How to use your iPhone’s built-in VPN feature

Private Relay is a free service for all Apple and Mac users. While it doesn’t offer the same protection as a traditional VPN, it’s still a great option for online privacy enthusiasts. When enabled, Apple takes steps to hide your IP address and encrypt your DNS records when you browse in Safari. This process means that advertisers and third parties cannot build profiles around your browsing history, freeing you from the constant pressure of intrusive ads.

To access this feature:

  1. On your iPhone, navigate to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Private Relay, according to Apple.
  2. Set the Private Relay switch to on.
  3. Choose whether you want your IP address to reflect your general location (region and state) or just your time zone and country. Choose the first option if you still want to receive localized content and ads from websites.

While Private Relay provides protection and privacy against targeted ads built from the website’s history, it only covers your Safari browsing sessions. When you switch to another app like Facebook or Twitter, you lose all privacy protections, so it’s essential to know that advertisers can still access your browsing data if you use other apps or browsers.