How To Enable Randomized MAC Address On Any Device.
A random MAC address is built into many OSs like Android, iPhone and Windows 10. On macOS and Linux, if there is a workaround, you can still get this feature. So, here’s how you can enable a randomized MAC address on any device.
How to get random MAC address on any device
What is a randomized MAC address?
A MAC address is a unique 12-digit alphanumeric code that is assigned to each device that can connect to the network. This MAC address is hardcoded by the manufacturer on the device’s network chip, so unlike IP addresses, MAC addresses do not change. Simply put, MAC randomization blocks your device from using its original MAC address. Instead, it generates random 12-digit alphanumeric characters and transmits them as your device’s original MAC address. If you want to change your MAC address to a specific one, check out this article.
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Starting with Android 10, MAC address randomization is enabled by default when connecting to a new network. However, if you have a saved network when upgrading from Android 9.0, Android may still choose to use the original MAC address. In this case, you might have to force Android to use a random MAC address. To check if your device is using a random MAC address for a specific Wi-Fi, go to the Settings menu.
In the “Settings” section, click “Connections”. Then tap “Wi-Fi”.
In the Wi-Fi section, click the gear icon next to the Wi-Fi name. In the Wi-Fi settings, you will see the option “Type of MAC Address”. Make sure it is set to Use Randomized MAC Address.
Third party application
In Android 10, you get a random MAC address every time you connect to a new Wi-Fi network. It stays the same for that specific Wi-Fi network unless you reset it. If you want to set your own MAC address for a specific Wi-Fi network, you need a rooted device and a third party app.
Of the many apps I’ve tested, Change My MAC works reasonably well. Install the app and open it. Now in the app, you can generate a random MAC address with one click. However, keep in mind that when you restart your device, your phone will revert to its old MAC address.
In iOS 14, Apple announced the iPhone’s ability to have a random MAC address known as a “private address”. If you don’t have iOS 14, you can follow this guide to upgrade to iOS 14. Private address will be enabled by default every time you connect to a new network. To check, go to the Settings app and tap Wi-Fi.
On the Wi-Fi page, click the “i” button next to Wi-Fi. Then scroll down and find “Use Private Address”. Flip the switch and that’s it. Your iPhone will now generate a random MAC address and provide it to your router.
Windows 10 operating system
Windows 10 also supports random MAC addresses. However, it is not enabled by default. To enable it, go to the Start menu, type “use random hardware address” and press Enter.
On the Wi-Fi page, turn on the toggle under the “Random hardware addresses” option. If you don’t know, MAC address is also known as hardware address or computer address. This will allow your Windows 10 PC to use a random MAC address.
Please note that if you do this on an office laptop, it may cause problems accessing the remote network. If you encounter the same, discard your changes and run “ipconfig / flushdns” from the command line.
iOS 14, iPad OS 14, and WatchOS 7 support randomized MAC addresses, with the exception of macOS. Now in macOS it is not possible to get a random MAC address as such. However, you can force your Wi-Fi to connect to a wireless network with a fake MAC address. This is known as MAC address spoofing.
To do this, we first need the name of your Wi-Fi adapter. Basically it’s en0. But you can quickly check this by opening a terminal and running the following command. ifconfig
In the command output, check for an active network adapter. In my case it is en0 which is active.
Now let’s check our original MAC address. To do this, run the following command. ifconfig en0 | grep -i ether
Read: How to turn off automatic connection on certain Wi-Fi networks
Now you can insert a random MAC address or use a web application called MAC Address Generator to do so. Use the following command to replace the original MAC address. In my case, I replace my original MAC address with “19: e4: 91: 8f: bd: 41”.
Please note that you will need administrator rights to run this command. sudo ifconfig en0 ether 19: e4: 91: 8f: bd: 41
Now that we have changed the MAC address, let’s test the changes using the following commands. ifconfig en0 | grep -i ether
This workaround is only valid until a reboot. Hence, if something doesn’t work as expected or you want to reset this setting, do a quick reboot.
In Linux, the process is somewhat similar to macOS. You can manually change your MAC address and it will be reset after reboot.
First of all, we need to figure out the name of the Wi-Fi adapter. To do this, use the following command. ip -c a
Notice the name of the adapter, which has an UP state. In my case, the name of the Wi-Fi adapter is wlp3s0, whose state is UP.
Then we need to turn off our Wi-Fi adapter to change the name. Below is the command to disable the Wi-Fi adapter. sudo ip link set dev wlp3s0 down
After turning off the Wi-Fi adapter, we can change the MAC address. To do this, below is the command. Please note that you cannot access Wi-Fi when it is off. sudo ip link set dev wlp3s0 address
Any random 14-digit alphanumeric address can be used as the MAC address. I used “70: 5E: 55: 65: F4: 10”.
Now that we have changed our MAC address, we can turn on our Wi-Fi adapter. sudo ip link set dev wlp3s0 up
To make sure we are using the changed MAC address, use the following command. ip a | grep ether
As you can see in the screenshot above, I am using the assigned MAC address.
So these were the ways to get randomized MAC addresses across different platforms. If you have further problems or questions, let me know in the comments below.
Also Read: How to Prioritize Wi-Fi Networks on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android