Some Carriers Are Blocking iPhone Users From Enabling iCloud Private Relay


Some European carriers, including T-Mobile/Sprint in the United States, are blocking iCloud Private Relay access when connected to cellular data. As 9to5Mac reports, “This feature is designed to give users an additional layer of privacy by ensuring that no one can view the websites that they visit.” From the report: Apple says that Private Relay is a feature designed to give users another layer of privacy when browsing the web. The first relay is sent through a server maintained by Apple, and the second is a third-party operator. The feature was announced at WWDC last June and initially slated for inclusion in iOS 15. Apple ultimately shipped the feature as a “public beta,” meaning that it is disabled by default in the newest iOS 15 and macOS Monterey releases. You can manually enable it by going to Settings on your iPhone, tapping your name at the top, choosing iCloud, and choosing “Private Relay.”

T-Mobile was among the carriers in Europe that signed an open letter expressing concern about the impact of Private Relay. The carriers wrote that the feature cuts off networks and servers from accessing “vital network data and metadata and could impact “operator’s ability to efficiently manage telecommunication networks.” In the UK, carriers including T-Mobile, EE, and others have already started blocking Private Relay usage when connected to cellular data. 9to5Mac has also now confirmed that T-Mobile is extending this policy to the United States. This means that T-Mobile and Sprint users in the United States can no longer use the privacy-preserving iCloud Private Relay feature when connected to cellular data. The report notes that T-Mobile appears to be “in the process of rolling it out,” so some users might still be able to use the feature — at least for now. “The situation could also could vary based on your location or plan,” the report adds.



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