David Nield, Wired:
If you pay for iCloud storage, then you automatically have access to the extra perks that Apple bundles together under the iCloud+ name—and one of those perks is the iCloud Private Relay service.
If you open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, tap your name at the top, and then choose iCloud, you should be able to access a Private Relay (Beta) toggle switch that you can turn on or off. It’s also under Apple ID and iCloud in System Preferences on macOS. However there’s not a huge amount of information alongside the switch telling you what it is and how it works.
Been using Private Relay for so long, I completely forgot that it was still in beta.
This is a pretty good read. Lots of interesting detail. A few snippets:
When iCloud Private Relay is enabled, you’ve got two choices when it comes to IP addresses. You can carry on reporting your general location (which city you’re closest to, more or less)—so that local data such as a weather forecast still shows up correctly—or you can go vaguer and only report your country and time zone to websites that request it.
iCloud Private Relay also keeps your DNS (Domain Name System) queries secret—essentially, the websites you’re looking up on your device. As with IP addresses, this data can be used to create a profile of who you are and what you’re interested in, which in turn can be sold to advertisers. With iCloud Private Relay enabled, this is much harder for companies to do.
It only functions through the Apple Safari browser on your iPhone or iPad, so it doesn’t apply to any browsing you’re doing through an alternative mobile browser. It applies to data sent through apps, but only data that is unencrypted, and works across cellular networks as well as Wi-Fi.
If you do go down this road, worth running a speed test with Private Relay on and then off, comparing the results. Here’s my test.