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How to Find Your MAC Address and Change it on MacOS

Walden Harper,

Sometimes it occurs that we have a need to find or change the MAC address of our computers. In case you don’t remember, a Media Access Control, or simply MAC, is a unique address, which is used to identify your computer on a network. And each network card on a computer card has a unique MAC address. For instance, it is used most often for Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Thunderbolt.

The reasons why people would like to get control of their Media Access Control addresses are different. For example, one wants to use his MAC address to improve the privacy protection. The other person would like to temporarily mask their MAC address for fun or to retain privacy. You can still have another reason, but the most important thing remains unsolved: how to actually find and change the MAC address?

People having Windows or Linux, face no difficulty manipulating their MAC addresses, while Mac users find it a bit complicated. That’s why we’ve prepared for you a detailed step by step guide.

Find Your MAC Address on macOS Sierra with These Options

Option #1:

  1. Hold the “option” button and click on the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar.
  2. Next, look at the section labeled address. You will see the characters separated by colons – this is your actual MAC address. In case it has been changed, follow the steps in the option #2 below to learn what address your Mac is using.
MAC Address on macOS

Option #2:

  1. Go to Applications then Utilities and double-click on Terminal to open it.
  2. Type in the command “ifconfig en0 | grep ether” without the quotes. Press Enter.

You will notice the MAC address just below the command. To make it clear, en0 is the BSD device name in use, and you need to replace it with en1 or en2, or anything else that you are using. But usually, it is a hardware interface used for Wi-Fi networks.

If you need to check the MAC address of other network devices, consider these options:

  1. Go to the Apple menu, select “About this Mac” then “system report.” Otherwise, go to “Applications” then “Utilities” then “System Information.”
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Check the MAC Address for other network devices
  1. Click on Network and indicate the hardware you are looking for. The MAC address will be displayed along with the BSD device name and proxies.

Learn How You Can Change Your MAC Address

Since you’ve discovered how you can find your MAC address, now it’s time to learn how you may change it. Before you start, read the following nomenclature rules:

  • The MAC address is a 12 digit hex number
  • These 12 hexadecimal numbers are grouped in two
  • Each group is separated by colons from the other

This is how a valid MAC address looks like: 19:b3:35:e5:26:a5.

There are two ways to change the MAC address on your Mac:

  1. Change to a certain address.

Open a terminal window. Type in “sudo ifconfig en0 ether bb:cc:dd:ee:ff:gg” without the quotes (replace the characters in the command with the specific ones of your choice). Press the return key.

MAC Address

The command sets the MAC address for en0 for Wi-Fi. If you wish to change it for an Ethernet port, use en1.

  1. Change to a random address.

You may change the MAC address of your computer randomly. The new address will be generated automatically every time the command is run. If you decided to change to a random MAC address, type in the following command in the terminal window:

“Openssl rand –hex 6 | sed s/\(..\)/\1:/g; s/.$//’ | xargs sudo ifconfig en0 ether” (without the quotes).

Changing your MAC address is truly an easy process, but it might have some unpleasant consequences. You may face network problems afterward. To avoid that, try restarting your Wi-Fi after you find and change your Media Access Control address. Switch off the Wi-Fi button for a while, and then switch it back on.

But take into account, that each time you restart your Mac, the MAC address automatically changes to the original. If you decided to change the address to get more privacy, you need to make a script to run every time you reboot your Mac.