iCloud Private Relay won’t be part of initial iOS 15 release

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Private Relay makes paying $1 a month for iCloud a bargain
Private Relay protects your online privacy. It’s the best part of Apple’s new iCloud+.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A major new privacy feature of iOS 15 won‘t be ready when the update goes out to iPhones. iCloud Private Relay will mask users’ IP addresses so they can’t be tracked. But it needs additional time for beta testing.

It’s one of several high-profile new iPhone and Mac features that won‘t launch as soon as Apple first promised.

The announcement came from Apple with Wednesday’s release of the seventh betas of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.

iOS 15 iCloud Private Relay will stay in beta

The official release notes for iOS 15 beta 7 say, “iCloud Private Relay will be released as a public beta to gather additional feedback and improve website compatibility.”

The service is part of the new iCloud+. To protect user privacy while accessing web sites, it sends all Safari requests through two different relays. One replaces the user’s IP address with an anonymous one. The second routes the user to websites without ever knowing their original IP address.

iCloud Private Relay is also a part of macOS Monterey. It’s not yet known if it’ll stay as a beta for Mac users too because Apple hasn’t released a fresh Monterey beta in three weeks.

Other features have been pulled, too

This isn’t the first feature pulled from the initial release of iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and/or macOS Monterey. Several others have been postponed or seem to be headed that direction.

Apple announced recently that SharePlay won‘t be in the first versions of any those upcoming OS upgrades. As its name suggests, SharePlay allows users to easily share movies, music, etc. over FaceTime calls.

Legacy Contacts will allow iCloud user to grant specific people access to the user’s pictures and videos after they pass away. Apple removed the feature from beta testing in early August but says it “will return in a future release.“

And Apple has so far not included in any beta release the much-anticipated Universal Control it demonstrated at WWDC 2021 in June. But it also hasn’t announced that the feature has been delayed. It will let users easily jump between Mac and iPad almost as though they were a single device.

iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey might leave beta testing and begin rolling out as early as September when the iPhone 13 debuts. But the long delay between new betas for Mac users might indicate the wait will be longer for that update.