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There are many reasons why you might need to change your MAC address. For instance, if your ISP or system administrator limits Internet access to certain MAC addresses, you might find that you’re unable to connect, once you replace your original network adapter. It might take a while for the administrator or company to remedy the situation by amending their records, but you can switch your MAC address to have the problem solved in minutes.
Privacy also comes into play. Security experts have raised the question of whether MAC addresses might pose a security risk, but changing the address tied to your hardware makes it a little more difficult for prospective hackers to track your movements.
Of course, there are some uses of MAC address spoofing that would be considered illegal in many countries. Changing your MAC address is legal in of itself, but using the process to carry out illegal acts can still land you in trouble with authorities.
Changing the MAC address on OS X is definitely not as easy as it is on Windows. Firstly, you have to use Terminal (similar to command prompt in Windows) to actually change the MAC address.
Secondly, you need to manually figure out the technical name of the adapter before you can change the settings. I’ll explain everything below step by step, but it gets a bit complicated at times.
To start, let’s find out the current MAC address for your Mac. You can do this in one of two ways: via System Preferences or via Terminal. Open System Preferences, click on Networkand then click on the Advanced button. Make sure to select the appropriate interface first (WiFi, Ethernet, etc) in the listbox on the left.
Click on the Hardware tab and you will see the first line is MAC Address. I thought you could simply choose Manually from the Configure dropdown, but that doesn’t allow you to edit the MAC address.
In Terminal, you can get the MAC address by typing in the following command:
ifconfig en0 | grep ether
This will give you the MAC address for the en0 interface. Depending on how many interfaces you have on your computer, you might need to run this command several times adding 1 to the number each time. For example, I ran the following commands below until I reached an interface that didn’t exist.
Now you can simply compare the MAC addresses listed here with the one you saw via System Preferences. In my case, my WiFi MAC address of f8:1e:df:d8:9d:8a matches with en1, so that is the interface I have to use for the next commands.
Before we change the MAC address, you can use a useful command in Terminal to generate a random MAC address if you need one.
openssl rand -hex 6 | sed ‘s/\(..\)/\1:/g; s/.$//’
Now that you have a new MAC address, you can change the current one using the following command below. Replace XX with the actual MAC address you want to use.
sudo ifconfig en0 ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
In order to do this, you need to be logged in as an Administrator or you have to enable the root account in OS X. By default, root is disabled and it’s better to leave it disabled if you can. Just login as an admin and you should be able to run the command just fine. It will ask you for your password, though, before changing the MAC address.
Also, the address won’t change if you are still connected to a WiFi network. You need to first disconnect from any networks and then run the command. Surprisingly, disconnecting from a wireless network in OS X is not intuitive at all. You have to press and hold the Option key and then click on the WiFi icon to see the disconnect option.
So here is a rundown of all the commands I ran in order to get the current MAC address, generate a random one, update the MAC address and then verify to make sure it had actually changed.
You can change the MAC address for the network card in Windows pretty easily following the steps below.
Step 1: Click on Start, then Control Panel, then Network Connections, and right-click on the network connection you want to change the MAC address for and select Properties. It will normally either be Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection.
If you are using Windows Vista, Windows 7 or higher, you have to go to Control Panel, then Network and Internet, then Network and Sharing Center, and then click on Manage Network Connections or Change adapter settings.
Then you can right-click on the adapter and choose Properties.
Step 2: On the General or Networking tab, click the Configure button.
Step 3: Now click on the Advanced tab and click on the Locally Administered Address property or the Network Address property.
By default, the Not Present value is selected. Go ahead and click on the Value radio button and enter in a new MAC address. The MAC address is a combination of 6 pairs of numbers and characters, i.e. 40-A2-D9-82-9F-F2. You should enter the MAC address without the dashes.
You can go to the command prompt and type in IPCONFIG /ALL to check that the MAC address has been changed. Go ahead and restart the computer in order for the changes to take effect.
These are the simplest way to change mac address.