Cloudfare explains how Apple’s iCloud Private Relay works

With iOS 15 and macOS Monterey 12, Apple added the feature iCloud Private Relay which prevents third-party companies from determining users’ web browsing habits. Today, Apple’s partner Cloudfare detailed their role in the iCloud private transfer process.

icloud private relay cloudfare

In a post on its official blog, Cloudfare detailed its role throughout the iCloud Private Relay management process and what network administrators can do to ensure a seamless experience for users.

“The iCloud private transfer system ensures that no party handling user data has complete information about who the user is and what they are trying to access.

To this end, Private Relay uses modern forwarding mechanisms to forward device traffic through Apple’s partner infrastructure, before sending the traffic to the destination website. In this process, Cloudflare is one of the partners that Apple uses for the “second relay”. Cloudflare is well suited for this task as it operates one of the largest and fastest networks in the world.

We are also experts in creating and using modern encryption and transport protocols, including TLS1.3 and QUIC. QUIC and MASK, closely related, are the technologies that allow a private relay to efficiently move data between multiple transfer stages without incurring performance degradation.

The same building blocks that power Cloudflare products were used to build support for Private Relay: our network,, Cloudflare Workers, and software like quiche, our open source protocol management library QUIC (and now MASK) And much more. »

Cloudflare also explains that it is essential that iCloud Private Relay does not affect the user experience in terms of web browsing speed. In fact, the company’s tests show that there is no performance hit with iCloud Private Relay enabled.

One of the most interesting parts of Cloudflare’s article is the detailed explanation on how to ensure geolocation accuracy when using iCloud Private Relay.

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