What is MAC address and How to Find it.
So, you try to connect to new Wi-Fi, but it doesn’t work. You have all the required credentials, but you still cannot connect. Now, when you report this problem to the network administrator, he smiles and asks for the MAC address of the device.
So what exactly is a “MAC address” and how do you find it?
In simple terms, every electronic device that connects to a network has a unique identifier called a MAC address or physical address. This MAC address (short for Media Access list) looks like “F8-28-19-4E-95-61”. Unlike your IP address, which changes every time you connect to the Internet, the MAC address remains the same. The MAC address is hardcoded into the network card, which means it is unique and each device has a different MAC address.
The MAC address is only relevant up to the router level. When the packet leaves the router, it does not contain the MAC address of the device. Instead, it contains the MAC address of your router. Well, that means 2 things: first, the website can’t figure out your MAC address; Second, you can change your MAC address to whatever you want. Just make sure no two devices on the same network have the same MAC address.
Unfortunately, you cannot find the MAC address of a device by its serial number or on the Internet. The only way is to boot your device and use the following methods. However, you can use third-party apps to find the MAC address of any device on the network by finding their IP address. We have a separate article here.
Now, if you want to mess with your network, or join one that has MAC address filtering enabled, you need a MAC address or MAC spoofing. In this article, we will see the best ways to find the MAC address on each popular platform.
Related: 10 Steps To Securing Your Wi-Fi Network From Hackers
Find the MAC address
1. How to Find a Windows 10 Mac Address
The fastest way to deal with the network is through the command line. On Windows, to see the MAC address, you just need to run one command to find the MAC address. To do this, we first need to open a command prompt. Click the Start button and type cmd or Command Prompt. After you fill in the results, right-click on the command prompt icon and select “Run as administrator”.
When you get a command prompt window, enter the following command. ipconfig / all
This command lists all the network information about the system’s network adapters. In the command output, scroll down to the network adapter that you are using to connect to your router. In my case, I’m connected via Wi-Fi, so my active network adapter is “Wi-Fi Wireless LAN Adapter”. If you are connected via LAN, it must be an Ethernet adapter. Under the active network adapter, you can see the Physical Address. Besides the physical address, you have a MAC address.
If the command line seems too complicated for you, it is possible to see the MAC address in the GUI. To do this, you need to open the Network and Sharing Center. Click the “Start” menu and type “Network and Sharing Center”.
Or, if you’re on Windows 10, right-click the Start menu and select Network Connections.
Go to “Change adapter settings” and click on it to open “Network Connections”.
After opening network connections, select an active network. For example, I’m connected via Wi-Fi, so my active network is “Wi-Fi”. Now right click on Network and select Status.
Now that you have the Wi-Fi status window open, click on Details. This will reveal the details of the network connection.
Now, in the “Connection Details” window, you will get information about the network adapter. This is similar to running “ipconfig / all” on the command line. Find here “Physical Address” in the “Property” column. In addition to the physical address, you will receive the MAC address of the device.
2. Find the MAC address on macOS
If you are using macOS, the steps are very similar to those for Windows. To find out the MAC address via command line, you need to execute one command. To do this, you first need to open a terminal. Press Cmd + Space to start Spotlight search. Enter “Terminal” in the search bar. When the search results appear, click the terminal icon.
When a terminal window opens, enter the following command. networksetup -listallhardwarereport
This will display the hardware information of all the network adapters on your device. Since I am connected via Wi-Fi, my MAC address should appear under Hardware Port: Wi-Fi. In Wi-Fi, you have an Ethernet address, which is nothing more than a MAC address. If you are connected via a LAN cable, find the MAC address under the Ethernet port.
Again, you can also do this through the GUI. It may not be the fastest way, but it is more intuitive. To find out the MAC address, we need to go to the network settings. To do this, click the apple icon in the upper left corner of your desktop. Select System Preferences from the drop-down list.
In the System Preferences dialog, navigate to Network and click on it to open Network Settings.
Alternatively, you can also press Cmd + Space to launch Spotlight search. Enter “Network” in the search bar and click the icon when it appears. This will take you directly to the network settings.
In the pop-up window, select the active network interface. For example, I am connected to a Wi-Fi network, so my active network is Wi-Fi. If you are on a local network, it should be Ethernet. Make sure you are on the active network tab and then click on Advanced.
A new window will open the configuration options for that adapter. Go to the Hardware section by clicking the Hardware tab.
On the Hardware Information tab, the first entry will be the MAC address.
3. Find MAC address on Linux / Ubuntu
Since the Mac is UNIX-based, the steps for finding MAC addresses are identical. For example, in the terminal, you can run most Mac commands on ubuntu. To find the MAC address, we can use the same “ifconfig” command on the terminal. To open a terminal, right-click anywhere on the desktop and select Open Terminal.
Alternatively, you can also click the Actions button in the upper left corner. The search bar will appear. Enter Terminal on it and click the Terminal icon when it appears.
When the terminal window opens, we need to run the following command. ifconfig
This will display information about the network adapters. Find the address next to “ether” under the active network adapter. This address is the MAC address of a specific network adapter. You will find several network adapters with different MAC addresses. Make sure you select the one through which your device is connected to the network. To find out which adapter is connected to the Internet, look at the IP address next to it. In my case, the enp0s3 adapter is connected to the internet with an IP address of 10.0.2.15.
If you find the command line interface too complicated, there is an easy way to find the MAC address through the GUI. The only thing is that it takes more steps. Open your network settings. To do this, click the network icon in the upper right corner of your desktop.
Now go to the active network. I am connected via LAN cable, so for me it will be Ethernet. In case you are connected to Wi-Fi, you should get the same in the tray. Make sure you click on the active network and expand the menu to see more options. Click Wired Network Settings in the Advanced Menu to open Network Settings.
When you open the Network Settings window, make sure you are on the Networking tab. Click the Options icon next to the active network to open the adapter properties.
When you get a pop-up with wired network settings, the first tab will contain information about the adapter’s network. You should see your MAC address besides the “Hardware Address” label.
4. Get the Wi-Fi Mac address on Android
In newer versions on Android i.e. after Android 7.0, networking tools are provided natively. You can do several tasks like set up a static IP address, static DNS server, etc. Initially. So, finding your MAC address is pretty easy. Go to “Settings”, go to “About phone” and click on it. Here I am using Google Pixel 3 for demo, this option may not be in the same place for you due to the manufacturer’s skin. You can also search in the settings search bar.
Go to the bottom of the page to find your MAC address.
5. Find the MAC address of the iPhone
Likewise on iPhone or iPad, to check your MAC address, you need to go to settings. To do this, click on the settings icon in the lower right corner of the dock.
In the settings menu, navigate to General and click on it.
In general settings, click “About”.
Now the section “About phone” displays all information about the phone. At the bottom, you will see “Wi-Fi Address”. Since your smartphone only has 1 network adapter, this is the only MAC address for your device.
Tip: in case you want to copy and paste the MAC address into the app. Press and hold the MAC address value for a few seconds and it will be copied to the clipboard.
6. The router
There may be times when you have to work with the MAC address of your router. Sometimes you need to find the MAC address of devices that don’t have an interface. In this case, you need to log in to the router’s web portal. The web portal address, username and password are in most cases printed behind the router.
After loading the web portal, log in with your credentials. Now each router has a different web interface, but the overall structure remains the same. Here I am using a custom ROM called dd-wrt and the options I show will be the same on your router.
Now, on the very first page, you will see your MAC address under System Information. To get the MAC address of devices connected to the router, we need to check the DHCP client list. This should be in the DHCP Server section for you or under the Services tab.
In the list of DHCP clients, you will see the MAC addresses of all devices connected to the router.
Now these listed MAC addresses can be true if they have not been tampered with. Yes, you can change the MAC address of your devices and here is a detailed article on how to change the MAC address.
Once you have determined the MAC address of the device, you can continue to troubleshoot the network or set a static IP address based on it. If you want to prevent certain devices from connecting to your network, you can block them by the MAC address of your router.
If you have any more questions or questions, let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you.