Apple is currently hosting its annual WWDC 21 developer’s conference and, while much of the attention has been on the new software and features the company has been working on, our interest was piqued by South Africa’s omission on a newly announced solution called Private Relay. It is a feature that exists within the iCloud+ platform and allows its user to implement encrypted browsing.
Much like a VPN it would allow someone to browse online without having their data tracked or intercepted, which means it would be useful in a country like China, where online spaces are routinely policed.
Unsurprisingly, however, Apple confirmed to Reuters that Private Relay would not be made available in China, along with listing nine other countries that included South Africa.
The full list is, Belarus, China, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda, according to Reuters. The news site adds that the encrypted browsing feature, “will not be available in China for regulatory reasons.”
While it is easy to understand why this is the case in China, which has a history of blocking access to sites and monitoring the internet habits of its citizens, it is still unclear why a country like South Africa would not.
That said, it would not the first time that South African Apple users would have to wait for a feature made available in selected parts of the globe to land locally, with the most recent example being Apple Pay.
Hopefully this is simply a case of SA not catching up to its global counterparts for this particular feature, and an announcement regarding Private Relay is imminent, especially given the popularity of VPN solutions in the country, which is one use case we can see for iCloud+ being adopted locally.
For now we’re monitoring the situation.
[h/t – AlmostAHero on Twitter]