iCloud has long been Apple’s online service for backing up, syncing, and sharing your files online. With the release of iOS / iPadOS 15, Apple has unveiled an expansive upgrade to the paid iCloud subscription, dubbed iCloud +, which adds exclusive features designed to improve your online security and privacy.
These additions include Private Relay, Hide My Email, Personalized Email Domain, and HomeKit Secure Video. The plan is accessible from iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac and Apple TV and can be shared with up to five family members.
iCloud vs. iCloud + vs. iCloud Drive
Apple’s use of the term iCloud to describe a variety of applications and services is confusing. So what’s the difference? First, iCloud is Apple’s standard backup and sync service. You can back up and sync photos, email, contacts, calendars, notes, reminders, messages, and other content online. The basic version of iCloud offers 5 GB of free online storage.
Meanwhile, iCloud + is the paid update that becomes available once you upgrade to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15. Includes 50GB, 200GB, and 2TB iCloud storage levels, plus some enhanced features that aren’t accessible through the free 5 plan GB.
Apple’s online storage site is called iCloud Drive, where your backup and synced content is located. You can also upload, download and share files directly with iCloud Drive.
What’s with iCloud +?
The biggest new addition to iCloud is Private relay, Apple takes a VPN aimed at keeping your internet activities private and protected when you use Safari. However, it differs from traditional VPN services by replacing the IP address with one of a number of anonymous addresses based on your general region. Your internet traffic is sent through two separate hops, or relays, by two separate companies, so no entity (not even Apple) can monitor your online activity.
Hide my email is an enhanced version of the existing Connect to Apple feature that allows you to use an anonymous Apple ID to sign in to certain apps and websites. While connecting to Apple only works with supported apps and websites, Hiding Your Email allows you to use a random email address for any website or online form to reduce spam.
Designed for anyone who already has their own personal domain name, Custom email domain allows you to send and receive iCloud Mail using your own domain name, instead of an icloud.com address. iCloud Mail supports up to five personal domains with up to three email addresses per domain.
iCloud + also has several options for those who use it HomeKit secure video. Depending on your subscription, you’ll receive 50 GB of iCloud storage and video recording support from a HomeKit Secure camcorder, 200 GB of storage and support for up to five HomeKit Secure camcorders, or 2 TB of iCloud storage and support for HomeKit camcorders Secure unlimited.
How to update your iCloud plan
Don’t know what subscription level you have? After upgrading to iOS / iPadOS 15, you can check the plan or upgrade to a paid version on your iPhone or iPad. Open Settings> [your name] > iCloud. If the Storage section at the top says iCloud +, you’re good to go. If it says iCloud, then you’re free.
To switch to a paid subscription, tap Manage storage, then select Change the storage plan. Choose one of three plans available – 50 GB for 99 cents per month, 200 GB for $ 2.99 per month or 2 TB for $ 9.99 per month – then select Switch to iCloud + to activate the new plan. iCloud + is also included in all three Apple One subscriptions.
How to set up iCloud Private Relay
You can enable iCloud Private Relay in the section Settings> [your name] > iCloud> Private relay (beta). Turn on the switch next to it Private relay (beta). From there, tap IP address location option.
There are two options. Touch Maintain the general location use an IP address based on your general location so that you can still see local content when using Safari. Choose Country and time zone use an address based on a much larger and wider location, derived from the country and time zone.
You can now browse the web on Safari. If a site accepts private relay, everything should work normally. Websites that do not display content for the wrong region may add an extra step to connect or may not work at all.
If you have problems with Private Relay or want to disable it, disable the feature completely or only for certain networks. To stop, return to Settings> [your name] > iCloud> Private relay (beta). Turn off the switch next to it Private relay (beta).
To turn it off for certain Wi-Fi networks, sign in Settings> Wi-Fi and touch the button More next to a certain Wi-Fi network. Turn off the switch next to it ICloud private relay.
You can also disable private relay for any cellular connection. Go to Settings> Cellular> Cellular data options. Turn off the switch further ICloud private relay.
How to set up Hide my email
To use the Hide My Email feature, go to Settings> [your name] > iCloud> Hide my email. You can also go to the iCloud settings page and select Manage Hide my email button.
The Hide My Email page displays any random addresses you’ve already used with the Connect to Apple feature. Touch an address that you want to use again as a way to hide your real email address, then confirm that it is being redirected to your real email address.
You can also touch Create a new address to generate a new email. A new random address will be automatically generated with the icloud.com domain name. If you’re good with the address, tap Keep going. Otherwise, choose Use a different address and another email will be created.
Once you’ve selected an address, you can enter a tag to help you remember that address. Touch Completed on the All Set screen. Now, the next time you need to create an online account or fill out a form, you can enter this random address.
Any email sent to this account will be forwarded to your real address. The good news is that you can turn off the address if you receive too much spam or other unwanted messages. Return to Settings> [your name] > iCloud> Hide my email. Select the random address from which the email is forwarded, then tap Disable email address. Touch disable to confirm your request.
How to set up a custom email domain
You can set up a custom email domain from the iCloud settings page. Select Manage button under Custom Email Domain. A window appears asking if you want to use the domain only for yourself or the whole family.
Then enter the domain name you want to use with iCloud, then follow the steps. You must enter the email addresses that you use with the domain.
Domain registrar registrations also need to be updated, then verify that your domain and addresses have been set up via iCloud email.
Share your iCloud plan with family members
Your iCloud + subscription and benefits can be shared with other family members. On iPhone or iPad, access Settings> [your name] > iCloud> Manage storage> Share with family.
Touch Share your storage plan on the next screen, then select Send the invitation to compose a message that will be sent to your family members. Because each person accepts the invitation, it is added to the iCloud family.
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