A MAC address is a unique set of numbers assigned to the network hardware of a phone, tablet, laptop or a computer. It stands for Media Access Control and is present on any device that has a wireless network module.
The MAC address allows the router to communicate with the device and is therefore, necessary. Since the MAC address is provided with the hardware, you cannot really change it. Some users can block a machine’s access to a network by blocking its MAC address.
This means that even if you know the password for a WiFi network, but your device’s MAC address is the routers block list, then you will not able to log-in. This can happen in public Wi-Fi hotspots, where the ISP will block your MAC address after a set interval of time.
However, you can spoof a new MAC address to get around routers that have blocked your device. In this post, we are going to show you how to change Mac address on both a Windows machine, and a Mac computer running macOS.
First up, we will look at how to change MAC address on a Mac. It is easy and will not take a lot of time. Just follow the instructions carefully and by the end of it, your Mac will have a new MAC address.
1. Change MAC Address on Mac
Before you change your MAC address of your MacBook or iMac, you will need to first find the current MAC address. To do that, follow the steps below:
1. Click on the Apple Icon on the top menu bar.
2. Select System Preferences.
3. Now find the Networks option.
4. You should see you Wi-Fi network listed on the left hand panel.
5. Select your Wi-Fi network and then click on the Advanced button on the bottom right corner.
6. In this page, head to the Hardware tab.
7. The MAC address should be listed here.
Now, to change the MAC address, you will need to use the Terminal.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Press the Option key and click on the Wi-Fi icon on the top menu bar.
2. You should see something called as Interface Name.
3. Remember this name and then launch the Terminal app.
4. The Terminal can be found in the Applications folder in the Finder, under Utilities.
5. Open the Terminal application and input the following:
openssl rand -hex 6 | sed ‘s/\(..\)/\1:/g; s/.$//’
6. Press Enter and you should be provided with a random number that can be used as the new MAC address. Copy this number somewhere or do not close the Terminal app as you will need it again.
7. Now disconnect from your current Wi-Fi network.
8. To do this, hold down the Option key once again, and click the Wi-Fi icon. Select the Disconnect option.
9. In Terminal, input the following command:
sudo ifconfig en0 ether <generated mac address>
10. In place of generated mac address, copy/paste the random number that you generated earlier.
11. Press Enter to change MAC address on your Mac.
That’s about it. You have now successfully changed the MAC address on your Mac computer. To confirm the changes, connect to your Wi-Fi network and then head to the Network page in System Preferences.
Check the Hardware tab under your Wi-Fi name. The new MAC address should be reflected here. You can now connect to a router that has blocked your older MAC address.
2. Change MAC address in Windows
On a Windows computer, you can find the MAC address by either using the Command Prompt, or via the Network and Sharing Center option in the Control Panel. To use the Command Prompt, search for the application in the taskbar. Once it is open, type in the following command:
A list should now appear displaying information about your network configuration. Now locate the line that reads Physical Address. That’s it, you have found the MAC address of your device.
You can also find the address in the Network and Sharing Center in Control Panel. In this page, select your network name and click on Details. Once again, find Physical Address to get the MAC address.
To change the MAC Address on your Windows machine, follow the steps below:
1. Launch the Device Manager by pressing Windows Key+X. You can also find the Device Manager by right clicking on the Start button or via the Control Panel.
2. In Device Manager, find your Network adapter. It should be located under Network adapters.
Note: If you do not know the name of your network adapter, then launch Command Prompt and type in ipconfig/all. You should see the name listed here.
3. Right click on your network adapter and select Properties.
4. In the Properties window, head to the Advanced tab.
5. Now, in the list shown below, look for the option that says ‘Locally Administered Address’ or ‘Network Address’.
6. Click on this option and you should be given a box that says ‘Value’.
7. In this ‘Value’ field, enter any 12-digit alpha-numeric code without any colons or hyphens.
8. Click on the button next to the ‘Value’ field to enable it.
There you go. You have changed the MAC address of your Windows computer. Now restart your PC to apply the changes. If you face any issues or want to revert back to the default, then follow all the steps above, but instead of choosing the Values field, select the option that says ‘Not Present’.
You can also use third-party applications to change the MAC address on a Windows machine. There are plenty of apps available online that will allow you to perform this function with utmost ease. The app will provide you with a random MAC address and will change it for you automatically.
Now that we have explained how to change MAC address on a Mac or Windows machine, you can try it out for yourself. As mentioned in the beginning, you may want to change this address for a variety of reasons. Whatever the reason, you now know how to.