What Is Mac Address? – All You Need to Know about your MAC Address

If you’re a user of Smartphone, tablet, computer, or a router, you must have come across a term known as MAC Address. All the networking devices have their own MAC address. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the MAC address.

What does MAC Address stand for?

The MAC Address is an exclusive number allocated to every computer that is connected to a network. The MAC address is not given to a computer, but specifically to a network card. It is allocated to the network card in the manufacturing factory. It is made up of six sets of two characters. An example of the MAC address is 00: 1B: 11: 3A: B7.

The MAC address is different from the IP address; the IP address can be changed by the network administrator while the MAC address is permanent and unchangeable. A lot of users cannot differentiate between an IP address and a MAC address. The MAC address consists of information concerning the nearest device where the data should be transmitted. In contrast, an IP address worries about sending data packets to different devices around the world.

Another thing that differentiates a MAC address and an IP address are that your device can have several MAC addresses. Your device features as many MAC addresses as supported by the network interfaces of your device. Your device can have a separate MAC address for your Wi-Fi connection, while another for an Ethernet connection.

Why do MAC addresses exist?

 The primary purpose of the MAC address is to control access to a connection. Your internet service provider controls access to the internet. Your device may be connected to the internet, but another device won’t have access to the same connection. The reason behind no internet access to the second device is that your ISP has allocated your IP address and registered your MAC address of the network card with you only; that’s why only the registered device has access to the internet.

Other than access filtering, MAC addresses are also used for the following purposes.

Static IP

When you connect your devices to the internet through a router, it allocates static IP addresses to your connected devices. Every connected device gets a static IP address if it has an equivalent MAC address.

MAC address filtering

MAC addresses are used to filter access to the internet. Your Internet Service Provider allows access to only those devices with registered MAC Addresses to connect to the network.

Device Identification

Another useful function of the MAC Address is that it used for device identification. Different Wi-Fi networks and public hotspots around the world use MAC addresses to identify the connected device. Several airports around the world offer free internet for a particular amount of time; after that, the network intelligently removes you from the system with the help of MAC address.

Device Tracking

The MAC addresses are also used to help track devices in a particular area; a smartphone can be easily tracked with the help of public Wi-Fi hotspots in that area. When a person goes nearby an open hotspot, the smartphone scans that network and sends its MAC addresses to it, which makes it easy to track the device using its MAC address.

How do you find the MAC Address on macOS?

There are different ways to find your MAC address; the easiest way is to check your network card package. In laptops, the MAC address can be located on the bottom of your computer. If you don’t find your MAC address on the bottom of your laptop, there are other ways to find your MAC address;

Use Terminal

  • Launch the terminal application from Launchpad
  • Copy-paste Ifconfig to get your Mac address.

System Preferences

  • Launch the System Preferences window
  • Navigate to the Network section
  • Click on Wi-Fi connection and then Advanced.
  • Now select the Hardware tab to get your MAC address.

Using the Toolbar

  • In your toolbar window, hold the Alt key and click on the Wi-Fi icon.
  • After clicking on the icon in the toolbar, you’ll get your MAC address.

System Information

  • Go to your Menu bar
  • Select the Apple icon from there
  • Now hold the Alt key and click System Information.
  • Now navigate to the Network section and click on Locations
  • In the Locations section, you’ll find every information, including your MAC address.

 How to change MAC address?

If you want to change your MAC address because of the restrictions set by your Internet Service Provider on the number of connected devices to the internet, follow these steps to change your MAC address easily.

  • Launch the terminal application
  • Type the command with your new MAC serial number
  • Replace xx with any characters you wish to receive
  • sudo ifconfig en0 ether xx: xx: xx: xx: xx: xx

It is important to note that to change your MAC address, you’ll need to log in as an administrator. You’ll need to type the administrator password, and after that, your MAC address will be changed without any hassles. Also, note that it is important to save your previous and original MAC address, it may be useful to you if you wish to change your MAC address again.

Another important thing to note after changing your MAC address is that you’ll face several issues with your internet connection. If you’re changing your MAC address because of some private data security reasons, it is better to use a VPN client for Mac.

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