Now available as a developer beta, iOS 15's new iCloud+ subscription service comes with a VPN-like internet privacy relay and email obfuscation. Here's how to subscribe and enable the new features.
The developer beta of iOS 15, the latest operating system for Apple's iPhone, is now available. If you're lucky enough to have a dev account and are able to get it before the public beta in July, there's lots of new features to check out, like the new iCloud subscription service, iCloud+.
Like the old iCloud subscription model, iCloud+ comes in three tiers: 50GB, 200GB, and 2TB, with pricing scaling to match. iCloud+ pricing tiers match those of the old iCloud subscription plans ($0.99, $2.99 and $9.99 in the U.S., for example), and no matter which you choose all of the additional iCloud+ features are included.
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We're going to focus on two of iCloud+'s biggest features: Private Relay and Hide My Email, both of which are easy to set up once iOS 15 is installed on your device.
Please note that, as this is an early beta of iOS 15, these steps may change by release.
How to get iCloud+
There's no "getting" to iCloud+: It's a free update for all iCloud users this fall, so don't worry about missing out on the switch from upgraded storage to storage plus the new features. The same goes for the iOS 15 Developer Beta: iCloud+ is activated for users and the new privacy features are available to test now.
How to use iCloud+ Private Relay
Everything we'll be doing with iCloud+ is performed in the Settings app. When you open it you should see your name at the very top. Click on that to be taken to your AppleID screen (Figure A).
On the screen shown in Figure A, tap on iCloud and you'll be taken to the screen shown in Figure B, where you should see iCloud+ listed if you're using iOS 15 and have a paid iCloud account. If you don't currently have a paid iCloud account, now is the time to pause and use Apple's walkthrough on how to sign up for upgraded iCloud storage, which will become iCloud+ on iOS 15.
Assuming you have a paid iCloud account and are using iOS 15, you should, as shown in Figure B, iCloud+, and below it will be Private Relay and Hide My Email, the two new privacy features. Tap on Private Relay to get it set up, as shown in Figure C.
Once you activate Private Relay you'll see what it's doing: Hiding your IP address and Safari browsing activity from ISPs and websites by bouncing it through a couple of different relays.
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The additional option you see in Figure C for IP Address Location allows you to choose between iOS preserving your approximate location in order to keep search results and other geolocated data relevant, or using a broader location, which hides where you are but may result in less location-specific search results and the like.
How to use iCloud+ Hide My Email
Backing out of Private Relay and returning to Figure B, the next thing we'll do is tap on Hide My Email. If, like me, you've opted to hide your email address when using Sign in With AppleID, you may see a few gibberish email addresses here already, as shown in Figure D. These are tied to specific apps that use AppleID as a sign in option and are different from iCloud+ Hide My Email, which allows you to use a fake account for signing up for internet services that don't use AppleID for sign in.
If you tap on Create New Address, you'll see the screen shown in Figure E. The email address that Apple generates here is much more usable than the ones shown in Figure D, and this address can be used anywhere online that an email address needs to go where you may not want to share your actual one.
After you've created an email address and given it a label (like "for surveys," "e-commerce" or whatever else is applicable) it will show up along with app-specific addresses on the screen shown in Figure D. Tapping on the address will show Figure F, where you can change the label, add a note about the account, or deactivate the address in order to stop receiving forwards from it. Once inactivated, the address will shift to an Inactive Addresses list, from which you can reactivate it or delete it entirely.
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