One of the many features that Apple revealed earlier this year as part of the unveiling of iOS 15 is called iCloud Private Relay. It’s part of the suite of new features bundled with an iCloud+ subscription. And while Apple stills plans to launch it later this year, it won’t be as a ready-to-launch feature, but a beta to start.
Earlier today, Apple seeded the seventh betas of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 (and watchOS 8 and tvOS 15) to registered developers. And now it’s been discovered that one of the more interesting features tied to iCloud+ won’t launch as we initially expected. Instead, Apple has confirmed that iCloud Private Relay will now be a public beta when it arrives later this year. According to the release notes accompanying the latest developer betas, Apple says this is meant to “gather additional feedback and improve website compatibility.”
This doesn’t mean the feature won’t be available to the public when it arrives alongside the launch of iOS 15 later this year. Instead, this simply means Apple’s keeping it in the development phase a bit longer, utilizing the wide launch of the software update itself to help test it out before a “final” build is made available to the public. So for the folks who do try it out, it will simply be a beta version of the service.
For folks trying out the current beta of iOS 15, the feature now reads: “Private Relay is currently in beta. Some websites may have issues, like showing content for the wrong region or requiring extra steps to sign in.” It will still work as intended, though. Private Relay is designed to encrypt traffic sent from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac utilizing Safari via two separate internet relays. This means companies won’t be able to see identifiable personal information regarding the person, including IP addresses, browsing activity, and location.
A noteworthy change to the upcoming Private Relay feature for iCloud+ subscribers, but one that will probably be welcomed to help iron out the kinks before an official, not-so-beta launch at some point in the future. Of course, Apple’s release notes don’t say when the feature will move beyond the beta phase, but at least we’ll still get to use it when the new software launches later this year.