iCloud Private Relay is a key new feature in iOS 15 that allows you to mask your IP address and browsing activity to prevent you from being tracked online. It is available for free to all iCloud+ subscribers. However, some iPhone users on T-Mobile’s network in the US have been unable to turn on the feature. Instead, they are greeted with an error message stating their cellular plan does not support iCloud Private Relay.

If you are seeing a similar error on your iPhone, worry not. Read on to learn why iCloud Private Relay isn’t working on your iPhone with T-Mobile’s network and what you can do about it.

It’s Not T-Mobile or Apple’s Fault

iCloud Private Relay is a VPN-like service from Apple available for free to all iCloud+ subscribers. It is a privacy feature intended to mask your IP address and web browsing activity, thereby keeping your browsing activity safe and private.

Unlike a fully fledged VPN, though, Private Relay uses your approximate location and doesn’t offer an option to spoof it. This means you can’t use the feature to bypass geo-blocked sites and services.

Since iCloud Private Relay is currently in beta, it is turned off by default. You can enable it on your iPhone or iPad by going to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > Private Relay. However, many T-Mobile iPhone users have been unable to activate the feature on mobile data.

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This led to speculation that T-Mobile is doing this to track its users. After all, as The Telegraph highlighted, the carrier signed a joint letter along with Vodafone and other carriers to stop iCloud Private Relay in the EU.

iCloud Private Relay on iPhone

However, T-Mobile issued a statement to 9to5Mac blaming Apple and a bug in iOS 15.2 for this. It did note, though, that users who have its Web Guard or other content filtering and blocking features enabled won’t be able to use iCloud Private Relay. Built-in content filtering is also a part of T-Mobile’s Home Office Internet plan. These features do the same thing as iCloud Private Relay and are not inter-compatible, which is why T-Mobile disables Apple’s implementation in such scenarios.

Apple, later clarified on its part that there’s no bug in iOS 15.2 that could potentially impact iCloud Private Relay. Instead, it suggested users could be getting the error because they had inadvertently turned off the Limit IP Address Tracking feature for mobile data and updated its support page for a clearer picture. The company also updated the wording of the error message in the latest iOS 15.3 beta to reflect this.

Related: iOS 15.2 Adds 7 New Features to the iPhone

How to Enable iCloud Private Relay on iPhone

So, how do you enable iCloud Private Relay on your iPhone if you keep getting the error that it’s not available on cellular data? T-Mobile and Apple recommend that you do the following:

  1. Head over to Settings > Mobile/Cellular Data > Mobile Data Options on your iPhone and ensure the Limit IP Address Tracking option is enabled.
  2. Now, head over to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Private Relay and enable the feature.
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You should now be able to use iCloud Private Relay and mask your IP address and browsing activity. Do note that the feature only works in Safari and not in third-party browsers or apps.

iCloud Private Relay Is Not Available in All Regions

iCloud Private Relay should start working once again on your iPhone by following the above steps. While useful, the feature is not available worldwide. To comply with local laws, Apple has not made Private Relay available in China, Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and a few other countries.

If you live in any of the mentioned regions, you can consider using a VPN on your iPhone instead.

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