MAC address short form of Media Access Control Address, is a address that uniquely identifies you computer. For every network card on your computer there is a MAC address, which comes built-in. This applies to all types of network cards be it Ethernet or WiFi. Whether you are using a wired connection or wireless one, you do need to transfer data from your computer to some other computer. But how does the other computer find your computer? That is where addresses come in. These addresses are actually hard-coded into the network card. These are given to a network adapter in the manufacturing stage itself. And since these addresses are permanent, they are generally used to prevent devices from accessing a particular network. Does this mean they can never be changed? Well, yes. Then what is this article about? One simple word, MAGIC ! The hard-coded MAC address can never be changed but you can spoof the MAC address in your operating system. But before moving on with our spoofing mac address OS X trick, let’s see what does a MAC address look like.
MAC address is the lower sub-layer of the data link layer in the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model. It is a six-byte number. MAC address is also often referred as the Physical Address. A possible MAC address can be 2F-4D-5B-6E-2A-9C. As you can clearly see it is a 12-digit hexadecimal or 48 bits number. The first 6 digits helps to find the manufacturer, while the last six digits find your device. The manufacturers have already got this special number sequence to find themselves as manufactures. Dell has 00-14-22 at the beginning, Cisco has 00-40-96 and so on. These are often referred as OUI or Organizationally Unique Identifier. The last 6 digits or three bytes is the NIC (Network Interface Controller) specifier. A possible question now arises that why would someone like to change their MAC address? It is for so many reasons. If your network limits access to some MAC addresses, then you can change it and have the network access. If a network filters out access based on MAC address, then you can sniff out a legitimate MAC address, change your MAC address and connect. If you want privacy over surfing or any network activity, you could change your MAC address and be untraceable. You can also bypass certain network restriction by spoofing an authorized MAC address. There are many more reasons one might want to change his/her computers MAC address. Let’s not go to too much detail and begin.
Before changing the MAC address on Mac Computer let’s see how can you look up your MAC address. There are generally three ways to go about it.
Press and hold the option key, now click on the WiFi icon from the menu bar. You will see couple of things here, look out for “Address:”. The next 12 hexadecimal digits following it is your MAC address. And it tells you the connection name also. Wasn’t it easy?
Open up System Preference and now move on to Network section. Select the network via which you are connected and then click on the Advanced button. Now, select the Hardware tab, the first thing you will see is MAC address.
This is the toughest one of the all. Open up the terminal and type the command:
ifconfig en0 | grep ether
This actually shows the MAC address for en0 interface. Just change the name of the interface and look for yourself. Was it that difficult?
Now, that we know our MAC address, let us generate some random MAC addresses, in the terminal just type:
openssl rand -hex 6 | sed ‘s/(..)/1:/g; s/.$//’
This will generate a random MAC address. The format of MAC address as earlier mentioned in this article is in the form xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx, if you already have one in mind you don’t need to generate one. But keep in mind it should be 12 digits hexadecimal.
changing mac address on macOS sierra or OS X Yosemite or OS X El Capitan or any Mac OS X is just one command, open up the terminal and type in:
sudo ifconfig en0 ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
You need to have administrative privileges to change the MAC address, hence it will ask for the password. It is best recommended that you disconnect from the network while changing your MAC address and then again reconnect after successfully changing it. Also, make a note of your default hardware MAC address. Some the MAC use Wi-Fi instead of ether in the above command. if you meet any problem try to use Wi-Fi. Remove the xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx with your MAC address generated or you have in mind. And also replace en0 with any other interface name that you are using. If you don’t know the interface name, you should check it from the above mentioned steps. To confirm that it has been changed you could use any of the above mentioned way. If you are changing your MAC address to get privacy you better generate random MAC address.
After changing the MAC address on your OS X or sierra or yosemite or el capitan it might be possible that you meet network issues, in that case make sure you turn off and then turn on your network device. You can use the method and get around with any blocking. It sounded a very difficult task at the beginning, but even you can see how easy it was. Let me know, how did it go for you?