Alongside the launch of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, Apple has also rolled out something called iCloud+ to everyone who pays for iCloud storage. It’s a package of perks that mainly focus on security and privacy.
If you don’t yet pay for extra iCloud storage, beyond the 5 GB every Apple user gets for free, prices start at 99 cents per month for 50 GB of space. You can also pay $2.99 a month to up that to 200 GB, or $9.99 a month to get 2 TB of space in the cloud.
Right now, you get four extras with iCloud+, though we’re only going to go into detail about the most significant two here. The other two are HomeKit Secure Video, which is video recorded for HomeKit-enabled video cameras, and Custom Email Domain, which enables you to use a domain name you own with your iCloud email.
To find out more about these services and how to upgrade to iCloud+, check out the official Apple support document.
iCloud Private Relay
iCloud Private Relay is part of Safari on Apple devices only, so that means iPhones, iPads, and Macs. At the time of writing, it’s still labeled as a beta product, but if you pay monthly for iCloud storage, you can switch it on.
The aim of iCloud Private Relay is to make it much more difficult for anyone else to look at what you’re doing online, whether that’s Apple, the company providing your internet, the government, advertisers on the web, or the person sitting behind you in the coffee shop. It’s an extra layer of security that’s well worth enabling.
With iCloud Private Relay turned on, when traffic leaves your device, it passes through two separate internet relays (or nodes on the web). One is run by Apple and one by a third-party partner, so no one has the full picture. It’s not quite as comprehensive as a virtual private network (VPN) app, or as versatile, but it’s a good bit of protection for the average user.