How to Change the Mac Address in macOS
You may have heard the term “MAC address” mentioned in passing. But what is a Mac address? It’s a Media Access Control address—which means it’s a unique identifier for network interfaces that deal with a network segment. MAC addresses are assigned by a manufacturer to the network interface controller and become stored in the hardware.
Essentially, a MAC address comes connected with the network adapter hardware in your computer. There may be times when your MAC address can cause problems connecting to the internet. For example, you may have updated your device’s hardware and must register the new MAC address with your ISP. A more straightforward 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’ll need to find the Mac address associated with the network card installed on your Mac computer. There are multiple ways to find your Mac’s MAC address, but we’ll show you the easiest ones. Do remember that you may 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 Control+Click keyboard shortcut on the WiFI icon in the upper right-hand corner of your Mac.
As you can see, the MAC address is listed in the dropdown menu. Another option to view your MAC Address is going to the Network Settings. Here’s how to find it:
- Click on the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner of your Mac. Then, click on System Preferences.
- Click on Network.
- Click Advanced.
- Take note of your MAC Address.
As most Mac addresses are permanent, you can trick or “spoof” a Mac address that gets reported from an operating system. This could be helpful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot for privacy reasons.
Changing Your Mac Address
To change your MAC address, you’ll need to open the Terminal application from your dock (if that’s where it lives) or by going through Mac’s Finder.
To open Terminal from Finder, do this:
- Open Finder on your Mac and click Applications.
- Then, double-click on Utilities.
- Double-click on Terminal.
- The terminal will launch, and you can start the process of changing your MAC address.
- Once you’ve opened the Terminal app, type this in the terminal:
openssl rand –hex6 | sed ‘s/(..)/1:/g; s/.$//’ | xargs sudo ifconfig en0 ether
- You will now see a hexadecimal number that appears like this: 1a:22:a1:a1:aa:a1. Disconnect your Mac from the internet.
- Now, type this in the terminal:
sudo ifconfig en0 ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
The x’s represent the new Mac address created above.
The Mac address reverts to the default when you restart your Mac computer. So, whenever you need to or want to change your Mac address in macOS, you’ll type one of the above commands in the Terminal application, and you’re ready 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 to this depends on the user. There are a lot of 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, changing your MAC address may be a good idea.
However, if you aren’t tech-savvy or have difficulty following the steps above, it may be a good idea to reach out for more help before changing your MAC address.
I changed my MAC address, and now I’m having connection issues. What’s going on, and how do I fix it?
Sometimes users will have trouble connecting to the internet after changing the MAC address. The first thing you’ll want to do is restart your router and attempt the connection again. More often than not, this will fix any connection issues.
Next, you should turn your Mac off and back on again. A device restart will revert your MAC address to the one assigned by the manufacturer. Your connection issues should resolve with a restart, but you will have to attempt the above steps 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 it be for personal privacy concerns or just because now you have the information and the personal steps you need to enable you to do it.