How To Change the MAC Address on your Android Device
Before we get into further details, let’s first explain that all of you passionate Android fans don’t have anything to worry about, as this article doesn’t have anything to do with any Apple products. The rivalry between these two platforms sometimes gets really heated, so we simply had to clear that up first.
Now, let us explain what a MAC address actually is, what it is for, why you would want to change it, and finally, the ways that it can be done. Pull out your phone, sit back, relax, and keep reading.
What Is a MAC Address Anyway?
MAC address, also referred to as the Media Access Control address, is an identifier consisting of 12 characters that is given to any piece of hardware which can access Wifi internet. So, this means that your network adapter has one, as well as your Android smartphone or tablet.
This address is used so each device that connects to the Internet or a local network can be identified by its unique 12-character code.
Why Would You Want to Change It?
Obviously, this is your first question, and, as much as we agree with the golden rule that if something isn’t broke you shouldn’t try to fix it, there are real reasons why you still would want to change the MAC address of your android devices.
Privacy is all important and it has become very fragile in the modern day and age. Each and every device on the internet can be traced and accessed via various methods, so we suggest you do everything you can to keep your privacy and data to yourself and avoid getting hacked.
Those who are in the know, sometimes also referred to as hackers, can easily look up the MAC address of your device. By doing so, the hacker can keep track of your device, especially if you connect to the internet by using public Wifi networks such as the ones found at airports, coffee shops, hotels, and similar places.
You might wonder why this is important. Well, if a hacker has your MAC address, he can impersonate you and commit various crimes using your MAC address. You wouldn’t really want that, would you?
On most networks, access restrictions are based on the IP address of a device, but when someone has your MAC address, he or she can easily work their way around such restrictions.
You could go as far as to change the MAC address of your network adapter, and make the restriction based on MAC addresses connecting to it, if you so wish.
Do we have your attention now? Let’s skip to the next obvious question.
How Can You Change Your MAC Address?
Well, basically it all comes down to two different methods – with or without root access. Even though both methods are fairly simple, we first need to check the root availability on your Android device. Download the free Root Checker app from Google Play.
Don’t worry, the app is simple, and you basically just need to run it when it’s downloaded and tap on the “Verify root” button. This will show you the status of your root and you will see if there is root access on your device.
Changing the MAC Address with Root Access
This is the method that can be performed only on Android devices that have root access. If the Root Checker app confirmed that your device has root access, then just read on. If not, skip to the next section where we will show you how to change the MAC address on your Android device without root access.
First of all, you will need to install another free app from Google Play by the name BusyBox. Besides this one, you will need an app called Terminal Emulator for Android, which you can also download for free from Google Play.
Run the terminal emulator app and type in the command “su” before hitting Enter. If the device asks you to allow the app to access the root, simply hit “Allow”.
Type in the next command “ip link show” and then hit Enter again, so that you can write down the interface name of your current network. For demonstration purposes here, we will refer to it as HAL9000.
The next command that you need to enter is “busybox ip link HAL9000” (of course you need to replace HAL9000 with the name of your network which you’d written down earlier). This will show you your current MAC address.
To change the address, type in the following command – “busybox config HAL9000 hw ether XX:XX:XX:YY:YY:YY”. Instead of “XX:XX:XX:YY:YY:YY” you need to type in your new MAC address.
Simple as that. Keep in mind that this change is permanent, even after you restart your phone.
Changing the MAC Address without Root Access
First, you need to check your MAC address. Go to Settings, then About Phone and then Select Status. Over here you will see your current MAC address, and we suggest that you write it down somewhere, just in case.
Once you’re done with that, download a free app from Google Play called Terminal Emulator for Android. Run the app and type in the command “ip link show”. After that, you will see the name of your network interface. Again for demonstration purposes we shall call it “HAL9000”, but you should type in the actual name of your network interface.
The next command to type in is “ip link set HAL9000 XX:XX:XX:YY:YY:YY”. Instead of “XX:XX:XX:YY:YY:YY” and you should write down your new MAC address.
Easy peasy. Just keep in mind that this change only lasts until the next time you restart your phone.
Following our easy step-by-step guide, you can change the MAC address on your Android device in just a few short minutes and keep your privacy intact.