’s still in beta and may not work as intended at all times. For instance, you can run into issues with some sites loading content from the wrong region. Or, you may be prompted to enter captcha to access certain webpages as an additional step. And sometimes the feature just turns itself off as presumably the service goes down. So don’t have the highest expectations if you’re using it during the beta period.

If you own a Mac, you can use Private Relay in the macOS version of Safari too, provided it’s running macOS Monterey or later.

Besides Private Relay, both iOS 15 and macOS Monterey bring a ton of changes to the table. For starters, Safari gets a visual overhaul with support for Tab Groups. Also, you can now invite Android and Windows users to your FaceTime calls. Apple has also replaced Do Not Disturb with a more advanced Focus mode to help you filter out notifications.

Hopefully, you managed to use Private Relay without any impact on your internet speed. What are your first impressions of this privacy-focused feature? What other iOS 15 features managed to get your attention? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section down below.

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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in iPad, iPhone

2 Comments

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  1. Frank says:

    Am I missing something? Speedtest gives me ~226Mbps down, vs 200 expected, ~9mbps up, vs 10 expected using Private Relay, but ymmv I guess…

  2. Serge says:

    “Hopefully, you managed to use Private Relay without any impact on your internet speed.”

    My download speed is about 400 Mbs. If I use Private Relay, it can drop to 30 Mbs.

    I am not the only one with this problem. Many people have seen their download speed drop drastically when using Private Relay. Since this new feature is still in beta, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to use it until Apple make some improvements.

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