Millions of individuals connect to the internet every day with unique IP address–Android devices are no exception–but how do you find your IP address? More importantly, what is it? It’s okay not to know. Your equipment works automatically so you never have to think about it. In fact, you don’t even need to know what an IP address is. It works and that’s that, right? However, it’s important to at least understand, on the most basic level, what an IP address is to you and to the internet.
What is an IP Address?
To make a long story short, an IP address is like your vehicle on the information superhighway. You can’t get on the highway without one.
To make a short story long, an IP (or “internet protocol”) allows for your device–computers, smartphones, tablets, anything with the ability to connect to a network–to communicate with other devices of the same nature; to play with friends in Vietnam or chat until the sun goes down. It expresses your location and separates your device from the millions of devices. Imagine you’re on the phone with a friend, but you’re both incapable of speaking; no information is being passed. This is exactly what would happen without an IP address. It can’t communicate with the internet, so no information is making to and from.
It doesn’t stop there though. The IP’s then split off into categories: private IPs, public IPs, static and dynamic. Don’t worry because they’re also really easy to understand. You can satisfy your itch for knowledge down below.
But first, here’s how you find your IP address on Android phones.
Finding your Private IP Address
1. Open your Android Settings.
2. From the menu, scroll until you find Wi-Fi. Alternatively, depending on your smartphone, you may have to select “Network & Internet,” and then select Wi-Fi afterwards.
3. Tap on your currently connected Wi-Fi network or connect to a Wi-Fi network if you haven’t already.
Your smartphone will display the information.
Your MAC address, or “Media Access Control Address,” is located here:
1. Open your Android Settings.
2.From the menu, scroll until you find Wi-Fi.
3. Select More. It’s the three vertical dots located in the top-right corner of your screen.
4. Tap Advanced in the drop-down menu.
5. Scroll to the bottom until you see your MAC address. Depending on your smartphone manufacturer, it can be located under “Network Details.”
Finding your Public IP Address
1. Head over to WhatIsMyIP with your preferred web browser.
2. WhatIsMyIP will automatically display the information for you.
1. Head over to whatIsMyIPAddress with your preferred web browser.
2. WhatIsMyIPAddress will automatically display the information for you, along with a handy map.
Hiding your IP Address
You might’ve panicked a bit when you saw your general location was displayed. The average person isn’t capable of finding out your exact location. That would take the kind of digging that’s deemed “illegal.” However, it can be a concern and you aren’t crazy for thinking that way. You should always be concerned with privacy. And it just so happens that there’s a way to secure your location and your privacy by using a VPN.
VPNs, or “virtual private networks,” are a surefire way of hiding your IP address and, in turn, hiding your location. When you connect to the internet, your IP address information is attached to it. Now, imagine your IP address passing through a filter.
Once it reaches the other side, your IP is hidden and your location is in a completely different location. Your VPN has successfully masked your location.
It’s VPNs, like ExpressVPN, that make this the perfect solution to privacy. It has interesting applications that are more than just privacy, too. What’s interesting is VPNs creating the illusion that you’re in another location.
The great part about it is being able to view websites that are banned in your country. Streaming services, while widespread, aren’t always available in certain locations. That doesn’t stop a VPN.
Static IP Address VS Dynamic IP Address
So, you’ve finally discovered what your IP address is. That’s great. It’s a useful bit of information to know. Frame it and put it on your wall, but only if you’re cool with changing the picture frequently.
Chances are you have a “dynamic” IP address. These are IP addresses that change frequently without you ever noticing. It happens every so often or whenever you restart your device. Your router hands them out like candy (to your connected devices).
The process is called DHCP, or “Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.” This is why you never have to worry about fiddling with IP addresses because your router does it for you whenever you connect a new device, wired or Wi-Fi.
And yes, if there’s a dynamic IP address, there’s certainly a static IP address. It’s unlikely that you have this. Static IP addresses don’t change, and quite frankly, they aren’t necessary to use. You can get along just fine with a dynamic IP address.
On the other hand, static IP addresses are great for hosting servers, especially as a file server or a video game. If that’s something that interests you then, by all means, get a static IP address. Your internet provider can usually provide one, but at a cost (of course).
Knowing what your IP address is can be a useful tool, especially if you’re forced to troubleshoot network issues. They’re easy to find, easy to conceal and absolutely necessary to using the internet. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say your IP address is the most important part of your internet experience. Enjoy the information superhighway.