T-Mobile is starting to block Apple’s new Private Relay feature

private-relay-feature-t-mobile

Update (01/11/22 12:13 pm): T-Mobile has released a statement to XDA Developers regarding the issue.

“Customers who chose plans and features with content filtering (e.g. parent controls) do not have access to the iCloud Private Relay to allow these services to work as designed. All other customers have no restrictions.”

The original article follows.


Apple recently released a new privacy feature in iOS 15. The feature, called Private Relay, was first revealed at WWDC in June 2021 and was slated to be included in the latest iOS update. But it looks like T-Mobile is starting to block this feature. 

And T-Mobile is not alone in this, at least not in Europe. In the UK, the other carriers that have already blocked Private Relay include T-Mobile, EE, and some others. In the US, however, T-Mobile/Sprint is the first to block access to the feature when users are connected to cellular data. 

So what is Private Relay and why is T-Mobile blocking it? According to Apple, Private Relay is a feature intended to give a secondary layer of privacy when users browse the web. 9to5Mac says that “the first relay is sent through a server maintained by Apple.” Meanwhile, the second is maintained by a third-party operator. In this case, it is T-Mobile and Sprint.  

Together with the European carriers, T-Mobile signed an open letter where they expressed their concerns about how Private Relay impacted their services. The carriers shared that their networks and servers are being cut off by the feature from accessing “vital network data and metadata and could impact operator’s ability to efficiently manage telecommunication networks.”

The feature was rolled out as a “public beta,” which means it is disabled by default in the latest iOS 15 and macOS Monterey updates. But you can opt to activate the feature by going to Settings and tapping your name on top > choose iCloud > Private Relay. 

If you are a T-Mobile or Sprint user, you won’t be able to use the new iCloud feature when you’re connected to cellular data. You’ll see an error message on your Settings app that reads:

“Your cellular plan doesn’t support iCloud Private Relay. With Private Relay turned off, this network can monitor your internet activity, and your IP address is not hidden from known trackers or websites.”

As of this writing, only a handful of users are affected by this change. Some users may still be able to use the feature, which suggests that T-Mo is in the middle of rolling out the change. Meanwhile, Apple has not yet commented on the issue. We’ll wait for an update from the company. 

 

Source: 9to5Mac

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  • UniBroW

    Will ditch t-mobile fast

    • TheTruthIsOutThere

      What will you do when Verizon and ATT block it as well?

      • Chops

        This may be the spark Apple needs to start there own network. Aren’t invested in satellite tech that can bypass the carriers?

        • JG

          They can definitely do voice & text over satellite… I remember seeing a case for my old Galaxy S4 that would allow it to connect to a satellite network…

          But unless they made some serious advances, I don’t think we’re anywhere close to having phones with built in satellite data…

          Musk said Star Link was going mobile, but he meant producing a dish you could mount on cars, trucks and boats.

          There are some satellite phone data plans, but at least the ones available today require an additional external antenna to be used and the best speed I found was an up to 5Mbps connection… A far cry from the gigs a second they’ve been advertising for their last few generations.

          And it’d likely only work if you have a clear line of sight view to the night sky. So if your indoors, underground etc… No data (or voice) for you.

      • UniBroW

        I’ll go with an mvno likely and if they don’t allow it I’ll search for someone that likely does. Some of the mvno’s around here perform better then T-mobile anyways since they operate on Verizon’s network anyways

        I’ve always used Proton VPN in the past but the Tesla app doesn’t play nice with it so often

    • Chops

      It seems we’re good for now!

  • JG

    The carriers shared that their networks and servers are being cut off by the feature from accessing “vital network data and metadata and could impact operator’s ability to efficiently manage telecommunication networks.”

    aka we can’t harvest enough personal information to sell ads?

  • JG

    Then FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: “You don’t need net neutrality! No ISP would ever consider blocking legitimate data!”

    Today: T-Mobile is starting to block Apple’s new Private Relay feature

    • MarqDubya

      You have it backwards. The feature is blocking carriers from harvesting user data…er, I mean “collecting network diagnostics”.