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 get assigned by a manufacturer to the network interface controller and become stored in the hardware.
Also see our article How to Speed Up Your Mac
Yes, we know that sounds like a bunch of tech mumbo-jumbo if you’re not really technically-savvy, but that is the best way we could stay technical and try to get the point across. A Mac address comes connected with the network adapter hardware in your computer. Okay, that’s easier to comprehend, right? Cool.
All right, so if you’re here reading this and you’re looking to change your Mac address in MacOS, we have to assume you’re a bit of a tech-minded person. So, we’ll continue to tell you how you can change your Mac address from MacOS.
Find Your Mac Address
First, you’ll need to find the Mac address that’s associated with your network card installed in your Mac computer. Here’s how you can do that:
- First, you’ll want to disconnect your Mac from the Wi-Fi connection you’re currently using. Then, do the next step.
- Hold down the “Option” key on your Mac’s keyboard. Then, while doing that, click your trackpad or mouse on the Wi-Fi or Internet connection icon in the upper right of your screen.
- Now the interface name and Mac address are displayed on your screen.
Seeing 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, click Go > Scroll down to Utilities, click it > then, open the Terminal application from the Utilities window.
Once you’ve opened the Terminal app, type this in terminal:
sudo ifconfig en0 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
The x’s represent a Mac address that you’ll input, if you’ve already got one in mind for use.
If you’d prefer to use a random Mac address, then type the following in terminal:
openssl rand –hex6 | sed ‘s/\(..\)/\1:/g; s/.$//’ | xargs sudo ifconfig en0 ether
When you restart your Mac computer, the Mac address reverts to the default. So, whenever you need to or want to change your Mac address in MacOS, you’ll just type one of the above commands in the Terminal application and you’re ready to go.
You’ll probably also want to restart your Wi-Fi connection after you change your Mac address, to avoid having network issues.
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.