Should Private Relay be turned off by default?

I’ve found a few instances we here an app or website couldn’t load correctly until I turned off Private Relay. I know this is all still beta stuff but it’s the same experience I’ve had with multiple VPNs, I know PR is a real VPN. I feel like this will cause confusion and frustration among users who don’t know what Private Relay is or that they even have it. Common users may think their iPhone is broken and move to Android. Anyone else of thoughts on this?

If the feature is off by default it will die a very quick death.
Only power users would turn it on and they have far more advanced options than just a simple relay

If Apple stays with this I would hope they keep it on by default, and I think the beta period is not a good time to really judge the option. The infra is probably still buggy and needs time to mature.

If by September we’re still seeing this I’d argue for a caution to show every time there’s a delay. “do you want to temporarily disable the Relay feature?”

A Relay like this not a VPN btw. It’s a method to hide the origins of a request, not provide end2end encryption of the entire operation. So it won’t prevent geoblocking f.e. The request would still come from your region, and you can’t hop to another country. (lots more differences, but too many to list)


I would attribute any breakage to beta bugs at this point. Keep in mind that only people who pay for iCloud storage get it. I don’t expect this to be any worse than how third party cookie blocking caused problems for a few sites like Blogger.

There’s of course going to be intense interest in blocking Private Relay from corporate IT security theater and sites whose business model depends on data access, and some of them might interfere with Private Relay in a confusing way to make a point, but I don’t think it’s worth defaulting it to off over that, esp. given it’s a paid feature.

Not just businesses, I wager schools will block it too.

Yeah, I mentioned it in a different post too: I’ll almost certainly require this to be blocked on our non-BYOD networks.

I’m really excited about. One strange thing, sometimes when I go to that area of settings there’s simply no entry for Private Relay. But then if I go back 10 minutes later it’s there.

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I noticed that too. I’ll see it in a Spotlight search but it won’t show up in the settings.

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I’m glad you posted. Because the first few times I thought I was losing my mind. I’d go back and see it 10 minutes later, and wondered if I was losing it. :slight_smile:

I tried adding an Arlo camera today and had to turn off Private Relay for it to connect. I stand by my statement that basic users are going to be frustrated by this feature.

Unlike “basic users” who are still on macOS Big Sur, you’re a “power user” using an unfinished version of an operating system (like most of us here). Glitches should be expected. iCloud Private Relay will likely work well once it’s ready for a proper release in September/October.

I don’t think my issues with it are glitches. Since it works similarly to a VPN it seems to be having the same issues as a VPN. I’ve experienced these types issues before with multiple VPNs. The support article for my Arlo cam stated one of the troubleshooting steps was to turn off any VPN that might be on. I turned off Private Relay and the cam was up and running in seconds.

I think if it doesn’t work 100% of the time and causes sites and apps to break, it shouldn’t be on by default but that they should market the heck out of it to get people on it.

I just truly think if people don’t know about it, or fully understand it, and after they update in the fall their apps stop working and sites won’t load it’s going to be PR problem.

iCloud Private Relay isn’t a VPN.

I didn’t say it was. I said it acting like one, because it’s similar.

You may be correct. I have logged into my bank account from other cities, and even other countries, using standard 2FA authentication. But if I’m connected to a VPN that is only shifting my location by a few hundred miles, my bank website will not allow me to connect.

Private Relay isn’t a true VPN, but it shares certain features with one. I suspect it won’t take long to find out if PR is a problem once it is rolled out to the public.

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