In today's digital age, online privacy is a major concern for many people. Apple's Private Relay Email is a new feature designed to help protect your data and keep you safe online. But what exactly is Private Relay Email, and how does it work? In this article, we'll explore the benefits of this feature and how it can help you stay secure while using your Apple devices.
What is Apple's Private Relay Email?
Apple's Private Relay Email is a new feature that helps protect your online privacy by encrypting your email traffic and routing it through two separate servers. This process helps to ensure that your data is kept safe and secure, and that your online activity is not tracked or monitored by third parties. Private Relay Email is available on Apple devices running iOS 15 or later, and can be enabled in the Mail settings.
It essentially helps you to hide your real email address by providing you with email aliases that you can use just like your regular email address, for things like signing up on different websites, subscribing to newsletters, the usual stuff.
The way this works is, you sign up on the website or app with an email alias generated by the relay service instead of giving up your real email address and when that app/website sends you an email, the relay service receives it on your behalf and then forwards it to your real email address.
If this sounds interesting and you want to know how this works in detail then you should definitely checkout this post where I explain how to setup your own Private Email Relay using AWS.
Reasons Why You Should Use Such a Service
Most people have only one or maybe two email ids, and they use the same email addresses to connect to dozens or maybe even hundreds of websites and services, that means there is a great deal of data that is associated with your email address, which is exactly what malicious actors on the internet are after all the time.
Using a Private Email Relay service you can get a unique email address for each app or website, which helps you preserve your privacy by hiding your real email address.
Here's how it can help you
Helps you fight Spam
There are times when you just want to try something out, but the websites and apps won't let you proceed any further without sharing your email id, and once you do, then starts the never-ending trail of spam emails. You might have an option of unsubscribing from the emails, but that doesn't work always.
If you use an email alias in place of your real email address, you can just disable or delete that particular alias and you're done, you'll never see another annoying spam email from that app, and others, in case your data was sold.
Limits the impact on you in an event of a Data Breach
Data Breaches are kind of inevitable and keep happening from time to time, even the tech giants can't keep you safe from it.
It's worrisome when your data is part of a data leak, and, if like most people, you use a single email address with most of the services, it's even more worrisome for you.
Malicious actors are very well aware of this fact and know how to use it to their advantage.
You are now more susceptible to various social engineering attacks like phishing on other platforms as well. If you use a different email address for each website or service, you can easily discard that alias in event of a data breach and you are also very less susceptible to attacks on other platforms.
Keeps your identity private
You can use random aliases just about anywhere online where you don't want to use or reveal your real identity.
Are There any Alternatives to Hide My Email?
Yes, there are. Here's a few of them.
Firefox Relay is a service similar to Hide My Email, developed by Mozilla.
This service has a free plan but has some limits on the number of aliases you can create.
SimpleLogin is an Open Source alternative to Apple's Hide my Email.
It offers a free plan with a limited number of aliases, and even offers support for custom domains with paid plans.
Email Sub Addressing
Most of the major email services provide this feature, but it is still not very many people know about it.
You can basically append any label as a suffix to your user name part of the email address with a + symbol.
Your email service provider may have some different ways to do sub addressing, you can research about it yourself.
But this approach has some issues.
First of all, this does not always protect your privacy, spammers are also aware of this and can implement parsers to remove the label and extract the original email address.
Second, some of the websites and apps consider this as an invalid email address and don't let you use it.
But anyway, it is still better than using the same email address everywhere, if you can use it.
So that's it for this post, now you know why is it important to protect your privacy online and what you can do to hide your real email address.
As a next step you should definitely checkout this post where I explain How to Setup your own Private Email Relay using AWS.