Your computer has a unique Mac address for the wireless adapter integrated into it. The address is given to the adapter by the factory and is a basically unique set of 12 digits, arranged in pairs and separated by Colon. Wi-Fi adapter and LAN adapter have different Mac addresses.
The significance of the MAC address is huge, as it helps us in filtering, tracking and for information purposes. On the older versions of operating systems, changing the MAC address wasn’t possible. But due to security reasons and privacy protection, all the new operating system lets you change your MAC address just by few steps.
The significance of MAC Address
Interaction with the Router: Your Wi-Fi router assign the static IP addresses to your computer, and in order to identify and assign, it needs your Wi-Fi MAC address.
Filtering: Wi-Fi routers can filter the connected devices with the help of MAC addresses. In case you don’t want anyone else to join the network, you can make that happen by exclusively permit your MAC address. Nowadays, people can change the MAC address, so filtering process can be tunneled easily.
Authentication: Your internet provider uses your MAC address to identify and give its services to you. Some of the networks do that to enhance security. For example, your college Wi-Fi can use the registered MAC address with every student’s Unique login ID to enhance the security and authentication. If you’re banned from using a certain network, it’s because they have unauthenticated your MAC address.
Identification: Number of free Wi-Fi providers use your MAC address as identification, and if the connection time of your MAC address meets the limit, they can terminate the connection. For eg: The coffee shop you’re sitting in might have 1 hour of free usage, after that, based on your MAC address, they can identify the device and disconnect it.
Tracking: Since cleared in the beginning that they’re a unique set of digits assigned, they can be used in tracking of your device. When your device scans WIFI networks, your Mac address can be used to locate your devices. A lot of networks do that to locate your device.
In order to rescue your privacy and location, you need to constantly change the Mac address of your devices. There are several tools to do that, but every operating system has an inbuilt option to change the MAC address, let’s find how according to different OS.
Changing MAC address in Windows
Many Wi-Fi cards present in the computers are compatible with changing the Mac addresses, the only handful of network cards aren’t compatible. Those which are not compatible can change it by proxy and online tools. If the card is compatible, In windows, you can change the MAC address by simply going to Device manager.
- Go to Computer icon, right click on it and click on manage. Computer management dialog box will appear, on the left listing panel, click on the Device Manager. You can also open it by simply pressing Windows key + X and then click on device manager. If not, simply search for device manager in the search bar.
- Find the Network Adapter and Click on the adapter you want to change the Mac address of.
- Select it and right click to enter the properties of that adapter.
- Go to the ‘Advanced’ section and select the property ‘Network Address’ and change the value.
- The process is applicable to Windows 7 and above, only to adapters that are compatible with changing MAC addresses.
Changing the MAC Address in LINUX
LINUX gives you the freedom to clone the MAC address for every network you’re connected with. LINUX is a great OS for developers and people who like less visual effects. Follow these steps for cloning the MAC address on Linux.
- Tap on the network icon present on the top panel
- Click on the edit connections and select the connection you want to change the Mac address for.
- Tap edit and a dialog box will appear.
- Enter the new address under the ‘Cloned Mac address’
- You can change the address with the help of command prompt. You must be aware of how to open the command prompt in Linux, open and write commands mentioned below.
- sudo ifconfig eth0 down
- sudo ifconfig eth0 hw ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
- sudo ifconfig eth0 up
- , However, every time you restart, the mac address will reset automatically. For permanent change, you have to edit /etc/network/interfaces file
Changing in the MAC Address in iOS
iOS X has a way for you to change the Mac address and give the desired one. Though it has to be done by Commands, not through some clicks in the interface.
- Open the command prompt by click command and space button
- Enter sudo ifconfig en0 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
- Replace the xx with your desired Mac address and then run the command.
- You can check the MAC address by going into network settings. Like Linux, the original Mac address will be reset after you reboot the system.
You can check the MAC address on Windows by running the ipconfig /all command in a Command Prompt window. For Linux or Mac OS X, run the ifconfig command. The changed MAC address will be there.
For changing the MAC address on your WI-Fi router, you have to login into the interface and change the MAC address from a browser. The port address will be given below the router along with Admin and Password. Hope this article helped in resolving your problem. Do comment if any problem arises, we will be happy to help you.