How to Change MAC Address and Why to Change It

Whether you’re using Windows, Mac, or Linux, changing your MAC address is something you should consider. Let’s cover the most important reasons why and outline the exact procedure for every aforementioned operating system. Let’s go!

Your MAC address matters in a plethora of situations

Every device that’s connected to your network uses a MAC address for communication purposes. When you set out to connect to a webpage in a browser, it plays a direct role in getting that data to display on your device. There are other instances when your device broadcasts it out into the wild:

– When connecting to Wi-Fi: when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks such as the ones you will find at the airports, your MAC address is used to identify you. In other words, you may be entitled to a free 30-minute browsing session, but after the time is up, the MAC address used the first time will no longer work. If you change it, however, you will be able to enjoy another round.

– When a router assigns an IP address to your device. In case your router recognizes your MAC address, it also remembers what your IP is (https://nordvpn.com/what-is-my-ip/), so you’ll receive the same one you got the last time you tried to connect.

– When an internet service provider requests authentication. Depending on the ISP requirements in question, you may be required to use a predefined MAC address to connect to the internet – another reason you may be forced to change it.

– When you are walking around town with your smartphone. To connect to public Wi-Fi networks it discovers, it will broadcast your MAC address, so you can establish a connection. If left unchanged, others can track your physical location.

As you can see, changing the MAC address is a good idea if you’re concerned about privacy. In the next couple of paragraph, you’ll learn the steps necessary for every popular operating system:

How to change your MAC address on Windows

Depending on the network card you’re using, you make the change straight from your Device Manager (although some network drivers do not support it). So on the Start menu, type in “device manager”, open it, and navigate to “network adapters”. Find your network interface, then right-click on it to select “properties”. Find the “advanced tab” and click “network address” on a menu to your left (if you are unable to find it, it could be due to your network driver not supporting it). See the “value” input field on the right? That’s where you can type your MAC address (no dashes or colons).

How to change your MAC address on Mac

On macOS, you’ll need to use your terminal if you want to change your MAC address. Open it up and type in the following:

sudo ifconfig en0 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx

Note that you may be asked to type in the device’s password before being allowed to proceed. Also, on Mac OS, this change is temporary – your MAC address will be changed back to default once you restart your device.

How to change your MAC address on Linux

Depending on your distribution, you may be able to change your MAC address through a graphical menu. In Ubuntu, you can accomplish this through “network manager”, “edit connections”, then find the “ethernet” tab. Enter the new MAC address in the input bar below.

Alternatively, open up your terminal and type in the following sequence of commands:

sudo ifconfig eth0 down

sudo ifconfig eth0 hw ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx

sudo ifconfig eth0 up

Keep in mind your MAC address will return to default upon restarting your device. To make the change permanent, there is a file you can modify that rests at the following file address:

/etc/network/interfaces.d/

Conclusion

Sometimes, changing your MAC address is necessary, and sometimes it’s recommended to address any security and privacy concerns you may have. As luck would have it, the process is rather straightforward.

Experiencing difficulties with your Device, check out our “How To” page on how to resolve some of these issues.

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