Apple confirms iCloud+ Private Relay feature won’t be available in China and select other countries

Apple today announced a new iCloud+ subscription service, with one of the tentpole features being a Private Relay technology help obscure a user’s web browsing. In a statement to Reuters, Apple has confirmed that this feature will not be available in select countries, including China.

Apple says that Private Relay will not be available in China when it launches to the public later this year. It will also be unavailable in Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and the Philippines. The company attributed these limitations to regulatory reasons.

Apple says that Private Relay is a feature designed to give users another layer of privacy when browsing the web. The company explains:

When browsing with Safari, Private Relay ensures all traffic leaving a user’s device is encrypted, so no one between the user and the website they are visiting can access and read it, not even Apple or the user’s network provider. All the user’s requests are then sent through two separate internet relays. The first assigns the user an anonymous IP address that maps to their region but not their actual location. The second decrypts the web address they want to visit and forwards them to their destination. This separation of information protects the user’s privacy because no single entity can identify both who a user is and which sites they visit.

The first relay is sent through a server maintained by Apple, and the second is a third-party operator, according to Reuters. Apple hasn’t said which third-party operator it is using, but Reuters says the company will disclose the details sometime in the future.

Catch up on all of Apple’s announcements from WWDC 2021 in our full recap right here.

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