You may have heard the term “MAC address” mentioned in passing. But what is a Mac address? This is a Media Access Control address, which means it is a unique identifier for network interfaces that service a network segment. MAC addresses are assigned by a manufacturer to the network interface controller and are stored in hardware.
Essentially, a MAC address is connected to your computer's network card hardware. Sometimes your MAC address can cause problems connecting to the Internet. For example, you may have updated your device hardware and need to register the new MAC address with your ISP. A simpler solution would be to update your MAC address.
This article will teach you how to change your MAC address on a macOS device and answer some of your frequently asked questions.
Find your Mac address
First, you will need to find the Mac address associated with your network card installed on your Mac computer. There are several ways to find your Mac's MAC address, but we'll show you the easiest ones. Keep in mind that you might want to take note of your assigned MAC address if you need it.
Here's how to find your Mac address on a macOS device:
The easiest way to find your MAC address is to use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Click on the WiFI icon in the upper right corner of your Mac.
As you can see, the MAC address is listed in the drop-down menu. Another option to view your MAC address is to go to Network Settings. Here's how to find it:
- Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your Mac. Then click on System preference.
- Click on Network.
- Click on Advanced.
- Write down your MAC address.
Since most Mac addresses are permanent, you can trick or "spoof" a Mac address that is reported by an operating system. This can be useful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot for privacy reasons.
Change your Mac address
To change your MAC address, you'll need to open the Terminal app from your dock (if that's where it resides) or through Mac's Finder.
To open Terminal from the Finder, follow these steps:
- Open Finder on your Mac and click Applications.
- Then double click on Utilities.
- Double click on Port.
- The terminal will launch and you can start the process to change your MAC address.
Once you've opened the Terminal app, type this into the terminal:
sudo ifconfig en0 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
The x's represent a Mac address that you will enter if you already have one in mind.
If you prefer to use a random Mac address, type the following into the terminal:
openssl rand –hex6 | sed ‘s/(..)/1:/g; s/.$//’ | xargs sudo ifconfig en0 ether
When you restart your Mac computer, the Mac address returns to the default. So whenever you need or want to change your Mac address in macOS, just type one of the above commands into the Terminal app, and you're good to go.
After changing your Mac address, you'll probably also want to restart your Wi-Fi connection to avoid network issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some more answers to your questions about MAC addresses.
Should I change my MAC address?
The answer depends on the user. There are many good reasons to change your MAC address. If you want to increase your privacy on a local network, connect to a network that only allows certain devices, or update your devices' hardware, it might be a good idea to change your MAC address.
However, if you're not tech-savvy or have trouble following the steps above, it might be a good idea to seek help before changing your MAC address.
I changed my MAC address, and now I have connection problems. What's going on and how to fix it?
Sometimes users will find it difficult to connect to the Internet after changing the MAC address. The first thing to do is to restart your router and attempt the connection again. Most often, this will fix any connection issues.
Next, you need to shut down and restart your Mac. A restart of the device will return your MAC address to that assigned by the manufacturer. Your connection issues should be resolved with a reboot, but you'll need to follow the steps above to change your MAC address.
So now you know how to find out what your Mac address is and how to change it from macOS, whether for privacy reasons or simply because you now have the personal information and steps you need to enable you to do so. .