People look for reliable solutions to protect their personal data as well as browsing activity as online privacy is an increasing concern. Private Relay and Virtual Private Networks are two strong competitors in the field of online security that have started to gain a lot of attention. In this comprehensive blog, we will look at detailed a comparison of iCloud Private Relay vs. VPN, to help you make an informed decision and make sure all your privacy needs are fulfilled.
iCloud Private Relay vs. VPN
iCloud Private Relay and VPN services are alike in some ways, but Private Relay has a few restrictions and differences. Knowing these limits is crucial to safeguard your privacy and security. So, before starting with a comparison and finding out which of these tools may be best for you, let’s get to know what they offer and their benefits.
What is iCloud Private Relay?
iCloud Private Relay is a privacy-focused feature offered by Apple as part of its iCloud+ plans. This service is designed to enhance online privacy and security for users of Apple devices. By default, for every website you access, your network provider can see your IP address and DNS records when you access the internet. Your identity, location, and surfing history are all revealed by the information you provide.
Therefore, your online requests are encrypted and sent through two different internet relays as part of the iCloud Private Relay’s operation. By doing this, you make sure that neither the web pages you browse nor your network provider can see both your identity and the websites you’re accessing.
Benefits of iCloud Private Relay:
- Built-In for Apple Users: It seamlessly integrates with Apple devices, including iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, offering an easy-to-use privacy solution for Safari browsing.
- Protection for DNS and IP: It safeguards your DNS records and IP address from being accessed by third parties, preventing the exposure of your identity and online activities.
- No Additional Cost: Available as part of the iCloud+ plans, it offers privacy benefits without an extra financial burden for iCloud+ subscribers.
- Convenient Control: Users have the flexibility to enable or disable the software easily, allowing them to tailor their privacy settings to specific networks or situations.
Also Read: What Happens When I Delete iCloud Backup?
What is VPN?
VPN or Virtual Private Networks are specialized tools for safeguarding online privacy and security. VPNs work with a variety of hardware and operating systems, unlike iCloud Private Relay, which is only available on Apple devices.
With the use of a VPN, you may create a private, safely encrypted connection across your device as well as a remote server that can often be located in another area or nation. Your data is encrypted and your IP address is hidden thanks to this connection, which offers high levels of privacy and security for every single one of your digital activities, including using apps and websites.
Benefits of VPNs:
- Comprehensive Coverage: Protect all internet activities on your device, not limited to a specific browser or app.
- Anonymity and Identity Protection: Offers robust anonymity, making it difficult for anyone to trace your online actions back to you.
- Access to Region-Locked Content: By connecting to servers in different regions, VPN allows you to bypass geo-restrictions and access content not available in your location.
- Security on Public Wi-Fi: VPNs are indispensable for safeguarding your data on public Wi-Fi networks, preventing potential cyber threats.
Also Read: How to Set Up VPN on Windows 11
iCloud Private Relay vs VPN: The Key Differences
Now, let’s look at the critical distinctions between iCloud Private Relay and VPNs:
1. Coverage and Compatibility
- iCloud Private Relay: Limited to Apple devices (iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey) and only protects web browsing within the Safari browser.
- VPNs: Compatible with various devices and operating systems, providing comprehensive protection across all apps and browsers.
2. Anonymity and Identity Protection
- iCloud Private Relay: Shields your IP address within Safari, but your region is still discernible. Works as a proxy server and may be identified as such.
- VPNs: Offer robust anonymity, concealing both your IP address and region, making it challenging for anyone to trace your identity.
3. Accessibility and Region Lock Bypass
- iCloud Private Relay: It does not allow you to choose server regions or bypass strict geo-restrictions effectively.
- VPNs: Provide the flexibility to select server locations, enabling access to region-locked content and improving online accessibility.
iCloud Private Relay Review: Which One Should You Use?
Selecting between iCloud Private Relay and a VPN depends on your specific needs:
When to Use iCloud Private Relay?
- You primarily use Apple devices, especially Safari, for web browsing.
- Convenience and seamless integration with Apple services are essential to you.
- Basic privacy protection within Safari suffices for your online activities.
When to Opt for a VPN?
- You use multiple devices, including non-Apple platforms, and wish to protect all online activities uniformly.
- Robust anonymity, access to region-restricted content, and security on public Wi-Fi are priorities.
- You value the flexibility to choose server locations for various purposes.
How to Turn On iCloud Private Relay
Turning on iCloud Private Relay is straightforward, but it varies slightly depending on your device. For more details, you can refer to our guide on How to Enable iCloud Private Relay and learn to do so.
Note: Private Relay will only be visible to iCloud+ users.
Also Read: How to Fix iCloud Private Relay Not Working
How to Disable iCloud Private Relay
Disabling iCloud Private Relay follows a similar process as provided in the linked article above. Once you reach the Private Relay section simply toggle the switch off in the settings.
Is iCloud Private Relay a VPN?
No, iCloud Private Relay is not a VPN. While both services aim to enhance online privacy, they operate differently. It is a feature designed by Apple to protect users’ privacy specifically within the Safari browser on Apple devices. It encrypts web traffic and routes it through two relays to shield user identity and browsing activity.
On the other hand, a VPN is a broader privacy tool that encrypts all internet traffic on a device, not limited to a specific browser or app. It also allows users to choose server locations, provides anonymity, and can bypass geo-restrictions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q 1. How much does iCloud Private Relay cost?
Ans. It is available as part of the iCloud+ plans, with pricing varying by region. The basic plan costs $0.99 for 50 GB while the top tier plan costs $9.99 for 2 TB in the United States. Check the Apple Support website for iCloud+ plan details in your area.
Q 2. Can I use iCloud Private Relay and a VPN simultaneously?
Ans. Yes, it is possible to use both tools simultaneously. However, keep in mind that this may impact your internet speed and could be unnecessary for most users.
Between iCloud Private Relay vs. VPN, the choice ultimately depends on your specific privacy requirements and device usage. Make an informed decision based on your needs and take the necessary steps to safeguard your online privacy. If you have any queries or suggestions for us, do let us know in the comments box below.